Michael Bloomberg, another billionaire, may join the fight for the White House. The former New York City mayor would run as a nonpartisan candidate.
The New York Times revealed Bloomberg’s plans indicating that in December he commissioned research on how he would do in comparison with Hillary Clinton, former senator of New York, and Donald Trump. People close to Bloomberg say that the reason he is interested in the race is because the New York construction magnate is participating and Bloomberg would like to stop him.
Bloomberg considered the presidency in 2008, but unfortunately, nothing came of those plans. Contrary to the opportunistic Trump, who has zero political experience and who has filed for bankruptcy four times, Bloomberg has achieved success in both business and politics.
While traditional media lay off employees and close down non-profitmaking titles, Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg L.P., multiplies its profits. It offers computerized systems to provide real-time market data, Bloomberg Tradebook (a trading platform), a package of communication services, as well as economic, market and financial information gathered by its own agency, Bloomberg News, the biggest in the world today. The company employs 15,500 people in more than 100 countries and controls one-third of the financial information international market. Some 88 percent of the shares belong to its founder.
Less than seven years ago, Bloomberg, L.P. bought BusinessWeek, which was going bankrupt, for less than $5 million and turned it around. Bloomberg has been dreaming about taking over The New York Times for a while. He believes that the leading newspaper in the financial capital of the world is too liberal and he would like to change its editorial position to one that is more pro-business. And he is planning this in the public interest rather than for profit.
Daniel Doctoroff, former deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York, and a professional banker, managed Bloomberg L.P. for six years. Thanks to him, New York City gained 12 million square meters of habitable and usable space (approximately 129,166,925 square feet), three stadiums, 10 square kilometers of parks (approximately 107,639 square feet), a new subway line and 97 km of waterfront (approximately 60 miles). Bloomberg believes that governing is too serious to entrust to politicians. As mayor, he preferred to hire professionals. In 2014, total Bloomberg, L.P. revenues were $9 billion, 12 percent more than in 2011. In 2007, its owner was 142 on the list of the richest Americans, now he is eight, with a fortune estimated at $39 billion.
He has two obsessions, sometimes very annoying to New Yorkers. He used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, but he quit and thought that everyone should follow his example. He banned smoking on beaches, in parks, workplaces, restaurants, bars and clubs. He also regularly raised cigarettes taxes and today, a pack of cigarettes costs between $12 and $14. He tightened up sanitary standards in restaurants. Although he likes to drink — one bottle of wine with lunch is his minimum — he ordered the police to combat drinking alcohol in public. He tried to fight obesity by banning the sale of sweetened drinks in cups larger than 0.47 liters (16 ounces).
New Yorkers elected Bloomberg three times in a row, because despite his idiosyncrasies, he was a great manager. Heads of departments had to account for everything based on statistics and financial results, not personal sympathies. They had full autonomy in decision making, but were personally responsible for their decisions. The mayor rebuilt City Hall based on the plans of his company’s headquarters. All officials, including the most important ones, sat in one room so it was always possible to see where they were and what they were doing.
Bloomberg contradicts the rule that a socialist becomes a conservative as he gets older. In his youth, Bloomberg was Democrat; in his mayoral first election (in 2001) he ran as Republican; six years later he quit the party. He is fighting against global warming, supports environmentalist initiatives and wants to tighten firearms regulations. He opposed John Roberts' nomination as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that Roberts would restrict a woman’s right to abortion. He called the Republican opinion about stem cell research “madness.”
According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, he has risen to be among the five most generous U.S. philanthropists next to Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, and George Soros, a legendary financier. The Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation donates $300 million every year. The billionaire has donated more than $1.1 billion to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater, $600 million to organizations fighting smoking, $50 million to the liquidation of mines and remediation of former coalfields in a way that does not harm miners, and $24 million to modernize administration in five major American cities. He founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization with his own money.
The former mayor could change the Washington system. He was able to do so in New York City. Unfortunately, a really independent politician gets eliminated in the primaries. The lines of ideological divisions are impossible to overstep in a two party system. There is no room for common sense.