Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Goodwin Gets Albany

Michael Goodwin, following up on our stalemate kudos of yesterday, looks at the bright side of a sidelined legislature: "The pols want a judge to end the Albany stalemate, but a shrink would be my choice. And not just to treat the buffoons in the Legislature. The public is acting crazy, too.
It's in the grip of an epidemic of Stockholm syndrome, a malady that causes hostages to identify with their captors. Since millions of New Yorkers are suffering, we're changing the name to Gotham Syndrome. The major symptom is a failure to recognize what's good for you. In this case, it means a failure to recognize that the first thing Albany will do when it gets back to work is raise the sales tax in the city by half a percent, to 8.875%. What's your hurry, folks? Can't wait to pay $900 million more in taxes? Now that's insane."

And Goodwin gets it exactly right-every day the senate stays out is money in our pockets-even if the mayor sees the "crisis" just like any three card monte dealer might-lost revenue from the marks: "Mayor Bloomberg, by saying the stalemate is "costing" the city $60 million a month and getting the public angry at Albany, has taken the art of the con to a dazzling new level. Any taxpayer in his right mind would realize that every day Albany dawdles is another day his taxes can't be raised. The $60 million the delay is "costing" the city is actually $60 million that stays in our pockets. That's a good thing."

Which gets us to the heart of the matter-something that we have already posted on this morning; the apparatus of government has grown way too large: "Never mind that the bloated government bureaucracies have hardly been scratched. All that matters is that fewer working people must pay higher taxes to keep them safe from the recession. "Any less revenues mean fewer employees, because the city's budget is basically hiring 300,000 of the best people that anybody's ever put together and paying them," Bloomberg said. Apparently we absolutely need every one of them, even though we're paying an average of $107,000 a year each in salary and benefits."

Bloomberg must be on crack! So, when he complains about pension costs that are mandated and out of the city's control, he wants us to ignore the fact that the more folks he hires, the greater is our already unmanageable pension liability. Oh, but look how well the schools are doing.

Sure, if you believe the watered down state test results-and the mayor's brutally honest campaign spots-we're on the right road to educational nirvana; with 80,000 teachers-up from the 40,000 we used to make do with-serving a school population that has decreased from the 1.1 million kids of a few years ago. Oh, and did we mention that the school budget is up 80% to a cool 23 billion dollars? That's about $20,000 per pupil. But, you get what you pay for, don't you?

So, Goodwin is right. We are suffering from a Gotham Syndrome. And pretty soon we will all be singing:

"California, here I come right back where I started from.
Where Bowers of flowers bloom in the spring.
Each morning at dawning, birdies sing an' everything.
A sunkist miss said, "Don't be late" that's why I can hardly wait.
Open up that Golden Gate,
California here I come."