An exclusive interview of Susan Bysiewicz, former Secretary of State of Connecticut and Connecticut State Representative, by the Barefoot Accountant on August 5, 2011. Susan Bysiewicz is now running in the Democratic primary for United States Senator from Connecticut.
Barefoot Accountant: Hi, Susan. I appreciate you taking the time today to allow me to interview you.
Susan Bysiewicz: Thanks for doing this with me. I appreciate the opportunity.
Barefoot Accountant: I am a certified public accountant operating a small public accounting practice in Berlin, Connecticut. I would like to ask you a series of questions dealing with pocketbook issues of Connecticut residents. I have witnessed a lot of pain preparing tax returns and financial statements of small businesses and tax returns of individuals. So I have tried to focus my questions on the pocketbook issues facing working class and middle class people, and I would like to present them to you today, and I appreciate you taking the time from your busy schedule today to address them.
The first question I have concerns the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate has dropped one-tenth of one percent down to 9.1%, but it is still officially at 9.1. However, according to Morton Zuckerman of U.S. News and World Report, he has mentioned that the real unemployment rate is approaching 20%. I agree. And as you know, people fall off unemployment after so much time, and a lot of people are underemployed.
I would like to ask you, how do you propose to create jobs in America now if you are elected Senator of Connecticut?
Susan Bysiewicz: Well, first of all let me just say a few things about the unemployment numbers in Connecticut because this goes to your bigger question of how are we going to create jobs.
And, yes, you see unemployment hovering at around nine percent but I do believe in parts of Connecticut that rate is higher. In Windham County, for instance, people in Eastern Connecticut are struggling and the unemployment rates there are higher than nine percent. And I think there are many people who had been unemployed for so long they just given up. So I couldn’t dispute the numbers U.S. News and World Report had given because I have been all over the state visiting with people who are getting very, very discouraged.
And what I know is this: that we have made some progress in getting jobs back. We lost approximately a hundred and thirty thousand jobs during the recession. We have ninety thousand that we have to get back. Forty thousand we grew. And so it would not surprise me to have more than a hundred thousand people looking for jobs. And those numbers don’t include the thousands of young people who are graduating from high school and college who are looking for work.
And if you are working on a Senate campaign as I am, it’s great having interns who are willing to volunteer for free. And I know of a lot of young people, since I have three teenagers who are done with college and who are volunteering or out very actively looking for work and having a very difficult time.
And I’m running for the Senate because I’d like to make this state a place where we are growing job opportunities for everyone and we’re able to keep our young people here.
Right now that’s not happening. We’re continuing to lose more young people between eighteen and thirty five than any state in the country.
So your question about how we’re going to create jobs is really, really important and I would like to share with you some of the things that I think the federal government could be doing to help grow jobs in Connecticut and in our country.
And I would highlight just at the outset on that point, that government doesn’t create jobs; it’s businesses that create jobs but there are some things that the federal government could do to help job creation.
And first and foremost we could be investing in infrastructure in this country and rebuilding roads and bridges, and we could be investing in high-speed rail and transit systems that would make economic development in our state much more vibrant. Right now Connecticut has crumbling roads and bridges, many of them have not been repaired work or fixed well since President Eisenhower built the highway system. And I look at other states like New Jersey and New York: they’re very densely populated states that have much more sophisticated public transportation systems than we do.
So I think that we missed an opportunity during the recovery period when President Obama.helped to pass the Recovery Act. There was some investment in Connecticut infrastructure but not enough to make a real impact to grow good jobs.
Also I think the government has a really strong role to play in terms of funding research and innovation. And if we were investing more in basic scientific research and encouraging innovation, we would be helping to grow jobs in Connecticut and in our country. We have some really great colleges and universities, both public and private, and to the extent that there are more grants given at those public and private universities to do scientific research, that will grow jobs in the future.
And the third thing that I would mention that is really key is getting a national energy policy for our country so that we can be growing green jobs not only in Connecticut but across our country. And that would also protect the environment and make our country safer.
The other point that I would make on job creation is the key to job creation in Connecticut and all across our country has been this: that small businesses have created the lion share of the new jobs. And we can quibble about the statistics. Some statistics say sixty six percent of the new jobs come from small businesses; others say ninety percent.
That’s my passion. My passion as Secretary of State for twelve years and my passion as someone who would like to serve in the United States Senate is to look for ways to support small businesses, to reduce some of the challenges that they face, because in the end, the lion’s share of the jobs have come from small businesses. And Washington just hasn’t gotten the job done with respect to small businesses.
[End of Part I of interview with Susan Bysiewicz.]
Click the following link for Part II of the Barefoot Accountant’s interview of Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut Democratic candidate for the United States Senate: Fair Trade Agreements; Corporate Taxes; Repatriation of Corporate Profits; Corporate Control of Government; Clean Elections Law.