WASHINGTON — In a panel discussion on the financing of infrastructure projects, Chicago mayor and President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, described the relationship between the public and private sectors in his city and stressed that he does not “create jobs — the private sector does.”
“We have eight different inspectors — at any given time they show up [at a business to inspect]. We’re consolidating that and modernizing it. They’re going use, they’re going to go in, check the capacity and send it up on the Internet. And somebody can go on the website, go pull it down in the other department — they don’t have to go in and bother a business with an inspection,” Emanuel, a former Illinois Democratic congressman said Friday at the progressive Center for American Progress.
“We’re not doing that from a health and safety perspective, but from every other perspective. That’s where government matters and can be bad, but this notion that, you know, government’s bad, private sector’s only good — we’ve always had a partnership, always will have a partnership, and we should have an honest discussion about our two effective roles. I don’t create jobs — the private sector does, but I can, I do, create the atmosphere and the environment where they can succeed or not.”
Emanuel said it is “no accident” that Chicago went from 10th to 5th among “bike friendly” cities.
“We have a massive improvement in start-up companies and young workers doing web deign and all types of other design. Why? Because I got another means of transportation — a quality of life that they like,” he said. “And they can’t build a bike lane on their own. I have to do it.”
Obama has called for Congress to help state and local governments by funding the hiring of teachers and public safety workers. In a press conference on June 8, Obama said the “private sector is doing fine” while states and localities are hurting.
“We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months — over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government,” Obama said.
During a recent campaign speech, Obama said “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” Obama said in Roanoke, Va. (RELATED: Former DNC Chairman McAuliffe agrees with Obama on ‘you didn’t build that’ [VIDEO])