Let the municipal unions call the shots along with the civil rights racketeers and sure, why not?
by David Shepardson
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said every U.S. city needs to heed the lesson of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and urged cities to diversify their economies.
“Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt. And it’s the road to ruin for any city,” Bloomberg said in a speech Tuesday in New York. [.........]
Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy restructuring in July, citing more than $18.5 billion in debt, the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. About half of its debt is pension and retiree health care costs.
The Big Apple nearly went bankrupt in 1975 with $14 billion in debt with a deficit of about $2.2 billion, but won a reprieve when Congress and President Gerald Ford approved $2.3 billion in short-term loans and required dramatic fiscal restructuring to get the city’s books in order.
“Now, it would be easy to sit back and think that what happened in Detroit could not happen here in New York City. But the truth is it did almost happen here, back in 1975. [.........]
Bloomberg said “one of the major reasons that Detroit could not stop its downward spiral was that its labor costs — especially its retiree costs for pensions and health care — crowded out its ability to invest in the things that make a city an attractive place to live and visit.”
The mayor said New York City’s pension costs rose to $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2009 from $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2002
“The reality is,” Bloomberg said, “we may be a long way from Detroit, but we are only a short distance from relapsing into decline, if we allow healthcare and pension benefits to crowd out the investments that make New York City a place where people want to live, work, study, and visit.”
Bloomberg can’t seek re-election because of term limits. More than a dozen candidates are vying to replace him, and one of them took issue with Bloomberg’s Detroit speech.
City Councilman Bill de Blasio said Bloomberg’s speech didn’t note New York has serious problems as well.
In contrast with New York in 1975, the Obama administration has pointedly ruled out any bailout for the city, but said it is monitoring the situation.
This isn’t the first time Bloomberg has talked about Detroit. In May — touting New York’s record low murder rate — Bloomberg highlighted Detroit’s high murder rate.
New York has more than 11 times the Motor City population, but recorded only a few additional murders than Detroit.
“Last year, we had a record-low 419 murders. If instead we had Detroit’s murder rate, 4,500-plus New Yorkers would have been murdered last year,” the mayor’s office wrote on Twitter.
Detroit had its highest murder rate 2012 in more than two decades, and among the nation’s largest cities, it has the highest or nearly the highest murder rates.
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