Monday, April 13, 2009

Pinnochio Bloomberg

As the NY Times reported on Saturday, the mayor is threatened with an elongated nose if he keeps claiming that he's going to "create or save' 400,000 jobs over the next six years: "The optimistic note, which implies a net gain of 100,000 jobs by 2015, seems to contradict most projections of employment in the city, including those from the mayor’s own office. In January, the city’s Office of Management and Budget forecast that there would be fewer jobs in the city at the end of 2013 — nearly five years off — than there are now."

Really? We are shocked and dismayed that the mayor is, once again, playing fast and loose with the truth as he uses figures to flim flam New Yorkers about what he has done, and what he claims he will do, to make all of our lives better. From school test scores to economic forecasting, whenever Bloomberg speaks, it's best that you hold tight to your wallet-since the only real positive economic impact he has had comes, every four years like clockwork, from his periodic electoral spending sprees.

So as far as forecasting is concerned, even the TV weather folks do a better job-and that's a low bar indeed. The Independent Budget Office has a, well, independent, and more accurate forecast: "The city’s Independent Budget Office expects the job losses to continue until the middle of next year. After that, employment growth in the city will lag behind the national recovery, said George Sweeting, deputy director of the budget office. “The city went into this late, and we think it’s going to come out late,” Mr. Sweeting said. He added that according to his office’s forecast, “by the end of 2013, we’re still not back to where we were at the end of the first quarter of 2008.”

And just how does the mayor expect to carry out this economic legerdemain? With the same "five borough plan" that he touted during the last election cycle? And the last uptick in employment came after 9/11, with a resurgent Wall Street-a phenomenon unlikely to repeat itself any time son. And Bloomberg the Commoner doesn't want anyone to associate him too closely to the reviled financiers.

Apparently, according to the $100 million fable, this child of Wall Street was abandoned by his parents at an early age, and no longer wants to acknowledge this tainted paternity. Better to don shirt sleeves and pretend an affinity for the city's common folks-a pretense akin to Bernie Madoff claiming financial probity.

But nothing that has any close proximity to veracity is ever in the Bloomberg repertoire-and the same holds true for this latest nose lengthener: "Even if Mr. Bloomberg is re-elected, he would be out of office before his promise could be tested. And, as N. Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard economist, pointed out, he could always fall back on the phrase “create or save” 400,000 jobs. “Absent a parallel universe in which there was another New York City,” Mr. Mankiw said, there would be no way to measure how many jobs had actually been saved by Mr. Bloomberg’s actions."

The perfect scenario for a serial prevaricator, isn't it? And when you have $100 million to spend on the prevarication, what chance does the truth really have?