Why are people still ganging up on President Bush?

People just won’t leave him alone about the fact that he couldn’t manage an economy’s way out of a paper bag (into a few trillions dollars of debt, sure).

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.

The billionaire and potential independent presidential candidate also said the nation “has a balance sheet that’s starting to look more and more like a third-world country.”

His tirade against the candidates and the economic stimulus package on Thursday began when he was asked how that experiment is going.

In his answer, he praised Democrat Barack Obama for the plan the Illinois senator outlined on Wednesday that would create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama projects it could generate nearly 2 million jobs.

Last month, Bloomberg and Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania announced a coalition that would urge more investment in infrastructure.

“I don’t know whether Senator Obama looked to see what I’ve been advocating, or not — you’ll have to ask him — but he’s doing the right thing,” Bloomberg said.

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.”

I agree, certainly – although we should bear in mind that Bloomberg was, and could well still be, considering a Presidential run himself. Good thing he hangs out with Governor Schwarzenegger (“President of 12 percent of us” – none too subtle, but good luck with the constitution-change. If it succeeds it means I might be President, some day!).

To continue:

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.

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.

Funnily enough, he is the mayor of New York – whose rent control policies are a disaster for precisely the reason that they don’t over subsidies to people (as opposed to offering subsidies to property, which is far and away an inferior approach – see, for example, here, here and here). However that’s another issue (and it certainly does not prevent me liking him as a prospective President).


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