Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Billionaire Boys Club

As if you didn't need further confirmation that the push to extend Mayor Mike's term was a conspiracy of the billionaires-the assertion of droit du seignior by the city's monied elites, all you need to do is take a quick peek at the front page of today's NY Post. There, in the interest of full disclosure, is Mike Bloomberg wearing a crown!

Why the coronation? Well, because it now appears that fellow billionaire Ron Lauder, the rich dilettante who gave us term limits, is now prepared to make a regal exception for Brother Michael, Here's the Post's breathless take on all of this: "Mayor Bloomberg geared up to seek a third term after the path to four more years was cleared yesterday when billionaire term-limits advocate Ron Lauder vowed to support a change in the law that would allow Hizzoner to run again, The Post has learned. In a surprise move, Lauder said in an exclusive interview with The Post that he would back a one-time extension from eight years to 12 years because he feels the city."

Let's make one thing clear. Whatever Ron Lauder's role in the term limits law may have been last century, he doesn't own the referendum-and it's not up to him to determine what the will of New Yorkers will be on an issue that has already been decided. But the editorialists at the Post, owned of course by the billionaire Rupert Murdoch, are in full and vocal support of the idea; along with the folks over at the News, owned by the billionaire Mort Zuckerman. Adding their voices to those of the NYC Partnership, controlled by the real estate billionaires, Steve Ross and Steve Roth.

Is the picture becoming clearer for everyone? Lauder wants to make a one time exception in the law so that Mayor Mike can continue to-what?-protect his own, and the rest of the city billionaires, class interests: "Because of the unprecedented times, this is welcome news. To me, Mayor Bloomberg's brilliance in the financial sector, particularly Wall Street, would be invaluable." He added, "If it wasn't for the fact of what's happening today in the world, particularly Wall Street, it would be a different story. But we need [Bloomberg's] expertise in New York."

This is precisely the thinking of those who spearheaded the rise of fascism after the economic collapse of 1929. And how did that work out? Perhaps, four years hence another crisis will occur. Will we need to make more exceptions? Here's the Post's editorial: "Let's face it: The massive restructuring in the financial markets is going to hit New York like a ton of bricks. The traditional up-and-down market cycles seem a thing of the past. Jobs are vanishing; tax revenue is drying up...And Mike has proven himself in tough times: He took office just months after 9/11, when the city saw a massive hemorrhage of jobs and tax revenue. He brought New York City back strong from that crisis; other would-be mayors might not have done so."

Perhaps they wouldn't, but perhaps they would have done a better job at restructuring city government than the ideologically tone deaf Bloomberg. That, friends, is what democracy is all about. The Post disagrees: "After all, it makes little sense to boot someone who's done great work for the city, just because of some abstract notion about changing leaders periodically."

That abstract notion was a referendum voted overwhelmingly into law by the people of New York. Can't get more concrete than that. It's time that the folks let the power elites know that they're not going to be ruled by an economic junta-tough times is no excuse for this equivalent of a coup d'etat.