Mayor Bloomberg Unfazed by Growing Income Gap

By Jill Colvin on September 27, 2012 8:59pm 

 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to the media at the opening of the Workforce1 Veterans Career center on July 31, 2012.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to the media at the opening of the Workforce1 Veterans Career center on July 31, 2012.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY — Manhattan’s income gap now rivals many third-world nations — but Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t mind.

“That’s not a measure of something we should be ashamed of,” Bloomberg told reporters at a press conference on Staten Island Thursday, when asked about new census data out last week.

The latest numbers show the gap between the city’s rich and poor is on the rise, with the median income for the bottom fifth of New Yorkers down to less than $9,000 in 2011, while the top fifth of households made a median $200,000.

The disparity was even starker in Manhattan, where the top-fifth earners took in nearly $400,000, versus less than $10,000 for those in the bottom fifth — meaning the wealthiest residents now make more than 40 times as much as those on the bottom rung. That's on par with many Sub-Saharan African nations, the New York Times noted.

Bloomberg, however, dismissed the criticism and said there's nothing wrong with the city's uber-rich.

“Those comparisons are about as meaningless a set of numbers as you can come up with,” he said, noting that the city had “tried very hard” to lure wealthy people from around the nation to boost tax revenue.

“The last time a government tried to have everybody have the same level of income, it didn’t work out very well," he said.

Instead, Bloomberg said what's needed is better education and more jobs at every level.

“What we really have here is... a gap in education,” he said.

Bloomberg is the 10th richest person in the country, according to Forbes.

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