Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Partnership to Destroy Middle Class NYC

This Sunday on the cable network C-SPAN, on a program called Q&A, there's going to be an hour-long interview with someone named Kathryn Wylde. Ms. Wylde is the president of a harmless sounding organization called the Partnership for New York City. Harmless, that is, until you understand who exactly constitutes this "partnership" and what it's all about.

According to its website, the PNYC's mission "is to engage the business community in efforts to advance the economy of New York City and maintain the city’s position as the center of world commerce, finance and innovation. Through the New York City Investment Fund, the Partnership contributes directly to projects that create jobs, improve economically distressed communities and stimulate new business creation."

Well, if that's this organization's goal, then it's been a complete and utter failure. Unemployment in NYC outstrips the national average. So does poverty. Did you know that the Bronx contains the poorest zip codes in America, just miles away from some of the richest? How exactly does the PNYC help the distressed and poor in NYC and what have they done? What is its record of success? Amazingly, this organization doesn't include any info about that on its website -- perhaps, because, there is no record of success of which to boast about. 

And how is this organization helping middle class New York? Oh, that's right -- it isn't! In fact, the words "middle class" are no where to found on this organization's website!

"But hey Mr NYC," you might be saying, "why are you busting their balls? At least they're trying!"
Well, take a look at their board of directors and tell me if these are the people you think really care or have any interest in helping the poor and middle class in NYC. This board includes, amongst others: the odious Rupert Murdoch, the right-wing new tycoon who's done more to destroy journalism in this country that anyone else; Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, the organization called "a vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" and that did more to trigger the global financial crises than anyone; Richard Parsons, the former head of Time-Warner who also recently fathered a love child; James Tisch, the CEO of Loews, who is always saying nasty things about President Obama; and Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citi Group, who took home tens of millions of dollars in bonuses after the bank bailout. 

Reading this list of usual suspects, many of whom are responsible for the current economic mess this country is in, leaves you scratching your head. These people claim they want to save NYC -- after nearly destroying the world? And why are they still considered respectable, when many of them should probably be in jail?

Search me!

The reality about the Partnership for New York City is that it's an organization that has no interest in helping poor or middle class New Yorkers, or in creating jobs and making the city's economy work for everyone. It's an organization by and for the rich, trying to ensure they remain rich and get richer. This organization is a total fraud. Of course, the PNYC is not going to claim that it's for the rich because that wouldn't, you know, go over so well with the general public. Instead, they lie and say they're about helping people and creating jobs -- when there's no proof that they have or ever will done either.

Want proof? During the last election, Kathryn Wylde indicated that she absolutely did not want Democrat Eric Schniederman to win the Attorney General's race. She told New York magazine, " “The business community is unsettled by the idea of another activist attorney general." Ms. Wylde was concerned that we might keep having AGs that actually prosecuted financial crimes which screwed the middle class instead of covering up for Wall Stret like the Bush and Obama administrations did and have done. Sadly for Ms. Wylde, her candidate, Republican Dan Donovan, lost badly. Happily for the rest of NYC, Schneiderman won. But, as you can see, he has powerful enemies.

I don't know if I'll have the stomach to sit through this interview on C-SPAN tomorrow night, but for those of you who do watch it, just remember: she and her organization are liars She and her organization do not care about the people they supposedly claim to care about. They care about themselves. And that's it. 

Postscript: if you haven't read Matt Taibbi's last great article, "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?", you must. It sheds a lot of light on what happened to our economy and how people like those who make up the PNYC are responsible for the tragedy are are living in. His conclusion about this whole mess is, as ever, spot on. He writes: 

"The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don't feel real; you don't see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They're crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let's steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They're attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone's claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality."

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