Bloomberg criticizes federal stimulus package

January 23, 2008 1:08:46 PM PST
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg castigated the White House and Congress on Wednesday for what he said was a shortsighted economic stimulus package and years of lousy financial management. "We can't borrow our way out of this. The jig is up," Bloomberg said in prepared remarks to be delivered Wednesday evening before the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is honoring his environmental efforts.

The billionaire mayor, who is said to be considering an independent presidential bid yet denies that he is a candidate, said the $150 billion stimulus package being hammered out between Democratic and Republican leaders won't be enough.

"There's just one problem: It's not going to make much of a difference because we've already been running huge deficits," Bloomberg said.

Some of those urging Bloomberg to run for president say his record as a CEO is his biggest selling point in a time of economic turmoil.

Despite his public denials, Bloomberg is conducting an analysis of voter data in all 50 states to better understand his chances as a third-party candidate. Aides have said he would delay a decision until after the major parties produce clear front-runners.

The metropolitan mayor used a farming analogy to heap scorn on the current crop of Washington leaders.

"They spent most of this decade running up bills with reckless abandon and when the economy started heading for the ditch, the special interest giveaways got even bigger. They ate the seed corn without worrying about the next year's harvest. Well, the next year is here, and the seed corn is gone. All we've got is a barn full of IOU's," he said.

Details of the stimulus package are still being negotiated, but the centerpiece of the measure is expected to be a tax rebate similar to the $300-$600 checks sent out in the summer of 2001. The emergency measure would more than double last year's deficit spending of $163 billion, according to new congressional budget estimates.

Bloomberg argued that the government's first goal should be to stop the bleeding in the housing sector. "What good is a rebate going to do for a family who's about to lose their home?" he argued.