The President offered a six-point plan to kick-start stalled growth abroad, and warned that U.S. prosperity was threatened by Congress's decision to reject new IMF funding. Unfortunately, economic intervention requires a political will that may be lacking among the major players. "The crisis demands a response on the scale of the Marshall Plan," says Baumohl. "But Japan is paralyzed, Europe is cautious and Clinton's presidency is weakened. They're unlikely to muster the political support for the spending required by such a plan." With the effects of the global downturn looming just over the U.S. horizon, Clinton's '92 campaign mantra sounds more current than ever.
Yes, he's trying to change the subject, but he also may be right. In a speech Monday before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, President Clinton drew attention to the global market meltdown and called for an emergency meeting of world financial leaders to draw up a plan of action. "He's doing what he should be doing," says TIME reporter Bernard Baumohl. "We're seeing the greatest threat to world economic growth since the Great Depression, and that's a situation that demands decisive political leadership."