Ed Koch’s Legacy

by Reihan Salam

While Edward Glaeser emphasizes the many ways in which Ed Koch paved the way for New York city’s post-1970s revival, E.J. McMahon reminds us that the heroic fiscal rigor of Koch’s first years in office gave way to fiscal lassitude as the city’s coffers recovered, paving the way for a fiscal crunch under his successor.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now in the final year of his third term, can’t really say the same, as he’s been a big spender almost from the start, as Nicole Gelinas recounts:

In Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s last budget, city spending clocked in at $34.2 billion in today’s dollars (not including federal and state grants). In the fiscal year that starts in July, New York will spend $53.3 billion.

That’s a $19.1 billion increase after inflation — or nearly 55.8 percent.

As the cost of health and pension benefits for city workers continue to increase, one gets the strong impression that Mayor Bloomberg has set New York city up for a hard landing.

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.