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WHEN: Today, Friday, June 2nd
WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"
In a FIRST ON CNBC interview, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn speaks with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Friday, June 2nd. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com:http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000623959.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
CARL QUINTANILLA: LET'S GET TO GARY COHN, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR, TO TALK ABOUT THE JOBS NUMBER. GARY, IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK. GOOD MORNING ONCE AGAIN.
GARY COHN: GOOD MORNING AND THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
QUINTANILLA: SO, 138. YEAR TO DATE AVERAGE 162. IS BELOW LAST YEAR'S 187. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SLOWING JOB GROWTH?
COHN: NO. WE'RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT SLOWING JOB GROWTH. WHEN YOU LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE WE HAVE BROUGHT BACK INTO THE WORKFORCE AND YOU LOOK AT THE U-6 NUMBER, THE FACT THAT THE U-6 NUMBER IS DOWN BY 1% SINCE INAUGURATION DAY, WE'RE CLEARLY BRINGING PEOPLE BACK INTO THE JOB FORCE. THAT SAID, LOOK, WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO GROW THE JOB FORCE AND THE PRESIDENT HAS TALKED ABOUT THAT. THAT'S WHY WE'RE SO FOCUSED ON WHAT WE'RE DOING ON THE REGULATORY SIDE, WHAT WE'RE DOING ON TAX REFORM, WHAT WE'RE DOING ON INFRASTRUCTURE. BECAUSE WE DO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE TO CREATE A BETTER AND BETTER JOB MARKET IN THE UNITED STATES.
QUINTANILLA: WE ARE GOING TO GET TO THOSE TOPICS. REALLY QUICK ON METHODOLOGY, THE PRESIDENT YESTERDAY TOOK CREDIT FOR A MILLION JOBS THIS YEAR. THE WHITE HOUSE APPEARS TO BE POINTING TO ADP TO GET TO THAT NUMBER. DO YOU BELIEVE BLS IS UNDERCOUNTING WHAT ADP IS GIVING US?
COHN: LOOK, THEY'RE JUST TWO DIFFERENT SOURCES OF DATA. ADP PUTS OUT THEIR DATA, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PUTS OUT THEIR DATA. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DATA WAS NOT OUT YESTERDAY WHEN THE PRESIDENT MADE HIS SPEECH. SO, AS YOU KNOW, THERE'S JUST DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING AT DATA.
JIM CRAMER: MR. COHN, JIM CRAMER. ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANK YOU FOR COMING ON.
COHN: HEY, JIM.
CRAMER: STRUGGLING WITH THE BOND MARKET VERSUS THE STOCK MARKET. AND I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW ALL THESE MARKETS AS WELL AS THE JOB THAT YOU DO. THE INTEREST RATE – INTEREST RATES ARE GOING DOWN PRECIPITOUSLY, WHICH TYPICALLY WE WOULD THINK MEANS THAT MAYBE THIS IS THE PEAK IN EMPLOYMENT AND THAT EMPLOYMENT IS A, YOU KNOW, REAR VIEW INDICATOR. BUT THE COMPANIES THEMSELVES ARE DOING QUITE WELL. IT'S TYPICAL THAT WE DO NOT SEE THIS KIND OF DECOUPLING. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE FACT THAT THE RATES ARE GOING DOWN SO PRECIPITOUSLY? IS THAT TRADING PARTNERS KEEPING THEIR CURRENCIES DOWN AND CAUSING MONEY TO COME HERE OR IS THE BOND MARKET RIGHT AND WE JUST SAW A PEAK IN EMPLOYMENT AND MAYBE EVEN EARNINGS?
COHN: LOOK, I THINK IT'S A COMBINATION OF A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ON THE SHOW. I DON'T THINK THERE'S A SIMPLE ANSWER OR A SIMPLE FACTOR HERE. BUT REMEMBER THE BOND MARKET TAKES A LONGER TERM VIEW OF WHAT'S GOING ON. I THINK PEOPLE ARE TAKING A LONGER TERM VIEW ON OUR ECONOMY, OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND WHERE THEY THINK WE'RE GOING ECONOMICALLY. IT ALSO FACTORS IN WHERE THEY THINK MONETARY POLICY AND FISCAL POLICY'S GOING OVER THE LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. AND PEOPLE ARE ANALYZING THOSE FACTORS AND THEY'RE EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS IN THE PRICE OF U.S. RATES AND U.S. BONDS.
DAVID FABER: MR. COHN, DAVID FABER. ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL ABOUT THE BUDGET CEILING BEING REACHED IN AUGUST AND CONGRESS' INABILITY TO ACTUALLY RAISE THE CEILING?
COHN: NO, I'M CONFIDENT THAT CONGRESS WILL GET THE CEILING RAISED.
