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Bloomberg’s Billionaire BS

We’ve all seen them. They are on television, on Instagram and every other social media platform. Like the flu virus, they have infected almost every facet of the public square. As the date for the Super Tuesday nears, their numbers seem like they will overwhelm the airwaves. Every day, another infected person acknowledges that they are leaning towards voting for Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire whose love of money seems to be superseded only by his desire for power. His viral advertisements are infecting people’s ability to think and further destroying the joke of an electoral system so many US voters hold onto despite its acknowledged crookedness; despite the fact of its being rigged against most of us. Did Obama (who sold out to that establishment many moons ago) actually give his permission for Mike (as he calls himself now) to use his image and words in those television ads? At this point it doesn’t matter. They’ve been seen by millions and paid for with Bloomberg’s billions.

Some liberals and progressives are lining up behind Bloomberg. They point to all the money he has donated to certain progressive organizations the past few years as if it’s proof he changed his stripes from the reactionary racist he was his entire public life beforehand. They fail to mention his 2016 support for the right wing campaign of Senator Toomey when they point to Bloomberg’s recent donations. More importantly, they ignore the real possibility that Bloomberg’s donations to progressive causes are actually bribes to buy the silence of these groups. Stories abound across social media describing everything and everyone from homeless shelters to Al Sharpton’s organization dropping their criticisms of Bloomberg after a check from him arrived.

In a more equitable society, billionaires would not exist and homeless shelters would not either. In fact, it is the existence of the billionaire class that ensures the phenomenon of homelessness. More of the wealth they hoard is money that could and should be used to create an economy where no one is forced to live on the streets, wonder if their children will get enough to eat, or suffer from health issues because they can’t afford medical coverage. Furthermore, when billionaires also hold direct political power like Bloomberg in New York and Trump in DC, they can (and do) institute policies that help their class get even wealthier. So, when Bloomberg throws money at those affected negatively by his policies and the hoarding of wealth by his class, he is like the fireman who sets fires so he can be a hero and extinguish them. He’s an autocrat who impoverishes working people and then gives out charity. As noted already, it is a charity that would be pointless if he and the rest of the billionaires were not hoarding money, our money.

This guy Bloomberg has eleven freaking houses. Eleven. Ten plus one. I live in a small two bedroom. Almost everyone I know has only had one house at a time. Why would anyone believe he cares about them if they aren’t wealthy? The arrogance present in his commercials is both paternalistic and authoritarian; the voter is being told that only Michael Bloomberg can take care of their problems because he’s a billionaire and cares more about them the other billionaires. This pitch takes the voter’s agency and replaces it with an unwarranted trust in the word of a Lord of the twenty-first century gilded age. Like the aristocrats of centuries past, Bloomberg’s word is likely to change as soon as he gets what he wants. Rich men and women who made their billions by exploiting human labor and planetary resources are not going to save us from what has been wrought. The Bloomberg campaign is just another of his marketing efforts. It’s for his benefit, not yours or mine.

Don’t fall for it.

 

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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