Bloomberg Not Running, Nation Recovers Quickly
Michael Bloomberg says that he is not running for president but has an op-ed in the NYT purporting to show that he’s smarter and more reasonable than those who are and it’s therefore the nation’s loss.
WATCHING the 2008 presidential campaign, you sometimes get the feeling that the candidates — smart, all of them — must know better. They must know we can’t fix our economy and create jobs by isolating America from global trade. They must know that we can’t fix our immigration problems with border security alone. They must know that we can’t fix our schools without holding teachers, principals and parents accountable for results. They must know that fighting global warming is not a costless challenge. And they must know that we can’t keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals unless we crack down on the black market for them.
The vast majority of Americans know that all of this is true, but — politics being what it is — the candidates seem afraid to level with them
Why can’t everybody else be this smart and reasonable, you might ask? Why, oh, why, won’t Michael Bloomberg offer himself up to lead us?
Except, of course, the nobody’s really saying these things. Sure, they emphasize a macro solution but they actually propose more detailed solutions. Yes, even Barack Obama. And that Bloomberg’s not telling us how he’d fix them, either. As Steve Benen puts it,
He’s for creating jobs, fixing immigration, improving schools, fighting climate change, and cracking down on illegal guns. Wonderful. How would Bloomberg approach any of these issues? With “common sense solutions.” And what might they be? They’re the result of “independent thinking.” And what does this thinking produce in the way of policy specifics? They produce “innovative ideas, bold action and courageous leadership,” and a move away from “empty rhetoric.”
Indeed, most of the problems to which we need “common sense solutions” and “independent thinking” are intractable, or at least not solvable within the confines of American political reality.
They must know we can’t fix our economy and create jobs by isolating America from global trade.
Let’s shorten that to “we can’t fix our economy and create jobs.” Not if “we” means the United States government. We’re not going to repeal the business cycle. Jobs will constantly go away . . . and be replaced with other jobs. So it has always been since the advent of industrialization.
They must know that we can’t fix our immigration problems with border security alone.
Or with any other real solution. Our immigration “problem” is that we’re a rich country that doesn’t want to pay a lot for menial labor bordered by a poor one filled with people willing to do nasty, backbreaking work for relative peanuts. Changing those variables is likely outside the power of a government that answers every two years to voters.
They must know that we can’t fix our schools without holding teachers, principals and parents accountable for results.
But Bloomberg must know that government can’t hold parents accountable and that teachers and principals have a limited capacity to deal with the lot they’re assigned. It’s relatively easy to teach healthy kids from the upper four economic quintiles and damned hard to teach those in the bottom quintile.
They must know that fighting global warming is not a costless challenge.
And that the public isn’t ready to pay those costs given present knowledge and conditions.
And they must know that we can’t keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals unless we crack down on the black market for them.
And that we’ve been trying to “crack down on the black market” for decades with nothing remotely resembling success.
Shockingly, it turns out, Bloomberg is just another politician. Which, really, isn’t surprising given that he’s, you know, a politician.
Photo credit: CarbonNYC