By Maurice Pinzon
His slogan might as well have been “It’s Jobs, Stupid.”
Yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke to business leaders at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in an address that began with his description and history of how technological innovation has always been the engine of prosperity both in New York City and the nation. According to the mayor, that technological innovation was being stifled by political infighting between Republicans and Democrats in Washington. In attacking members of both Democratic and Republican parties – he has been a member of both – as “ideologues,” Mayor Bloomberg contrasted his own “common sense” approach to balancing the interests of government and business.
The result: “Our economy has grown faster than any other major city’s in the country – and none of that growth has come on Wall Street,” he said in his only mention of Wall Street, the economic sector that many Americans blame for the “Great Recession.”
Since last October, according to Mayor Bloomberg, the city has “added 55,000 private sector jobs – in industries with average salaries between $35,000 and $92,000. These are middle-class jobs – in accounting, engineering, advertising, health care, retail, tourism – even construction. Here at the Navy Yard, we’ve added 2,300 jobs over the past eight years, and we’re set to add 3,100 more over the next three.”
“The economic policies that we have pursued to drive this growth have been neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative,” he said.
This is consistent with a mayor who likes to portray himself as above politics, and beyond the money interests of people dependent on campaign funds and lobbyists. By contrast, he characterized politicians in Washington as beholden to narrow views, partisan politics, lobbying influence and working in an environment of constant criticism amplified by bloggers and pundits.
Mayor Bloomberg then outlined what he referred to as his “Six Steps to Economic Recovery and Job Creation.” Those steps are instilling confidence in the private sector to invest, promoting trade, reforming regulation, cutting business taxes, investing in job training and fixing immigration.
But the elephant – and the donkey – in the room, was still politics.
Former Mayor David N. Dinkins who attended the presentation, was asked by this reporter what he thought of the speech. He said, “I told the mayor that I thought it quite a good speech, a lot of work had gone into it, and that it sounded to me like an opening salvo for a campaign for president.”
“He of course said that was not the case,” Mr. Dinkins added.
But the buzz from people in the large hall at the Brooklyn Navy Yard after Mayor Bloomberg left was clearly in line with Mr. Dinkins’s assessment. For Mayor Bloomberg, the “Will he run for president?” news cycle may have just begun. Again.