Although former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has “no doubt” about how to solve America’s current economic crisis, he must work with others who do not agree with him in order to effect political change, he said Friday in a speech to about 200 students and community members hosted by the College Republicans at the Top of the Hop.
“In order to govern, I learned an art which is now greatly under attack,” Giuliani said. “It’s called the art of compromise.”
He added that the only way for either political party to accomplish its goals was “by giving a little part to the other side.”
According to Giuliani, the Obama administration has failed to adequately address the nation’s economic issues. President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package was an “absolute entire waste,” he said.
One of the desired effects of the stimulus package was to reduce unemployment to 7 percent, but the current rate is 9.2 percent, Giuliani said.
“All I can do is judge the president by his own words,” he said.
Giuliani added that President Barack Obama has been “paying off the unions that put him in office” instead of working to solve the nation’s problems.
The government’s use of borrowed money in the stimulus package was more problematic than the amount of money itself, according to Giuliani.
“The problem with the trillion dollars is we didn’t pay for it when we spent it we borrowed it,” he said.
If the U.S. government decides to raise its debt ceiling which is one of the possible political responses to acquiring much of the stimulus package on credit the country could potentially have “one of the weaker economies of the world,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani also criticized what he said was excessive federal spending. He cited the U.S. Department of Education as an example of an area that costs could be reduced.
“Not a single student in this country would suffer” if Obama eliminated the Department of Education, Giuliani said.
The mayor added that education could actually improve because of the reduction of “useless, harmful regulations.”
Giuliani said that reducing U.S. spending on foreign aid and defense should not be among the federal government’s principle concerns.
“I think we use our foreign aid budget pretty efficiently,” he said. “There are much more important things to cut.
He also said that defense spending is “not a major part” of the federal government’s budget, only constituting “about four or five percent” of the total.
“Yes, I would try to get control of defense spending,” Giuliani said, but added that it would not solve economic problems.
Increased government spending is not a solution to current issues, particularly to unemployment rates, he said, saying that only stimulating the private sector would produce job growth.
Giuliani then described his past successes as mayor of New York City, saying that under his administration, the city saw a reduction of unemployment from 10.5 percent to 5 percent, the creation of 500,000 new jobs, an additional $700-million dollar surplus and a reduction of welfare.
The country has “seen opposite results” under the current presidential administration, he said.
He also criticized what he considers excessive concern about the wealth gap.
“Rich people are not bad,” he said. “We need rich people. The more rich people we have, the fewer poor people we’re going to have because rich people hire poor people.”
Giuliani said he will work “really hard to elect a Republican president in the next year-and-a-half, whether it’s me or someone else.”
The former mayor then opened the floor to questions from students and community members, addressing topics including global warming, HIV research, health care and the economy.
“ObamaCare is going to cost us hundreds of billions of dollars,” Giuliani said in response to a student question about rising health care costs.
“We cannot cover 40 million more people and save money. It’s a joke, it’s a political trick, it’s just silly.”
Giuliani also criticized Obama for blaming current problems such as rising health care costs on former President George W. Bush, a tactic that Giuliani said was “total political garbage.”
“He’s got to grow up and take responsibility and stop blaming Bush,” Giuliani said.
“He had enough time to straighten [out the economy], and he didn’t.”
In response to a question about global warming which Giuliani said is a real threat he discussed potential alternatives to oil.
“I believe that we should rely much more on natural gas, and we should rely on hydraulic fracking,” Giuliani said.
The process of hydraulic fracking involves extracting natural gas and oil from “hundreds of miles” below the earth’s surface, Giuliani said.
“The deposits in the United States are huge,” he said. “They could probably supply us with natural gas for the next 100 years.”
Giuliani said this process would make the United States less reliant on foreign sources of energy, but also said that “any extraction of energy has a side effect.”
Giuliani had originally planned to come to campus only for a class lecture, according to College Republicans president Parker Hinman ’13, but the College Republicans reached out to the former mayor to speak in a more open forum.
“We thought it would be to the campus’s benefit if the College Republicans hosted a public event where the mayor could speak to the student body and answer any questions they may have,” Hinman said.