Thursday, October 08, 2009

Economics 101

Now, as we all know, the reason we need Mike Bloomberg for a third term is because of the fiscal crisis that, owing to his superior management skill, demands that we not change horses and bring in new inexperienced blood to lead. However, what does the record really show-and has Bloomberg earned the usurped third term?

The reality is that the city is at record unemployment, with small neighborhood businesses hardest hit-at least after the financial sector that was also truly devastated but was a victim more of national trends beyond the control of local factors. These other businesses-particularly neighborhood retailers, have been victimized not only be the escalating cost of doing business in NYC, but by a mega development policy of the Bloombergistas that have aggrandized large retail development at the expense of local firms.

Yesterday Comptroller Bill Thompson, acknowledging these trends, hit hard at the mayor's policies for exacerbating the economic downturn. As the NY Times reports: "Seeking to undercut his rival’s main rationale for a third term, the Democratic candidate for mayor, William C. Thompson Jr., issued a blistering attack Wednesday on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s economic record, arguing that he has created many low-paying jobs, crippled small businesses with fees, and relied on megadevelopments that eat up taxpayer subsidies."

And so he has. Take consumer affairs violations for supermarkets-where revenue collection has increased from around $2 million a year to closer to $16 million. And this is on top of the parking fines that wallop deliveries. One of our local C-Town stores on University Avenue in the Bronx, routinely is socked with $500 worth of tickets each time Krasdale Foods makes a delivery to the store. The city decided to move a bus stop right in front of the store so there is no place for any delivery to be made legally. The cost of this is passed on to the consumers-and the result is that it is harder for local food stores to remain competitive and stay in business.

Now the city comes forward with its Fresh Initiative that is designed to bring more supermarkets to the boroughs-yet fails to consider ways to address the loss of such markets because of its own anti-small business policies. Thompson assailed the mayor and made some proposals to redirect city resources elsewhere: "He demanded, for instance, that the city stop blanketing small businesses with tickets, which he described as “harassment.” Yet higher ticket collections under Mr. Bloomberg have provided the city with tens of millions of dollars to finance a range of services."

Stop right there! What services are being provided by these fee collections, and how many jobs are lost because these fees, and the higher taxes that accompany them, are costing the city hundreds of thousands of jobs in retail stores whose revenues are being plundered? Thompson needs to stay on this theme-and hit the mayor from the right side of the plate because the Bloomberg expansion of government has come at such a great cost to the city's economic development.

And Thompson is right to go after the mayor's edifice complex: "Mr. Thompson portrayed the mayor as a protector of the rich, who has pursued top-down economic development and taken a haphazard approach to job creation. He called the city’s $1 billion work force training system “uncoordinated and often at odds with itself.” He said the city has “operated without a comprehensive economic plan.” And criticizing the mayor’s pursuit of splashy developments, he said: “Enormous staff resources and time were wasted planning a West Side Jets Stadium that was never built. Huge subsidies went to the New York Yankees for a stadium project with little local economic impact.”

Not to mention the malling that is escalating the draining of shoppers from local retail strips-replacing entrepreneurs with low wage jobs at national retail chains. The Bloomberg response to these attacks is priceless: "A Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker, said in a statement that Mr. Thompson has “failed to offer a credible plan for how to create jobs and protect middle-class New Yorkers. She added, “Today’s proposal is long on promises Thompson can’t deliver, beginning with how he plans to pay for it.”

Lyin' eyes again. It is the mayor who has presided over the meltdown-and he has to defend his record of job loss and mega development mania. And for the Bloombergistas to criticize any one else for false and expensive promises-while he continues to inundate the airwaves with wave after wave of these very same kind of ersatz proposals is risible in the extreme.

Thompson needs to keep firing this sub machine gun at the mayor's multi-million dollar cover up of the reality that has left the city worse off than when he came in in 2002. And memo to Jill Hazelbaker: We're all paying for the mayor's skewed economic focus. Have you seem the unemployment numbers Jill?