Monday, November 11, 2013

Bloomberg's Slush Fund

How did Bloomberg keep NYC running so smoothly and reaching new heights with little civil discord? Good ol' fashioned bribery. Ben Smith at Buzz Feed is careful to say it is not "ugly quid pro quo influence shopping", but he is wrong only because he only sees that ugly side as one direction. Bloomberg buying silence from potential agitators or antagonists is the same as someone giving him money for his decisions. The direction of bribing and influence peddling is just in reverse of the norm. He is buying their decision not to voice displeasure or make trouble. Bloomberg's moves were akin to Gelbaum's $100 million donation to the Sierra Club if they dropped their anti-immigration stance. If this is what kept NYC quiet and kumbaya the last twelve years, Ben Smith is right to think De Blasio's tenure will be rocky. Let us all move up the descent of glittering NYC into Warriors NYC predictions.

A political joke is that the three greatest patronage jobs in American politics are president, governor of a southern state and the mayor of New York City. Bloomberg was a billionaire before becoming mayor, and has seen his wealth only grow while mayor. The article is right to point out how different billions of wealth is compared to millions, and this should be a greater lesson for the concentration of wealth and increase in top 1% or 10% holdings. Bloomberg's thousands here and there can buy off the little rabble rousers, and his millions to Cory Booker and Terry McAuliffe should be viewed all in the same manner. Bloomberg's wealth combined with the new fundraising and donations rules for politics allows politically minded millionaires and billionaires to wield immense clout different from even just twenty years ago. Bloomberg and Koch are roughly seven times as wealthy as Ross Perot who mounted a national presidential campaign. Think of what they can do in soft or behind the scenes efforts compared to Perot's direct moves.

Bloomberg's antics hit at the phenomenon that some have written about in the alt-right of how the left will attack how you make money and provide for your family to silence you. Bloomberg became a patron of museums, donor of social organizations and medical services angel. As cited in the article, some organizations wanted to argue or combat Bloomberg on an issue but, shucks, he was a recent donor or had made expansion of services possible through his philanthropy. They did not want to upset him. This article timed right after the TIME magazine profile on Bloomberg and his flood of small donations and philanthropy point out how TIME lacked follow through or even dared to follow through on how much dark money he donates, where does it go and what results does it buy. The money was hush money.

Extrapolated out, this is the financial sector's political playbook for how they bought the left to do their bidding without criticism. The handouts and minority puppets are keeping that multiracial underclass quiet as the laws and enforcement of regulations are tilted to favor the FIRE economy and the FIRE economy's clients. Never fixing their dysfunctional neighborhoods, they can bribe them with section 8, SNAP and make work government jobs, while the feds backstops large risks, provides tax breaks and fails to enforce the financial criminal statutes. The asset inflation of the FIRE era has helped those who hold the assets in question disproportionately. The media is paralyzed by a combination of financial need and blindly supporting the candidates that implement their progressive desires. Despite many commentators predicting its demise or break up, Citigroup remained intact and received three separate bailouts and a tax forgiveness deal between fall of 2008 and Christmas 2009. Citigroup, led by Robert Rubin, made sure to set their donor network to work for candidate Obama to placate the little people and in return, get Rubin's cronies their best men into top econ policymaker positions. Buy off just enough of the people with a low price tag so they look the other way and stay quiet while you loot the cookie jar. If you're that worried it won't work, find a smiling face that looks like them to distract the lumpenproles.

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