By Jill Colvin
BROOKLN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out his plan for spurring jobs and economic growth Wednesday morning in a highly-touted speech that stoked more speculation that he's plotting a run for the White House.
Bloomberg blasted both Democrats and Republicans for failing to come up with solutions to put the economy back on track while speaking at an Association for a Better New York breakfast at the Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Government "must act: decisively, responsibly and immediately," Bloomberg said, as he dismissed liberals for trying to tax and spend their way out of the recession and conservatives for standing aside and watching unemployment soar.
"We need change," he said. "We need to shift course. We need those in government to stop demagoguing and start delivering."
Bloomberg outlined what he called his "six steps to economic recovery and job creation" — mostly broad strategies including promoting trade, cutting business taxes and reforming regulations.
One concrete proposal would add 10 new Workforce1 Career Centers in high-underemployment neighborhoods across the city. The centers made 250,000 job placements last year, 50 times more than in 2004, he said.
Bloomberg's administration had yet to decide where to place the new centers, which would focus on matching job seekers to jobs, a spokesman for the mayor said.
Bloomberg was most passionate when he spoke of immigration reform and the need to ease restrictions to make it easier for non-Americans to be hired and launch businesses.
"There is nothing we could do to unleash innovation and job growth that would be more powerful than fixing our broken immigration system," he said, describing current immigration policy as "a form of national suicide."
In keeping with the speech's lofty tone, he referenced everyone from former Gov. DeWitt Clinton to presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Clinton and Reagan.
"It’s time to take a step backwards and ask ourselves, 'When did success become a bad word in America? When did cooperation in government become treason?'" he said, as audience members nodded their heads. "You have the new 'politics as usual' making a mockery of our democracy and a mess of our country and we’ve got to stop it," he said.
Despite speculation to the contrary, Bloomberg, who has been both a Democrat and a Republican and currently not affiliated with any party, has repeatedly denied that he intends to run for president in 2012.