In what is really an eye-opening story in Saturday's NY Times, our old friend Jennifer Steinhauer has discovered a startling trend in the city's economy. It seems that the city lost 11,000 private sector jobs in October, "the greatest month-to-month job loss since 2003 (What happened to the Bloomberg "five borough economic development plan" that we were forced to hear about ad nauseam throughout the mayor's campaign ad blitz?).
We say startling because for those of us who have followed Steinhauer’s work we have never noticed this degree of doom and gloom (in fact some of her reporting could make rose-colored glasses look like pessimism). Now it certainly isn't clear when this particular gloomy trend was first noticed but, to borrow that great Watergate phrase, "What did she know and when did she know it?"
Now we know that we're using JS as our favorite whipping girl but we can't quite help ourselves because all throughout the Bloomberg barrage we were gnashing our teeth (and rolling our terrible eyes...) just waiting for the Times to do some hard-hitting deconstruction of the mayor's self-serving canned messages. That was something that Steinhauer never did, either at Room 9 or when she shifted over to the economy beat.
Her revelatory article, then, gives us a satisfying sense of expectation for the moment when the mayor is forced to come to grips with a $4.5 billion deficit in the middle of an economic downturn. Will the Times and the other media acolytes continue to sneer at the "conservative" critique of the Bloomberg tax, spend and regulate program? What will happen when the mayor is forced to balance next year’s budget? Will he really try to do "more with less?” And how will he accomplish that?
Our guess is that the anticipated canonization of Mayor Mike is going to have to be put on hold. The sound you're going to be hearing is that of the plunger as the Q-Ratings start to get flushed down the toilet and as the "I only do what's best for New Yorkers" mayor is exposed to be a less than the sterling crisis manger, an image reinforced by expensively purchased campaign advertisements and lapped up by the New York public and press. Again, it’s good to remember Coach Carnesecca’s aphorism: "peacock today, feather-duster tomorrow."