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Bloomberg steps up the rhetoric

February 16, 2008

Over that past several months Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stepped up the rhetoric on several fronts. In the interest of brevity, I’m going to focus on just two.

In November 2007, Mayor Bloomberg called for a national tax on carbon emissions. His argument: a national carbon tax “will slow global warming, promote economic growth and stimulate technological innovation” — at the expense of the American consumer. Have you ever wondered how government officials always seem to come up with the hypothesis that imposing taxes leads to economic growth? The only part of the economy that has ever grown by increasing taxes is government.

We’ve been face-to-face with the energy non-crisis for over 30 years. Was it truly a crisis, wouldn’t our elected representatives have given serious efforts to pursuing alternative energy sources? Would automobile manufacturers still produce 8 mpg behemoths of suburbia if there was genuine concern for energy conservation? Would we not have more nuclear plants providing electrical power?

The vast majority of Americans are not able to easily absorb additional losses in personal wealth. Increasing the tax burden on the American populace is nothing short of criminal. Rather than cut frivolous spending, our representatives instead seek more of our wealth. When will they learn that it’s past time for them to get the government’s economic house in order?

This week, Bloomberg criticized the government over the current economic malaise. The Mayor asserts that “the nation has a balance sheet that’s starting to look more like a third-world country.” He criticized the government’s “economic stimulus package,” saying he did not think it would do much to help our economy. Bloomberg went on to say “nobody wants to sit there and say, ‘Well there’s no easy solution. 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 couldn’t agree more with that assessment.

Mayor Bloomberg’s personal web site denotes many of his achievements, his philanthropies and presents the opportunity to learn of some of his legislative goals. One of my favorites on his web site is the Citywide Performance Reporting initiative to bring transparency of city government to all citizens. Sunlight on the workings of government at all levels is long overdue.

His negatives are that he is a billionaire, he is not conservative enough, he is not republican enough, he is not liberal enough, and he’s not a democrat. Blah, blah, blah…

Non-candidate Michael Bloomberg sounds more and more like a candidate with each passing day. His periodic criticisms of government add fuel to the expectation that he’ll soon announce his candidacy. I expect that he’s gauging public opinion of each trial balloon he’s floated to determine whether he has a chance at winning the Presidential election in November.

Whether he is or is not a candidate, he stirs public debate. Public debate encourages participation. Participation ensures that your voice is heard. Voting is but one method of participation. It’s the result of participation in dialog. Be part of the dialog; shaping the debate gives more meaning to your vote.

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