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In sum, the “Hibbie-Gibbies” is not a valid reason for legislative action.
Waking up this morning to CBS This Morning and an interview between New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and newly-esteemed morning anchor
Gayle King Charlie Rose was like watching a bourbon-soaked old coyote play chess against Deep Blue.
Not so much in mannerism or diction (or reality), but in the overall impression.
This is instructive about the kind of president Michael Bloomberg might be, and the kind of leader he currently is for New York City.
I won’t play on the tired trope of him being “robotic.” (I don’t find him to be - except for when his head swivels in either direction or when advisors desperately yell, “We need to find aPLUG! NOW!”)
But I will say that Mayor Bloomberg’s Cartesian hardwiring of values, empirical logic, and political Calculus (NB: Big “C”) is his greatest asses; it leaves me breathlessly to behold. The man never wavers, never gaffs, never has the opportunity to backtrack or “misspeak” because he knows what he believes. While leadership may be stressful for Mayor Bloomberg, politics isn’t. If politics is the artful delivery of the truth, Mayor Bloomberg is a minimalist, Dadaist, or Mondrain.
Easy attacks focus on his self-interest, which he flatly diffuses by recognizing his wealth, status, and influence. (You’ll never catch him calling a spade a death panel.) But, the man leaves no doubt that held these economic beliefs before his power and, if anything, his hypothesis has proven correct by achieving great wealth. Still, there’s no feeling that he is intractable, simply that facts win the day - so show him better facts and he’ll agree.
It may be the closest thing I’ll ever have to electing The Economist to political office.
It is the best of times; it is the worst of times.
It is the age of wisdom; it is the age of foolishness.
It is the epoch of belief; it is the epoch of incredulity.
It is the season of Light; it is the season of Darkness.
We have everything before us; we have nothing before us.
We are all going direct to heaven, we are all going direct the other way.
In short, authorities insist on its seeing, for good or for evil, this period in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The pundits are already busily constructing the demise of “Occupy Wall Street,” swiftly and mysteriously classifying its message as both “incomprehensible” and “distinctly left.” But not only does its message seem clear, it seems universal—downright democratic (lower-case “d”).
And so, allow me to offer my messaging services to boil it down to the elements.
Government can’t fix this problem. That’s the line we’re hearing, and OWS agrees. Our elected officials are unable to solve this crisis; we need private sector job growth. Yet despite the fact that corporate earnings have continued to expand during this recession, corporations are still finding ways to be sleeker, smaller, and safer in the face of “instability.” That instability, some would argue, is the result of government regulations. But governments have been passing regulations since the its inception without ever resulting in such a panic attack. And therefore, the question rises of why “the panic” this time?
Corporations hold all of the cards. Our policy of private sector capitalism—an excellent policy, by the way, especially when paired with a sense of morality—has shifted an ever-greater reliance on the private sector to fuel our economy. We cannot opt-out of phone use, circulate our money without banks, or eat without manufacturers. Therefore the idea of “going off the grid” is a preposterous one. With their necessity firmly cemented, governments are left with no stick, only carrots. When corporations are asked to do something (i.e. hire), they ask “What’s in it for me?”
Occupy Wall Street wants to bring risk back to business. The agenda is not redistribution of wealth or tax rates; its message is in the simple idea of a return to capitalism where risk is rewarded. (Sound crazy? It isn’t.) Risk is hiring new employees, expanding business, and making small business loans. Non-risk is credit derivatives, mortgage-backed-securities, substandard insurance, and other instruments that have been engineered to be “safe bets.” This kind of win-win growth in the financial sector is a shortcut in capitalism that threatens, indeed is threatening, our entire country. And normally, it would be the role of the stablest institution, government, to take on the risk and spend, loan, and employ until others feel safe. But with a misguided spending crunch now firmly in place, the government is rationing out carrots. And thus, the stick falls in the hands of the public.
If the message of Occupy Wall Street is hard to hear, it is because they are speaking softly, and carrying a big stick.
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