Make It Happen!

Aug 17, 2020 by

Bill DeBlasio, our apex mayor, warns of over 20,000 public employee layoffs in October.  It would be foolhardy to call his bluff.  It is not an idle threat, but neither is it, to put it mildly, practicable, because if it is carried out, we won’t have a City anymore and fiscal prudence will cease to have any meaning.

The absence of federal stimulus money is incontestably a huge and decisive factor. But better management and wiser priorities, before, during and after the pandemic, would have and still might put us on a more secure financial footing.

This is a time for no-nonsense statesmanship, such as demonstrated by the teachers union. Other major players on the stage of New York politics need to come on board. No doubt the activity behind the scenes in Albany is intense and focused in the pursuit of long-term borrowing and other potential game plans.

DeBlasio may be a magnet for skepticism, but his attitude towards public sector, unlike that of former mayor Bloomberg, is not seething with spite. But that alone will not pass muster with New Yorkers.   DeBlasio must spare us the annihilating impact on the standard of living and quality of our lives if the tsunami of layoffs hits.

“Talk is cheap…I will not accept a deal that results in our heroic first responders and teachers being laid off,” said US Representative Max Rose of Staten Island.That’s nice to hear and there’s no reason to question Rose’s sincerity.  But can he deliver?  Not in a vacuum. We are all bitterly acquainted with Washington’s turbulence, imbalances and dangerous alliances.

“The fact that we haven’t just come to the cliff, but jumped off is a giant middle finger to the American people”, Rose adds. Well, if we’ve already jumped off, then it’s already too late. It’s an action than cannot be rewound or revisited. The image generated by the rest of his question gives us pause, however.

Anyway, we know what he’s trying to say and our agreement with his sentiment takes precedence over semantic purity.

Let all the experts pool their ideas, knock their heads together, throw up their arms or do whatever else is required to get traction on the road to a solution.  But they must avoid layoffs! That must be done by any means necessary.  It cannot be contingent on potential savings from anticipated massive retirements or prospective buyouts. It is not enough for layoffs to be offset by other measures.  They should not be a bargaining chip in the first place.

I’m not an economist. Too often it seems that the credentialed economists aren’t either.  But when the stakes are as high as they are for New Yorkers, it is imperative that we find an escape routes as we have historically done in crisis.  This is one of those times that pulsate for a solution. It can be done because it must be done!

New Yorkers to the Powers that Be: Make it happen!

Ron Isaac

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