Someone asked Mayor Bloomberg what he thinks of Occupy Wall Street, and he had this to say:
What they’re trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city. They’re trying to take away the tax base we have because none of this is good for tourism. … If the jobs they are trying to get rid of in this city — the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy — we’re not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean the blocks or anything else.
If the mayor thinks that Occupy Wall Street is the biggest threat to the city’s economy, then — oh, boy — we’re in a lot of trouble.
All the protesters in the park could decide in the next half-hour that if they can’t beat ’em, they’re gonna join ’em, and march right over to Lloyd Blankfein’s office and apply for a job. (They couldn’t do any wor–oh, nevermind that.)
That wouldn’t save New York, though. Wall Street is shrinking with or without the protesters’ help.
Wall Street got too big. It has to be smaller.
New York has got to get used to a world in which tax revenues don’t double every ten years — and it’s got to get its municipal spending (largely public-sector benefits) down.
In the long term, what the protesters are imperfectly protesting against — the fact that the capital markets remain utterly broken, and that nobody seems to care — is a much greater threat to New York’s economy than these folk with their Magic Markers.