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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 269-11
July 25, 2011

STATEMENT OF MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON NATIONAL DEBT CEILING

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery before his presentation of the City’s financial plan to the New York State Financial Control Board follow. Please check against delivery:

“Good afternoon. In a few minutes, I’ll join a meeting of the State Financial Control Board to discuss the City’s recently adopted budget and four-year financial plan. I’ll outline how we’ve met significant challenges in balancing this year’s budget, and how we intend to address our problems going forward. Doing that requires making hard choices and putting the public interest ahead of partisan gain or ideological purity. That’s what governing is all about.

“There are always competing ideas and interests: Between the Mayor and the City Council; between the City and State; between the houses of the State Legislature; between Republicans and Democrats; sometimes, between the Governor and me. But we’ve showed repeatedly that we can find ways to come together across political parties. Yesterday we saw a good example of what such cooperation at all levels of government can achieve, with the exchange of wedding vows at City Clerk’s offices across our city, and on the steps of Gracie Mansion.

“That’s what we’re doing in New York. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing the same kind of responsible behavior in Washington. Of course what I’m referring to is the prolonged brinksmanship concerning raising the debt ceiling and reducing the nation’s deficit. That the United States of America has come this close to defaulting on its debts – a failure that would have potentially disastrous economic consequences for us all, including New Yorkers – ought to be all the evidence anyone needs that there’s something profoundly wrong in Washington.  

“Just the fact that we’re talking about the possibility of default is putting doubts in the minds of people around the world that will stay there for a long time. So in response, let me make these two points: The first is that we have to pay our debts.  Not doing so would seriously damage our nation’s reputation and credit. That’s why we need to raise the debt ceiling. In fact, the inability of our national leaders to reach an agreement up to this point is damaging our economy.   American employers are not creating new jobs because they lack confidence that both political parties and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue understand what needs to be done, and are instead in thrall to pseudo-economics and ideology. And every day this standoff goes on, more seeds of doubt are sown – not just among American companies but among investors around the world.

“We’re making a mistake if we think that American dominance on the world economic stage is inevitable. As I have said many times about our work in New York, success is not a foregone conclusion. We have to work to achieve it. Taking success for granted was a mistake New York City government made in the 1970s – and it took us decades to recover. We will never let that happen to New York again – and Washington can’t let it happen to our country.

“Should Washington fail to raise the debt ceiling, the rest of the world would never again be as confident in America, and that would put at risk our position as the nation with the world's reserve currency – a risk that we absolutely cannot afford to take.

“The second point is that while our budget deficit is bad enough, what’s worse is Washington’s leadership deficit that has put the nation at the brink of default. To close that deficit, our national leaders need to stop staring down the other side and waiting for them to blink, and start working with the other side to get our stalled economy back in gear. No rational analysis says that we can begin to reduce the size of the Federal deficit without a combination of cutting spending and raising revenues.

“Americans are disgusted with the gridlock and lack of compromise, and they have a right to be. There will be no political gains from a prolonged crisis; no one will win. Voters will blame all the incumbents; none of them will benefit. And around the globe, friends are watching this spectacle with amazement and foes are watching it will glee. America is a great nation.  It's time our leaders in Washington start acting that way.”







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