COHN: I'M JUST CONFIDENT THEY ARE GOING TO DO IT. AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU KNOW, THE DEFICIT CEILING NEEDS TO BE RAISED. THIS IS MONEY THAT THE CONGRESS APPROPRIATED. THEY CHOSE TO SPEND THE MONEY. WE HAVE SPENT THE MONEY THE WAY THAT CONGRESS IS DETERMINED TO SPEND IT. AND THEY NEED TO RAISE THE DEFICIT CEILING. WE'RE GOING TO GET IT RAISED.
FABER: BUT THE TREASURY SECRETARY SEEMS TO PREFER A SO-CALLED CLEAN BILL TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT, WHEREAS BUDGET DIRECTOR MULVANEY SEEMS TO WANT TO ATTACH THINGS TO IT TO DRIVE CERTAIN SPENDING REFORMS. IS THAT AN ISSUE WITHIN THE CABINET RIGHT NOW THAT'S GOING TO POSE PROBLEMS FOR YOU GUYS?
COHN: LOOK, AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE CONGRESS IS THE ONE THAT HAS TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. THE CONGRESS WILL DECIDE HOW IT IS DONE, WHAT IS ATTACHED OR NOT ATTACHED. EVERY TREASURY SECRETARY WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A CLEAN DEBT CEILING, I UNDERSTAND THAT. I THINK IN A PERFECT WORLD YOU'D LOVE TO HAVE A CLEAN DEBT CEILING. BUT IF WE NEED TO GET THINGS ATTACHED TO GET IT THROUGH, WE'LL ATTACH THINGS. AT THE END OF THE DAY, CONGRESS IS GOING TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.
CRAMER: MR. COHN, I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH THE SENTIMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATION. WE HAVE TO GET MORE MANUFACTURINGB JOS HERE AND BRING THEM BACK. AT THE SAME TIME, I KNOW THERE ARE COUNTRIES THAT ARE SO STRONGLY COMMITTED TO THE PARIS ACCORDS THAT YOU MUST BE CONCERNED THAT THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING MAYBE THINGS THAT WOULD HURT OUR MANUFACTURING SECTOR. WHAT DO WE SAY TO MAKE THE MANUFACTURERS IN THIS COUNTRY NOT CONCERNED THAT THERE WON'T BE BOYCOTTS, THAT THERE WON'T BE TARIFFS, BECAUSE OF THE PARIS ACCORD PULLOUT?
COHN: LOOK, JIM, WE'RE IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY. IF WE CAN PRODUCE PRODUCTS AT A COMPETITIVE RATE, WE'RE GOING TO EXPORT PRODUCTS AND WE'RE GOING TO CONSUME THEM DOMESTICALLY. IF WE CAN GROW OUR ECONOMY, WE'RE GOING TO CONSUME MORE AND MORE PRODUCTS. WE HAVE ALL OF THE NECESSARY TOOLS AT OUR DISPOSAL TO DO THIS. AS YOU KNOW, WE STARTED OUT IN THIS ADMINISTRATION TALKING WITH BUSINESSES, TALKING WITH BUSINESS LEADERS. THEY CAME IN AND THEY TOLD US THREE THINGS. THEY SAID, THE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT DOESN'T WORK FOR THEM, THE TAX POLICY DOESN'T WORK FOR THEM AND INFRASTRUCTURE DOESN'T WORK. WE HAVE BEEN SPENDING OUR TIME WORKING ON ALL THREE OF THOSE. IF WE FIX THOSE THREE, AND WE'RE GOING TO GET THEM FIXED, WE ARE GOING TO GROW OUR ECONOMY, WE'RE GOING TO GROW CONSUMPTION IN THE UNITED STATES, WE'RE GOING TO NEED MORE MANUFACTURING IN THE UNITED STATES JUST TO DEAL WITH DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION. AND THEN, WE'RE GOING TO BE MORE AND MORE COMPETITIVE WHEN WE GET OUR REGULATORY POLICY FIXED AND OUR TAX POLICY FIXED. WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO EXPORT MORE AND MORE PRODUCTS BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO BE MORE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE.
QUINTANILLA: GARY, YOU WROTE AN OP-ED ARGUING THAT AMERICA FIRST DOES NOT MEAN AMERICA ALONE. SOME PEOPLE TRIED TO ARGUE TODAY THAT LEAVING PARIS ACTUALLY IS AMERICA ALONE BECAUSE THERE AREN'T MANY COUNTRIES OUT THERE WHO ARE DOING THAT. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THEM?
