NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg Guests on CBS THIS MORNING
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed the economy, job growth and foreign relations with co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell live today, Sept. 12, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM). Below is the transcript from the interview:
ROSE: What's the most important message you can bring to the Economic Club of Washington about the crisis that we face?
BLOOMBERG: We are four years after Lehman Brothers, 11 years after 9/11, and the country still isn't focusing on how we create jobs for our people, and how to improve our situation compared to other countries down the road. Washington is focused on its politics. The good news is cities are focused on trying to do something about it because local city governments don't have the luxury of being on both sides of every issue. The public demands action. You see around all the progress we're making whether it's on creating jobs or improving the environment or improving education or trying to fight against guns all of those things are done at a local level. Virtually nothing is getting done at a federal level.
O'DONNELL: A lot of conservatives would say that's a good thing that the federal government is not doing very much; that it's all being done at the local level. What's the counterargument?
BLOOMBERG: I think that's fair to say, but the federal government still takes all of our tax money. If the federal government didn't tax and let the cities do those taxes you could make that argument. But as long as the federal government is taking taxes, which the conservatives say are too high, then they have a responsibility to use those monies intelligently to help the cities. There are clearly things we have to do at a national level, defense and things like that, but there are things at a local level that the local governments can do. The trouble is that the federal government gets in the way. We need more immigrants. The federal government prevents them from coming here. We need more tourists. The federal government makes getting a visa difficult. We need more infrastructure. The federal government either imposes requirements on things to build things we don't need or aren't going to work or they make it so difficult to do that all it is what they think is a job creation and it's not creating jobs.
ROSE: Do you believe President Obama and Gov. Romney have laid out the specificities as to what they would do to avoid the crisis?
BLOOMBERG: No, I don't think they have. Now, in all fairness to them, when you live and campaign in a world where the press reduces everything to a sound bite, I'm somewhat sympathetic to both of them that they can't enunciate a comprehensive plan for any difficult problem. Having said that, they have not done in the past what they should have done when they had the opportunities.
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O'DONNELL: What should Congress and the federal government be doing that you think could help job creation?
BLOOMBERG: I think saying things like let's invest in infrastructure. We need infrastructure desperately. But, infrastructure is not a jobs creation program in the short term. It gives us the tools to have an economy down the road, but most people who are unemployed are just not going out and working in construction. Construction is something you spend your life doing, it's a tough thing, you do it outside, you have to have a lot of experience, it's dangerous. And by throwing more money at, let's say, go build another dam, isn't going to do it. Today you can build a Hoover Dam with 10% of the people you did back then. For example, manufacturing in America is growing leaps and bounds. We're doing great, except that we're not creating jobs. Why? Because we're sending some industries overseas thanks to our immigration policy, because we are not giving the school systems the support they need. Think about this, everybody agrees education is the most important thing; down the road, really technological global world. Our federal government is defunding education as our state governments around the country at exactly the time they should be putting more into it.
O'DONNELL: The President would make the case that he proposed an American Jobs Act that would invest more in infrastructure, that would invest more in education, that would invest more in police officers and law enforcement on the streets, and that the Republicans blocked that plan.
BLOOMBERG: Yes. A lot of that is true, but not totally. It's still the President's job to pull everybody together. Nobody runs for office and says it's going to be too complex. I'm not going to be able to do it for partisan reasons. They say, "Elect me. I will find a way to get it done." So, it's still his responsibility. But he did have a Democratic Congress in the Senate for a while. The Republicans are maybe obstreperous and maybe just everything for political reasons, but it's still the President's job to pull them together. And it's incumbent for Romney to say how he would get the Congress to go along. Even if the Republicans controlled the Senate and controlled the House, they are not going to have big enough majorities to do anything they want, they're going to have to reach across the aisle – both these parties have to do that. We're going to have some kind of gridlock for a long period of time. This country is fundamentally divided into two different areas, two different political philosophies, but nevertheless the federal government collects an enormous amount of taxes and gets in the way on virtually everything that I think is needed.
O'DONNELL: Should President Obama meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
BLOOMBERG: I'm not going to second guess the President. I was told they talked for an hour. I think the President should be meeting with everybody he can but his schedule, obviously, may get in the way of some things. Whether this is a political thing or not, I don't know. Israel is in an enormously difficult position. You've got a country that everybody agrees is probably building nuclear weapons that said they wanted to destroy them. What would happen if one of the countries contiguous to us or close to us said the same thing? You can rest assured America would not be sitting around doing nothing.
ROSE: Do you think it's reasonable for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to request the United States set a red line beyond which they will do something?
BLOOMBERG: I don't know what "reasonable" means. I think if I was Benjamin Netanyahu and they didn't set a red line, I wouldn't believe that the tools that we're trying to use now, namely sanctions, would be remotely as effective as if they had a date. Sanctions or restrictions on trade, economic penalties work, and for example, in the United States, we had that policy of using restrictions on where you can travel to get rid of Fidel Castro and it worked. It took 45 years to work. Unless you have a drop-dead date, it doesn't have the clout that it would.