Friday, October 31, 2008

With Help Like This...

City Room blog picks up on the Bloomberg/Quinn economic stimulus package: "It may not be a bailout, but every little bit helps. That was the message on Thursday when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and six other Council members unveiled a package of 18 initiatives that they said would help New Yorkers absorb the impact of the global economic crisis."

Keeping up with the Machiavellian notion, that it's better to appear good than to be good, Quinnberg unveils initiatives that will have little impact on the real world situation of most New Yorkers. The promotion of this package of irrelevancies is designed to generate a symbolic attachment to the belief that the city is rallying to our side during these troubled times.

Yet, Speaker Quinn sees this differently: “Getting ahead of this storm won’t be easy, but with all of the people here today stepping up to the challenge together, I’m confident we’ll help New Yorkers deal with this economic downturn, in tangible ways that can make an immediate impact,” Ms. Quinn said." Encouraging, no?

As we said before, the mayor and the speaker refrain from doing the most positive of tangible initiatives-reducing taxes and regulations, substituting symbols for concrete relief: "Among some of the specifics, the city wants to allow homeowners with properties valued at under $250,000 to pay quarterly, rather than semi-annually. Then again, he is widely expected to announce as early as next week that the city needs to raise property taxes by 7 percent, starting in January, to generate another $600 million to pad city coffers until the end of the fiscal year, on June 30."

This is the highest form of crackpot realism-permitting homeowners to pay higher taxes quarterly so that they won't feel the elevated payments as much. And this can be announced with a straight face? Get ready folks for the backdraft on all of this flim flammery.