Bloomberg and the Bust
September 22nd, 2008

Whatever the problem these days, it seems someone will look to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to come to the rescue. So it is with the current financial turmoil.

This morning the Daily News calls for an end to term limits — for the mayor at least — so the city can benefit from Bloomberg’s experience and expertise in these tough economic times. (Interestingly Bloomberg reportedly launched his none too subtle bid for a third term by lobbying newspaper publishers. Apparently at least one took the bait.)

“Bloomberg knows what he’s doing,” the paper says, continuing, “It would be folly under these daunting circumstances to deny voters the chance to consider his vast experience and remarkable record when choosing a chief executive next November.”

A third Bloomberg term under these circumstances also has allure for Chris Smith in New York magazine. Praising Bloomberg for his settlements with unions and establishment of a reserve fund, Smith concedes a third Bloomberg term (and the last year of this one) could pose challenges: “As the financial industry crumbles and the city’s divisions between rich and poor worsen, we may find out just how good Bloomberg really is.”

While all of us yearn for someone to come in and make it all better, the Times offered a more sobering assessment on Sunday. “By some measures,” writes Patrick McGeehan, “the city entered this crisis more reliant than ever on Wall Street, with its big profits and bonuses, raising difficult new questions about how quickly the city will recover.

McGeehan cites numbers: In 2007, financial sector workers took in 35.9 percent of all the income earned in the city, double portion they accounted for 30 years ago. And, in the last 10 years, the number of manufacturing jobs in the city has fallen to about 227,000 from about 303,000.

Certainly Bloomberg does not deserve all the credit — or blame — for this shift but did his administration, which helped make New York more expensive than ever, push out other employers? And as North Carolina-based banks take control of Wall Street institution will those high priced jobs remain here?

Meanwhile, Bloomberg could have another employment possibility. Warren Buffett, Tom Brokaw and others apparently are touting Bloomberg as the country’s new economic czar — a job that does not, of course, exist.

For more on the economic turmoil, including how a bailout plan could benefit those of us who don’t own hedge funds, see James Parrott’s article in today’s Gotham Gazette: “The End of Wall Street as We Know It.”

By on September 22, 2008, 8:44 am
In category: Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Public Finance | Comments Off on Bloomberg and the Bust

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