For 13 days, hundreds of demonstrators have encamped themselves on Wall Street in New York City, hoping to call attention to the financial sector’s greed and inequities in the American economic system.
This morning, while on local radio host John Gambling’s show, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about the demonstrations on Wall Street. Bloomberg condemned the protests, claiming that the protesters are targeting people who making “$40-50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet.” He then went on to say people are focusing too much on the causes of the financial crisis and that we need to be nicer to the banking industry so that it starts lending again. He concluded by saying that we are “blaming the wrong people” by “blaming the banks” for the recession:
GAMBLING: Mr. Mayor, let’s talk about Zuccoti Park and the protesters. How do you end that thing?
BLOOMBERG: The protesters are protesting against people who make $40-50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line. Those are the people that work on Wall Street or on the finance sector. [...] People in this day and age need support for their employers. We need the banks, if the banks don’t go out and make loans we will not come out of our economy problems, we will not have jobs. And so anything we can do to responsibly help the banks do that, encourage them to do that is waht we need. I think we spend much too much time worrying about how we got into problems as to how we go forward. [...] Also we always tend to blame the wrong people. We blame the banks. They were part of it, but so were Frddie Mac and Frannie Mae and Congress.
Listen to it:
Actually, the median salary for stockbrokers is approximately $88,000 a year. But that is besides the point. The demonstrators are not targeting the individuals who work on Wall Street, they are targeting the financial institutions and practices they represent.
Recall, the banks were the primary actors who set off the global recession, and that recession plunged 60 million people into extreme poverty worldwide. By protesting in favor things like a financial transactions tax, Americans can hope to get some of that wealth back from financial institutions that are anything but “struggling to make ends meet.”