New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday that some newly elected members of Congress "can't read" and don't know what or where China is.
Bloomberg delivered his stinging assessment of Washington's newcomers during an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
"If you look at the U.S., you look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate--they can't read," he said. "I'll bet you a bunch of these people don't have passports."
The three-term, billionaire mayor warned against a trade war with China -- something both major parties found politically helpful in last Tuesday's election -- and suggested that America assess its policies for answers:
"I think in America, we've got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves," he said.
Last month, The New York Times reported that at least 29 candidates on both sides of the aisle ran ads critical of China and opponents who would support policies that help foreign workers--not Americans.
In one of its last acts before the midterm elections, Congress passed legislation retaliating against China, contending that the nation is undervaluing its currency.
Time's Zachary Karabell believes Americans are wrong:
The U.S., leading the charge for developed nations, has convinced itself that China has purposely kept its currency undervalued to make its exports more attractive. Our new conventional wisdom is that China's policy leads to escalating trade deficits and the loss of American manufacturing jobs. It has also allowed China to accumulate $2.5 trillion in foreign reserves -- and become the most significant foreign creditor for the U.S. and its ballooning debts. We're even irked because the Chinese are saving way more than they consume, worsening the global imbalances that are supposedly imperiling the tenuous recovery from the financial turmoil that shook the world. To rectify these problems, China must allow its currency to appreciate dramatically -- 20% to 40% -- quickly
Like Bloomberg, Karabell believes it's our fault, not theirs:
When did we collectively go through the looking glass and end up in this distorted economic universe? The idea that the U.S. is not responsible for its own economic stagnation, housing bubble and unemployment is a black-is-white, up-is-down view that only insecurity can breed. It's not us; it's them and their cheap goods.
Bloomberg travelled to Hong Kong as the new leader of the C40, a coalition of 40 cities, and was there to attend the organization's conference. According to the group, 1 in 12 people worldwide live in one of its 40 cities.
The mayor argued that city authorities are often better placed than national governments to combat climate change and vowed to promote the use of electric taxis.