Michael Bloomberg

From SourceWatch
Revision as of 09:25, 21 February 2013 by Harriet Rowan (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ←Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

Bloomberg.jpg

Michael Rubens Bloomberg is an Independent who has been New York City's 108th mayor since January 1, 2002, and founded Bloomberg LP, a powerful financial news and information company, in 1981.[1] The company made $8 billion in profits in 2012.[2] His long-term partner is Diana L. Taylor.[3]. Bloomberg is also co-chair of the Campaign to Fix the Debt (see more below).

Bloomberg, a Democrat turned Republican, was "at one point one of the single biggest contributors anywhere to Republican candidates."[4]

In 2012, Bloomberg, at an estimated net worth of $25.0 billion, ranked at #10 on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires in the United States[5] and at #20 on the list of the world's billionaires.[6]

Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

Bloomberg is listed as a chairman of the campaign to Fix the Debt, along with former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.[7]

Bloomberg pushed the "No Budget, No Pay" bill stunt backed by Fix the Debt partner organization Comeback America Initiative,[8] which passed the U.S. House in January 2013, but was promptly denounced as unconstitutional.[9]

Bloomberg has long been sympathetic to the deficit reduction crowd. In a March 2012 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg complained about the President asking millionaires and billionaires to do more to fix the debt calling it "class warfare," and backed the $4 trillion Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. He also expressed support for the expiration of Bush tax cuts for all income levels, which would have been a large hike on the poor and middle class.[10]

In 2011, Bloomberg proposed his own $8 trillion deficit reduction plan that would entail steep cuts to Social Security and Medicare and proposed to raise the retirement age.[11]

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.


Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest

From 2010 to 2012, Bloomberg LP spent $2.5 million lobbying on financial issues, a fact not disclosed in his Fix the Debt biography. Most of Bloomberg LP’s lobbyists previously held federal government jobs.[12] His long-term partner is Diana L. Taylor, who is the state banking superintendent for the State of New York[13] as well as a board member of Citigroup with an annual compensation of $316,250 in 2011,[14] and of Brookfield Properties. Citigroup lobbies on corporate tax reform.[15] Bloomberg has long been sympathetic to the deficit reduction crowd. In a March 2012 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg complained about the President asking millionaires and billionaires to do more to fix the debt calling it "class warfare," and backed the $4 trillion Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. He also expressed support for the expiration of Bush tax cuts for all income levels, which would have been a large hike on the poor and middle class.[16] Bloomberg pushed the "No Budget, No Pay" bill stunt backed by Fix the Debt partner organization Comeback America Initiative,[17] which passed the U.S. House in January 2013, but was promptly denounced as unconstitutional.[18] In 2011, Bloomberg proposed his own $8 trillion deficit reduction plan that would entail steep cuts to Social Security and Medicare and proposed to raise the retirement age.[19]

Political Contributions and Lobbying

In 2012, Bloomberg gave heavily to two SuperPAC's, the Mayors against Illegal Guns Action Fund, and Americans Elect, a superPAC which ran ads for independent nominee for Senate Angus King.[20] Bloomberg's contributions to Americans Elect totaled $500,000.[21]

From 2010 to 2012, Bloomberg LP spent $2.5 million lobbying on financial issues. Most of Bloomberg LP’s lobbyists previously held federal government jobs.[22]

Political Positions

Bloomberg holds a variety of different political positions that are generally centrist, drawing from both Democratic Party and Republican Party positions on different key American issues. He tends to be more liberal on social issues and some economic issues, such as public welfare and income inequality, while being a fiscal conservative.