COHN: WE'RE NOT AMERICA ALONE. WE'RE PART OF A WORLD, AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE WORLD. WORLD LEADERS LOOK TO US. I WAS WITH THE PRESIDENT AT THE G7 MEETING IN ITALY LAST WEEK. I WAS SITTING IN THE ROOM WITH HIM DURING ALL OF THE SESSIONS. I SAW THE INTERACTION HE WAS HAVING WITH THE OTHER G7 LEADERS. WE HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT SEAT AT THE TABLE. THE OTHER WORLD LEADERS ARE ALWAYS INVOLVED WITH US AND WE'RE INVOLVED WITH THEM. AND WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THAT POSITION IN THE WORLD. WE'RE GOING TO THE G20 IN ANOTHER FOUR WEEKS. AND THE POSTURE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THERE IS THE SAME POSTURE WE'VE ALWAYS HAD.
QUINTANILLA: DID YOU TALK TO – HAVE YOU TALKED TO LLOYD BLANKFEIN AFTER HIS VERY FIRST TWEET ARGUING THAT LEAVING PARIS WAS A BAD IDEA?
COHN: I HAVE NOT, BUT I DID GET CAUGHT OFF GUARD WHEN HE STARTED TWEETING LAST NIGHT.
QUINTANILLA: I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE.
FABER: YEAH. BUT MR. COHN, WHEN IT COMES TO SORT OF – WELL, THE PRESIDENT'S FOCUS ON COAL, I GUESS, IS ONE QUESTION. HE COMES BACK TO IT TIME AND AGAIN AND DID YESTERDAY. AND PART OF THE JUSTIFICATION OF WITHDRAWING FROM THE PARIS AGREEMENT. 50,000 WORKERS IN COAL. I MEAN, YOU YOURSELF HAVE SAID VERY RECENTLY AND MANY TIMES I KNOW, NATURAL GAS IS THE PREFERRED FUEL AT THIS POINT BY MANY OF THE PRODUCERS OF POWER IN THIS COUNTRY. COAL, REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS DONE IN THE MARKET PLACE, IS GOING TO GO AWAY. WHY THE CONTINUED FOCUS ON SOMETHING THAT SEEMS TO BE REALLY A PART OF THE PAST AS OPPOSED TO THE FUTURE?
COHN: SO, AS I THINK YOU GUYS KNOW REALLY WELL, I AM A BIG FREE MARKETER. I BELIEVE IN FREE, OPEN TRANSPARENT MARKETS. THERE'S A PRICE FOR COAL, THERE'S A PRICE FOR NATURAL GAS, THERE'S A PRICE FOR FUEL OIL, THERE'S A PRICE FOR CRUDE OIL, THERE'S A PRICE FOR EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD MARKET SHOULD SET THAT PRICE EVERY DAY. AT SOME POINT IN THE CYCLE, COAL WILL BE COMPETITIVE AGAIN. SO WE WANT TO KEEP COAL AVAILABLE. WE WANT TO KEEP OUR COAL MINES OPEN. WE WANT TO BE IN THE COAL BUSINESS BECAUSE WE KNOW THERE'S A CYCLICAL NATURE TO ALL OF THESE COMMODITY PRICES AND WHEN COAL IS THE FEED STOCK OF CHOICE, WE NEED TO HAVE THAT FEED STOCK TO BE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE. THIS IS ALL ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT THE U.S. IS GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE AND WE CAN COMPETE WITH EVERYONE IN THE WORLD BY HAVING THE CHEAPEST AVAILABLE ENERGY. AND I VERY MUCH BELIEVE WE NEED TO KEEP OUR OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO HAVE THE CHEAPEST AVAILABLE ENERGY.
QUINTANILLA: EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE ARGUED IN THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS THAT COAL IS NOT THE MOST EFFICIENT FEED STOCK?
COHN: I SAID IT'S NOT THE MOST EFFICIENT FEED STOCK TODAY BECAUSE OF THE PRICE. THE PRICE OF NATURAL GAS TODAY BECAUSE OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS WE'VE HAD IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN ALL OF THE FRACKING DEVELOPMENT IN WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO CREATE THE ABUNDANCE OF NATURAL GAS HAS MADE THE PRICE OF COAL LESS FAVORABLE TODAY. THAT COULD CHANGE VERY QUICKLY. WE ALL HAVE BEEN AROUND MARKETS LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT PREDICTING THE PRICE OF COMMODITIES IS VERY DIFFICULT IN ANY LONG TERM SCENARIO.
QUINTANILLA: WE ARE BEING PRESSURED TO LET YOU GO, GARY. BUT WE HAVE TO ASK YOU, WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN THE FED CHAIR JOB?
COHN: NO, I HAVE A GREAT JOB RIGHT NOW. SERVING THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN A DREAM COME TRUE. I COME INTO WORK EVERY DAY AND I'M VERY EXCITED TO BE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
CRAMER: ALL RIGHT. WE'RE WAITING FOR YOUR TWEETS.
COHN: I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO WAIT A LONG TIME.
FABER: SMART MOVE.
QUINTANILLA: GARY, THANKS FOR YOUR TIME. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.
QUINTANILLA: GARY COHN FROM WASHINGTON.
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