Thursday, October 23, 2008

Taxing Credulity

In this morning's NY Post there's an editorial about the governor's aide who failed to file his taxes for a number of years; the title is: "Taxing Credibility." The headline, however, would be more appropriately attached to the NY Daily News' lead editorial on term limits; an opinion that sees the overturning of a referendum as "empowering the voter." Orwell would be proud.

But it doesn't stop there, because the News feels that the mayor's acumen uniquely qualifies him during this fiscal crisis:

"It's about empowering New Yorkers to make the best choice, be that Michael Bloomberg or someone else. Two Democrats have declared they'll run: Controller Bill Thompson and Rep. Anthony Weiner. Each has selling points, but the matter must not rest there. Not when there's talk of raising the property tax. Not when there's talk of hiking the income tax. Not when the MTA is floating the possibility of fare hikes and service cuts worse than initially conceived.
Not when state government, in its own $10 billion trough, will be looking for its own new taxes and ways to cut aid to the city. Under these circumstances, the Council must let New Yorkers decide whom they trust to manage in crisis and to preserve their bank accounts."

Are these folks for real? Who was the guy who raised our taxes in the post 9/11 meltdown-only to be bailed out by the supposed infamous George Bush and his federal cuts? And who is the one is already getting us ready for another round of taxes at a time when city residents are the most taxed people in the country? And what about the hiking of the income tax? None other than that partner in crime, the speaker of the city council.

What we don't need is a non innovative, paint-by-the-numbers tax hiker in the current mess we're in; nor do we need such sycophancy from a businessman turned publisher. In fact, in our view, the mayor can readily forgo his yearly colonoscopy by just asking Mort to shine his flash light.

But the city is blessed by a rich choir of voices-and the NY Post chimes in in beautiful harmony: "Bloomberg, of course, is an exception: He's a proven, competent leader - just what the doctor ordered at a time when New York City is facing perhaps unparalleled economic and fiscal challenges."

Sure he is. Mr. Indispensable. Just ask him. Or ask Pinch Sulzberger who has his paper of wreckage, in a fit of unexpected creativity, reprint Bloomberg talking points: "The question of voter choice is particularly relevant now. Although a majority of New Yorkers, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, oppose changing the term-limits rule, a majority of New Yorkers also strongly approve Mr. Bloomberg’s performance and, more to the point, say they would vote for him given the opportunity."

Sound familiar? As the News said: "Many in the public are unsettled by the notion of amending term limits without a referendum. The latest Quinnipiac Poll showed a 51%-to-45% slant against the idea. But the same survey showed that in even larger numbers - 59% - New Yorkers say they'll probably or definitely vote for Bloomberg if he's on the ballot. Almost two in three said they are confident he would meet the challenges of the coming crisis.

But, as this issue continues to roil the public consciousness, the notion of indispensability will gradually recede; replaced by anger and annoyance that a rich dilettante feels such a sense of entitlement that the will of the people be damned. As the contrasting reporting over at the Times has underscored, Mike Bloomberg can no longer hide behind a curtain of false rectitude-this cat's out of the bag.