The limits of rational thought

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has eloquently opposed two local living wage bills championed by New York’s left-wing City Council:

 “Government cannot bend the laws of the labor market,” he said, arguing that the bills would destroy jobs, and that taxpayers would ultimately pay for the increased wages.

This month, on his weekly radio show, he compared the living-wage bill to Soviet economic policies, saying, “The last time you really had a big managed economy was the U.S.S.R., and that didn’t work out so well.”

And yet, Bloomberg urged the Supreme Court not to hear a case challenging New York’s hoary rent regulations, defending them

as a necessary response to a housing shortage and as a way to prevent “rent profiteering.”
Last month, [he] certified that there was still a state of housing emergency, defined as a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent, which is a requirement for the regulations to be in effect.

The emergency has been in effect for more than 40 years.

There is actually a stronger case to be made for living wage  bills as they apply to government-funded projects than for rent regulations, an insane, demonstrably counterproductive policy far more akin to Soviet-style central planning, one which inevitably produces the very “housing emergency” which Bloomberg cites as justification for it.  Apparently, Bloomberg does understand the workings of supply and demand, except when it comes to New York’s  sacrosanct rent controls, virtually the last in the country.  A very depressing demonstration of the power of politics over principle. 


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2 Responses to The limits of rational thought

  1. Jeeves says:

    Bloomberg ought to get together with Bloomberg Businessweek, which recently ran a headline “Raise the Minimum Wage.”

    Though anathema to conservatives, as the headlined article points out: You try living on $15K a year!–an amount, adjusted for inflation, that’s lower than what a minimum wage worker earned in 1968.

    Moreover, the conservative mantra (I plead guilty) has always been that minimum wage increases shrink entry-level jobs, nevermind that such ill-paid occupations are never going to contribute much to consumption. True, there are studies that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce likes that show min-wage raises hurt teens, but there’s apparently a new wave of economic research looking at micro-level employment patterns that shows strong earning effects and no employment effects of min-wage increases.

    Whatever, Mayor Bloomberg’s rant about the Sovietization of the New York economy seems a bit misplaced, as Heather so rightly points out. Bloomberg ought to stick to what he knows: tobacco and trans-fats.

  2. Mike says:

    “…new wave of economic research looking at micro-level employment patterns that shows strong earning effects and no employment effects of min-wage increases.”

    I wonder if these new studies consider that there used to be many more places to get a minimum wage job…now there are very few small businesses competing with the chains. Huge companies don’t care.
    Gonna be hard to quantify jobs that don’t exist.

    Second thought…has anyone ever considered that the mayor(s) of New York only want(s) high-priced dwellings in the city? What better way to make Manhattan the jewel it has become than to squeeze out building affordable apartments through rent control. Push the low wages and low property tax to Jersey. That just came to me and I just woke up a little bit ago, so I will admit that may be stupid.

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