Outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the big nanny who wants to control what people eat and drink, finally got something right in coining the term the “labor-electoral complex.” It’s a shame he didn’t spend his tenure as Mayor doing more about it.
That’s how he described the public union political machine that has ruined so many American cities. “We cannot afford for our elected officials to put their own futures ahead of the next generation’s, and to continue perpetuating a labor-electoral complex that is undermining our collective future,” the mayor told the New York Economic Club. Cities are dynamic and attractive places to live, but their future is jeopardized by “the explosion in the cost of pension and health-care benefits for municipal workers.”
He knows this from hard experience. When he took office in 2001, New York City spent $1.5 billion a year on pensions. Now it spends $8.2 billion, nearly a 500% increase when inflation rose by only 35%. Add health-care costs, and benefit payments are swallowing an ever larger share of the city budget. That means there is less money for current services like education or public works.
Everybody knows this has to change, but Mr. Bloomberg nailed the main obstacle to reform with his reference to the “labor-electoral complex.” This is the cozy relationship between public unions and politicians that dominates modern urban government. It is the new Tammany Hall. (Read More)
H/T Michael A.