California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger blamed the sluggish economic recovery in the U.S. on legislative paralysis as he took his message of budget cuts to a global audience.
“The United States right now is crippled by Congress not doing anything that has to do with reforming, no matter if it’s immigration reform or having an energy policy,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today in Moscow.
Schwarzenegger, leading a California business delegation to Russia, almost had to cancel his trip because of a 100-day budget impasse in the California Legislature. The governor signed a compromise budget that closed a $19 billion shortfall on Oct. 8, two days before he arrived in Moscow on President Dmitry Medvedev’s invitation.
The 63-year-old Republican is spending his last months in office by seeking to secure California’s economic reach around the globe. Schwarzenegger traveled to China, Japan and South Korea last month and will visit U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron on his return trip to the U.S.
Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne are searching for ways to cut a record U.K. deficit by 113 billion pounds ($179 billion) by 2015 to protect the country’s top credit rating.
“There are similarities in what’s happening in Great Britain and what’s happening in California,” Schwarzenegger said. “We’ve got to go and spend less money. I think governments have promised people too much.”
The ballooning cost of pensions for state workers was one of the sticking points in California’s budget debate, which dragged on for more than three months after the start of the fiscal year. The state, if it were an independent country, would have the world’s eighth-largest economy.
“We’ve got to roll back the pensions,” Schwarzenegger said. “And that’s not just in California but all over the world.”
U.S. legislators need to stop thinking just about the coming elections and remember that “it’s about ordinary people,” he said.
“If we’re careful, we’re not going to get into a double-dipping situation,” Schwarzenegger said, referring to the possibility of a second recession. “I see signs that we’re going to come out of it. The key thing now is to create jobs.”