Billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has so much money he no doubt has several people on his payroll just to keep track of it.
I don’t hold it against Bloomberg for being rich. Afterall, isn’t that what we all strive for? We all, if the truth is told, want to have so much money we don’t know what to do with it all. At the very least, we would like enough money so financial concerns would never be a, well, concern again.
However, Bloomberg recently stuck his foot in his mouth big time with the following statement: “You know, last I checked, pharmaceutical companies don’t make a lot of money, their executives don’t make a lot money — not that they couldn’t be better.”
In reality, pharmaceutical CEOs are known to make millions, with generous salaries, stock options and other big-time benefits.
For example, Abbott Laboratories Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Miles White’s compensation was $25.3 million in 2008 alone. The company’s profit went up more than 35 percent to $4.88 billion.
Merck & Company’s chief executive, Richard T. Clark, received a $17.3 million compensation package for 2008. The company’s profit more than doubled to $7.8 billion.
Not much money? Only to a multi-billionaire like Bloomberg I suppose.
As an in-the-trenches everyday worker, I detest attitudes like the one Bloomberg showed in his statement. Making millions of dollars is not chump change, despite what he tries to tell us. It reminds me of an old saying I’ve heard several times that goes “If that ain’t the biggest bunch of horse manure being spread around here...”
Adding even more insult to the common, hard-working man and woman, Bloomberg has also made the statement: “We love rich people” and said that even President Obama, who is paid a $400,000 salary and has made millions from book sales, “doesn’t get paid that much” and is “on a budget” like millions of Americans.
Please. In no way does President Obama or Mayor Bloomberg have one idea what it is like to walk in my shoes or the shoes of any common worker, who gives his or her all for the company they work for and in today’s climate simply hopes for a small raise, much less one that covers the cost of living increase.
Not surprisingly, opponents of Bloomberg in the upcoming mayor’s race have seized on the opportunity to point out just how out of touch Mr. Moneybags is.
“Once again, Mike proves that he just doesn’t get it,” said Democrat William Thompson Jr. “He needs a dose of reality.”
Bloomberg later tried to backtrack somewhat on his statements after he looked into the situation a little more carefully.
“Some of them are making a decent amount, more than a decent amount of money,” said the man who claims to be a financial and business expert.
That follow-up statement shows Bloomberg is still out of touch. Of course, when you live in an ivory tower with armed guards at the entrance, how could you possibly know what it’s like to be the average American worker? Hey, if you can’t be one, why not insult them?
Fortunately, we learn every day. To think, I once thought Bloomberg would be a good candidate for President as an outsider. Yeah, an outsider to reality.
Chris Bridges an editor with Mainstreet Newspapers. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And he probably pays enough taxes to independently support at least 10 or more welfare families annually. And if he was a truly "filthy rich, elite citizen" it's more likely he wouldn't have chosen to run for a public office to serve. Neither would the public have elected him to that office.