Tuesday, February 05, 2002

BUSH TO NY: Drop Dead!

UPDATE: Timothy Noah steals my headline! But he makes the cynical point explicit: "Given New York's overwhelming presidential preference for Democrats, the Bushies are well aware that whatever money Bush's treasury doles out in New York won't buy him a single electoral vote in 2004."

White House Budget Director Mitch Daniel did nothing to dispell suspicions that the budget intentionally reneges on Bush's pledge, when -- in a classic moment of accidental candor -- he remarked that anybody who complained was "playing a money-grubbing game."

The irony is confounding. In the past four months, Bush has generated so much good will here that he could have won New York convincingly in 2004! All he had to do was to win the war and deliver the goods.

But now, I have to wonder if it's all just a matter of cynical political calculations. Does Bush really have a clue how much we're hurting here? The national economy may well be starting to recover, but here in lower Manhattan, we're probably looking at another five or six years of recession. If we're lucky.

(In the interests of full disclosure -- I'm still trying to run my stupid little graphics business just four blocks from the WTC site. Thankfully, none of my clients were actually victims of the attack, but many of my Financial District customers have themselves lost customers, and business has never been slower. I'd been attempting to negotiate a space-sharing arrangement with a local financial printer, but it now appears that my prospective partner is himself on the verge of going out of business. My prospects are so bleak at this point that, frankly, I'm thisclose to just packing it all in.)

So my question to Bush is this: What -- you can break the lockbox for that phony-baloney missile defense boondoggle, but you pinch pennies when it comes to rebuilding the devastated infrastructure upon which the future of, maybe, 100,000 jobs depend? I gotta wonder if President Lieberman would have different priorities...


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