Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't Blame the Mayor

While Mike Bloomberg is busy hectoring Albany, and preening about how healthy the city's fiscal house is in comparison to the state, the new city unemployment numbers are in-and, as City Room reports, the picture isn't a good one: "The unemployment rate in New York City jumped in December to 10.6 percent, its highest level in nearly 17 years, as hotels and restaurants eliminated jobs and hiring was weak in most other businesses, the state’s Department of Labor said on Thursday."

Now what's also true-as the mayor laments about the impact of the national recession-is that the city's job picture is actually worse: "Last month was the first since the recession began two years ago in which the city’s unemployment rate was significantly higher than the nation’s. The city’s rate rose from 10 percent in November, while the national rate held steady at 10 percent last month, according to the Labor Department. Nearly 425,000 city residents were unable to find jobs in December, easily the most in the 33 years in which those records have been kept."

Now, would someone remind us why this man needed to have the results of two referendums overturned? Oh, that's right, it was his vaunted economic expertise that was indispensable-but the inconvenient truth that all of his sycophants in the real estate community failed to point out, was that it was under Bloomberg's stewardship that this mess has been exacerbated.

And now we get, what? More job training and small business loan programs-this is as lame as it gets; oh, and a State of the City address that fails to mention the high tax environment that is such a job creating impediment. As Business Week, owned by Bloomberg, points out: "In a city where the 10 percent unemployment rate mirrors the national average, Bloomberg, 67, promised job training; “financing fairs” for immigrant business owners to meet bankers who speak their language and a fund to help families refinance their homes."

But will the Rupert Zuckerman hand out the Knucklehead Award to the mayor for his failure to address the one key issue-a daunting tax and regulatory environment-that makes NYC such a challenging place to live in-and do business in? Sure, when pigs fly.

No, the tabs are happy to chase the help around-like Pedro Espada and Hiram Monseratte-while allowing the Master of the House to remain unaccountable and blameless for his failed tenure. Which is why their calls for ethics reform ring so hollow to us. After all, these were the folks behind the engineering of the purchase of Bloomberg's ethically challenged third term.

So to expect honesty at this juncture from the press (and we haven't forgotten the "Campaign Finance" NY Times) concerning the administration of Teflon Mike might be too much of a stretch, but as the economic situation in the city worsens, we hope that someone will emerge with the integrity to bell this bad cat.