Clinton, President Bill, “Federal Budget and the National Debt,” interview with Bob Schieffer, Peterson Institute for International Economics, C-Span Video Library, 04/28/10

President Clinton: ”(T)he Europeans have used it quite successfully.  I think if you did it you’ld have to readjust the whole - the rest of the tax system to keep it progressive.  It’s also somewhat complex because it’s on every stage of the production process.  But, the one thing that blue collar America should like about it is it’s good for exports and it in effect, it doesn’t allow quite so much subsidy of imports - when other countries subsidize their production for export at least they get slapped with a value added tax when it comes in here.  And, it’s good for exports.  So, if you’re not willing to give up on manufacturing and I’m not, I think it’s a great time to,  for us to, rebuild a manufacturing sector in America.  If we had the right sort of value added tax and we made enough adjustments in the other tax bills to make it - to keep the progressivity of our tax system, it could be really good.

Now the real problem with the value added tax is the problem why we couldn’t pass the single-payer health system, right?  A lot of things that are good in theory require so much change that people just can’t make the mental leap.  So, I’m not at all sure, that the Simpson-Bowles Commission will wind up recommending it.  I know ‘em well enough to know that they’ld have to have a theory in their mind about how it could actually pass before they would recommend it.

It’s a big leap, but if you look at it, people in Europe - just like any other sales tax - they just get used to payin’ it, and it would be good for exports and it would, our home market products would, be on more even footing with imports if we had one.  And, we compete in countries that have ‘em all the time.  So we get it comin’ and goin’ because they have it and we don’t,” 58:14-1:00:30