Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ginia Bellafante On Bloomberg: "A Mayor Who Puts Wall Street First"

When Occupy Wall Street marched to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to protest at the homes of Rupert Murdoch, David Koch and other one percenters, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg objected to the "bashing" of Wall Street billionaires. That's the same social strata that crashed the economy, was bailed out by taxpayers and enjoyed fat bonuses. New York Times writer Ginia Bellafante's (left) assessment of the Bloomberg era, "A Mayor Who Puts Wall Street First," considers the mayor's defense of the economic elite, the city's growing economic inequality under his tenure and his elevation of an artisan class catering to the rich:

No mayor in New York’s history has done more to consolidate the city’s identity with Wall Street. ...he was one of the country’s most impassioned and nurturing supporters of Wall Street during its most ethically unhinged hour.

...This was apparent in the way his police force greeted the arrival of Occupy Wall Street, with Mace and pointless arrests, ultimately clearing Zuccotti Park, where the protesters had encamped, with the aid of sirens and riot gear, as if Manhattan had been taken over by the Shining Path.

A political figure rarely afraid of expressing reproach — someone whose administration stigmatized fat people, poor teenage mothers, members of the teachers’ union — Mr. Bloomberg seems to imagine that any impulse short of adulation will shoo Wall Street away. Several weeks ago he publicly denounced Eliot Spitzer, not for his domestic failings but for his wish to curtail the worst instincts of the banks and to maximize their utilitarian value. (“This is our industry,” the mayor said. “We’d appreciate it if someone recognized that this is our tax base.”)

...Wall Street has benefited under Mayor Bloomberg much more than other industries, as evidenced by the pronounced inequality felt all over the country and experienced most dramatically here.

...it is easy to envision that we might have arrived at a better place with someone who had paid more visceral attention to inequity than with someone who felt the need to sue the City Council to block a measure mandating a living wage (the suit was thrown out of court).

...Mayor Bloomberg, who did nothing to elevate the status of teachers, an exercise that might have helped draw the most talented to that profession, has done a lot to elevate the status of people who make things, or rather the people who make the right things intended to be sold to the right MacBook-carrying-Martha’s Vineyard-vacationing people.

1 comment:

Michael J. Mand said...

For every $1,000,000 paid to a corporate CEO, 20 people could be hired at %50,000. Of course, the argument on the other side is, why hire a third person, when we can produce what we need with only two? And distribute the savings amongst the owners/shareholders. I say, no the other hand, that those 20 new employees are also new potential consumers. Visionaries understand this; greedy corporate chairmen don't.

This is why I reject businessmen turned politicians who claim to be "job-creators". Those "job-creators" are, in reality, just the opposite. They would be the first to eliminate a job if the loss of that job would not hurt the balance sheet for the current fiscal year. Wall Street and business owners don't create jobs, only customers do.

Bloomberg should understand this - and I suspect he does.

As for Zuccatti Park: Although I sympathize with the protesters on almost all their positions, the park is privately owned, and as a property owner in New York City, I would hope that the city would enforce assemblage laws as well a laws governing privately owned public space which include the wishes of the owners.