Posted 10 years ago on Oct. 11, 2013, 6:26 p.m. EST by HalalDali
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There have been comments about tax reform moving in a different direction The concept of 99.9% tax bracket for any income above $1 billion deserves objective scrutiny The following thread of political intrigue encapsulates the aggregate of conflicts of interests permeating New York State.
Further proof that urgent tax reform is necessary is projected by the sophisticated complexity of New York State politics. Mayor Bloomberg’s role in New York City’s electoral decision for his successor provides insights to the substance of his 3 terms as New York City’s Mayor.
The quote that rocked Rockefeller Center came from a magazine interview this past August:
Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner. He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign�Class-warfare and racist.
Well, no, no, I mean* he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.
Bloomberg appears quite comfortable appealing to the audience’s cultural characteristics in a political contest. It’s permissible to divide and conquer the captive population with indirect subliminal appeals.
Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American business magnate, politician and philanthropist. He is the 108th and current Mayor of New York City, having served three consecutive terms since his first election in 2001. With a net worth of $31 billion, he is also the 7th-richest person in the United States.
The magnitude of Michael Bloomberg’s personal wealth is often a topic in the nation’s largest city, which has now fallen on harder economic conditions. Who knows the value of $30 billion?
In an op-ed piece in the NY Daily News in September:
Fresh Meadows: Now is the only time in the modern history of New York City that all members of every public employee union are working under expired contracts. Greed is to blame, not the workers. Shame on Michael Bloomberg. In any 20 minutes last year, his personal fortune grew by more than an average wage slave earns over a lifetime of diligence and sweat. That doesn’t make him a bad person. But why does he go on about how the city cannot endure the economic burden of a living wage for working people?
The new mayor will be pulled in many directions, but he must not be pulled apart by the tremendous political and fiscal pressures. Bill de Blasio’s heart seems to be in the right place. That’s not sufficient for the long haul, but it’s good enough for starters. By distancing himself from the current villain, he’s almost a hero already. As long as he doesn’t channel Bloomberg, New Yorkers, unionized or not, will be ahead of the game when he is elected.
Every 20 minutes Bloomberg’s fortune grows “by more than an average wage slave earns over a lifetime of diligence and sweat.” So why isn’t a house being built in the United States every 20 minutes?
To eke out an election victory over the city’s low-key comptroller, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune — or about $174 per vote — according to data released after the election, making his bid for a third term the most expensive campaign in the city’s history.
Mr. Bloomberg, the wealthiest man in New York City, shattered his own records: He poured $85 million into his campaign in 2005 (or $112 per vote) and $74 million into his first bid for office in 2001 ($99 per vote).
Mr. Bloomberg has now spent at least $261 million of his own money in the pursuit of public office, more than anyone else in the United States.
The downside for the billionaire mayor: It caps spending at $6 million in the general election.
“He has done long-term damage to the system,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney at the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Throughout the campaign, the mayor’s aides sought to project an air of inevitability, but data released after the election revealed just how anxious they had become in the final weeks.
From Oct. 20 to Nov. 26, his campaign burned through $18.6 million, much of it on last-minute television and radio advertising.
At the start of the race, Mr. Bloomberg’s aides promised to run a political operation that mirrored the austere times. But that promise quickly evaporated.
The mayor’s campaign, which leased a 35,000-square-foot headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and paid a disc jockey $300 to perform as volunteers called voters, was widely expected to crush his Democratic opponent, William C. Thompson Jr., the city’s chief financial officer.
Mr. Thompson, who participated in the campaign finance system, was outspent by 14 to 1, and he struggled to attract experienced staff members and raise money.
His press releases misspelled his own name; his aides groused about their jobs on Facebook; and his media team was so short on cash that it resorted to running 15-second blink-and-you-miss-it TV commercials.
On Election Day, their frustration erupted into public view: Mr. Bloomberg won by fewer than 5 percentage points, at a cost of about $20 million for each point.
Turnout was unusually low — 585,000 New Yorkers cast votes for him, compared with 753,089 in 2005 and 744,757 in 2001, records show.
Did Mayor Bloomberg open his checkbook for the victims of Hurricane Sandy whose homes were destroyed and have moved into either public housing or the shelter system in Long Beach, Staten Island, Breezy Point or any other areas in New York City? We know about $102 million spent on his election to his third term. Bloomberg holds the US record on personal wealth spent in a political campaign, $261 million. Johns Hopkins received a $350 million donation from Mr. Bloomberg. Perhaps if Bloomberg had won by a larger margin against the Democratic rival he might feel more generous towards the Hurricane Sandy victims.
At a distance the New York State politics seem remote to New York City.
Besieged Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has seen a spate of scandals involving those around him bubble up in recent days — once again reminding the public of the ethical cesspool that’s only worsened during his two-decade reign.
While Silver (D-Manhattan) has not been directly hit by the litany of criminal cases, Baruch College public affairs Prof. Doug Muzzio said, “Clearly, there’s a dysfunctionality in Albany and it seems the speaker is the sun in this particular solar system.”
Tuesday’s arrest of Silver’s close friend William Rapfogel was the latest blow. Rapfogel, the husband of Silver’s longtime chief of staff, is accused of pocketing more than $1 million in kickbacks while heading a major city charity.
For William Rapfogel, charity began at home.
The close friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lined his own pockets with more than $1 million he stole from the venerable charity he ran, a criminal complaint alleged Tuesday.
He used $100,000 to help his son buy a house and $27,000 on a contractor working on his own home.
According to the criminal complaint brought Tuesday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Rapfogel, who choked back tears as he was arrested Tuesday for his role in a $5 million kickback scheme at the Metropolitian Council on Jewish Poverty, started stealing from the organization shortly after taking over as its CEO in 1992.
Rapfogel was (previously) considered one of the chief Jewish power brokers in New York, having worked at the Metropolitan Council for 21 years and serving as an aide to Mayor Ed Koch and city comptroller Harrison Goldin. The Metropolitan Council, which is one of the biggest local Jewish social service organization and has an impressive annual budget of $27 million, paid him a salary of $400,000 in 2011.
The question arises: Why didn’t Mr. Rapfogel ask Mr. Bloomberg for a donation? Uh. That had to be a better idea than embezzling the money. Or even better, why didn’t Mr. Bloomberg contact The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty or Mr. Rapfogel and offer his proactive support and a donation of $5 million, or $50 million, or $500 million?
The average wage earner in New York earns between $37K and $57K annually. A lifetime might be 40 years on the average for wage earners. Approximate lifetime earnings are 40 years x $50K = $2 million is how much Bloomberg’s wealth grew in 20 minutes. The tax reform proposed at the beginning would take 99.9% of the $2 million, and leave $2,000 every 20 minutes. That still is $6,000/hr that can be kept to support him and his family and friends. This tax reform would go a long way to creating jobs across the country and solving the housing shortage.