Michael Barbaro and Kitty Bennett:
An analysis by The New York Times shows that Mr. Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.)
In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job.
In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor.
This angle isn’t new, but it puts an actual number on what Bloomberg has done — which is pretty spectacular. As weird as it sounds, it’s more like a king spending to improve his kingdom than any modern political story we’re used to.
In many ways, it’s too bad that yesterday was his last day in office. It seems unlikely we’re going to see another politician like that in a long time simply because very few people on this planet have both the desire and the resources of Bloomberg. And fewer still would put them to good use.