New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg declared that billionaires in his city provide revenue “to take care of everybody else” in a lengthy interview Saturday with New York magazine in which he detailed his big-government accomplishments while also bashing Dodd-Frank and mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio’s “class warfare” rhetoric.
“The average compensation—income—for the bottom 20 percent is higher than in almost every other city. Of course, the average compensation for the top 20 percent is 25 percent higher than the next four cities. But that’s our tax base. If we can find a bunch of billionaires around the world to move here, that would be a godsend, because that’s where the revenue comes to take care of everybody else,” Bloomberg said, responding to accusations that his administration has not adequately helped the poor.
“Who’s paying our taxes? We pay the highest school costs in the country. It comes from the wealthy!” Bloomberg said, acknowledging a basic tenet of capitalism.
“We spend $22,000 per year per student. No other city in the country spends that. We have a commitment to having a park within a ten-minute walk of everybody,” Bloomberg said.
“Take a look at all the things we’ve done—infrastructure, education, crime, helping the poor, cultural institutions. The elitist thing that cultural institutions are only for certain people—no! We built small cultural institutions all around the city—from cultures you’ve never heard of,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg also sharply criticized New York City’s public advocate Bill de Blasio, the liberal front-runner in the 2013 mayoral race, and slammed President Obama’s landmark financial reform law Dodd-Frank.
“Class-warfare and racist,” Bloomberg said, referring to the de Blasio campaign.
“But his whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg has a dim view of Dodd-Frank, and of rhetoric from progressive politicians that demonizes banks, even citing the conservative view that quotas established by government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac share responsibility for the 2008 financial collapse.
“But the mortgage crisis was not the exclusive creation of the banks. We all wanted everybody to get a mortgage regardless of whether they could afford it, and that eventually leads to euphoria and exaggeration and to sloppiness and a variety of those things. But Fannie and Freddie were as guilty as everybody. I’m not taking the banks off the hook. But I don’t think that just because you’re a banker you should be vilified,” Bloomberg said.
“If you want to come out of a recession, you need banks out there being expansive and making loans. Not ‘Let’s protect the country so that banks don’t take any risks’! The result of Dodd-Frank is that we are more vulnerable to a handful of banks going belly-up than we were before. Thank you very much! It didn’t accomplish anything, because it wasn’t a well-thought-out piece of legislation. I’m not opposed to legislation. This was just a terrible bill,” Bloomberg said.
De Blasio’s “racist” campaign currently holds 43 percent support in the Democratic mayoral primary, which would be enough to avoid a run-off election, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. De Blasio leads his closest competitor Bill Thompson by 23 points. The Democratic primary will be held Tuesday.