Following the Republican presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire over a week ago, FlashReport.org published an op-ed piece by Curt Pringle, Mayor of Anaheim, California, entitled “Rudy Giuliani: Real Results from a Real Leader.” Mayor Pringle is a solid conservative, a solid social conservative, the former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, and hence one of California’s top Republicans. What attracts him to Mayor Giuliani isn’t the lip-service of promises, but a record of real results – astonishing results, actually – in a city that was deemed by many to be nearly ungovernable.
Mayor Pringle ends his article by stating, “When you listened to Rudy Giuliani speak at the debate last night, it was not just rhetoric. These are real results from a real leader. Many of us know Rudy Giuliani as the symbol of leadership in a time of crisis. Rudy faced a city in crisis when he became mayor. He proved then that he could guide New York out of that crisis, just like he did on 9/11. That is the strong leader we need as President.”
When Giuliani became mayor of New York, he faced a city in the depths of dysfunction. In his book, Prince of the City, author Fred Siegel describes the state of affairs in NY:
New York City’s jobless rate was 10.2 percent. The previous four years, NYC lost 235 jobs – every day! Financial expert Felix Rohatyn complained, “virtually all human activities are taxed to the hilt.”
In 1993, 1,946 New Yorkers were murdered, down from a peak of 2,262 in 1990, but still a spectacular level of carnage. Social pathologies fueled disorder and lawlessness. Vagrants relieved themselves on trash-strewn sidewalks. Mental patients roamed the streets, and occasionally pushed commuters onto subway tracks. Some 1.32 million New Yorkers, one of six, were on welfare.
In August 1991, an anti-Semitic pogrom erupted in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Street battles raged for days as Democratic Mayor David Dinkins failed to deploy the police. A young hoodlum named Lemrick Nelson fatally stabbed Australian rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum as a black mob yelled, “Get the Jew….”
Giuliani approached the problems of New York by applying conservative principles of tax reduction, fiscal responsibility, privatization, law and order, and colorblindness.
As mayor, Giuliani cut city taxes by more than eight billion dollars, reducing the tax burden on New Yorkers by 22%. He cut sales taxes; he cut the marriage penalty on taxpaying couples; he cut taxes on commercial rents everywhere outside of Manhattan’s major business districts; and he cut various taxes on small businesses and self-employed New Yorkers. He cut NYC’s hotel tax from 6% to 5%, which resulted in an increase in hotel tax revenues of over $100 during his term in office. He cut or eliminated 23 levies totaling $8 billion. Asked after September 11 if he would hike taxes, Giuliani was refreshingly blunt, calling that “a dumb, stupid, idiotic, and moronic thing to do….”
Rudy Giuliani characterized his economic philosophy this way: “City government should not and cannot create jobs through government planning. The best it can do, and what it has a responsibility to do, is to deal with its own finances first, to create a solid budgetary foundation that allows businesses to move the economy forward on the strength of their energy and ideas. After all, businesses are and have always been the backbone of New York City.”
“The thing that probably disturbs me the most when I read the New York Times editorials, they’ve kind of turned around the whole idea of cutting taxes, and they make tax increases morally courageous,” Giuliani said. “I have no idea what is courageous about raising taxes. I understand it’s courageous to run into a fire and take somebody out, but I can’t figure out what’s courageous about raising taxes. I don’t understand why you would think that in an economy that’s essentially a private economy, it makes more sense and is more efficient for the government to confiscate more of that money.”
As Mayor, Giuliani launched a welfare revolution, removing illegal recipients, cutting the rolls by 20% the first year alone and dropping the welfare rolls by 600,000 over the course of his plan. He launched a work requirement program for the remaining welfare recipients.
As mayor, Rudy Giuliani cut the New York City government payroll by 19%, eliminating unnecessary civil servants from the public dole. While hiring 12 percent more police officers and 12.8 percent more teachers, Giuliani sliced municipal manpower elsewhere by 17.2 percent, from 117,494 workers in 1993 to 97,338 in 2001. Inheriting a multi-billion dollar deficit, Rudy turned it into a surplus, delivering eight consecutive balanced budgets.
Giuliani’s expenditure growth averaged 2.9 percent annually, while local inflation between January 1994 and December 2001 averaged 3.6 percent. His fiscal 1995 budget decreased outlays by 1.6 percent, while his post-9/11 fiscal 2002 plan lowered appropriations by 2.6 percent.
Giuliani ran on the slogan “One standard, one city,” in 1993, and then immediately implemented it. During his first month as mayor, Giuliani ended the city’s 20 percent set-asides for minority- and female-owned contractors, and a 10 percent price premium that such companies could charge above the bids of white, male competitors.
Rudy rejected the idea of lowering the job requirement standards for minorities and woman. He said, “It was unfair to expect middle-class kids to work their way through college by holding down jobs and going to classes while exempting students on welfare from working.”
As Giuliani explained at a December 3, 1997 Manhattan Institute forum, “I, number one, thought that was very bad public policy. The city shouldn’t be paying 10 percent more. Remember, I was dealing with a city that had about a $3 billion deficit at the time. How we could possibly pay 10 percent more for anything seemed incomprehensible to me.
“And second… the whole idea of quotas to me perpetuates discrimination. It has exactly the opposite effect on people who support quotas think it would have. So, I did away with it.”
Crime and Quality of Life
Giuliani has said that “government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering.” He backed this up by going after both quality-of-life crimes and serious crimes.
During his tenure as mayor, total crime went down by some 64 percent in New York City, and the incidence of murder went down 67 percent. Auto thefts went down on average about 80,000 per year.
Giuliani went after both low level and high level drug dealers for the first time in the city’s history. He had zero-tolerance for quality of life crimes such as squeegee extortionists, graffiti vandals, panhandling and public urination.
Mayor Giuliani supported parental choice in education. As he said in the June 16, 1994 Newsday, “If you give the Board of Education more money, you end up with something like the old Soviet Union.”
Giuliani ended tenure for principals and ended social promotion, which promoted students even when they could not perform grade-level work. He also launched a Charter School Fund and openly advocated vouchers.
“The one area that I would emphasize… is choice and vouchers,” Giuliani said. “The only thing that I believe is going to change dramatically public education in this country is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly,” he said, and, “The whole notion of choice is really about more freedom for people, rather than being subjugated by a government system that says you have no choice about the education of your child.”
Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan, told Frontpage Magazine, “On every major issue, [Giuliani] is a solidly conservative and extraordinarily adept executive…”
When Mayor Giuliani commits himself as president to continue to press the offensive in the war on terror, securing the borders and identifying all illegals in the country, restoring fiscal discipline in Washington, cutting taxes and reforming the tax code, leading the nation in energy independence, expanding health care coverage through market-based solutions, reforming our legal system, decreasing abortions by increasing adoptions, granting parents choice in the education of their children, and enhancing our position and reputation in the world, he speaks as one who has a record of accomplishment that no other candidate for president can match.