EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 19, 2014

Column: New York's left turn could lead to crash


Ah, the minimum wage. It’s the answer to all the woes of the poor, isn’t it? No. It affects relatively few of the poor, the good it does is minimal and more economists think its harm outdoes its good than those who think otherwise, according to at least one survey.

I have nothing against being fair to city workers, but you have to be fair to taxpayers, too, and promising public employees too much has gotten scads of municipalities into devastatingly deep trouble. New York’s charter schools have reportedly done a pretty good job and the main thing about them, it’s said, is that they offer variety in a system that needs more.

Prekindergarten programs can be greatly beneficial if done right and if there is follow-up in the K-12 public schools. But New York State’s liberal governor, Andrew Cuomo, says such a program can be otherwise financed, and listen: Combined state, federal and local taxes in the state are already among the highest in the nation and that could be at least one reason many residents are fleeing and often going instead to Florida, which has no state income tax.

Some remember him as a shining star, but New York’s liberal Mayor Lindsay demonstrated in the late 1960s and early 1970s that it just does not work to fatten government through putting the private sector on too strict a diet. Some observers believe he contributed to a decline not dramatically reversed until two relatively conservative mayors -- Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg -- came along.

De Blasio seems to want to go back to the bad old days and you have to hope he either sees the light or his policy dreams are thwarted.

Jay Ambrose is the former director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers.

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