Mayor Mike Bloomberg has ordered all of the city agencies to cut their budgets (and, their staffs) over the next two years despite the fact that we have lots of money in the treasury and despite the fact that he spends billions on outside consultants that do no more than city workers could do to solve the city's problems.
In fact, those consultants often cause more problems than they solve, witness last year's fiasco with the school buses when school opened and for a few weeks thereafter.
The fact that Mayor Bloomberg has lots of friends and those friends all have the same Manhattan orientation that he has might explain why so much is spent on unnecessary consultant contracts rather than on hard-working staff.
I have a sinking suspicion that Bloomberg wants to cut staff and cut costs for one reason and one reason only.
He is going to declare his social engineering experiment that gives money to poor families "for doing the right thing" a success and expand it using billions of dollars of public money. Where is that money going to come from? The same place extra money always comes from in this city, from the backs of city workers who will then face layoffs, pay cuts, extra duties and the like.
He is going to proclaim his experiement a success just as he proclaims his school takeover a success, even though it clearly is not.
A story in this week's New York magazine is instructive.
It tells of one family that is presently in the program, earning an extra $6,000 this year for doing just what it has been doing for the past ten years --sending its kids to school, taking them to the doctor, to the library and doing everything else that most families do to make their way in the world.
The story, called "The Good-Behavior Bribe" is must reading for all who believe that the mayor is doing the right thing.