New York Business

Monday, April 09, 2012

Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at CUNY Journalism School and contributor to Crain's New York Business, discusses the past half-century of New York's big business that he chronicles in his new book, Modern New York: The Life and Economics of a City.

EVENT:  Greg David will be hosting a book signing tonight at 7 at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd street and Broadway. 

Comments [36]

Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, Why not, instead of (or in addition to) giving money to the NYPL or other organizations, give some to people? I love the NYPL. It has been an excellent friend to me over the years, but I think that people in need would appreciate cash or something like it. There are many people without jobs and people struggling to make ends meet and people without homes. Why not find several people like the iones I have described and help them, too?Someone who is not on derugs or will give it to the boyfriend. Just a person in need. Eugenia Renskoff

Apr. 09 2012 06:24 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

I love hearing Mr. David on your show, Brian, because as _superf88_, "Kudos to Greg David for sticking to his positions, despite facts, historical evidence, and his proximity to intelligent New Yorkers."

He is good for radio and discussion purposes.

While I think there has to be a Wall St. and a financial system, Mr. David tells anyone who'll listen that NYC should rely heavily on Wall St. Balance is severely lacking in Mr. David's analysis and he seems to forget that truly dynamic economies have a broad and diverse set of industries, not just one dominant industry.

Thanks for having CUNY's David Harvey back on tomorrow as counterpoint to Mr. David.

Apr. 09 2012 03:44 PM
Don't get me started from NJ

Why not support Wall Street in support of higher profits? Just so long as Wall Street doesn't bring down the world financial system. That is what just happened, and there's no evidence yet that the grown ups are at the table across the political spectrum. Ayn Rand blinkered rationale from Alan Greenspan and now from Rand Paul. And, re higher profits, why not just so long as that bonus money doesn't flow out to Caribbean vacation homes and overseas investment and Super PAC donations that are aimed towards even greater freedom from the laws and regulations that dampen financial irresponsibility.

And, echoing other contributors, the societal benefit of taxing 3 billion of income at 15% so that the person can make a 100 million charitable donation is indefensible.

Apr. 09 2012 12:33 PM
Randi from Brooklyn

@bklynpeg from BROOKLYN, you make good points and I'll add something: What Mr. David and his ilk have to understand that these high rents are actually decreasing the number of industries and jobs that are in the city. I read the free version of Crain's where Mr. David is a contributor. My question to him is why so many companies, even with the tax breaks, don't HQ in NYC? Also, how many corporations close their NYC offices and move them to cities in the South and West? Because of the champagne wishes of people like Mr. David and Mayor Bloomberg to make this a high end city, this city will have to rely on the Wall St and real estate industries because no other industries want to pay the high price of doing business here.

The politicos complained about the 2010 Census "undercount" of the City, but I actually think its correct. The influx of a few rich has replaced the outflow of the many middle class. Expect the population of this City to actual decline in the future; the population of this city will not increase if people can't afford to live here

Apr. 09 2012 12:29 PM

Kudos to Greg David for sticking to his positions, despite facts, historical evidence, and his proximity to intelligent New Yorkers.

He can be counted on for interesting radio, as well as a reminder that there are many Americans who went to college, read the paper, and are still like *that.*

Apr. 09 2012 12:04 PM
bklynpeg from BROOKLYN

yea for Sta from downtown,--I never heard all this Lindsay-bashing until a recent (PBS?) documentary --I lived through them--don't remember things being bad. None of your listeners would be living here if all the rents/prices were as high as Mr David thinks is good for the city--Almost everything beautiful or interesting has been torn down to make way for boring monoliths that can't even withstand high winds, and are populated by people who (most likely ) aren't paying taxes -How much NYC property is owned by foreign nationals?. And for long term NYers, our taxes, waterbills, property,transportation expenses are going up so the city can throw more money at developersto build other co's HQ's here (more money to entice them) and their call centers where?--not that many jobs in the end--Manufacturing and small business can't afford to buy/build/pay taxes here. Koch, wildly inflated rents both res. and business ruined this city. And crime decreased in the whole country--Giuliani wasn't there!.

Apr. 09 2012 11:56 AM
Rick from Manhattan

Your guest's statement that New York does not give tax breaks to Wall Street is fanciful. The NYS and NYC corporate income tax systems are absolutely unique in the country and allow investing entities to virtually determine how much tax they will pay in New York by choosing their investments. It seems to me that this must have been done in large part to help keep Wall Street on Wall Street. At one time, a corporation had to have a New York business in order to use this aspect of the law, but that requirement was removed years ago. Perhaps your staff should learn more about this corporate tax system and decide whether to put together a segment on it.

Apr. 09 2012 11:50 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

This is in response to Liz from Manhattan's comment; I agree with your sentiments, and have watched rents go from $350 a month when I graduated from college in the early 1990's, to thousands of dollars a month only two decades later. This greatly changes the tone and opportunities in the city, which now caters to those with wealth, and also to those who want to replicate the feel of a wealthy suburb into their buildings and neighborhoods.

However, it is indeed possible to live in the city, and to buy a house. So many people who come to NYC are so Manhattan-centric they can't see the great housing and neighborhood opportunities in upper-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, etc. I bought a house in Bed-Stuy and my mortgage is $2000 a month, after having put 20% down. Transplants need to give up the old idea of only living in Manhattan; there are many great middle class neighborhoods still within a 30-45 minute commute of midtown.

