New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed the federal government for following the same fiscal path that has cost European governments so dearly, perhaps offering Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney hints about what policies he would like to see from them to win his endorsement as a moderate independent. Bloomberg’s seal of approval carries added weight because he is a billionaire businessman with close ties to Wall Street, a source of donations as well as a powerful force in the economy.
I think it is clear that we have a deficit problem that is going to hurt this country dramatically and unless we do something about it is a cloud on the horizon. It doesn’t mean America is going to go to zero… But I think if you take a look at Europe and other places and it shows you when you live above your means – It’s different than the city, the deficits we project are aspirational deficits, in the end we balance our budgets, the federal government does not.
The city by law must close any deficits. In contrast, the U.S. government can borrow to fund its operations – and at very low rates in recent years.
The mayor, now in his third and final term, was presenting an update to his $68.7 billion budget plan. One reason private employment in New York City has broken the 1969 record high is the city’s budget discipline, he said.
“We have to give people the clarity and confidence that we are going to face fiscal realities,” he said. The country’s failure to wrestle its deficit under control is curbing businesses from growing, he said. “Nationwide, there are some real questions in people’s minds and they are not willing to do that.”