Once again, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's billions have clouded his perception.
The wealthy mayor defended pharmaceutical companies and their CEOs on his radio show this morning, declaring that they "don't make a lot of money'' and shouldn't be scapegoats in the health care debate.
"You know, last time I checked, pharmaceutical companies don't make a lot of money, their executives don't make a lot of money -- not that they couldn't be better," said Bloomberg, whose fortune is estimated at $16.5 billion.
Ummm … come again? They don't make a lot of money? Abbott Laboratories Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Miles White's compensation was $25.3 million in 2008. Schering-Plough Corp. Chief Executive Fred Hassan made $16.2 million.
Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot collected $25.8 million that year and Merck CEO Richard Clark raked in $25.1 million -- 30 percent more than the guy holding the job the year before, according to AFLCIO.org.
We'd sure be happy to be raking in that kind of dough. Earth to Planet Bloomberg.
It was clear someone realized his gaffe during the radio show. After a break, Bloomberg said he looked up the pay of some pharmaceutical executives, acknowledging some do make a "decent amount of money.''
In case you need more references, Bloomy, here's a few:
- William C. Weldon, Johnson & Johnson, $29.1 million
- James M. Cornelius, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, $23.2 million
- Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer, $15.5 million
- J. Michael Pearson, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, $20.2 million
The mayor, a Republican-turned-independent who already has spent more than $36 million on his re-election campaign this year, often battles criticism that he is out of touch with regular people.
In June, Bloomberg made a similar gaffe when he said President Obama "doesn't get paid that much" and is "on a budget" like millions of Americans. Obama makes $400,000 a year as commander in chief and earned nearly $3 million in book royalties in 2008.
The campaign of City Comptroller William Thompson, who's expected to face Bloomberg in the mayoral race, was quick to jump on Bloomy's latest misstep.
"Once again, Mike proves that he just doesn't get it," Thompson's campaign said in a statement.