Clinton Wants Global Quick Fix

President Clinton said Tuesday that urgent steps are needed to head off the worst financial crisis in 50 years, but he did not offer much in the way of specifics, CBS Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley reports.

Speaking to the world's top bankers and finance ministers, Mr. Clinton warned that every nation is threatened by the economic crisis and offered this advice:

"The balance of risks have now shifted from inflation to slow down. The principal goal of policy makers must be to promote growth. Every nation must take responsibility for growth," he said.

Here's why it matters: In California, Texas and New York, exports to Asia are off sharply, a drop ranging from 6-12 percent in exports to Japan and 31-44 percent to South Korea.

Across the nation, many states are dependent on foreign countries with economic woes. Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia send more than 40 percent of their exports to developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The president's economic advisors are tracking some early warning signs of weakening in the U.S. economy. In the last few months, about 150,000 Americans have lost jobs in manufacturing, and some small businesses are beginning to have trouble getting loans, because banks are becoming shy about risk.

Mr. Clinton called on Congress to send the International Monetary Fund more than $14 billion in emergency bailout money that is still bottled up in a political fight.

"I have told Congress we can debate how to reform the operations of the fire department, but there is no excuse for refusing to supply the fire department with water while the fire is burning, Mr. Clinton said.

Late Tuesday, Congress did approve those funds, along with the demand that the IMF to tighten its lending practices.

Many foreign finance ministers were encouraged by Mr. Clinton's interest, but a bit disappointed that his plans lacked specifics.

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