Gotham’s politics are overwhelmingly liberal, favoring government intervention in virtually all aspects of private enterprise, tolerant of corruption and high taxes, and inclined to glibness toward complainers (“if you don’t like it here…leave”)
. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…if you are New York City. Manhattan has what marketers call a “unique brand” – it can afford to offend because there is literally nowhere like it in the world. Don’t like the cost of doing business on Fifth Avenue? Tough – someone else wants to be next door to Tiffany’s. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of town. Our public education system has little to do with childrens’ education but everything to do with protecting an unholy alliance of big-state socialism hidden in public labor union agendas,
and educrats cozy with monopoly control of the spoils of multi-billion dollar budgets. It is not a coincidence that every serious reformer of New York’s education system has been sliced, diced and thrown out on the street for having the temerity of challenging the established order. Politicos who say they are “for the kids” look on during the pummeling without lending a hand to the reformer, much like kids in a school yard who watch in fear as their friend is beaten up by bullies. The culture gives us a bureaucratic millstone of arrogant, confrontational, unresponsive civil servants who do little to hide their disdain for ordinary taxpayers,
even though most of us will be working into our 60s or even 70s in order to pay for the lifetime, gold-plated benefits afforded government workers and double dippers who retire in their 50s (or even 40s). Ever try to talk with a DEC zealot about whether it’s really necessary to bankrupt rural New Yorkers with the most costly wood boiler rules in the nation? Or negotiate with a tax auditor about, well, anything? Or try to get a building permit if the ground is in the least bit squishy in the springtime (wetlands!! wetlands!!)?
The political culture which has killed over 300,000 jobs in Upstate New York has also made us dependents of Big Government. The fact is New York City’s politicians have created a “Company Store” financial relationship where we provide what they want (more government workers voting heavily Democrat, fewer private sector workers voting mainly Republican) and they provide us with what we need (subsidies to Upstate to pay for those mandates, ranging from $8 - $10 Billion a year). It’s a modern day Company Store –
you need it to survive, but it will wind up killing you unless you escape.
None of the trend lines are good. We have become numb to dire economic statistics which used to shock us. Calls to “do something” are falling on increasingly deaf ears, largely because past efforts have led only to frustration. Chris Wilmot joins others in calling for a 51st State, but I’m not holding my breath.