John King Brings on Wall Street's Best Bud Bloomberg to Play the 'Both Sides' Game on Super Committee Failure
Here we go again with the Republican's meme of the week being repeated, this time by Wall Street apologist billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg, harping about the failure of the so-called "Super Committee." I guess he manged to tear himself away for a while from hyping overblown terrorist threats and having the police beat up the dirty hippies at Occupy Wall Street long enough to do this interview with John King.
So good of CNN to have Bloomberg come on to play the happy "centrist," touting the failed Simpson-Bowles deficit commission as some "reasonable" solution for everyone to have a little shared sacrifice. He did call for the end to the Bush tax cuts that were extended during the Obama administration, but never did the words income disparity leave his lips during this entire interview as far as what ails our country right now. He also continues like the rest of them in our corporate media to pretend that both sides are being equally inflexible rather than any admission that both parties have moved way to far to the right, with one falling completely off the cliff with protecting their tax cuts for the rich.
Transcript via CNN below the fold.
KING: Important breaking news in Washington tonight -- the collapse of the Congressional so-called super committee. Its charge, cut $1. 2 trillion from the deficit over 10 years.
Democrats blame Republicans for the collapse. The Republicans, of course, blame the Democrats.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an Independent, blames them all.
Let's get some perspective now from a former corporate CEO who now is the mayor of America's largest city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York -- Mr. Mayor, the super committee tonight has become a super failure. Mayors, governors and average Americans are asking why.
Why did this collapse?
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, I don't know why it collapsed. But let me just say, it is not the instability in Europe. It is not the monetary policy of China that is the big problem for America. It is this cowed-ness and this partisanship in Washington that is really hurting our country.
And if you take a look, whether it was the deficit ceiling fight or this fight, the number of jobs that were destroyed, the wealth that was ruined and taken away, it's just mind-boggling. It's really -- nobody could write a novel where this scenario took place and sell the book. People would say impossible.
And yet we've just seen it.
Both sides of the aisle, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. They can't even come up with something that would not have even solved the problem. If you think about it, the 1. 2 trillion odd dollars that they were trying to save will only cut about 13 percent of our deficit. And today, we have a public debt of $10 trillion. We have -- in 10 years, it will be $20 trillion. You know, $20 trillion is something like $70,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. And even then, we would be doing what we're doing today.
Today, the government is borrowing one out of every three dollars that it spends. You could not do that personally, because nobody would loan you the money.
KING: Well, let's try to go through some of the issues.
You are an iii now. You've been both a Democrat and Republican. The Republicans were adamant going in, they would not raise tax rates on anybody. And many Republicans said they weren't even open to tax rate that lowered rates, if, in the end, it brought Washington more money.
Can you solve this problem without raising some taxes?
BLOOMBERG: You cannot solve the deficit problem without both increasing government revenues and decreasing government expenses.
Right now, the difference is so grand -- so large, you couldn't possibly do it with either one. You have to do both. And I don't care what you promised your constituents, I don't care what your constituents want, those are the facts.
And so every elected official has to make the decision -- am I going to do what's right politically or am I going to do what's right for the country?
Because there is no -- there's no reputable economist in the whole world who would tell you that what I just said isn't true. You have to have revenue and you have to cut expenses.
And so when you take one off the table, you just can't have a deal. And now the question is...
KING: And the old...
BLOOMBERG: -- what do we do next?
KING: And part of the question is what do we do next.
But what did we do over the last three months?
One of the questions is where was the leadership?
You say the Republicans should have come to the table on revenues.
A lot of people in this town are asking, where was the president?
Now, at the White House, they say this was a Congressional committee.
I want you to listen quickly here to Senator John Kerry, one of the Democrats on the committee. He says the Republicans were adamant that the president stay out of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: The president was specifically asked by the Republicans not to get engaged in their deliberations, because they didn't want it to become a political football. This was a Congressional idea, to have this committee. This was Congress' responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: So the president had no responsibility, Mr. Mayor, or is that a cop-out?
