by Chris Reed | December 19, 2013 6:30 am
Jack Dean of the invaluable pensiontsunami.com website sent me a Politicker story about departing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s exit speech that Bloomberg plainly intended to be a historic demarcation of sorts. Bloomberg hammered home the theme that what left-wing politicians in New York have used their power to achieve has very little to do with the “progressive” agenda:
“Mayor Michael Bloomberg today took aim at the city’s rising pension and health costs, calling what he dubbed the ‘labor-electoral complex’ the most pressing threat to New York in the final major speech as mayor. …
“’Right now our country appears to be in the early stages of a growing fiscal crisis that, if nothing is done, will extract a terrible toll on the next generation,’ said Mr. Bloomberg. ‘It is one of the biggest threats facing cities because it is forcing government into a fiscal straight jacket that severely limits its ability to provide an effective social safety net and to invest in the next generation.’
“‘The costs of today’s benefits cannot be sustained for another generation–not without inflicting real harm on our citizens, on our children and our grandchildren,’ he added.”
What a contrast with California’s governor, who is enjoying the bizarre speculation that he might derail Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Brown has a reputation for candor. Yet he rarely talks candidly about who really runs the Golden State. The fact that union power is a big reason that poverty is at a 70-year high in California? Jer can’t be bothered to mention that, or even allude to it.
And while Brown did secure modest pension reforms in 2012, he didn’t do so while placing them in context — by explaining what was lost because of costly benefits. Bloomberg put the need for pension changes in context:
“Over the past 12 years, the mayor said, the city’s pension costs have soared from $1.5 billion to $8.2 billion – a nearly 500 percent increase – siphoning off $7 billion he argued could have been used to fund for more affordable housing, classrooms or tax cuts. And while many other cities require municipal employees to chip in for at least part of their health care costs, he said the city’s unions have remained frustratingly stubborn.
“’More and more mayors and governors in both political parties are asking across the country, which is the first real sign of a crack in the “labor-electoral complex” that has traditionally stymied reform,’ he said, dubbing a term aides said was a reference to President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address, in which the ex-president warned of the “military-industrial complex.'” …
“’We need them to look ahead and to address the needs of tomorrow instead of being prisoners to the labor contracts of yesteryear. Simply put, our pension and health care system must be modernized to be sustained,’” he added, vowing to continue to work on the issue after he leaves office.
“Mr. Bloomberg ended by urging Mr. de Blasio to follow in his recent footsteps and refuse any new labor contract that includes salary increases unless it comes with lower benefits payments–arguing that his successor will have unique leverage over the city’s unions.”
Like just about every libertarian I know, I’m torn by Bloomberg. His nanny-state activism and his love of eminent domain are appalling.
Nevertheless, given his success as NYC mayor, his emphasis on the importance and primacy of the private sector in improving quality of life and his emphasis on government efficiency are going to pay dividends for believers in liberty for decades to come.
So it amounts to one final bon-bon that in his farewell speech, Bloomberg reminded Californians of what a truly blunt government executive sounds like — not a media-savvy simulacrum like Jerry Brown.
Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2013/12/19/michal-bloombergs-candor-jerry-browns-candor-by-a-mile/
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