Mike Bloomberg is proving to be more than a mirthless technocrat and businessman-he's now become a seer. And his remarks yesterday at NYU envisioning the city in 2013 are truly inspiring; if you are someone who is inspired by the musings of a fellow who has spent a little bit too long in his own echo chamber: "I’m so proud of what we’ve done over the past eight years, but I’m running because I believe the next four can be even better. So let’s fast forward four years...By 2013, we will also have created - far and away - the best - public - school system - of any big city in the country. Not only will more middle class families be staying in the City and sending their kids to school here, I believe we will start to see an entirely new phenomenon: Families from around the nation and the region will be moving into the City for the schools."
Is this unhinged, or what? Let's juxtapose this solipsistic vision with a sharper dose of reality-like what's in this morning's NY Post: "New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows. More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country. The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City -- meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out."
So the schools with be so outstanding that they will stem the exodus of tax payers? Sounds like a psychotic break to us-and Bloomberg's vision for 2013 conveniently avoids the harsh economic reality-one that, as Nicole Gelinas points out, he deserves a great deal of credit for fostering: "Mayor Bloomberg, you presided over the biggest economic boom that the city has ever seen. But you also presided over the biggest spending boom that modern New York has ever seen. When you took office, the portion of city spending paid by local taxpayers, as opposed to federal and state subsidies, was about $26.3 billion annually. Today, it's $41.5 billion, a 31 percent jump after inflation, and more than 20 percent higher, adjusted for population, than under Mayor John Lindsay. Much of that spending went to higher benefit costs for public employees, as well as for Medicaid."
And the NY Daily News, avoiding the finger pointing that the mayor deserves, makes a similar point today: "From 2000 to 2008, 1.5 million people left the state, including 1.1 million from the city. Most went to the Sun Belt, but it wasn't the weather that drew them. What stole them away was the promise of a better life at lower cost. And, make no mistake, the departees were not down-on-their-luck types. They were solid wage earners with average adjusted gross incomes in 2006 and 2007 of $57,144, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics analyzed by the Empire Center for New York State Policy. This migration is a result of an economic squeeze that has become unendurable for working- and middle-class families. While a lucky few at the very top have prospered handsomely, the broad middle has suffered wage stagnation and a rising cost of living."
And this happened under whose watch? Funny, but this didn't even get a brief mention yesterday when Bloomberg did his P. T. Barnum sucker act over at NYU. Third term Mike did, however, get to try out his newly honed comedy routine.
As Clyde Haberman tells us: "Buoyed by the polls and his own astonishing campaign spending, Mr. Bloomberg seems confident that four more years at City Hall are in the bag for him. Monday morning, he spoke about the New York that he envisioned in 2013, when his third term would end. This was in a speech to students attending New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He was pleased, he told them, to speak at a school named for “a distinguished three-term mayor.” That produced thin laughter. Maybe the students had the Monday morning blahs. Or maybe they simply didn’t think it was funny. “I thought I’d get a better laugh than that,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It’s not easy to do three-term jokes, folks.”There’s a reason for that."
And that reason lies with the underlying cause of why the folks are fleeing this "luxury item" city-as the News cogently observes: "This migration is a result of an economic squeeze that has become unendurable for working- and middle-class families. While a lucky few at the very top have prospered handsomely, the broad middle has suffered wage stagnation and a rising cost of living."
The paper goes on to hold the governor accountable, while not even giving a passing shout out to Third Term Mike. But isn't that basically unfair? After all, most New Yorkers feel that Paterson is really over his head with this governing thing; but Bloomberg? Isn't he Mr. Indispensable, the guy we simply can't do without in this most serious of economic crises? You know, we're staring to feel some sympathy with Paterson's complaints about unfair double standards.