New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's take on all things Irish
I don’t know about the polls, I think it’s how you ask the question. When I walk down the street or take the subway, this morning I just noticed a lot of people smiled, ‘Good morning Mayor, good morning.’ If they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t say nasty things necessarily, but they wouldn’t reach out.
How do you feel at this stage of your career?
I’m 67 years old and I like people. If I didn’t like people I’d be in the wrong job. I love going on the subway, I love walking on the streets, I was at a baseball game the other day. With Brian Williams and his wife, at the Yankee game, which was not a great game because it was not competitive.
But people every place … the Puerto Rican Day parade, great response from one end to the other. I remember the first time I did it, somebody hired some people to boo on both sides.
Everybody is deeply concerned about the economy. Obviously you‘re more than just a mayor, you’re a brilliant entrepreneur yourself. How do you feel?
We have a crisis of confidence, and we sort of create what we’re afraid of. We haven’t been saving for a long time, we’ve been overspending, not being prudent, but nobody wanted to end it, so when they say who’s responsible for the recession, I would say look in the mirror --we’re all responsible.
Nobody wanted to stop people getting mortgages, nobody wanted to stop stocks going up, nobody wanted to stop the ability to buy anything, if you wanted to use your credit card or mortgage your house for some money. So we’re all sort of part of that.
And then all of a sudden everybody realized, for a variety of reasons, but really had nothing to do with the real cause, what came out of it. You have these mortgage products, and lots of the derivative stuff, and then all of a sudden you kind of get scared and somebody says they’re not going to buy it, which meant they didn’t have any value, which all of a sudden created its own reality.
Here people said, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve been living beyond my means. So let’s save.’ And once you start saving, you don’t spend. And then all of a sudden people that are working at the factory don’t have jobs. So that feeds on itself.
And you’ve got to turn that around. How’s that done? The president’s the first that has to do it, he’s the cheerleader in chief, the governors and the mayors I suppose as well. The good news is that New York has continued to invest in it’s future. And so people continue to come here.
Tourism is down a little bit, but most museums report more tourists than ever before. The problem is they’re not spending money in the bookstores. They’re not spending money getting in. But as long as they keep coming we have a future.
And so, the long term question for people that live here and have businesses here, is when the economy recovers -- I happen to think it’ll be earlier than later -- but whenever, will we have the people to let businesses expand? Will we have the transportation system and safe streets so they can go to this restaurant and enjoy it? Will we have good schools that attract people, and cultural institutions?
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