Extended Jobless Benefits an Economic Issue: Altman

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April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Altman, founder and executive chairman at Evercore, talks with Betty Liu about the need for an extension to long-term jobless benefits and his view on jump starting job growth in the United States on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.”

Altman, chairman of ever core.

Roger, i know that you have advocated for extending these jobless benefits.

Do you believe this has any chance in the house?

It is certainly uphill and the house.

Most people think the answer is no.

They should be extended.

A lot of people misunderstand this issue.

It is being debated entirely as a matter of social justice.

Everybody has a different point of view on that.

I think it should be debated as economics.

54% of americans live in families which are in $60,000 per year or less.

Median household income has fallen from $54,000 to $52,200 right now.

There's a tremendous swath of american citizens, a huge percentage of the country, which is suffering declining incomes.

They in turn have no purchasing power.

It is not just a matter of social justice.

The social justice argument is very strong.

But i think this is a matter of economics.

We will grow about 3% this year.

Better than we have seen during the crisis.

That is really not a great growth recovery rate by historical standards.

One of the reasons we can do it faster is because we have a tale of two cities in the consumer sector.

Extending those benefits will help close that gap, as you describe.

Not the only thing we should do.

I know you advocate for other measures.

Republicans are saying, we will extend those jobless benefits.

But we want to pair them with job creation measures.

One of those put out this improving the keystone pipeline.

Should the democrats compromise on that?

That is a very difficult and contentious issue.

I don't think it is a big issue in terms of energy policy.

I don't think it makes a huge difference, whether we approve it or don't approve it, including environmentally, i might add.

If i were president obama, i would approve it.

But i don't know the answer to that.

Whatever we can do at this point to create jobs, a big infrastructure initiative, it is a question of how to pay for it and administer it.

I think we should extend benefits to the long-term jobless.

I think we should raise the minimum wage.

I think we should not have cut food stamps at the end of last year.

Again, we have this large sector of america, at least 40%, that are suffering declining incomes and cannot spend.

Two thirds of our gdp is in consumer spending.

One reason we cannot grow faster than 3% is because that consumer recovery is limited by this sector of the population which is doing so poorly.

Do you support the president focusing on other issues of the labor market?

Yes, they're focused on extending jobless benefits and raising the minimum wage.

They are also talking about closing the gender wage gap, making pay more transparent among federal contractors.

Are these just side issues?

Are these issues that they should put on the background and focus on key once to get republicans on board?

No.

we are in an age of severe gridlock.

It is almost impossible to pass anything.

If you are in the white house and you are faced with this gridlock, you would do anything you could to try to address income inequality.

The president said it is the challenge of our time.

And to get some improvement in the job market.

You would do anything you could to get movement,. stay with me.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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