Education is needed to help the middle class boost its assets and to create more jobs, Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman told CNBC on Wednesday.
Should the world fail to provide the intellectual capital for people around the world, the global economy will have long-term problems, he said in a "Squawk Box" interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Blackstone chairman and CEO made the comments in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. The president unveiled a series of proposals that would fund educational opportunities and give tax breaks for the middle class by closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy.
"We all have different views as to what level is the most important for education. I think you have to start at the beginning, and you also can take enormous steps that can take people of very low income and get them to perform at very high levels," Schwarzman said.
Schwarzman pointed to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund in New York City, which he supports, noting that while 70 percent of the participants live below the poverty line, 97 percent graduate from high school and 99 percent of those go on to college.
"If you could do something of that type throughout the United States, we wouldn't be having exactly the dialogue you're having, because these people are fit for purpose," he said. "They're capable. They have an education. They can join that economy. If you don't get that kind of quality education—and you can do it as a middle class or below middle class person—you're really disabled for the modern economy."