Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post's Goodwin Flatters WPU on Living Wage But Misses Larger Point

We have described the so-called mayoral living wage exemption-now deceased-as an example of crony capitalism; something the Mike Bloomberg thrives on. Now Michael Goodwin of the NY Post follows our lead:

"To get a ground-level view of how government distorts the economy, look at the twists and turns in the city’s “living wage” bill. It begins with the massive subsidies City Hall hands out to businesses to get them to come to Gotham, or keep them from leaving. Unions and liberal pols object, saying many of the jobs created pay too little. So the City Council wants to force any company getting $1 million in subsidies to pay its workers at least $10 an hour, or $11.50 without benefits.

Secret talks over final language are focusing on exemptions. First, one provided that tenants of developers who get the subsidies don’t have to pay more than the minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour. That was a good idea that improved a bad bill and a business group signed on. Second, the business group insists the mayor be able to exempt any deal from the wage rules. That was a bad idea and an invitation to crony capitalism.

Each deal would turn into a lobbying frenzy, complete with campaign contributions and, possibly, bribery.When the council sensibly dropped that provision, the business group withdrew its support. Notice that none of this has anything to do with free markets and free enterprise. It’s all about politicians picking winners and losers — with taxpayer money."

Of course the entire Bloomberg economic development opus has been-not about capitalism-but "politicians picking winners and losers"-with the mayor as holding the tout sheet for his rich friends. And Willets Point is next on the menu-with Related salivating for another Bloomberg prepared meal.

All of this makes the controversy over the living wage bill a classic case of misdirection-taking our attention away from Bloomberg's crony capitalism and his egregious use of eminent domain in a reverse Robin Hood manner. That's where Goodwin should focus his attention-and if he does he will find large numbers of small businesses stacked up right under the Bloomberg bus.