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Rep. Clarke Participates In Open Forum with Goldman Sachs

Clarke Touts the Importance of Economic Growth For Small Business

New York, NY – Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke participated in an open forum discussion with the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. There she spoke about the importance of creating economic growth, particularly for our small businesses. She released the following statement:

“This has been an interesting time for the American people and for us as New Yorkers. We’ve seen a full blown financial and economic crisis, and we have seen some signs of moderate recovery in some places. For example, while the national unemployment rate sits at 9.6%, New York State’s unemployment rate sits below that at 8.2%.

“Meanwhile, Congress has been busy trying to pass policies supportive of job growth and economic recovery, as well as make some needed reforms to health care and education financing systems.

“I look forward to discussing recent legislation, initiatives, and upcoming events in Congress as well as the political climate in general with you today.

“First it is important to outline the direction in which our country and for our economy is headed. It is clear we need distinct improvements in both the economy and our public affairs going forward and I think the solution to both lays in one word optimism.

“Unfortunately, both our public discourse and our economy have been suffering from a distinct lack of faith in the future. A lack of faith in the fact that everything will be okay. Our public debates are full of rancor and anger with supercharged rhetoric and some personal attacks. This rhetoric is no doubt fuelled by the economic uncertainty and pain felt by average Americans in the past couple of years.

“Our economy, still recovering from an economic crisis that began in the year 2007 and accelerated in the fall of 2008, is experiencing near 10% unemployment and threats of deflation.

“For my part, I believe that the future is bright for our economy and for our country. We cannot allow the spirit of discouragement to permeate the perception of our future. We will see a better day, but I think we must all do our part to get us there.

“There are certain facts on the ground that cannot be denied, and there are certain difficult decisions which lie ahead. But I know one thing, I did not get into public service to be a naysayer and a pessimist. I know we can move forward if we join hands and do the work that needs to be done to bring growth and opportunity. But we have to start with our outlook.

“Attitude is a big part of the economy, a big part of our body politic and our public discourse. When the public mood is gloomy, fearful and sour, economic growth suffers. When the mood is sour, consumers don’t consume, businesses don’t hire, and banks don’t lend!!

“As a Member on the House Committee on Small Business, I see first- hand the impact this kind of fearful behavior is having on all sectors of our economy from the household sector to the private sector.

“In the public sector, this pessimistic is preventing us from having intelligent, objective debates about some of the biggest issues of our generation. This attitude prevents us from having reasonable discussions on important matters that will affect our economy, such as tax policy and the levels of public investment in our central social institutions.

“That is why I plan to engage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in productive debate about policies that will maximize employment, economic growth, and investment in human capital which is necessary to keep our country competitive for future generations.

“I will support progressive policies that seek a balance between economic growth and investment in our important public goods such as education and infrastructure and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to move this ball forward.

“The stakes are too high for us to allow negative partisan bantor to fill our civil society. We must unite and do what is right for the American people and for our economy.

“We must work together to hammer out solutions that will set the stage for 21st century growth. We must be unafraid to make tough decisions that will result in sorely needed investments in our American human capital. We must invest in a modern national infrastructure that will create jobs as well as tangible assets that will be put to productive use going forward.

“If I am blessed enough to represent the 11th district for a third term in Congress, know that I will do to engage in this civil and productive public debate that is required to help the American people get through these challenging and uncertain times. This debate will also help us to produce an America that our children can be proud of.

“An America that invests in its citizens and in its public goods while at the same time creating a tax and regulatory environment that allows the private sector to do what it does best, create jobs and wealth in America.

“I do believe a balance can be struck. A win-win can be had. We just need to work together, with an acknowledgement that we are in the same boat.

“We need to focus on the future and no longer make decisions that are based on instant gratification. We must put a focus on sustained investment for the future so that America and New York City can be global economic leaders for generations to come.

“We need to be positive in our thinking and our attitudes so that we can recover our economic vitality and our public civility. Again, thank you for having me here today.”

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