×

Bill Clinton: Fed did the right thing by not raising rates

The Federal Reserve did the right thing by leaving interest rates unchanged, former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Monday.

"In a world where America looks like a good news story compared to the current problems in China and the slow growth in Russia and the uncertainty caused by massive move of the refugees into the European Union, I think they didn't want to take a chance in not only slowing growth in the United States but having a bad impact on the rest of the world," he said.

The U.S. central bank kept its benchmark interest rates near zero on Sept. 17, but some members of the Federal Open Market Committee, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen, have recently said that a rate hike this year is still in the cards.

New York Fed President William Dudley said Monday the Fed remains on track for a rate hike later this year, while Yellen said Thursday an increase "sometime later this year" would likely be appropriate.

Clinton also said the U.S. economy is doing well right now, especially when compared to other economies across the globe.

"We have more than regained the jobs we lost during the recession, and usually those things take over a decade to get over ... but workforce participation by women is down, youth unemployment rate is still high, [and] wages are flat; only about 16 percent of American workers have gotten any increase since 2008," he said.

"We have to try to prove that this is not the first period in history when technological advances kill more jobs than they create. That's basically the underlying debate."

Bill Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 28, 2015.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Bill Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 28, 2015.

Clinton also addressed the controversy surrounding his wife's, and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's, emails while she was secretary of state.

"I'm glad it happened in 2015 rather than 2016, and i believe it will burn itself out," he said. "What the American people have to think about is this: A few months ago she was the most admired person in public life in America because of the work she had done," he said. "And then, all that matters is emails."

"I trust the American people. They'll get this. They'll work through it and understand that they're being sent a heavy signal [by Republicans] saying 'We don't want to run against this woman. Just give us somebody else.'"