Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Repeat Offenders

You have to give Mayor Mike's enables credit for persistence; they keep plugging away at the term limits repeal so they can keep their boy in power. As the NY Sun reports this morning, some of the cheerleaders believe that Ron Lauder won't stand in the way of a third Bloomberg term: "The city's leading champion of term limits is privately signaling a new openness to a third term for Mayor Bloomberg. Several business leaders who have spoken with businessman and philanthropist Ronald Lauder have left with the impression that he would not challenge an effort to extend term limits by a referendum, a source with knowledge of the conversations said."

The trial balloon, however, was instantly burst by a Lauder spokesperson: "A spokesman for Mr. Lauder, Nelson Warfield, said anyone trying to tinker with term limits would face resistance from Mr. Lauder. "These un-named business leaders should leave impressions to comedians. They are totally off-base," Mr. Warfield wrote in an e-mail message yesterday. "Mr. Lauder will defend the voters' choice of a two-term limit for city politicians as-is. And the in-depth polling we have done shows voters won't tolerate any tinkering with the law. Do these people really think voters want to reward the distinguished public servants who gave us the City Council slush fund scandal with more time in office?"

The quote here is on the money, since any mayoral extension would have to include one for the council as well-something that would be likely an anathema to voters. Which leads us to the wisdom behind the push for more of Mayor Mike.

The NY Post gets it just right this morning when it underscores the mayor's lack of government efficiency: "But Mike says the city has acted differently, having saved and paid down debt during "the good times" and tightened its belt when "storm clouds" gathered. The truth? On his watch, City Hall's budget soared some 44 percent, from $43 billion in '02 to $62 billion this year - more than twice as fast as inflation. Per-capita debt through '07 alone grew 40 percent, from $5,083 to $7,096. And Bloomberg, by the way, knows very well where most of the federal non-defense spending goes: to the very social programs - entitlements in particular - he wants to expand."

It's quite clear that Bloomberg checked all of his considerable fiscal acumen at the door when he entered city hall in 2002. His view of government is expansive and paternalistic when it comes to social services; a liberal view that somehow masks the extent to which his economic development policies aggrandize all of those who are plotting for his retention. The bifurcated policy perspective is a synthesis of approaches that achieves nothing but composite error.

The Post captures this nicely: "Mike says nothing about DC's monster outlays for health, welfare, education, housing, etc. Indeed, he recently called for a new definition of poverty that would bloat the number of officially poor New Yorkers (those eligible for public aid) by more than 21 percent. True, most New York pols would have spent even more recklessly than Mike. (Those in Albany sure have.) But that's scant grounds for boasting. And the fact that Mike understands the harm in unchecked spending makes his own fiscal record all the more shameful."