Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your…Russian Billionaires?

09/20/2013 1:35 PM |

Nice bow tie.
  • Nice bow tie.

In case you thought that Bloomberg’s comments in that New York magazine interview a little while ago were anomalous, think again. Just to recap, Bloomberg asked interviewer Chris Smith, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?” At which point everyone in the city who is not a billionaire felt a sudden chill, as if a pair of ghosts had tweaked their nipples or something similarly as perverse and inappropriate as wanting all the Russian billionaires to move to New York. It was terrible. But, maybe Bloomberg was speaking hyperbolically? Maybe he didn’t really mean it? Maybe he does want to preserve some of this city’s integrity and diversity?

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Haha. No. Not at all! Bloomberg said in his weekly radio show this morning that “if we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a Godsend.” A Godsend! Bloomberg, who was talking about the recently released census results which revealed that New York City has the highest income gap in the country, said that he doesn’t think that the extreme wealth disparity here is such a bad thing. He commented, ““While there are still people at the bottom struggling, we’ve made a lot of progress, the problem in the income gap is not at that end. The reason it’s so big is at that higher end we’ve been able to do something that none of these other cities can do. And that is attract a lot of the very wealthy from around the country and around the world.”

Yeah. That’s what we do well here in good old New York, attract billionaires from all over the world by pushing the middle-class and lower-class residents out of their neighborhoods and making Manhattan a playground for foreign investors and getting rid of the character that used to define New York. Not to be all nostalgic for times long gone, but it used to be a selling point that New York attracted creative types. Now it’s a selling point that it attracts foreign billionaires. That’s the Bloomberg legacy, I guess.

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