Because he’s so rich and popular, local news outlets can only gently hint that our Mayor’s interests may not entirely coincide with those of ordinary New Yorkers. A ripe example is the item in today’s Times that shows Bloomberg’s strong public support for rich losers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Corzine, and Dick Fuld.
Those three men are, of course, among the most hated people on earth right now: Schwarzenegger is denounced even by his fellow Republicans as “Benedict Arnold,” Corzine is polling behind a barely-known Republican, and Dick Fuld is someone everyone wants to punch in his rat face. But Bloomberg speaks of them as if there were all in the Continental Congress together, dishing out freedom.
The Times even goes so far as to mention that, while “No one would ever accuse Mr. Bloomberg… of pursuing public office for personal gain,” he does own this really big financial information company called Bloomberg LP, which might give him “an extra incentive, perhaps, to cheer on the financial services industry.”
A Bloomberg factotum races to denounce the idea as “laughable,” but its very mention sort of jolts you awake because it is so rarely expressed and so obviously true. It has become popular, indeed almost obligatory, to mention the apparent interests of nearly every other politician in the country — Chris Dodd and Countrywide, for example, or the Wall Street ties of Obama officials or the banking interests of Joe Biden — but when it comes to Mayor Bloomberg and the company that actually has the same name as his, it’s as if the connection has been put into a blind trust.
We don’t think Bloomberg spends his days going mwah-hah-hah and manipulating city business to enrich himself. But his prejudice in favor of the people his company serves on matters of executive pay and taxes on the rich, is obvious. Has he ever done a thing that didn’t tickle the investor class? As The Trading Report puts it, “The Mayor benefitted tremendously in the pre-Lehman world, so it makes sense that in his mind, that’s a world worth preserving.”
Why does that seem so wrong to bring up? It may be that our current financial armageddon is to Bloomberg what 9/11 was to Bush — an unanswerable trump card that only traitors would question. That sort of thing works very well, as Bush found out, right up until it doesn’t.