The U.S.'s high unemployment rate and poverty rate is setting the stage for riots, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday.
Speaking on WOR-AM radio Friday, Bloomberg, an Independent, said the inability to find work carries the risk of increasing social unrest.
You have a lot of kids graduating college can't find jobs, Bloomberg, The New York Times reported Saturday. That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid, he continued, referring to the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the more recent protests against the Spanish government's austerity measures. You don't want those kinds of riots here.
Bloomberg added that he disagrees when others assert that President Barack Obama caused the unemployment problem: that's false, according to Bloomberg's analysis.
Obama inherited a problem that built-up over long periods of time, Bloomberg said.
The record bears Bloomberg out. The bulk of the job losses in the 2007-2009 recession occurred in the early phase of the recession -- or were lay-offs stemming from what was then a President George W. Bush-led economy that had slowed massively in 2008 due to the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble. In other words, the bulk of the lay-offs stemmed from an economic collapse in 2008, and it meant that the next president, whomever it was, in 2009 would inherent Bush's job lay-off legacy.
The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1 percent; New York City's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent.
What's more, Bloomberg is not the first, high-profile public figure to sound the alarm regarding the possiblity of social unrest in the United States stemming from a lack of jobs. New York University Economics Professor Nouriel Dr. Doom Roubini has cautioned that the popular demonstrations and social unrest seen in the Arab World, in Israel, in Greece and most recently, in the United Kingdom, will not end there -- soon enough, they will hit other advanced economies and emerging markets.
Bloomberg Credits Obama For Trying to Create Jobs
In addition, Bloomberg applauded President Obama for proposing a substantive plan to create jobs, the administrations $447 billion jobs bill curently before the Congress.
I think if you look at the president's proposals, at least he has some ideas on the table, whether you like those or not. Now everybody's got to sit down and say, 'We've actually got to do something,' Bloomberg said.
What's more, Bloomberg said jobless/poverty situation is not an issue that will exist in the public consciousness one moment, then fade in the next: the public's stance stems from concern about a major, tangiable social problem.
Bloomberg also urged Congressional Republicans to stop the game-playing and place the national interest over partisan interest and pass President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill.
There is no overight solution, Bloomberg said, ABCNews.com reported Saturday. You create these problems over long periods of time and all of a sudden they say, 'Let's face it today.'
Political/Public Policy Analysis: Mayor Bloomberg is sounding the alarm, and all policy makers in Washington should pay attention to it: social unrest could ensue if policy makers do not take action to create jobs, and the Obama administration's $447 billion job bill is a good first step.
Further, even though the U.S. unemployment rate among college-educated adults was 4.3 percent in August, according to U.S. Labor Department data -- meaning direct social unrest by this workforce segment is likely to be disproportionately low, Bloomberg's caution is justified. The reason? There still would be some college educated adults unemployed, and when combined with the staggering 14.3 percent unemployment rate for adults with just a high school education, they could form a critical mass, leading to the problems Bloomberg is concerned about. In fact, the unemployed college educated adults could end up serving as the leaders of various activist groups, including engaging in extensive agitation activities.