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The Call Blog: Mayor Bloomberg Defends New York City's Income Gap

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Even if you agree with Mayor Bloomberg's assessment of the importance of generating tax revenue from the rich, it's still difficult to listen to him make the case. His message gets lost in his delivery. I'm right. You're wrong. Next question.



"Wouldn't it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?" Those were the words from Mayor Bloomberg this morning as he defended his economic policies on his weekly radio show. The Mayor added, "If we could get every billionaire around the world to move here it would be a godsend that would create a much bigger income gap. They are the ones that pay a lot of the taxes."

The conversation about New York City's income gap followed U.S. Census data released yesterday that showed the mean income of the lowest fifth of New York City households was $8,993 last year, compared with $222,871 for the highest fifth. Statistics also show the poverty rate, defined as $23,314 for a family of four in New York City, rose to 21.2 percent in 2012.

Do you agree with Mayor Bloomberg's view that New York City would benefit from having more rich residents? Do you see the tax revenues created from the wealthiest New Yorkers being put to positive use in your neighborhood? How is the cost of living in New York City affecting you?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



The statement by the mayor proves how out of touch he is and how shallow and condescending he is.

Felix
Bay Ridge



Just more out of touch Bloomberg.

Claudia



This statement right here defines his mission for the last 12 years.

Ari, West Chelsea



John,

You've GOT to be kidding me! Really? Since when have rich people paid their fair share of taxes? Certainly not the rich folks here in NYC! Does Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg pay his fair share? I seriously doubt it! And all the "rich Russian billionaires" moving to New York would be happy to live here, since they'd be paying less taxes.

WE so-called "middle income families" are the ones paying most of the taxes. Once you take into consideration the percentage of how much we pay in taxes, compared to the rich folks, who pay so much less? The cost of living in NY has made it more and more difficult for people to survive -- that's why the poverty level has increased in NYC. We can't afford transportation (thank you, Mr. Lhotta!); food prices have gone up; rents are exorbitant -- what little "raises" we get from our jobs get taken away and then some with the cost of living in NYC.

Looking to the future for a better NYC with a different mayor,
Dina and Ed from Throggs Neck



John,

The Russians are not as stupid as Bloomberg. They will not come.

Joe
Port Richmond, SI



Hi John,

I still feel that they will end up carrying this Mayor out in a strait jacket. Also I have said many times in my e-mails that he should think that he would not have liked it if anyone spoke to or about his mother the way he speaks to us. I resent it very much because we all belong to someone and it’s time for him to leave. We have had enough. If he has no legacy then it’s a result of his own doing. I hope he and his cronies are happy for what they did to this once beautiful city of ours. I was born here and he wasn’t and I often wonder why did he not go back to his own state and become Mayor there. Lord knows they probably didn’t even want him.

Thank you John,
Great job with this difficult transition we are going through,

maxxiee
mp



First, we need a commuter tax and a surcharge for the one percenters with their real estate tax abatements. They may pay more taxes but the dirty little secret is that some pay none. This notion that if you tax the rich theyll leave is claptrap and reaganomic nonsense because they like the private schools which send their progeny to the halls of ivy and the culture as well as the scene in general. He is a man who forgot his roots due to his good fortune late in life and is very myopic in his understanding of the middle class or the poor who he doesnt acknowledge increased measureably due to his disparite policies. I would grade him an incomplete as mayor and thats because Im a fair marker.

JS
Kissena Park



i am a democrat and will not vote for deblasio my son is a police officer stopping stop and frisk will endanger police and citizens i will vote for lhota.

eugene
queens n.y



As additional billionaires move to NYC, there will be fewer affordable homes for the rest of us. Billionaires want all of the real estate for themselves. But if one wants to buy my 1 bedroom apartment for a cool mill, that would work for me :-)

Michael from Brooklyn



How could anyone criticize tax revenues generated by the rich when their are a significant amount of people who dont pay anything in income tax.

John G.



So let me get this straight: Bloomberg thinks MORE income inequality would be a good idea? I thought he was supposed to be good at economics. As opposed to being a decent person. We all know he's horrible at that.

Jordan
Flushing



It is sad to see our mayor salivating over billionaires and their ilk. The reality of New York City is 58 billionaires to millions of us. Where has his the mayor's mindbeen for the last 12 years?

Alfred in Corona



I live in Clinton Hill Brooklyn where it now costs $15 to eat breakfast in the neighborhood. A $.50 cup of coffee now costs $2.50. It is outrageous how much everything costs and I know at least 40% of the people who have lived here for years cannot afford the basics in this area.