Social Issues

On the major issue of abortion, Bloomberg is considered pro-choice. He supports abortion rights, stating: "Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted, on this issue, you're either with us or against us." He has criticized pro-choice politicians who support pro-life candidates. His comments may have been directed at New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a supporter of abortion rights who supported Bob Casey, who is pro-life, in the 2006 Senate election.[23]

Bloomberg tends to be liberal about his policies towards many social issues; for instance, Bloomberg supports governmental funding for stem cell research, calling the Republican position on the issue "insanity,"[24] while also supporting same-sex marriage with the rationale, "I think anybody should be allowed to marry anybody."[25]

However, he continues to support the strict drug laws that have been established in New York City and enforced by the New York Police Department (NYPD), despite having admitted to smoking marijuana in the past and "[enjoying] it."[26]

Domestic Issues

On crime, the decline in New York criminal activity that occurred throughout Rudy Giuliani's tenure has continued. Bloomberg, however, is against the death penalty, stating, "I'd rather lock somebody up and throw away the key and put them in hard labor, the ultimate penalty that the law will allow, but I'm opposed to the death penalty."[27]

In addition to his anti-crime work, Bloomberg is an avid supporter of gun control, stating, "I don't know why people carry guns. Guns kill people." As mayor, he increased the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun. In regard to the change, Bloomberg commented, "Illegal guns don't belong on our streets and we're sending that message loud and clear, we're determined to see that gun dealers who break the law are held accountable, and that criminals who carry illegal loaded guns serve serious time behind bars."[27] Bloomberg formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns in May 2007, an organization made up of 210 mayors who support gun control.[28]

Bloomberg has also shown involvement in education reform as mayor, replacing the school board set up by the state with direct mayoral control over public education. He raised the salaries of teachers by 15 percent while the test scores of students in the city and the graduation rate rose as well. Bloomberg is opposed to the promotion of students to the next grade level for strictly social reasons, stating that students should only be promoted when they are adequately prepared for the next grade level. He favors after-school programs to help students that are behind. As mayor, Bloomberg strengthened the cell-phone ban in schools.[29]

In dealing with the global warming debate and New York's role in it, he has enacted a plan called "PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York" to fight global warming, protect the environment, and prepare New York for the projected one million more people expected to be living in the city by the year 2030.[30] Bloomberg has also been involved in motivating other cities to make changes, delivering the keynote address at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit and stating, "[W]e now know beyond a doubt that global warming is a reality. And the question we must all answer is, 'What are we going to do about it?'" Bloomberg also talked about how he would go about fighting climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using cleaner and more efficient fuels, and encouraging public transportation.[31]

On issues of domestic and homeland security, Bloomberg has attacked social conservatives on immigration, calling their stance unrealistic: "We're not going to deport 12 million people, so let's stop this fiction. Let's give them permanent status."[32] He supports a worker ID database that uses DNA and fingerprint technology to keep track of all workers to verify their status.[33] Bloomberg believes that law-abiding immigrants should be given citizenship and supports the congressional efforts of John McCain and Ted Kennedy in immigration reform. Regarding border security, Bloomberg compared it to the tide, stating, "It’s as if we expect border control agents to do what a century of communism could not: defeat the natural market forces of supply and demand . . . and defeat the natural human desire for freedom and opportunity. You might as well as sit in your beach chair and tell the tide not to come in. As long as America remains a nation dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,' people from near and far will continue to seek entry into our country."[34]

Bloomberg believes that the September 11, 2001 attacks were not intended to be solitary events. When he assumed office, he set up a Counterterrorism Bureau that works with the NYPD intelligence division to gather information about terrorism affecting New York worldwide. He feels that funding for Homeland Security by the federal government should be distributed by risk, where cities that are considered to have the highest threat for a terrorist attack would get the most money.[35] Bloomberg is also a supporter of the USA PATRIOT Act.[36]

Economic Issues

Economically, Bloomberg tends to be conservative, expressing distaste for taxes. He has stated, "Taxes are not good things, but if you want services, somebody's got to pay for them, so they're a necessary evil."[37] As mayor, he did raise property taxes to fund budget projects. However, in January 2007, he proposed cuts in property taxes by five percent and cuts in sales taxes, including the elimination of taxes on clothing and footwear. Bloomberg pointed to Wall Street profits and the real estate market as evidence that the city's economy was booming and could handle a tax break.[38]

Bloomberg's fiscal conservativism also led him to eliminate the previous $6 billion deficit when he assumed office. He balanced the budget of New York City by raising property taxes and making cuts to city agencies, excluding the police and fire departments.[39]

