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We Already Have A Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We Want A Real One Running In 2020? – OpEd

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Word is that Michael Bloomberg, the mega-billionaire former mayor of New York City who watched his wealth more than double while he sat in the mayor’s office is thinking of running for President as a Democrat in 2020.

Why does that suck?

Well, listen as my dear departed friend and co-founder of this site, Chuck Young, recounts (in an article written foR TCBH! [1] published almost eight years ago) his conversation in late 2010 with a Bloomberg “push-poll” caller trying to convince Chuck to support Bloomberg in his re-election bid:


Pollster: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to close the $4-billion budget by taking control of the pension plan from the state and enacting pension reform.

Chuck Young: Didn’t you just ask that?

P: No, that’s a new statement.

CY: Well, it sounds like a statement I disapproved of with only slightly different wording.

P: So you somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove?

CY: Strongly. Now it’s your turn to answer my question. Do you know how much Mayor Mike Bloomberg is worth?

P: No, I don’t.

CY: I’ve seen different estimates, but it’s probably about $18 billion. You can put on your survey that I strongly disapprove of that.

P: The statement is this, sir: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to avoid raising taxes on the middle class by taking control of the city union pension plans from the state legislature.

CY: Didn’t I already answer that?

P: No, sir.

CY: Strongly disapprove.

P: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to shift control of service union pensions to the city council because the city council understands the needs of the people of New York City better than the state legislature. Do you strongly approve…

CY: $18 billion. You know what Mayor Mike could do with that all that money in his wallet?

P: Sir, I just need to know: Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve…

CY: Mayor Bloomberg could cover the entire budget gap all by himself, and still have $14 billion to live on. How bad could his life be with a mere $14 billion to spend? Would his daughter have to give up even one of her dressage ponies?

P: If we could just continue, sir.

CY: I mean, what’s the point of having the 23rd richest guy in the world as mayor if he doesn’t help us out?

P: Please answer the question, sir.

P: How many more do you have?

CY: Just a few.

CY: You said that ten minutes ago. Count them and tell me.

P: When you give us certain responses, we’re authorized to ask you more questions.

CY: What?!!? You mean the more I disapprove of Mayor Mike, the more you’re going to read statements calculated to change my mind?

P: Sir, please just a few more questions.

CY:Nope, not a one. I want you to type this opinion into your computer. Mayor Mike should cover the budget gap with $4 billion of his own money, and then he should take the other $14 billion and give it to people who have no pension at all, and then he should jump off the George Washington Bridge, and then I won’t spit on his grave. How’s that for an opinion?

P:I just need your answer on this statement, sir. Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to shift control of service union pensions to the…

[With that, I hung up the phone and started to make dinner.]

On Dec. 19, 2010, when Chuck wrote the column that this snippet was taken from, Mayor Bloomberg was worth $18 million and was ranked as the 23th richest man in the world. Today, he’s worth $52 billion — almost three times as much! — and is the 11th richest man in the world. You can bet he availed himself of all the juicy tax breaks his accountants could find in order to pile up all that extra $34 billion in profits from his privately-held Bloomberg L.P held company as well as, of course, the nice low maximum tax rate on income for the obscenely rich.

Can any readers of this article say they tripled their savings and/or retirement account over the past eight years the way Bloomberg managed to do, part of that time while “working” as the mayor of the country’s largest metropolis?

Are people serious about wanting someone like that to be the Democratic candidate for president, much less the actual President of the United States?

Chuck was right when he essentially called Bloomberg a cheap bastard hanging onto and growing his wealth even as he, as mayor, called for stiffing city employees out of their hard-earned pensions in order to close a city budget deficit of $4 billion. That’s a deficit, remember, caused to no small extent by his own unwillingness as mayor to raise taxes on his rich buddies on Wall Street and in the real estate industry (like Donald Trump), when he could have eliminated that deficit himself and barely noticed anything missing from his cash horde, which probably grows by that much in some years anyhow.

Bloomberg, Chuck also noted, gratuitously had his police goons crush the totally peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, attacking them in the dark of night because their presence in Zuccotti Park was disturbing to the suits on Wall Street who had to walk past them going to and from work. He complained they were a sanitation problem but that was because he didn’t allow the city’s Parks Department toprovide them with adequate porta-potties for their action, as city administrations normally have done for political protests. (Bloomberg’s never been big on the right to protest. In 2008, when the Republican convention was held in NY City, he denied Bush/Cheney protesters a march and rally permit though hundreds of thousands planned to march, causing predictable but thoroughly avoidable confrontations with the city’s police.)

Bloomberg has more recently distinguished himself, as co-convener (with California Gov. Jerry Brown) of the Climate Summit just completed in San Francisco by denouncing those environmental activists protesting outside the event who were demanding a ban on fracking and on new oil well approvals in California. He compared the protesters to Trump supporters calling for a wall on the Mexican border while they vacation in Mexico.

Can we all agree that this guy is a jerk? A smug upper-class billionaire who hasn’t got a clue what it’s like to work hard for a living and to raise a family? An uber-capitalist anti working-class pig wearing liberal-on-social-issues lipstick? A fake climate change advocate who doesn’t want to upset the industries that are profiting on mining, refining and selling carbon-based fuels like oil and natural gas.

Practially speaking, billionaire Bloomberg as Democratic presidential candidate in the current climate in America would probably go down to defeat, either to Trump, or if he’s gone by then, to just about any Republican. And if he were to win the White House, we’d all be screwed too, as he predictably would push for lower taxes for corporations, reduced regulation of his Wall Street banker friends, and more trouble in the MIddle East (Bloomberg has consistently supported Israel’s various repeated brutal assaults and murderous destruction of the ghetto internment camp known as Gaza, and billions of dollars of free US military aid to Israel).

If Bloomberg tosses his hat and his bottomless pit of money into the Democratic presidential ring it will be yet another Clinton-style disaster for the party, the nation and Mother Earth.

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Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective. Lindorff is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion" (AK Press) and the author the author of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press). He can be reached at [email protected]

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