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Mayor Michael Bloomberg: December 2010 Archives

December 2010 Archives

Bipartisanship is Crucial to Progress

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Recently, the White House and Congressional Republicans reached a compromise that extends tax cuts and unemployment insurance for Americans. It's a sign that bi-partisanship really is possible in Washington. And that's a very good thing -- as long as our leaders spend more energy on partisan attacks than on getting things done, our nation will only fall further and further behind our international competitors. We desperately need Washington to come together and take on long-term challenges like cutting the deficit. And in the short term, we need them to put aside their differences and forge centrist solutions that will put Americans back to work and get our economy moving again.

Over the past year, New York City has led the nation in job growth. In fact, our economy has grown twice as fast as that of the rest of the country -- and none of that growth came from Wall Street. We've added 55,000 private sector jobs since October 2009 -- middle-class jobs in fields like health care and engineering. And we've done it not through some liberal or conservative agenda, but by focusing on common sense, fiscally responsible solutions.

Last week, I discussed some of these solutions, and at the heart of each of them is a simple idea: innovation. You see, innovation is what's always driven America's economy, and innovation is now what we need to fuel our recovery. Of course, the major impediments to innovation today aren't so much economic; they're political. But the conventional wisdom that the two parties hold diametrically opposed beliefs on how to promote economic growth is simply wrong. There are many areas where the two parties share common ground that are key to promoting job growth.

Both parties can do more to inspire confidence in our future -- so businesses invest and create new jobs. Both parties should support trade policies that open up new markets to American exporters and help American consumers save money. Both parties should support reforming regulations so that they're based on the needs of workers and taxpayers, not lobbyists and special interests. Both parties should support more innovative job-training programs -- like the ones we've launched here in New York City -- that match the skills of the unemployed with businesses that are hiring. And both parties should support cuts in business taxes that will lead to more investment and keep more jobs here in America.

Finally, we badly need bipartisan action in an area that would do more than anything to unleash innovation and job growth: Fixing America's broken immigration policy. Right now, what happens is that we educate the best and brightest from around the world. But instead of allowing our businesses to hire them, we send these talented minds back home where they take what they've learned and use it to create companies and products that compete with ours. Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot.

On immigration, on trade, on cutting business taxes and reducing the deficit, we can't hold out for solutions that are left or right, liberal or conservative. We all know that 'politics as usual' is a dead end. Instead, we need to revive what has always fueled new jobs and economic growth. And that includes our openness to new ideas and to new people. Doing that will help us get our economy back in gear again all across the country.

As we are reminded every day in New York City, we are a nation of immigrants -- and a nation that believes in rewarding talent and hard work. And since the first days of the republic, immigrants have played a critically important role in doing the work and creating the businesses that keep our economy strong and growing.

That makes immigrants absolutely key to our nation's economic recovery. In these tough times, what the United States needs is more immigrants, not fewer. At the same time, our country must have more control of our borders, so that we are the ones who decide who comes to our country.

As hard as it's been to achieve this kind of comprehensive reform, right now Congress is considering new legislation called the DREAM Act. This legislation would allow young people who have grown up here a conditional path to citizenship provided they complete two years of higher education or military service.

Just think: there are more than 100,000 students in New York City schools whose future inability to become citizens is not a matter of their choice; their parents brought them here as children. There is no argument that they broke our immigration laws themselves. Unfortunately, as things stand today, once they leave school, instead of facing bright futures, they must contend with a heartbreaking reality: Ineligible for student loans and legal jobs, many of these children end up doing low-wage, off-the-books work, and some end up facing deportation. That not only hurts them; it hurts our country.

But why shouldn't our economy benefit from the skills these young people have learned right here in our public schools? They've played by the rules, worked hard, and shown they value education or military service. They are just the kind of immigrants we need to help solve our unemployment problem. Some of them will go on to create new small businesses and hire people. Others may discover the next life-saving drug or pioneer the next big invention.

This legislation has had bipartisan support in the past, so we hope the two parties in Washington will come together and pass the DREAM Act.

I've always believed that immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation -- which is why we'll continue empowering immigrants to contribute to our economy here in New York City. And we'll do that by continuing to do what we've done for the past nine years: By helping more immigrants learn English, by turning low-wage jobs into middle-class careers, by cracking down on the crooks who exploit those trying to obtain green cards, and by continuing to open the doors of City Hall to every single community in every borough.

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