As a businessman, Bloomberg is respected by the business community and governs with a pro-business platform. He is in favor of providing tax breaks to big corporations. As mayor, Bloomberg lobbied the CEO of Goldman Sachs to establish its headquarters across from Ground Zero by promising $1.65 billion in tax breaks. Regarding this deal, Bloomberg stated, "This [New York City] is where the best want to live and work. So I told him [CEO of Goldman Sachs], 'We can help with minimizing taxes. Minimizing your rent. Improving security. But in the end, this is about people.'"[40]

He has had a less cordial relationship with unions as mayor. In 2002, when New York City's transit workers threatened to strike, Bloomberg responded by riding a mountain bike through the city to show how the city could deal with the transit strike by finding alternate means of transportation and not pandering to the unions.[41]

Bloomberg is a staunch advocate of free trade and is strongly opposed to protectionism, stating, "The things that we have to worry about is this protectionist movement that has reared its head again in this country. . . ." He worries about the growth of China and fears the tightening gap between the United States and other countries: "The rest of the world is catching up, and, there are people that say, surpassing us. I hope they are wrong. I hope those who think we are still in good shape are right. But nevertheless, the time to address these issues is right now."[42]

Bloomberg puts a strong emphasis on public health and welfare, adopting many economically liberal policies. As mayor, he made HIV, diabetes, and hypertension all top priorities. He extended the city's smoking ban to all commercial establishments and implemented a trans fat ban in restaurants.[43] He also launched a program called Opportunity NYC, which is the nation's first-ever conditional cash transfer pilot program, designed to help New Yorkers break the cycle of poverty in the city. He instituted a $7.5 billion municipal affordable housing plan, the largest in the nation, that is supposed to provide 500,000 New Yorkers with housing.[44]

Bloomberg is concerned about poverty and growing class divisions, stating, "This society cannot go forward the way we have been going forward, where the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing."[45]

Foreign Policy

Initially, Bloomberg strongly supported the war in Iraq and the rationale for going in. He stated, "Don't forget that the war started not very many blocks from here," alluding to Ground Zero. In regard to the global War on Terrorism including Iraq he said, "It's not only to protect Americans. It's America's responsibility to protect people around the world who want to be free." His enthusiasm seems to have lessened somewhat over the course of the war, however. In August of 2005, he said, "I think everybody has very mixed emotions about the war that was started to find weapons of mass destruction and then they were not found."

Draft Bloomberg 2008 (aka Unite For Mike)

The Draft Bloomberg 2008 committee, which is based out of New York City, Boston, and Washington DC, promotes a Mike Bloomberg candidacy, regardless of election vehicle or political party he chooses to run under. This is the most heavily trafficked site promoting Mike Bloomberg for President (according to alexa). So far the group has received significant publicity due to its close ties to Kevin Sheekey, New York City's Deputy Mayor, in social networking sites like the Draft Mike Bloomberg Facebook group.[46]

This unaffiliated Draft Bloomberg group launched its bloomberg08nyc.com New York City Draft Bloomberg 2008 campaign lead by Karin Gallet, Andrew MacRae and Michael White.[47][48] In December 2007, the Draft Bloomberg 2008 campaign site relaunched as UniteForMike.com, providing a blog and collecting signatures for the Draft Bloomberg 2008 movement.[49] The site included blogs, forums, videos, news, and commentary as well as up to date information on the activities of the Draft Bloomberg for President movement.

Affiliations

Contact Information

Office of the Mayor, New York City.

