Mayor addresses economy, term limits in Q&A

October 8, 2008 8:49:36 AM PDT
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's addressed the economic crisis and his bid for a third term at a morning news conference.In regards to attending term limits hearing
(Bloomberg)... No I don't know if I was asked (to testify) as far as I know I wasn't. But even so, mayor typically doesn't do that. On NYC holding a special election
Bloomberg...You can't get pre clearance. It isn't that it's legal or not. It's likely to be tied up in courts for years. That's the history of those kinds of things. There is an argument that special elections get a different proportion of minorities that show up to vote. The voting rights acts were designed to protect their rights. But keep in mind the City Council has the same authority to act as a referendum as the state does. The charter provides equally for three ways to amend the charter. And in fact, the justice department does have to approve the city council action. And we anticipate it will be done.

I've spent all morning closeted with our budget director. There's something a lot more important than term limits that I have to worry about today. The credit markets are basically frozen up. That's not good for business, not good for municipalities, not good for the country. This morning the central banks all cut rates. The markets rallied dramatically, and two hours later, gave up all their rallies and were lower. The Nikkei is down nine percent. Think about the value of the pension funds that everybody, including this municipality has. They are probably all down 30 percent. The S&P is probably down more than that. We are going to have some very big problems.

I spent this morning meeting with Mark Page. We have asked all the city agencies for pegs of 2.5 and 5 percent. Most of the submissions are in. Its much too premature. That is a process that is underway. We have to keep doing the things that keep this city safe and attractive.

I haven't talked to ron lauder today. As i said yesterday outside 10 Downing street, last time i talked to Ron Lauder thought we had together found the solution that would give him what he had wanted. He said to me he had wanted to be the leader to change term limits from two to three terms once. That probably can't be done that way. But it can be done with a follow on vote or referendum. I read the stuff in the paper but i haven't talked to Ron since then. I'm not sure what was said and what was reported. In terms of Chris Quinn, I haven't talked to Chris Quinn, my staff has. There's legislation that has been introduced, as you know. And we will when called send the right people to testify.

If Ron Lauder opposes term limits
(Bloomberg) I don't do hypotheticals. And why would you expect me to answer the question. Any other questions over here? You can write anything you want. i told you everything i know about ron lauder. He's a quality guy. He's built a museum that's fantastic. His family built one of the great businesses in New York. And the last time i had a conversation with him, i just told you what he said.

I think one of the things in the days of instant gratification, each one of these things makes a difference. History will give plenty of facts. The $700 billion fund, that will make a difference. Is it a solution on itself? No. Unfortunately the politics got so caught up in getting it done that i think it got more importance than reality. It was one step. And i don't think secretary paulson or chairman bernanke every really thought this was the only thing. Central bank is working together, coordinating around the world.

Lowering rates in a world where no one wants to lend money is not the only solution. Will it help a little bit? sure, all of these things will help.

On NYC budgetnyc budget
(Bloomberg) I mentioned last week things like collecting cigarette tax money from indian reservations. There are things, and we will have to work with the governor. Keep in mind gov. Paterson and his albany legislators will have exactly the same problems we have. They may have an even greater problem than we do. They don't have a property tax, they have a lot of obligations for municipalities that haven't have the luxury or forsight to put money away or prepay. And looking back, i said, we've done a lot, i wish we had done more.

Investment advice? My own (portfolio) is not the issue and i don't worry about it. I would give you the same advice i've given again and again and again. I've never thought individuals, and i don't do it myself, should pick individual stocks. Picking individual stocks is something professionals should do. What you and me, no matter how much money we have, should do is turn it over to professionals or just have a mutual fund that reflects the entire market. There are a lot of mathematics that say you can't beat the market, so go buy the market. And today, rather than buy mutual funds with big commissions, you can buy these exchange traded funds with virtually no commissions. And what you should do is buy them, buy a little each month if you have some extra money, put it away, and don't look in the newspaper each day, cause it doesn't make any difference. If you want to be a trader, guy to las vegas and buy some chips. That's exactly what you are doing. Even the professionals don't trade that much. And sadly, we are going to have to work for a living. I'm 66 and i plan to work for the rest of my life. i happen to like what i do. Some people aren't lucky enough to have jobs they like. The real reality is most of us are going to have to work, and the ability to retire is going to get more difficult with time, with these kinds of markets, volitility, cost of health care going up, birth rate, many of these countries are so low retirement is not an option.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I can tell you what you should have done. What you have invested in the market is what it is worth today. Not what you put in back then. So if you started today, you are a heck of a lot better off than if you had put it in earlier. That's money that's gone. You are a new investor today. And i would not have individual stocks, i would have a very broad, diverse portfolio of american dollar-denominated stocks. And then i'd get back to work. i would love to give better advice than that, but it's advice that people i know that are successful have always followed. Warren buffet is a good example. Buy companies that have good value and don't look at the paper every day. .