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Michael Bloomberg: King of the World [29 February, 2008]

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Big News: Michael Bloomberg will not run for President.

Bigger News: I will not run for President either.

But seriously: why is this news?  (And what is it about New York mayors and their dreams of ruling the world?)

Oh, right, because the man has more money than all the world’s gods combined.  Because it sometimes feels like he, not Rupert Murdoch, owns, well, everything.  Because only Michael Bloomberg would actually have the audacity to pretend that proffering his massive fortune - and access to the fortunes of others - is somehow indicative of “independence” and the ability to “speak plainly about common sense solutions.”

Come to Oz, my children.  Where you can have politics that moves “away from ideology” (his words, not mine).  None of that nasty, icky stuff about oh, issues.  “Issues” is just a code word for ideology.  Because you might actually have to decide where you stand on said issues.  Because that just gets you into the messy realm of actually having to think about oh, what to do about, um, stuff like AIDS.  Which kills more people than smoking does.  And yet, Mike would like you to believe that giving 125 million dollars of his own fortune towards the cause of ah, eradicating the habit of smoking is a worthwhile act.

Let’s put aside, for a moment, the problem of using money as a universal solution: the less we make, the more we think the rich should take care of our problems.  I can see why this seems like a good idea to Mike, who plans on handing out grades, yes, grades, to entire countries based on how well they do in their anti-smoking efforts.  As it turns out, “poor and middle-income countries collect 5,000 times as much in tax revenue from tobacco as they spend in fighting its use.”  But why bother with such silly systemic analysis?  Why not just focus on being the richest kid on the block who gets to tell countries how naughty they’ve been with that nasty smoking habit?

Because, after all, Michael Bloomberg is King of the World.

Originally published on The Bilerico Project, 29 February, 2008

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