First query after vacation

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Sep 10 17:36:02 UTC 2003

Quoting Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>:

> At 7:24 AM -0400 9/10/03, Dave Wilton wrote:
> >  > > Billionaire Bloomberg, scion of a wealthy Massachusetts
> >>  family, on the
> >>  other
> >>  > hand...
> >>  >
> >>  Scion of a wealthy family? Is that a joke?
> >
> >No, it's not. While he earned the billions on his own, his family was
> >definitely upper middle class and relatively well off. Not fabulously
> >wealthy, merely well to do, upstanding citizens of Boston suburbia.
> Well, there is a bit of an inconsistency here; if Bloomberg's
> biosketch is right, he's the son of a bookkeeper for a dairy and he
> "parked cars and took out loans to finance his education" at Johns
> Hopkins.  That doesn't fit my definition of "scion of a wealthy
> family" no matter how much stretching is done to notions of "well to
> do".  Of course, the claim may be that the information on the web
> site Enid linked us to is all phony and that his father actually
> owned the dairy, but it does seem unlikely that a wealthy young man
> whose parents were helping support him would have taken out a loan
> and spent his college parking cars on the side for fun...

First, consider the source. This is Bloomberg's official political bio as mayor
of NYC. It should not be considered "phony," (it is almost certainly absolutely
true in a technical sense) but we should also recognize that the bio has
been "spun" to achieve the desired political effect.

What was this dairy that his father worked for? How large was it? Was his
father an employee or was he a CPA in private practice who had a large dairy as
a client among other corporate clients?

The bio does not detail the extent of the college loans. 1958 was the start of
the federal student loan programs (the National Defense Student Loan program
was started in response to Sputnik). His Dad, the accountant, may have
recognized the value of a guaranteed, low-interest loan even if they could have
paid the tuition without it. Bloomberg would have been in on the early years of
this program.

Nor does the bio state what he did with the money he earned parking cars. Did
it go to tuition or was it beer money?

Even well off kids get student loans and work summer jobs.

Everything I have read about Bloomberg (which admittedly is not a great deal)
indicates that he had a privileged, upper-middle-class upbringing. Not
fabulously wealthy, but comfortable.

Still, none of this really has anything to do with the original point.
Billionaire Bloomberg will take care not to appear aloof and upper class in the
way he speaks. He is percieved as fabulously wealthy and privileged no matter
what his actual background. One should expect him to attempt "folksy" locutions
and avoid Latin and other "educated" phrases. Other politicians, like Cuomo,
don't have this problem. They can show off their erudition without being
labeled as being born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Dave Wilton
dave at

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