Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Michael Bloomberg's New York

Being an inhabitant of the nation’s largest city I pay especially close attention to its condition.

If we are to believe Joel Kotkin, New York City is in decline. When Kotkin looked at the results of the recent election in New York’s 9th Congressional district he concluded that they reflected the failure of the Bloomberg administration to improve life for the middle class.

For some time now we have all known that New York is divided between the rich and the rest. When 40,000 people pay 50% of the taxes, you are dealing with an extraordinary level of income inequality.

This means that the excessively high taxes that wealthy New Yorkers are paying have not diminished income inequality.

Kotkin explains that Mayor Bloomberg has run a blue state administration. He has taxed the rich while bloating the bureaucracy and overpaying unionized workers.

In Kotkin’s words: “For a decade, the Bloomberg paradigm has held the city together: Wall Street riches fund an expanding bureaucracy that promotes social liberalism and nanny-state green politics. Indeed, Wall Street’s fortune — guaranteed by federal bailouts and monetary policy under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — has been the key to the mayor’s largely self-funded political success. Under Bloomberg, Wall Street’s profits allowed city expenditures to grow40% faster than the rate of inflation. Bloomberg was also able to buy political peace by bestowing raises two to three times the rate of inflation on the city’s unionized workers.”

Kotkin continues that the party is just about over: “Now this calculus is falling apart. Layoffs are mounting on Wall Street, while bonuses — the red meat that fuels everything from high-end condos to expensive boutiques and restaurants — are expected to drop 30% from last year.”

When you live by one industry, you run the risk of seeing that industry have a bad year or move out of town.

Kotkin concludes that as a laboratory for liberal and progressive governance, Michael Bloomberg’s New York counts as a failure: “Ultimately, the basic truth is this: Bloomberg’s luxury city has failed most of its citizens. Despite its self-celebrated “progressive” image, New York has the most unequal distribution of income in the nation. The bulk of the job growth has not been on Wall Street, where employment has declined over the decade, but in hospitality and restaurants, which pay salaries 60% below the city average. In fact, restaurants are now the largest single private employers in Manhattan, with more people serving tables than trading equities.  As the New York Post quipped: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere — as a waiter.”

So an extraordinarily successful businessman and entrepreneur, a Democrat turned RINO, helped lead New York City on a slow motion decline.

And now we are being told that we should vote for a businessman who has limited experience in government and whose government leadership was marked by blue state policies.

It’s worth some thought.

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