BLOOMBERG AS DEM VP CANDIDATE? When Michael Bloomberg announced he was leaving the Republican Party, my initial reaction was that it was a disaster for the Democrats. If he ran as an independent candidate for president, Bloomberg would almost certainly cut into the votes of self-identified independents that Democrats picked up in 2006 and that they will need again if they are to win the presidency in 2008. But now that Bloomberg has said he's not running for president, another possibility emerges.
When immigration legislation stalled and possibly died on the Senate floor on June 7, some progressives were just as pleased as Lou Dobbs. But passing even an imperfect compromise of the kind the Senate had been debating would be far better than doing nothing.
Among all the conflicting concerns about the issue, there is one that ought to drive change: The presence of 12 million people without legal or political rights in our society is fundamentally inconsistent with the principles on which a liberal democracy rests.
A few years ago, watching TV with my teenage son, I was struck by a point that financial-advice guru Suze Orman made to an audience of college students. What assets in America, she asked, are undervalued? Certainly not stocks, nor residential housing. The prices for both of those had skyrocketed. No, she said, pointing to the audience: You're the asset that America is still undervaluing. And she was right.
New figures came out at the end of march showing that income inequality in 2005 reached the highest levels since the 1920s. By coincidence, presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani that same day declared his support for the flat tax and received the endorsement of Steve Forbes. That the current front-runner for the Republican nomination could believe it was in his political interest to call for an end to progressive taxation says a lot about how far his party has to go in recognizing one of the central economic and moral challenges of our time.