The headline on Huffington Post sounded promising: Bloomberg Rips Government Over Failing Economy. It started out well enough:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unleashed another flurry of jabs on Washington, ridiculing the federal government's rebate checks as being "like giving a drink to an alcoholic" on Thursday, and said the presidential candidates are looking for easy solutions to complex economic problems.
Makes sense, right? The article goes on to say:
But then the mayor went on to say that while the presidential candidates appear to be talking more about the economy now, they are looking for quick fixes to please voters instead of focusing on the roots of the problem.
"Nobody wants to sit there and say, 'Well there's no easy solution,"' Bloomberg said. "They want to send out a check to everybody to stimulate the economy. I suppose it won't hurt the economy but it's in many senses like giving a drink to an alcoholic."
A spokesman for the mayor said later that Bloomberg was trying to say Washington can't stop itself from spending, and was not insinuating that Americans who receive checks are part of the problem.
The mayor last month said the economic stimulus package was shortsighted, and presented his own views on where the federal government should be focusing its attention. Specifically, he said the government should adopt a capital budget to oversee long-term infrastructure spending, instead of the current year-to-year spending.
It should also offer financial counseling, modified loans, and in some cases, subsidized loans to homeowners who find themselves unable to afford their mortgages.
So far so good. But then, the final paragraph is like a punch in the gut:
He says that the government should also think differently about immigration, and that bringing more workers in rather than keeping them out is the key to long term economic stability.
As I shook my head in disbelief, I was reminded of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
The question is: which stage are we in? Being ignored, ridiculed or fought?
PS: I find it ironic that there was more diversity in the views about the Iraq war while it was being launched, than there is in the views about what ails the American economy after it has sustained so many setbacks and shocks. Talk about conservative orthodoxy :-(.