Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Connecting the Dots: The Transit Strike and the Ratner Land Giveaway

I really don't get it. How can people not connect the dots?

Fact: The MTA tries to give away land for pennies on the dollar for the West Side Stadium boondoggle, which would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Popular Reaction: Indifference or minor annoyance at best, until Cablevision starts and wins a propaganda war (a victory that probably has as much to do with personality clashes in Albany as anything else).

Fact: After pleading po' and cutting services while drastically raising fares, surprise surprise the MTA re-cooks its books and discovers a billion dollar surplus in this year's budget, then decides to squander it on holiday fare reductions that mostly benefit tourists, costing taxpayers about one hundred million dollars.
Popular Reaction: "Aw, isn't the MTA generous?"

Fact: The MTA succeeds (or seems like to succeed) in giving away the Atlantic Yards land for pennies on the dollar for Forest Ratner's luxury development project, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Popular Reaction: [tumbleweed]

Fact: The MTA settles the transit strike with a modest contract that includes concessions on both sides and would cost taxpayers about one hundred million dollars (on my own monitor I am right now tracing with my finger a line between this number and the number in fact 2).
Popular Reaction: "Those greedy, lazy black transit workers! They're trying to bankrupt our subway system! How dare Kalikow bow under the pressure of that upstart Toussaint!"

I am only barely exaggerating the popular reaction to the transit strike. Check out this guy, for instance. Or check out this editorial in the Daily News, where Michael Goodwin claims that the MTA "caved in" and "rewarded strikers with an undeserved gift of at least $110 million. Listen up, taxpayers: That's your money, no matter what pot it comes from. Tax or fare cuts would be a better, fairer use."

Um, yeah, what about the hundreds and hundreds of millions in giveaways to any real estate tycoon that approaches the MTA with his hand out? That's our money, too.

I was getting all forlorn and "I'm living in a Bizarro alternate universe where no one can make the simplest connections between events" until I read this very good critique connecting the dots and discovered this excellent site, which links to this excellent post from a couple days ago.

There's some hope.

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