Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Back to the Future?

In this morning's NY Daily News, the paper compares the current fiscal crisis to the mega-meltdown in 1975-and discovers that we're doing things differently, and in some ways better: "The city's brush with bankruptcy in 1975 gave future mayors a playbook for dealing with this crisis - and it's one Mayor Bloomberg appears to be following, doing things like paying down debt, putting money aside in flush times and trying to keep spending in check."

But the News fails to highlight the ways in which the mayor is, in some significant ways, following in the footsteps of Abe Beame and company. Put simply, the mayor's expansive view of the role of municipal government was the very philosophy that got New York into so much trouble-trying to implement, in Ken Auletta's prescient view, a quasi-socialism in the city.

So, while the mayor's now talking like a tough guy, he hasn't governed like one; and it sure doesn't make up for seven years of spending and general profligacy-taxing small businesses and homeowners while expanding the city payroll. Bloomberg's surely no fiscal guardian angel, and a more heady successor is badly needed.