Michael Bloomberg Hails Urban 'Golden Age' in Swan Song Speech

Warns of Spiralling City Health and Pension Costs

getty images

By Reuters

Published December 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his final major policy speech before leaving office at year’s end, on Wednesday warned that a budding U.S. urban revival is threatened by mushrooming public pension and health-care costs.

Bloomberg, addressing the Economic Club of New York just two weeks before his three terms in office are due to end, said the “golden age of the suburb is over, and it has been replaced by a new urban renaissance that is re-defining the future.”

But he also urged the nation to confront what he said was the biggest looming crisis facing cities: exploding public pension and health-care costs.

“It is forcing government into a fiscal straight jacket that severely limits its ability to provide an effective social safety net,” Bloomberg said. “The costs of today’s benefits cannot be sustained for another generation - not without inflicting real harm on our citizens, and on our children and grandchildren.”

The mayor, who was elected as a Republican and later gave up his party affiliation, led the city in the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and during the recession that hit six years later.

He has been credited with making the city safer, greener and more livable as he pioneered public health and anti-carbon initiatives that have become models for other cities.

Bloomberg has set up a website, progress.mikebloomberg.com, to highlight his accomplishments and is touring the city’s five boroughs to tout initiatives on issues such as economic development, transportation, crime, public health and the arts.

Bloomberg will be succeeded on Jan. 1 by Bill de Blasio, currently the city’s public advocate. An unabashed liberal who won in a landslide, de Blasio has vowed to address a gap between rich and poor that he blames in part on Bloomberg’s policies.

As mayor, De Blasio must confront another legacy of the Bloomberg administration: expired contracts for all public sector unions that potentially leave the city with a bill that could top $7 billion, if retroactive wage increases were to be paid.

On Wednesday, De Blasio named Dean Fuleihan, a long-time former state legislative budget negotiator and adviser, as his budget director.

Bloomberg, in his speech, echoed President Dwight Eisenhower’s critique of the “military-industrial complex” by repeatedly criticizing what he termed the “labor electoral complex.” Bloomberg called on de Blasio to take up “comprehensive benefit reform.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.