I heard a report on NY1 television news the other day that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the 10th richest person in America with $18 billion. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. The fact that Mayor Bloomberg is rich is not breaking news. I have known about his wealth ever since he became Mayor.
Then, I was watching NY1’s show “The Call” the other night. For those unfamiliar with the show, it posts a list of topics on its website every weekday before the show begins at 9 pm. People choose the topics that interest them most by numbering them. The #1 topic on the website becomes the show’s television topic for that night. The chosen topic is discussed by callers who call the show between 9 and 9:30 pm. It’s news, interactive.
As I was watching the show, a caller made a comment about Bloomberg’s wealth. He said Bloomberg was worth $1.2 billion when he took office eight years ago. Now, he’s worth $18 billion. The caller wondered how Bloomberg did so for well for himself during our country’s economic crisis. Though I had not thought anything of Bloomberg’s wealth before, I did now.
First, I checked the figures. According to Forbes, NYC Mayor Bloomberg is, indeed, worth $18 billion. He is the 10th richest person in America this year. However, according to a NY Times article, Bloomberg was not worth $1.2 billion when he took office, but rather $5 billion. The article offers some amazing information about what Mayor Bloomberg could do with his wealth such as “finance one-quarter of New York City’s budget all by himself.”
If Bloomberg’s net worth was $5 billion when he took office in 2002 and it is $18 billion, now, in 2010, he made $13 billion in the last eight years, or $1.625 billion a year. Wow!
So, what’s it to me, or you, if Mayor Bloomberg made all this money? He owns the communications company, Bloomberg, L.P. It is a legitimate company and an honest living. I have not heard the Mayor charged with any crooked business shenanigans, have you? And the Mayor forfeits his Mayoral salary every year, so he is not dining on the taxpayers’ dime.
Given our country’s time of financial crisis with many folks out of work and struggling to put food on the table, it is possible that some people might resent the Mayor’s wealth and cry sour grapes. Yet, it is the Mayor’s business savvy that accumulated his wealth that helps the city.
Mayor Bloomberg’s wealth does not affect me, unless he’s going to send me roses, that is. It’s none of my business or any other New Yorker’s business for that matter.
Mayor Bloomberg’s business expertise does affect me, however. Sure the city has problems such as the MTA which is not the Mayor’s baby, by the way; the State of New York is in charge of the MTA. Yet, I repeatedly hear people blame Bloomberg for its woes.
What I seldom hear is people give Bloomberg credit for any of the good things in the city. Our crime rate is down, downtown Brooklyn is being built up which requires business deals and the Mayor’s business expertise, and we are going green with cabs and trees and more.
There will always be things to complain about in the vastness of New York City for no city can be a paradise. Yet, New York City is still the best city in the world as evidenced by all the people of the world who flock to it.
Mayor Bloomberg’s business expertise affects my everyday life in a positive way by helping to keep this city my absolute favorite place to be.
If people have a legitimate complaint about the Mayor, they should, by all means, voice it. This is America. However, people who bash Bloomberg out of sour grapes over his wealth and spread negativity are not doing the city, or anyone in it, any good.
“The Call,” NY1 News
“The Forbes 400,” Forbes
Sam Roberts, “For Bloomberg, Another $10 Billion or So Doesn’t Count for Much,” The NY Times