We have been railing against Mayor Bloomberg's latest foray into myth making-this time trying to convince a national audience that his economic acumen has led NYC to recover at a better rate than the country's overall economy. As we commented, Greg David threw a splash of cold water on this exercise in hyperbole, and now the mayor's biographer, Joyce Purnick, adds her two cents: "And in New York because it is the home of Wall Street, larger factors are always at work. Though Bloomberg did not mention it in his speech, after the recession flattened the financial industry, federal stimulus programs restored Wall Street, expanding badly needed city tax revenues. And actions of the Federal Reserve to keep the dollar low have flooded the city with tourists and foreign investment."
So why is it surprising that, in the middle of attacking the dysfunction of Washington, the mayor failed to mention the fact that it was the federal government's actions that have more or less insulted the city from the worst impacts of the Great Recession? It's no surprise to us-we have seen the mayor do this kind of Lilly gilding before. After all, he spent the better part of two years before the last election trumpeting his educational miracle-one that was built on a fraudulent test score house of cards.
But what really galls us-and we have said this time and again-is that Bloomberg's crowing is a dishonest portrayal of how badly NYC's economy is doing if we remove Wall Street from the equation. And in trumpeting his middle way, the mayor intentionally obscures how his own big government high tax policies have crippled small businesses here-the supposed backbone of any economy.
As the NY Post editorializes this morning-reacting to the mayor's wandering-"Meanwhile, New York City is facing billions in red ink, planning big layoffs of teachers and other employees, negotiating critical union contracts and installing new leadership in the schools. Isn't that enough for Mike to worry about? We'd certainly say so."
But the Post, while chiding Bloomberg, is really pulling its punches. The mayor has spent and expanded in ways that have crippled the city's ability to encourage entrepreneurism. On the same editorial page, Ray Keating makes the point-calling NY State and NJ an anti-biz zone:
"New York and New Jersey are the worst states in America for starting up, building or running a business -- with the Garden State ekeing out a "victory" as No. 50. That grim news comes from the just-published "Small Business Survival Index 2010: Ranking the Policy Environment for Entrepreneurship Across the Nation," this year's version of an annual report I compile for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. The Index ranks the states according to 38 government-imposed or government-related costs that impact entrepreneurship, investment and the economy. (We also rank the District of Columbia, which does worse overall than any of the states, but it's a special case.) The measures generally cover three major areas -- taxes, regulations and government spending. Alas, New York and New Jersey "excel" on just about every front..."