Friday, January 27, 2006

Mike's Mantra

Another aspect of the mayor's speech deserves scrutiny: his continual tin ear when it comes to making government less onerous to the city's businesses. There was absolutely nothing said, as the Sun and Post point out, about the need to cut taxes and regulatory burdens that stifle economic growth, particularly for the retailers on the city's over 200 commercial strips.

This is in keeping with an anti-small business mindset that the mayor has demonstrated over the past four years. It is, as the Post points out, part of a big government liberal paternalism that fails to understand that economic growth is something that government needs to facilitate not something that it needs to undertake and engineer on its own.

But this is precisely how Bloomberg misreads the role of the city and the function of the government under his control. His view of economic development is underscored by the promotion of mega-projects that are splashy demonstrations of an active government intervention on behalf of the people.

The fact that in the process hundreds of existing small businesses get whacked out is insignificant to him. He simply fails to get the way in which the struggles of these smaller entrepreneurs is the essence of an organic economic growth that could be accelerated by less government, a real benign neglect. This is precisely what the BTM and Willets Point symbolize. Mike Bloomberg can only conceive economic development in terms of large scale monuments to--well, himself.