Monday, December 16, 2013

A Proposal Both Progressives and Conservatives Could Get Behind

Many have wondered what Lord Bloomberg will do when his 12 year reign of the nation's largest city finally has to end.

Today, the New York Times gives us a hint of what Bloomie sees for his future:
Michael R. Bloomberg, determined to parlay his government experience and vast fortune into a kind of global mayoralty, is creating a high-powered consulting group to help him reshape cities around the world long after he leaves office.

To build the new organization, paid for out of his own pocket, the billionaire mayor is taking much of his City Hall team with him: He has already hired many of his best-known and longest-serving deputies, promising them a chance to export the policies they developed in New York to far-flung places like Louisville, Ky., and Mexico City.
The organization, to be called Bloomberg Associates, will act as an urban SWAT team, deployed at the invitation of local governments to solve knotty, long-term challenges, like turning a blighted waterfront into a gleaming public space, or building subway-friendly residential neighborhoods.
The phrase "urban SWAT team" is revealing and appropriate in ways that I'm not entirely clear were intended. 
Under Bloomberg's reign, New York City has become the exemplar of the current age of inequality. Homelessness has risen dramatically, affordable housing has been disappearing amidst skyrocketing rents and gentrification, and the stagnant wage has kept falling in real value.  A report from earlier this year showed that 46% of New York City's population makes less than 150% of the poverty threshold. Meanwhile, the city has more billionaires than any other city on the globe, and its total of 389,000 millionaires is only surpassed by Tokyo.

Bloomberg has been openly scornful of measures to address inequality. He compared the City Council's living wage bill to Soviet communism. He also red-baited Elizabeth Warren because of her support for regulating Bloomie's beloved financial industry. Bloomberg has also complained that the city's homeless shelters are too nice while simultaneously closing avenues to affordable housing.
Bloomberg also remains one of the nations' biggest advocates and practitioners of the education privatization agenda.

The NYPD, which Bloomberg views as his personal army, has terrorized black and Latino youths and unlawfully spied on Muslim communities.

Because of Bloomberg's racist and authoritarian policing and his plutocratic vision for the city, progressives have been eagerly awaiting his departure. However, Bloomberg has become anathema to the right as well because of his public health initiatives and his heavy spending to push gun control measures and candidates.

So I have a proposal that progressives and conservatives could both get behind: Bloomberg leaves other cities alone and just retires to his house in Bermuda.

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