BLOOMBERG: I would argue that the president, as the chief executive of the country, has the responsibility to make things come together. I understand the problems of partisanship and the jealousies and the pettiness and selfishness that occur at the other end of Pennsylvania.
But in the end, no CEO would send a proposal and just say, well, let's see what happens. You send a proposal and then you go fight for it.
Nor would any CEO let the other side write the proposal. The job of the president is to lead the country and to lead Congress. And the president should now just stand up and say we aren't going to take it anymore. Forget about the politics. This country is crying out for leadership. It's crying out for courage and I, President Obama, is saying this, and I'm going to provide exactly that.
And the president can do it. All the president has to do is make one simple declaratory statement and all of this will come together. And that statement is, he should say, I am going to veto any extension of any of the Bush-era tax cuts, not just those for the wealthy, but for everybody, because it's everybody's problem.
And most of the money that you need to close the deficit is in the average middle class person, not with the wealthy. The wealthy pay a very -- maybe a disproportionate percentage of their income in taxes. Some people say maybe it should be worse.
But the total amount of taxes that the wealthy pay do not go anywhere remotely toward solving the problem.
Everybody is part of the solution. Everybody gets benefits from government. And I think everybody should pay.
And if the president said, I will veto any piece of legislation that extends any of the Bush-era tax cuts, I think he'd have enough support to prevent an override of his veto. It would then say to the Republicans, you know, I don't know what you're talking about. We've solved the revenue side. There's nothing you can do to stop the revenues. Now, let's work together on the expense side.
And then you don't just sit around in a committee and say, well, I will cut mine if you cut yours, and let's trade this, this guy was a campaign supporter of mine, and that guy, I always liked. I own stock in his company.
You don't do any of that. You go and you look to who's looked at this problem intelligently, with some real thought -- and I think Simpson-Bowles is as good a place to start and maybe end -- and just say they've done the research. It may not be perfect, but at least it wasn't done by a partisan swapping of one of mine for one of yours. And they could go, and Congress would, I think, at that point, adopt the Simpson-Bowles cuts together with the end of the Bush-era tax cuts. You would generate something like $8 trillion. You'd balance the budget, $8 trillion worth in ten years.
KING: In the meantime, as Washington tries to figure out if it can solve its dysfunction -- I won't say when it will solve its dysfunction; I will say if it can solve its dysfunction -- what is your sense, Mr. Mayor, of the impact of this, A, on the markets and the economy, and B, on the average American family? Will they pay more in interest because Washington can't get its act together?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think, No. 1, nobody thinks that the sequestered moneys or these cuts that are supposed to automatically go in will happen. Congress, in its usual ways of obfuscation, had this committee. If the committee failed, the cuts would go automatically. Except the cuts don't go automatically for a whole other year, during which time you can rest assured, Congress will, in a normal political fashion, sop and save anybody that has political power in Washington's -- Washington from losing their benefits or their cuts.
And so we're right back to having an enormous deficit problem. But no solution. And then investors are just not going to invest. Businesses are not going to hire. Banks are not going to make loans. Individuals are not going to buy a new house or take a vacation or buy a new car. Everybody is frozen. Because they just look and they say, "This cannot go on. You cannot have a government that doesn't function." And that's exactly what we have now.
And incidentally, you can blame the White House. You can blame Congress. You can blame Republicans. You can blame Democrats. You can blame this party and that party and this faction and that faction. The bottom line, this is America.
America used to come together and solve the problems. And when patriotism required you to put away your partisan, petty self- interests, people did. But they're not willing to do it now.
And I guess I think that this is the time for the president to stand up and say, "I'm not going to take it anymore. I'm going to do what's right. I ran on a campaign of change, and that's what I'm going to do. And if the voters like it, they'll reelect me. And if the voters don't, at least I'll be able to look myself in a mirror."
KING: Very sober assessment from the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time tonight.
BLOOMBERG: You're welcome, John.
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