Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ed Koch and His Manes-Esposito Initiative

It's realy nice to see that Ed Koch is active in his dotage-even if his long term memory is, shall we say, a bit faulty. It seems that our former mayor is heading up a reform PAC to clean up Albany. As Daily Politics reports: "Former Mayor Ed Koch and friends are crusading to fix Albany, and DN City Hall Bureau Chief Adam Lisberg, was on hand for the big presser this morning. Koch's New York Uprising campaign, which also includes Dick Dadey of Citizens Union and former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, wants "each candidate, if elected, to create an independent, non-partisan Redistricting Commission to draft advisory maps for the legislature to review and approve."

Well, good for Ed. But our own memory is still acute-and we can't help but recall that Easy Ed's third term was, how can we put this, riddled with political corruption-a major reason why he was sent packing by the lovable Dave Dinkins. But it is nice to see Koch reach back to his Tammany Hall fighting days; although we're not sure that nonpartisan redistricting is this year's signature issue. You know what we mean?
In our view, the size and scope of our failing state government is going to be in the voters' crosshairs-along with the dysfunction that has characterized the past three years of unelected office holders. In this vein, the usual suspects are out of the gate in a rush calling for more taxes on the wealthy. As City Room reports: "Gov. David A. Paterson and the Legislature have spent weeks arguing over how to cut enough spending to close the state’s $9 billion budget gap, with little progress. But the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Center for Working Families, two left-leaning research and advocacy groups, have a different plan. Instead of cutting programs for the many, raise taxes on the wealthiest few, particularly those working on Wall Street, the two groups argue in a new proposal. “The governor’s paradigm has been that we need to cut everything in order to match current revenues,” said Sunshine Ludder, a senior policy organizer at the center who helped draft the proposal. “Our take is, we need to raise revenues from those who earned windfall profits thanks to the taxpayer bailout.”

Never mind the fact that the so-called wealthy are an ever expanding class according to our tax and spend fanatics-or that taxing the state's core business might yield some rather unpleasant unintended consequences. In addition, any four corners offense on cutting the size of government means that, once the wealthy are appropriately smacked upside the head-and the golden goose is cooked-we will still be left with an insatiable Leviathan; and the need to perpetually feed the beast with more money gouged from average New York home owners and small business folks.

But banging the Wall Street bogeyman is always good politics-as we can see by the president's efforts at misdirection away from popular obsession with his health care law. On Thursday, Obama will come to New York City to lift his lance against the malefactors of great wealth-the great majority of whom lavished beaucoup bucks on candidate Obama in 2008, and will likely do so again in 2012 after the curtain falls on the current faux outrage. There are no savvier folks than the financiers, who are adroit at identifying a popular Punch and Judy show when they see it-and who better to play an aggressive Punch than Obama.

Where Koch stands on this crucial election issue is anyone's guess-but since he enthusiastically backed the mayor for three terms, it's clear that he's more concerned with process than substance; and it's hard to see Ed Koch enthralled by any Tea Party manifesto. So we hail the octogenerian former mayor for his continued vigor, while at the same time smirking at the thought of Ed Koch as a born again reformer.