Reading Michael Bloomberg's Economics

Jill Colvin tries capturing the complexity of Michael Bloomberg’s economic policies.

On his weekly radio show, Bloomberg and his commissioner for homeless services warned about the impacts of proposed cuts from Albany.

“This will cause the shelter system to back up. We may have to build 70 new shelters thorough the city,” [Comissioner Seth] Diamond said, putting the cost to the city at $80 million dollars.

But minutes after touting the benefits of helping the homeless transition into jobs and homes, the mayor slammed a proposal to force developers who receive city subsidies to pay workers a so-called living wage, which many peg at at least $10 an hour — significantly higher than minimum wage.

“When government tries to get involved and force the economics to something that the market won’t tolerate, it’s the Soviet Union. That didn’t work out very well in case you haven’t read your history recently,” he said.

Labor operative Dan Morris piles on, emailing me to say Bloomberg, “supports government intervention into the market when it means large tax breaks and subsidies for large companies and developers.”

In short, they suggest there’s something inconsistent: supporting the government when they help people get out of poverty, but opposing the government when they mandate the private sector do likewise.