Articles and Resources

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

Other Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources

Profiles

Articles by Michael Bloomberg

External Articles and Commentary

2007

2006

2005

References

  1. MikeBloomberg.com LLC, Entrepreneur, online profile of Michael Bloomberg, accessed January 2013.
  2. Center for Public Integrity, Donor profile: Michael Bloomberg, investigative organizational website profiling the biggest financial backers of Election 2012, December 21, 2012.
  3. City Mayors Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, foundation website, accessed January 2013.
  4. Azi Paybarah, Bloomberg: Neutral in 2008, The New York Observer, May 14, 2007.
  5. Michael Bloomberg, Forbes profile, accessed January 2013.
  6. The World's Billionaires, Forbes ranking with net worth calculated March 2012, accessed January 2013.
  7. Fix the Debt, CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, organizational document, accessed January 2013.
  8. No Labels, Accomplishments, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  9. Erik Wasson, Senate GOP Introduces No Budget, No Pay; Claims It Is Constitutional, The Hill, January 23, 2013.
  10. Michael Bloomberg, Federal Budgets & Class Warfare, Wall Street Journal, archived at MikeBloomberg.com, originally published March 29, 2012, accessed January 2013.
  11. Kate Taylor, Mayor Presses Both Parties to Cut U.S. Deficit, New York Times City Room, November 8, 2011.
  12. Center for Responsive Politics, Bloomberg LP, OpenSecrets.org lobbying database, accessed January 2013.
  13. City Mayors Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, foundation website, accessed January 2013.
  14. Citigroup, Schedule 14A Proxy Statement, corporate Securities and Exchange Commission filing, March 8, 2012.
  15. Citigroup Management Corp., Lobbying Report, corporate lobbying report filed with U.S. Congress, July 1 - September 30, 2012.
  16. Michael Bloomberg, Federal Budgets & Class Warfare, Wall Street Journal, archived at MikeBloomberg.com, originally published March 29, 2012, accessed January 2013.
  17. No Labels, Accomplishments, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  18. Erik Wasson, Senate GOP Introduces No Budget, No Pay; Claims It Is Constitutional, The Hill, January 23, 2013.
  19. Kate Taylor, Mayor Presses Both Parties to Cut U.S. Deficit, New York Times City Room, November 8, 2011.
  20. Alan Wirzbicki, Michael Bloomberg Backs Ad Push For Independent Angus King in Maine, Boston Globe, October 5th, 2012.
  21. Center for Responsive Politics, Donor Disclosure Profile for Bloomberg, Michael, OpenSecrets.org, money in politics website, accessed October 30th, 2012.
  22. Center for Responsive Politics, Bloomberg LP, OpenSecrets.org lobbying database, accessed January 2013.
  23. Mike Bloomberg on Abortion. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  24. Can a Republican Mayor of New York take the White House. rollingstone.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  25. Michael Bloomberg's Gay Marriage Solution. nymag.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  26. Mike Bloomberg on Drugs. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Mike Bloomberg on Crime. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  28. Mike Bloomberg on Gun Control. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  29. Mike Bloomberg on Education. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  30. Environment Sustainability. mikebloomberg.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  31. Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers keynote address at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit. mikebloomberg.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  32. Sewell Chan. Mayor Attacks 2 Main Ideas on Immigrants. New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-12-22.
  33. Mike Bloomberg on Homeland Security. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  34. Testimony of The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, City of New York, before the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Retrieved on 2007-12-22.
  35. Michael Bloomberg addresses the Senate. senate.gov. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  36. Mike Bloomberg on the Issues. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  37. Michael Bloomberg Quotes. woopidoo.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  38. Mayor Plans Cut in Property Tax And End to Sales Tax on Clothes. nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  39. Mike Bloomberg on the Budget and Economy. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  40. Mike Bloomberg on Corporations. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  41. Bikes, Mike and Transit Strike. transalt.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  42. Bloomberg warns of economic inequality. mikebloomberg.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  43. Mike Bloomberg on Health Care. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  44. Mike Bloomberg on Welfare and Poverty. ontheissues.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  45. Bloomberg warns of economic inequality. mikebloomberg.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  46. NY observer
  47. Karin Gallet: Drafting Bloomberg
  48. Pro-Bloomberg Blogger, Eagle Scout
  49. [http://www.uniteformike.com Official portal of the Draft Bloomberg 08 committee, UniteForMike.com
  50. Leadership, Museum of Jewish Heritage, accessed May 25, 2009.
  51. Directors, Metropolitan Museum of Art, accessed June 16, 2010.
  52. Trustees, American Museum of Natural History, accessed April 19, 2010.
  53. Directors, Lincoln Center, accessed October 2, 2009.
  54. Trustees, Carnegie Hall, accessed November 4, 2009.