Thursday, May 21, 2009

Low Friends in High Places

The common man has been pretty busy lately. As the NY Times reports, Mike Bloomberg held a private meeting a couple of weeks ago with a few of his lessers-folks who happen to have a greater net worth than most countries: "There are fewer billionaires in these tough economic times, so one might imagine that the remaining ones would attract more attention when they moved en masse. Yet when some of America’s most prominent capitalists met earlier this month at Rockefeller University, it took weeks before anyone noticed."

But why the secrecy? And what's up with Mike's surly response to reporters questions? "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who was there, revealed little in a brusque response to a question on Wednesday afternoon. “Anytime I have a meeting that’s not on the public schedule, it’s not going to be on the public schedule,” he said." Perhaps it is because the meeting clashes with his electoral reinvention as the proverbial face in the crowd.

But, as Wayne Barret points out, the mayor stepped on his patrician tongue in describing the gathering: "All my friends are philanthropic, or they probably wouldn't be my friends," he said...If "all" of Bloomberg's friends are big-time donors, then all of them must be rich, right? It's possible, of course, that the mayor meant to say all of his rich friends are philanthropic. But to Mike, that's one and the same thing..."

Which underscores many of our observations about the Bloomberg worldview. Isolated from the concerns of most folks-and not beholden, as he tells us,to the special interests (telling us that he's only beholden to himself)-Bloomberg's decision making calculus is determined by the rarefied air that only he, and a few privileged others, breathe on a regular basis.

It's time for the special interests to reassert themselves. In the context of the mayoral spending orgy, and in recognition of Bloomberg's out of touch elite billionaire laden cocoon, we need to have decision making return to the interplay of the mortals-you know, small businesses, retailers, labor unions, seniors, etc.

So, with respects to Garth Brooks, here's what Bill Thompson might have sung exiting that select little enlarged tête-à-tête-after stumbling in uninvited:

"I guess I was wrong I just don't belong
but then I've been there before, everythings alright
I'll just say goodnight and I'll show myself to the door
Hey I didn't mean to cause a big scene just wait 'til I finish this glass
Then, sweet little mogul I'll head back to the bar (haha) and you can kiss my ass"