And then there is the speculation that President Obama actually wants this odious little man, fellow deficit hawk, and sworn enemy of the Occupy movement as his running mate to replace Joe Biden. But first, the local stuff, just to give you an idea of what Bloomberg is all about. Clue: it isn't about you or your interests.
As I was watching TV last night, a whole series of commercials popped up as often as every five minutes. On every channel. There was literally no escaping them. These spots, sponsored by the "Committee to Save New York" big business lobby, ominously warn us that greedy teachers and cops and firefighters will destroy the entire state unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo keeps the taxes of Wall Street financiers and real estate moguls at their current low levels. Of course, the ads don't say this in so many words. They are very insidious and oblique. If you have seen those "I Vote" flag-draped commercials sponsored by the oil and gas industry, you know what I am talking about. Those greedwashing ads try to convince you that polluting the water and causing earthquakes via toxic hydrofracking is the patriotic thing to do.
But back to Bloomberg. As an elected official, he is not allowed to contribute directly to the Committee to Save New York propaganda effort. But as the 12th richest person on the Forbes List (net worth $19.5 billion) there is nothing to stop him from running a parallel propaganda campaign of his own. At a speech this week, he referred to public unions as "special interests", public pensions as "ticking time bombs" (union benefits are terrorists, my friend) and oligarchies as "people":
“Too often in Albany, it is only the special interests who are heard; we want to make sure that the people are heard,”Bloomberg said today at a breakfast sponsored by the Long Island Association, an 85-year-old organization of business groups, unions, nonprofits and government agencies representing Nassau and Suffolk counties, which have each declared fiscal emergencies.You can see Bloomberg's ad here.
And the complementary multimillion-dollar ad campaign from the Committee to Save New York is just another in a series of pro-Cuomo commercials which largely praise the fiscally conservative Democrat for not raising taxes on the wealthy. The so-called Millionaires surtax was allowed to expire last year, thus reducing revenue to the state by an estimated $4 billion a year, and thus causing the manufactured disaster of budget shortfalls and imminent bankruptcies in many of our towns. That cloying ad can be seen here.
If you are saying to yourself, "Well, Bloomberg will be out of power next year and besides, he doesn't live in my back yard" here is a little factoid that might give you pause. According to the New York Times, President Obama recently hosted Mr. Moneybags at a long, intimate, private White House luncheon to discuss the mayor's future plans (the parenthetical speculations are mine and mine alone):
They traded thoughts about education (privatization via charter schools, teacher union destruction via mass layoffs through a phony race to the bottom program?), ruminated on the state of immigration ( chewed the cud on deporting more people while kicking reform down the road, and how to profit from all those private detention centers being built with public money?) and discussed the federal deficit. (how to win another term and finally be able to cut Social Security and Medicare?)
But most intriguingly, they talked about the future. Over a long private lunch at the White House, President Obama posed a question to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: what are you interested in doing next?
Mr. Bloomberg’s precise response is unknown. But their meeting a few weeks ago, confirmed by aides to both leaders and previously undisclosed, was potentially significant for both men, as Mr. Obama seeks support for his presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg ponders his post-mayoral career.The New York Daily News speculates that Obama asked Bloomberg to be his running mate, or offered him the leadership of the World Bank, or wants him to be (heaven forfend) his next treasury secretary. The opinion piece lists five reasons why the shrillionaire mayor would be an ideal running mate for Barry: $$$money$$$, business connections, "post-partisanship" (my translation -- neoliberalism or phony centrism, which amounts to privatization of profits and the socialization of costs), the Jewish vote and electoral math (Florida!) and Tough on Terrorism. (both men have deemed the Constitution and civil liberties to be optional things.)
Remind me again why a President Romney would be any different than Bush's Fourth Term. Nothing would spell doom to our democracy more than a Vice President Bloomberg, an arrogant oligarch with more than enough money to eventually buy himself the presidency in 2016. And the second and third terms to which he is accustomed. (He is already a spry 70, so there would probably be a limit, even for him). Nothing. Just ask the spied-upon Muslims and the Occupiers rousted and pepper-sprayed with impunity by the mayor's private NYPD army, the thousands of laid-off teachers, the neighborhoods whose fire stations he closed, the patients and staff of the charity hospital he shut down to make room for luxury condos.
|A Pondering Plutocrat|
|The Putting Panderer and the Peevish Ponderer |
Update 3/15: The New York State Legislature did its job the usual sneaky middle of the night way: under cover of darkness, it gave Bloomberg a little of what he paid millions for. The retirement age for state workers has been raised, and they will have to contribute more to their pension plans. Bloomberg's reaction? If people don't like it, they don't have to accept state employment. Let them get a better deal at WalMart! More here.