Tom Friedman has a new column up. In it he says:
But, today, neither party is generating that mandate — talking seriously enough about the taxes that will have to be raised or the entitlement spending that will have to be cut to put us on sustainable footing, let alone offering an inspired vision of American renewal that might motivate such sacrifice. That’s why I still believe that the national debate would benefit from the entrance of a substantial independent candidate — like the straight-talking, socially moderate and fiscally conservative Bloomberg — who could challenge, and maybe even improve, both major-party presidential candidates by speaking honestly about what is needed to restore the foundations of America’s global leadership before we implode.
Bloomberg doesn’t have to win to succeed — or even stay in the race to the very end. Simply by running, participating in the debates and doing respectably in the polls — 15 to 20 percent — he could change the dynamic of the election and, most importantly, the course of the next administration, no matter who heads it. By running on important issues and offering sensible programs for addressing them — and showing that he had the support of the growing number of Americans who describe themselves as independents — he would compel the two candidates to gravitate toward some of his positions as Election Day neared. And, by taking part in the televised debates, he could impose a dose of reality on the election that would otherwise be missing. Congress would have to take note.
I’m starting to see why Atrios makes Friedman his #1 wanker of the decade. Friedman, for quite awhile now, (along with other wanker extraordinaires) has been calling for some magical ‘centrist’ party to emerge and solve all our fiscal problems. Yet, everything he calls for has either been accomplished by Obama, or proposed. This is part of the media’s frantic obsession with ‘balance’, to somehow transcend the two parties and find some awesome center. (Which consists, predictably, of mostly unpopular, pro-corporate policies)
Friedman then says the Bloomberg ‘could impose a dose of reality’. You know, the plutocratic reality that taxes must must be cut and we need ‘entitlement reform’ (that’s beltway speak for making granny eat cat food and shop for low-cost health insurance).
As Dean Baker is constantly saying, our fiscal problems stem not from ‘entitlements’ (I hate that word), but from long term health care costs. Not Medicare and Medicaid, but the health care system. Yes, all those private, highly efficient, freedom-loving insurance and pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers. Speaking of Pharma, Dean also has a lot to say about patent monopolies and how they are a main cause of our outrageous drug prices, by far the highest in the world.
Update: Yes, Friedman says taxes must be raised, and I said, ‘the plutocratic reality that taxes must be cut.’ I don’t think those are mutually exclusive. There are plenty of proposals that we should cut taxes on the rich, and raise them on everyone else or the poor. And Friedman could sway with that tide just like the rest of TEH WANKERS.