Where Are the Future Paul Volckers?

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April 29 (Bloomberg) -- “So Much to Do” Author Richard Ravitch discusses the career of former Fed Chair Paul Volcker on Bloomberg Television's “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Depression.

World war ii, korea, the optimism of the 1950's and early 1960's. america and new york city was ascendant.

Richard ravitch is concerned we have so much to do and quite possibly we will do it without the likes of fdr, ike, and paul volcker as well.

Former lieutenant governor of the state of new york joins us.

Akkdds so much to the history of this great city.

Paul volcker, i see him walking around manhattan, vibrant.

Where are the future paul volckers?

Are they out there?

I hope so.

There are by definition very few people who can fill those shoes because it is an unusual combination of brilliance, integrity, and a family deep commitment to the public well-being.

But many of those people are choosing not to do what you do -- you did, which is public service, because you are a piÑata in the media today.

With dashwood paul volcker now the wood he did then?

I am not sure.

I suspect so.

I don't think paul had any inclination to do anything except serve what he considered to be the public interest.

How do you respond to the polarity of washington wanted to whether any given -- or any given city, boise, idaho, or new york, where it is a one-party city?

I think what happens is our society made a lot of commitments that we can't currently afford to keep.

And therefore the stress between those obligations and our resources is creating an enormous tension in our politics.

Because if you can't meet your obligations, whether two people who let you money or people who work for you for 20 years, you're in desperate need of cutting other things and that creates a polarity in the political system that has gotten very, very nasty.

Page 230 in your book, the biggest weight on expenditure is medicaid.

States spend 25% of the budget on the program.

I don't think you can change that, if you believe, as i do, that the government should provide health care for people who cannot afford it for themselves.

The question again is, what portion of that should be paid for by the federal government and what portion by states and cities question mark new york city pays its own share of medicaid, which is a big word in on new york city's budget.

There are people like myself who think the federal tax base is a better place to cover the cost to providing health care for americans.

I want to go back to your link with all full girl.

In 2012 you cochaired the state budget crisis tax force where you put together a report that reviewed the fiscal strength of u.s. states.

What keeps you optimistic about the state of public finance?

I think what keeps us honest -- optimistic is we lived long enough to have seen the united states win a war, and racial segregation, beat the soviets in a competition.

Those were much tougher problems.

These are eminently solvable.

People have to get something off that some people will have to pay a little more.

But i think it is solvable and i think paul does, too.

This goes with the disclosure that the former mayor of new york city, michael bloomberg, is a principal owner of both bloomberg radio and bloomberg television.

Richard ravitch, the amayor in his final speech at the economic club of new york i thought was front and center in his concerns about negotiations with unions in new york city.

Whether new york city or los angeles, other unions today the same heated battle with years ago?

Fundamentally, yes.

They are professional people who represent the interest of the people who are members of their union.

And they do it with varying degrees of skill.

But you have to remember that there was an collective-bargaining with public employees until the 1960's. you were learning.

What would you do for the city of london right now?

Do we need to fly ravitch over to london to resolve the tube strike?

We need him here at home.

One more question for the lieutenant governor?

We talked about unions being made up of professionals but union membership -- certainly private unions have fallen off whereas those in the public sector have increased.

How has that changed our negotiating capabilities?

I think it reduces the leverage unions have in the country.

The truth of the matter is decided picked up a lot of the cost of providing health care and providing old age assistance to people, was 50 years ago the only way the average working stiff could get those benefits was through collective-bargaining.

There was a different underlying economic equation that has changed the power of labor in society.

Let's get to our agenda right now, which is where we look ahead to the stories making the news of the day.

Tom, you've got one that links up with paul volcker as well.

Interest rates, free money, m&a, a boring meeting i am told,

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

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