Monday, January 12, 2009

Immaculate Deception

The NY Daily News opined yesterday-citing the CBC's report-about the ballooning personnel costs that threaten the solvency of city government: "Numbers just published by the Citizens Budget Commission reveal that the price tag for the average city worker has soared to $107,000 a year. That breaks down to $69,124 in pay and $37,619 in health insurance and pension costs.
Both sides of the ledger have gone off the charts since 2000, rising faster than inflation - with the expense of benefits skyrocketing by an astonishing 182%. At a time when the city is going broke, Mayor Bloomberg is contemplating deep service cuts and taxpayers face big hikes, the figures are indefensible."

Absolutely, the situation is intolerable, but the News writes as if the current indefensible state of affairs has arrived through some form of immaculate conception: "New Yorkers have every right to expect that in these tough times the city's labor force will recognize that the public no longer has the wherewithal to foot the bills. Sacrifice - reasonable sacrifice - is in order."

The NY Post calls it like it is: "But the scariest part is how fast these costs have grown: In 2000 - shortly before Mike Bloomberg became mayor - the city's yearly tab was just $65,000 per average employee. So the cost has soared fully 63 percent since then - twice as fast as in the private sector."

The reality is that we're facing this budgetary problem because our Fiscal Maven-in-Chief has been misfeasant-failing to rein in the size of government because he simply didn't believe in the necessity of doing so. This is the same Bloomberg that the News is touting for a third term owing to the belief that the city needs his acumen in these economic hard times. Here's how the NY Times had described the personnel fiasco: "Bolstered in part by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s spending, the average New York City employee cost the city $107,000 a year in wages, health insurance, pension and other benefits in the 2008 fiscal year, an increase of 63 percent since 2000, according to a new report."

Quite the disconnect to us-especially from a paper that is quick to hand out Knucklehead Awards for some rather minor political peccadillos. If Joel Rivera deserves a Knucklehead designation for wanting to use zoning to cut down on the number of fast food restaurants in low income areas, what kind of award does Mike Bloomberg deserve for failing to rein in the cost of city government when the municipal treasury was flush?

According to the Daily News, Bloomberg's award is a third term; an indication of either the paper's lack of acuity and balance, or more likely, symbolic of it's essence as a special pleader for a friend and classmate. Given the obvious lapse in judgment, we suggest that the News should refrain from now on in pointing fingers at the wayward among the political class.