By Dave Lindorff
Michael Bloomberg, according to Forbes Magazine the 9th richest man in the world with a net worth this year of $54.7 billion, isn't just the real billionaire candidate for President in 2020 (Donald Trump's net worth is almost certainly not counted in the billions, and could be negative for all we know, since he won't release his tax records) Bloomberg is also the billionaires' candidate
Bloomberg, who owns 88% of the giant media company Bloomberg LLC, where most of his wealth is in the form to shares of that company, has seen his wealth grow from $4.5 billion in 2001 when he first ran for public office seeking and winning election as mayor of New York City, to $36 billion by the time he left that office after a third term in 2013. It would be a neat trick to increase one's wealth four-fold to such a staggering sum while receiving a Big Apple mayor's salary of some $250,000 a year, but Bloomberg didn't take a salary, receiving at his request only $1 per year for his services during those three terms.
That might seem harmless enough, but let's remember that during those years, New York had to survive through the Fiscal Crisis a crisis largely brought on by the criminal behavior and limitless greed of the denizens of Wall Street and the giant banks, most of which had their corporate headquarters only a few blocks south of City Hall and the Mayor's office. During that crisis, the Mayor hammered public employee pay, threatened to lay off teachers during bargaining with the city's teachers' union, cut spending on school construction for a burgeoning student population, and pushed the state government to limit public employee unions' right to strike.
Did Mayor Bloomberg put any pressure on the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., to prosecute those giant global banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Citicorp and their top executives for mortgage fraud? No, not a word from him on that.
The one thing this wealthiest of men (in 2011 while he was having his police harass and ultimately crush and evict the Occupy Movement from Wall Street's Zuccotti Park his $19.5 billion in net assets made him America's 12th richest person) also never did during his tenure was offer to plunk some of his money down to help the city's struggling working class city employees weather the man-made storm that was battering the city's finances. Significantly, he did plunk down $1.8 billion as a donation to Johns Hopkins University, a hardly struggling institution based in Baltimore, but nothing for New York City Schools, or even, if he were so enamored of higher ed, for the always struggling City University of New York.
As our tragically departed and sorely missed ThisCantBeHappening co-founder Charles M. Young (known for years to avid readers of Rolling Stone magazine as "The Reverend") wrote in a hilarious recounting of a phone conversation he had with a "push-poll" caller working for Bloomberg, he could solve the city's budget problems if he wanted to. All of them. Here's part of that conversation:
Caller: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to avoid raising taxes"
Young: Why should I give a crap?
Caller: Sir, do you strongly approve, somewhat approve"
Young: Let me ask you a question"It's your turn to answer my question. Do you know how much Mayor Mike Bloomberg is worth?
Caller: No, I don't.
Young: I've seen different estimates, but it's probably about $18 billion. You can put on your survey that I strongly disapprove of that"