Politico reported today that Mayor Mike trashed his longtime buddy Chuck Schumer at an April 12 meeting in Mitch McConnell’s Senate office in Washington.
The attack on Schumer, who supports the financial reform bill now before the Senate, is part of the oddest Bloomberg campaign yet — his self-proclaimed crusade to protect Wall Street from even lackluster Obama regulation so they’ll keep picking up the tab for our cops and firefighters.
Remember the endless ads we suffered through in the most expensive local campaign in human history last year? Somehow Mike forgot to mention that his famous “five borough economic development plan” revolved around denunciations of any effort to get a handle on Wall Street recklessness, which he sees now as the city’s lifeblood.
Unless his class comrades and clients are allowed to continue business as usual (with the caveat that he’d like a bit more “disclosure,” the only reform he endorsed), no New Yorker will be safe in their homes again. To hear Bloomberg tell us how single-minded we must be in defense of our core industry, it’s as if anyone who wants to lower the country’s carbon footprint (like Bloomberg, for example) is making war on Texas.
If you turned on Morning Joe Monday and Tuesday around 8, you were treated the first day to a somber but impenetrable lecture from Bloomberg about Washington’s overreaching efforts to cook the city’s golden goose, and the second day to a chuckling Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, who found Obama’s attempt “to act like he’s being tough on Wall Street a laughable moment.”
Corker, who is the lead GOP negotiator on the bill Chris Dodd introduced, stunned the Morning Joe crowd, including Mark Halperin and the Times‘ Andrew Ross Sorkin, by blasting the bill as “regulation light” and predicting that after it passes, the Wall Street boys will be “hoisting Obama on their shoulders.” Corker was very specific about a half dozen ways the bill goes easy on Bloomberg’s gang, while the mayor was clearly opposed, though murky about his problems with it. “The real danger here is that we write a bill based on populist reaction,” he cautioned, assailing an “I’m-going-to-get-those-SOBs” attitude and contending that while “they had something to do with” the financial crisis, “they weren’t the only ones” responsible for it.
Bloomberg actually recited how he believes rough justice has already occurred. “There were a few investment banks that had overextended, had speculated beyond what was appropriate, and the bondholders and the shareholders got wiped out, which is appropriate. And the public didn’t lose any money,” he observed. “Most of the TARP money has been repaid.” Based on these and other faulty assumptions, Bloomberg concluded that things generally “worked fine.”
It’s hard to tell if Bloomberg is merely the echo chamber of the New York Post editorial page or if he’s framing it, but his position on Schumer’s culpability, according to the Politico story, was indistinguishable from the Murdoch line.
Schumer has been “AWOL” and “this is a real problem for NYC,” Bloomberg is reported to have said to the McConnell crew. One wing of the Murdoch empire, Fox, all but invented the Tea Party, which foments populist outrage against Wall Street, while the other wing at the Post assails anyone who dares regulate the banks.
Ironically, Bloomberg and Schumer collaborated in 2006 on a Wall Street Journal op-ed and then issued a joint study a few months later that, on the eve of the collapse, demanded more deregulation so New York could compete with unfettered London. The headline on Schumer’s site was “Schumer/Bloomberg Report — New York in Danger of Losing Status as World Financial Center Within 10 Years Without Major Shift in Regulation and Policy.” The subhead contended that “Stringent Regulation” was one factor “Causing New York’s Financial Markets to Lose Business to London and Other Overseas Competitors at Rapid Rate.”
Apparently one of the Street’s two top elected cheerleaders still believes that.