Audrey



Im so glad that everyone can see what bloomberg has done to us people he is one of the worst mayors Ny city has every had.

S.



I don't know why Mayor Bloomberg's comments continue to shock me over and over again. I think that he is just a pathetic, callous and sickening individual. How dare he say that it would be a godsend to have every billionaire in the world live here! Why do they help the middle class -- how? Do they pay their fair share in taxes -- not! They all have fancy accountants and Swiss bank accounts. The middle class is disappearing in this city and the poverty rate has increased and all he can talk about is Billionaires moving into NYC. We are all living check to check and his comments are a slap in every New Yorkers' face -- of course not those living on Park Avenue.

It will be a "godsend" when Mayor Bloomberg leaves City Hall forever and shuts his mouth!

Lisa
Upper east side



The rich can buy here, but if they don't actually live here more than half a year they don't pay taxes here. The trustafarian hipsters don't have their own income and they live in mommy and daddy's apartments, while mommy and daddy are taxpayers someplace else. That's why "soak-the-rich" never works. In ancient Rome, the saying went "Slaves vote with their feet." Today, the money (and the jobs) vote the same way.

Vic in northeast Queens



1. If having lots of Russian billionaires is required for a more equal society, how come Scandinavia, Germany, and other countries of western Europe do so well (have less inequality) without them?

2. My Bible history is sketchy, but isn't there a story along the lines of if you give a man a fish, you've given him dinner; but if you teach him to fish, you've fed him for life? I see the billionaires as running around handing out fish (when they aren't having buildings named after themselves). I don't see New York as a place where people are getting "stick to the ribs" preparation and training for life, as they are in other developed countries.

Ellie - Turtle Bay



What if the top 1% move to Florida with 0% income tax? Some can cash out and retire.

Joe
SI NY



The easy way to cut down on poverty is to have a law like Germany, where the highest paid person in a company can only make so many times more than the lowest paid person. This has created more millionaires per capita then the US, but they have less billionaires which is fine with me. I personally don't believe any one person is worth a billion dollars in a world of finite resources.

Barry
Staten Island



I don't mind the billionaires move here if they do pay fair-share tax. Otherwise, I'm not sure they are welcomed.

Amitorfor from Upper East Side



John, the rich receive so many tax breaks and their accountants know how to work every tax loophole that I doubt if their taxes could be doing much to help those in need. These are the people that have the ability to create jobs so that people can support themselves and yet unemployment is still rampant.

Sheilah in Cambria Heights, Queens



I am sorry. But, really. with all the handouts. you can get from this city, (that the democrats put in). Also, that scary part of living in this city, is that people think that if you are poor you should get more. this is why I can't afford to raise my family. And to the guy who said teachers should live in NYC. Why should you make someone live where they don't want to. Must be more socialism views that are supposed to be democratic. If Bill De Blasio is elected: Crime will be up and the value of New York will go down. Yes, Mr. Bloomberg is a bit out of touch. But we all want more than we have. Some of us are struggling and NOT taking any handouts. Fix the benefits system, stop giving people who are capable of making money a reason not to work.

MG



Yes rich can share the apple as long they spread the wealth

Al from groveland, Florida
great show



I don't think the mayor was talking about billionaires providing jobs for New Yorkers; he was simply saying that they pay a lot of taxes which help to pay for the services that all citizens use. That's a fact. Of course it would be great to have more middle class tax payers too but that's another issue. Finally it would be great if everyone who worked off the books, rich or poor, paid their fair share of taxes but that's a topic for another day.

Renee
Queens



The ongoing fiscal crisis revealed that billionaires amassed their money by being lucky rather than smart. Bloomberg is the perfect example of this phenomenon. What's needed then are some smart ways to separate the billionaires from their dollars.

Michael in Greenpoint



INTERESTING. HOW DOES BLOOMBERG EXPLAIN HOW HIS INVESTMENTS, WHILE IN OFFICE SUPER-SIZED HIS WORTH 9 FOLD? WHY COULD HE NOT PUT NYC ON THE SAME FAST MONEY TRACK?

CARMELITA...........HARLEM



KInd of seems like some of the callers do not realize that the cost of living has risen throughout the country and not just in NYC. Pretty sure that our job situation also bounced back more quickly that many parts of the country. If you consistently work hard, NYC still offers a lot of opportunity.

Pity the mayor isn't more vocal in his support of small business.

Bridget
UWS

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