tv Washington Ideas Forum Day 1 Morning Session CSPAN November 1, 2014 9:57pm-10:18pm EDT
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at the supporting level, the american federation of teachers. -- and google. the forum -- and the editor are the masterminds behind this enterprise. they will lead us through this morning. steve is here to get us rolling. >> thank you. good morning everybody. take you so much for being here. let's jump right in. penny pritzker is used to running things. these days you will find her doing this throughout the business community. she is confirmed with business leaders.
we are pleased to have her join us. to open the forum. [applause] thank you, madam secretary, for being with us. to me start by asking you clear something up. i have been confused about since madamd from another secretary. do corporations create jobs? >> yes. the private sector creates jobs. >> what is government's role? job is to create the conditions so the private sector can't create jobs. we are focused on making sure there is good infrastructure.
making sure there is good infrastructure a good .nvironment for investment >> is there a difference between you hadparties shediately a reaction from just moved to the left you did ill that. corporations do not create create jobs. what is the difference between the two parties on that? >> senators have told me commerce is a bipartisan issue. we want to create the conditions so they can thrive and create
.obs we know we have to invest in infrastructure. that is everything from broadband and wrote sue bridges. >> there is no difference between the parties. why have we not done it? when we talk on the hill, everybody is excited about the potential for what we can do. whether i am in portland oregon or in new york city talking to a large corporation all of them want trade agreements. that is another thing we need to focus on. these are things we have to do in government to create the conditions. policy --ate tax, our corporate tax
policy is not compatible. we are -- i am an optimist. whenever we get election season behind us, we can move forward. in the meantime let's look at .hat we have accomplished a lot has happened. president obama deserves momentum for the -- credit for the momentum we are seeing in the economy. u.s.jobs created in the than in japan, europe, and the oecd countries combined. you see gdp up. not only creating manufacturing jobs but out put. is thata lot going on why the american public is so happy right now?
the work that needs -- the good news is consumer confidence is that a seven-year high. i think that attitudes are changing. we have to address income. income disparity. it is a problem. , whenalso something that you see employment below on and -- 6%, we need to focus on income disparity. what is interesting to me on the i've talked to business leaders no one has said to me that they object to the .inimum wage proposal a federal minimum wage. privately, a number of leaders have said the problem they are facing is the fact that we have
different policies state by state. they would rather see uniform policies. you mentioned businesses say that to you privately privately they seem to agree with a lot of the things the administration is talking about. but they do not have any clout. >> i think it is a question of and when. whom the most important thing is you need to talk to employees. we live in a day and age when every person is empowered we have a phone and a twitter account. we have to speak to everyone, not just a business leader. in my job, i speak to the business leaders and talk to them. talk to their employees. that is who our customer is. the american business. i am focused on what do they
need. what are the conditions they you to grow and create jobs have mentioned that you are an if youondering, had a far-flung relative who was out of it in terms of contemporary u.s. politics and you were explained to them why about to getwas hammered, in the election in a week, how would you explain it? >> for me it is hard to explain because when i look at, look, i'm a numbers person. as i have told the folks. i've done more reading in this job every day, lots of reading but i'm a numbers person. if you look at the statistics our economy is doing great. we've got 4.6% gdp growth. we're creating, as i said job growth, 55 months of consecutive job growth but i think it has to
do with the fact, i think one of the challenges is what i said, we've got work to do on income disparity and i think people want to see not only that they have a job, they want to have more confidence in the job they have got and want to have confidence that their incomes are growing. so that is something that we need to focus and you hear it, whether it is from janet yellen or the president of the united states. and so that's where we need, you know -- >> let me ask you about incomes because i did a panel the other day with pat caddel, you all may remember, president carter's pollster and strategist. he is saying the reason is the public is so unhappy because economic policies of both democrats and republicans have failed the country. and i wonder from your perspective in the -- if the underlying reality is the reason they failed is the united states is now lost a commanding position it once had in the world economy after the second world war, and we're now, and will be for as long as the i can
see in competition with hundreds of millions of people in asia and elsewhere who's living standards are lower than ours. why should anybody believe we can raise incomes of average people which haven't gone up for 30 years or so? >> so, john i disagree with your fundamental premise first of all. >> hit me. >> i think this country is in a terrific position. carney would say, the number one place in the world to invest. we are, imf came out and said, strongest economy in the world. so, i think, let me throw it back at you. how about all this negativity you guys in the press are talking about? talk about good news as opposed to the bad news. [applause] >> have you checked our approval ratings in the press? when you think about the last two years of the obama presidency, which are looking forward, obviously there are a lot of things you can do as
commerce secretary, that president obama can do on his own authority with executive authority. there are some things you need congress for. do you have a plan a, if we have a democratic senate and a plan b if we have a republican senate and what is the difference between the two? >> no. there is one plan and the plan is, everybody knows what we have to do. i keep coming back to the same things. we have to invest in our infrastructure, right? we all know that we have depreciation occurring in our infrastructure. so we've got to make investments there. we're out looking to how to bring more private sector money to the table but at the same time the public sector has to do its part in terms -- we can't do, we can't do things for six months. you can't make the kind of investments that are necessary with six months of funding. you need to acknowledge that we should be investing in our country. we need to pass, trade promotion authority and i think we're close to getting tpp done.
this is really important. free trade is really important. i just got back from japan and korea and you realize that if we can get tpp finished, which i have all the confidence in the world in our u.s. trade representative and the teams that include a number of members from the department of commerce in the negotiation that will get this done, that's 40% of the world's gdp where you're taking away non-tariff barriers, where you're taking away tariffs, where you're really creating a much greater level playing field for our companies which ultimately translates into jobs here and we have to realize, these trade agreements, the united states, we're pretty much open for trade today. it is not like we have big tariffs in place and a lot of our sectors. the rest of the world there is a lot of barriers to our companies. so these are really important agreements for us to get done but they're also important for the rest of the world to get done. infrastructure, trade, tax reform. we need, we want to make, we
need to be competitive with the rest of the world. we also need to invest in innovation. >> wait, isn't this the point, when you say tax reform which everybody in both parties are saying for couple years, isn't this the point where everyone should not often realize this is a great idea but not actually going to happen anytime soon? >> well it takes leadership, right? it means that we need leadership, the president called for corporate tax reform over the last several years but he needs partners, right, to do that. so we need heads of various committees that would take a leadership. he needs partners there to get that done and i think that, i think that we have to do a good job of explaining to the average person what, how that translates into a benefit and job creation here in america. >> or explain together national association of manufacturers why you're going to take away domestic manufacturing credit in order to give a, lower the tax rate for companies that don't have credits like that?
>> yeah, it is definitely, there are tradeoffs and that's where, that is the kind of work that has to be done but it's important to do in order to, you know, so that american businesses can be competitive globally. let's also talk about innovation and investment and innovation. the president has called for a network of manufacturing hubs around the united states. we've done five of them so far and there will be eight in operation by the end of next year. we need to stay competitive. so further to your question or statement about our position, is it's important that the united states stay on the cutting-edge of innovation. so the manufacturing hubs the federal government puts up, by mere mortal standards, 50, $70 million. that is significant taxpayer dollars but in the context of what we're trying to accomplish not huge dollars. that serves as a catalyst to bring together universities, the