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Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Mayor Bloomberg and Occupy Wall Street by the Numbers

Mayor Bloomberg and Occupy Wall Street by the Numbers
by Juan Cole, October 14, 2011

Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zucotti Park where the Occupy Wall Street protesters have been gathered for weeks, is insisting on “cleaning” its property on Friday. Although New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that the protesters would be allowed to return thereafter, New York City police chief Raymond Kelly has warned that they would not be allowed to bring back sleeping bags or any camping equipment. Bloomberg, one of America’s 400 billionaires, has expressed fears that protests directed at banks would cause the banks to stop lending (out of pique?) and so would hurt jobs growth. Bloomberg is the mayor of New York, but you wonder if he would be if he had not poured tens of millions of his own money into his campaigns. In short, the 1% is mobilizing against the 99% in the park.

Percentage of Americans who approve of Occupy Wall Street: 54

Percentage of Americans who say that the gap between the rich and the poor has grown too large: 79

Percentage of Americans who say the rich should pay more in taxes: 68

Percentage of Americans who approve of the Tea Party: 27

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ranking in Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans: 8

Bloomberg’s net worth: $20 billion

Amount Bloomberg spent of his own fortune on his [first] two mayoral campaigns in New York: $159 million

Percentage of all US economic growth in past decade that went to the top 1% of income earners: 65

The combined net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans, as measured by Forbes magazine in 2007: $1.5 trillion

The combined net worth of the poorer 50 percent of American households in 2007: $1.6 trillion

Number of times Bloomberg promised that the Occupy Wall Street protesters could “stay indefinitely”: 1

Average salaries in New York’s securities industry in 2010: $361,330

Average increase in compensation for those in the securities industry over the past 30 years: 11%

Average salary of Wall Street financiers against whom the protesters were protesting, according to Bloomberg (saying they “are struggling to make ends meet”): $45,000-$50,000

Average increase in compensation for private-sector employees outside securities industry during the past 30 years: 1.8%

Average price inflation rate during past 30 years: roughly 3%

Decline in average wage of the average middle class family in past decade: 7%

Decline in the average income of the average poor family in the past ten years: 12%

Number of times Bloomberg maintained that it was unwise to protest banks because it would discourage them from lending money and so cost jobs: 2

Rate at which the volume of commercial and industrial bank loans grew in the second quarter of 2011: 9.6%

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