A public chief executive has three jobs: policy, management, and leadership. With leadership being using one’s influence as a public figure, in competition with celebrities and marketing influencers, to change what people voluntarily do on their own, rather than what the government forces them to do or does for them. For state and local government, the key policy is the budget — who is made to pay how much, and what it is spent on, compared with the past and compared with other places. Management determines how much in services and benefits people actually get for that spending.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo spent much of their tenures feuding. They would have you believe it was over policy and ideological differences. I believe their primary ideology is careerism, the advancement of their own careers to higher office, and this made them rivals — and the rest of us and our futures pawns. Perhaps that’s why both “President” DeBlasio and “President” Cuomo left office widely despised.
But what did they actually do? Even as we just had an election for Mayor, and are currently having an election for Governor, the media doesn’t seem to be talking about it, other than issues of the moment such as bail reform.
Most people can’t do it, but one ought to separate what the pols do from the broader situation. DeBlasio and Cuomo didn’t cause the opioid epidemic, the surge in homelessness, or the COVID-19 pandemic, or in Cuomo’s case, the long-term economic decline of Upstate New York. But they didn’t cause the economic boom and soaring federal debt that allowed them to pander to every special interest group without completely screwing anyone else except transit riders and the later-born (until the future) either. With regard to the budget, I’ve created some charts that make a fair and perhaps telling comparison. This post will briefly describe what I plan to do, with additional posts making the comparisons to follow.Continue reading