On Labor Day, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo published an op-ed in the New York Daily News that, though making many rhetorical genuflections, said what had once been sayable only by New York’s conservative think tanks: “Public employees unions must make sacrifices.” And Cuomo has kept up the pleasant surprises post–blowout election. “The words ‘government in Albany’ have become a national punchline,” he acknowledged at his January 1 inauguration, a symbolically terse one. “This state has no future if it is going to be the tax capital of the nation.” He then gave himself a 5 percent pay cut and requested a one-year government-employee pay freeze. Maybe only Andrew Cuomo — a creature of the Albany Democratic-machine/public-sector-union complex — can solve the bloated-government crisis that his father’s governorship, seminal in the creation of the union-kickback system that has enabled Democratic ascendance in Albany, wrought. We hope Cuomo II will keep his harsh word — but hope rarely triumphs over experience.
New York City got 20 inches of snow after Christmas, made worse by high winds and drifting — and still worse by a tardy cleanup that left New Yorkers, especially in the outer boroughs, marooned and furious. The blizzard of ’10 hurt Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reputation for managerial competence, his great strength (he has no others). New Yorkers put up with his unpleasant personality and increasingly annoying hobby-horses — bike lanes, trans-fat bans — because he ran the ordinary operations of the city well. No more. They may conclude that he spends too much time on national politics to do his job. (Time to relabel No Labels “No Plowing”?) The blizzard also crystallized public anger at public-sector unions. A city councilman, Dan Halloran (R., Queens), claimed that sanitation men told him there had been a de facto work slowdown “to make the mayor pay” for recent layoffs. These were trivial: 400 firings and 100 demotions out of a workforce of 6,300. What will the public-sector unions do when real cuts have to be made, as surely they will (and soon)? Pray for global warming.