NYC must downsize its government and other commentary

Budget expert: NYC Must Downsize Its Gov’t

With tax revenue down sharply thanks to the pandemic, Yankees president and former labor commissioner Randy Levine, at Empire Report New York, sees no alternative to “downsizing” city government. “The private sector has taken an enormous financial hit.” Yet “for the most part, city government has not.” Structural change means “savings that last.” And that, in turn, means rolling back the number of city workers; “attrition” alone won’t be enough. Levine also urges work-rule reforms, ending or suspending nonessential city contracts, refinancing debt at lower interest rates and other measures — but “any new taxes will be detrimental to the city’s comeback.” In past crises, city officials “bit the bullet” and relied on such strategies. It left the city “stronger, better and healthier.”

Education beat: It’s No Time To Scrap Tests

With Congress likely to grant Secretary Betsy DeVos’ request to defer National Assessment of Educational Progress tests for at least a year, Chester E. Finn Jr. at the Fordham Institute worries that a vital tool will be “AWOL for the pandemic and its school shutdowns, turning a blind eye to the learning losses that they’re causing.” It’s reasonable to delay the tests, which are “useless” without a valid sample, but states should not pause other assessments “even when Uncle Sam wimps out.” Without some form of data collection to measure growth, “we’ll see both a collapse, perhaps permanently, of results-based school accountability and — more importantly — an appalling dearth of information about who is and isn’t learning what during these challenging times.”

Conservative: Only Students Can Fix Colleges

“The mania that swept Haverford College” after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., including a student strike, “lays bare, with unusual clarity, the fervid atmosphere of grievance and self-entitlement that has made the administration of elite colleges” so difficult, writes Quillette’s Jonathan Kay. Student activists unleashed “soaring rhetoric about the survival of ‘lives, minds, and bodies’ and a strike that’s ‘generations in the making,’ ” though their demands were “sprinkled liberally with details that remind us that these students live very privileged lives.” As the strike escalated, administrators gave in quickly, realizing “the best problems to have are the ones you solve with money.” Clearly the “crisis on American campuses can’t be solved by administrators” but only the “students themselves.”

Culture critic: How ‘The Crown’ Cheats Thatcher

Fans of “The Crown” eagerly awaited the move of “the story of the royal family and British politics into the 1980s,” notes Jonathan Tobin at The Federalist, but conservatives dreaded it, suspecting creator Peter Morgan would “trash the reputation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.” Indeed, the Netflix series portrays “Thatcher as a rigid ideologue” lacking “empathy for the suffering of the British people.” And it gives “short shrift” to her policies, which “ultimately shook Britain out of its postwar socialist lethargy and [led] to its rebirth as a dynamic economic power.” Empathy “couldn’t fix Charles and Diana’s problems any more than it” could let Britain “overcome the toll that decades of the dead hand of socialism had taken on its economy and society.”

Libertarian: The Danger in Censoring History

“In an act of self-censoring condescension,” snaps Reason’s Ronald ­Bailey, the National Gallery of Art and three other leading galleries postponed “a major retrospective exhibition of the works of American artist Philip Guston,” because they included depictions of Ku Klux Klan figures. “Curators feared their audiences would not be sophisticated enough to perceive and appreciate the manifestly anti-racist intent of the artist’s works.” Pushback against the decision — “which pretended that suppressing imagery that reminds us of sinister truths can somehow eradicate historical evils” — was swift: “The people who run our great institutions . . . lack faith in the intelligence of their audience,” railed 100 prominent artists of various racial backgrounds in an open letter. Guston’s daughter Musa Mayer was similarly scathing: “The danger is not in looking at Philip Guston’s work,” she asserted, “but in looking away.”

Compiled by The Post Editorial Board