Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday accused the Wall Street demonstrators of trying to cripple New York City's economy.Aren't there noise ordinances? Whoever's pounding on a drum at 10:45 should have his hands removed. Still, Bloomberg's more or less hoping the temper tantrum peters out.
"What they're trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city," the mayor declared in his harshest criticism of the three-week-old protest that has caught the attention of the nation.
"They're trying to take away the tax base we have because none of this is good for tourism."
Although he expressed sympathy for "some of their complaints," Bloomberg warned that addressing them has to be accomplished "without hurting people and making the problem worse."
"If the jobs they are trying to get rid of in this city -- the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy -- we're not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean the blocks or anything else."
The mayor's comments came in response to a caller to his WOR Radio show who asked what the city intended to do about the protest headquarters in Zuccotti Park, which is near her apartment and where hundreds of people are camped out.
"What about my rights to use the park?" asked the caller, named Marsha.
"This is a little bit of greenery that we reclaimed after Sept. 11. It's not usable. There is a general sense of incivility down there. But worst of all are the drums and the shouting. I know they've agreed to stop the drumming. Last night they were drumming until 10:45. Someone did a little practice drumming this morning at 7:50."
"We couldn't agree more," replied the mayor.
One problem: Obama doesn't want it to. And the more he sinks in the polls (record low today in Gallup), the more desperate he'll become, some fear.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Friday that he believes the Occupy Wall Street protests stem from divisive rhetoric from President Obama, who has called for the richest Americans to pay increased taxes to help close the budget deficit.
"I see the president's rhetoric of envy inflaming the public and saying, 'Go get yours because rich people don't deserve it,'" Paul said on Fox Business.
Paul said he was worried that the president would stoke the protestors' passions to the point that they could become violent.
"I see it as inflaming this Paris mob that I hope doesn't result in a lawlessness where they say, 'Well, gosh, those nice iPads through the window should be mine and why don't I throw a brick through the window to get them because rich people don't deserve to have them when I can't have them,'" Paul said.