Apr. 09 2012 11:48 AM
raphael from Brooklyn

The example of Steven Schwartzman that Mr. Davis used is the exact opposite of apt. It was well commented on before his donation to the NYPL that he was comparably absent from the philanthropy field. Is it really the way it works that we need to depend on someone to go out and make several billion dollars with the help of a trickle-down regulatory and taxation policies, so that he can eventually, even begrudgingly, give 2 per cent of it to get his name attached to a good cause?

Apr. 09 2012 11:48 AM
Cynthia from Work

Maybe if we wouldn't need all those social services to be begging for money from a few on wall street who have a social conscience, if we had living wages and truly affordable housing. Rents and housing in general keep going up but wages don't and when they do not enough to off set the higher costs. I think that this is a false argument. Also the very people that need things like the subway are being pushed further and further out of the city thus travel increases tremendously to get to the jobs that are here. The influence equality has not show in how we are spending tax dollars. CITY PAY- what a joke - but it was "private sector" and totally not supervised.

Apr. 09 2012 11:43 AM

This guy just lied again. Thank god he's done.

Apr. 09 2012 11:42 AM
NYCarl from LES

I can't believe this guys is seriously arguing for trickle-down economics. This has been clearly debunked and discredited. That amount that is given via philanthropy is a joke, and spent terribly inefficiently compared to an economic system that supports a middle class, such as the Swedish system.

Apr. 09 2012 11:42 AM

How does Wall St get away with charging so much money anyway??

Apr. 09 2012 11:42 AM
Randi from Brooklyn

My question for Mr. David is this:

How is it that the City is facing multi-billion dollar deficits with all this Wall Street money running around? I've never seen such an influx of the monied class in this City in my lifetime; Manhattan (and areas around it such as Bklyn Heights, Williamsburg) is experiencing another Gilded Age. If all these people are paying sky high taxes, why can't this town get its finances in order?

Apr. 09 2012 11:41 AM
John from NYC

Tourism as an employer doesn't pay employees a living wage unless you hold two jobs in tourism or have an ownership interest i.e. hotel chain. Let's get real about tourism as an employer.

Apr. 09 2012 11:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

While Wall STreet is obviously the capstone of New York City's economy, I think your guest overstates its importance to a certain extent. New York City would attract people for other reasons than a healthy financial industry. New York has fairly temperate climate. It has an excellent bay, which is why it was first settled. It's schools attract young people as well as the entertainment industries, including Broadway. While Wall Street's importance cannot derided, neither should it be over-exaggerated. I commend the mayor for his efforts to attract more technology industries to New York.
I believe technology must and will become the major economic driver in the future of New York.

Apr. 09 2012 11:39 AM
Julian from Manhattan

It was a huge mistake to let manufacturing here die. A diversified portfolio is the best recipe for success. We are too tied to Wall Street, this has cost many middle class jobs. We need to rethink manufacturing in terms of providing jobs. These can be novel, high-tech jobs, as evidenced by the founding of the Cornell technical university that is planned. We are held hostage by Wall Street, and it is not good for the future of the City, or the majority of its inhabitants.

Apr. 09 2012 11:39 AM

Is this guy kidding? If Stephen Allen Schwarzman paid an equitable personal income tax rate instead of the paltry capital gains rate, it would generate far more than $100 million in revenue. David's philosophy is a total trickle down excuses for the 1%.

Apr. 09 2012 11:39 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Interesting premise. Unfortunately, full of dookie. Finance and money-movers are taking way more than their equitable share of the fruits of labor. They do because they can NOT because they have earned it. Shareholders ought to wake up. The tax code needs to be corrected.

Apr. 09 2012 11:39 AM
MC from Upper East Side

This guy , as an apologist for sacking the middle class and poor to enrich the wealthy is a complete fraud. We don't need 1 individual to give 100 million dollars, what we need is 50 million middle class people able to donate $10. Dont take money out of my pock and life and give it to a rich man to "look generous" because he takes a portion of his so called wealth and drips it to "others" a self sufficient population does not need a rich benefactor. This is the same argument for keeping women out of the workforce, so that a man can "take care of her"

He has no idea what an asinine argument he is making and its incredible that he believe stem crap he is spinning

Apr. 09 2012 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. David repeatedly referred to "average" salaries on Wall Street, but he never specified whether he meant the mean or the median. I wonder if admin staff make much more than they do other places, & what Mr. David thinks of income disparity in general.

Also, the other thing Mayor Dinkins did about crime was to start community policing, & I think Giuliani claims more credit for the crime reduction than he's actually due.

Apr. 09 2012 11:37 AM

How do cities without a Wall-Street/finance centric economy survive? and if they do survive then what does that mean?

Apr. 09 2012 11:37 AM
Zach from UWS

Why is it that for people like David, executive pay is always a race to the top while average worker pay is always a race to the bottom? This is classism, plain and simple.

Apr. 09 2012 11:36 AM
Liz from Manhattan

Sure, young people come flocking to NYC to live here and pursue opportunities... but can they stay? As a young person who came here for graduate school in the field of public policy, I don't see how it's possible. If you want to have a family with a modest income, short of moving out to the outer edges of the city (e.g. 1.5+ hr commute into Manhattan), where those who aren't wealthy go, it seems to me that you can't live a city life as a family in New York with some space, decent living arrangements, etc. (Forget owning, which is nearly impossible, but renting for less than $2,000-2,500 a month means living with lots of other people, or in an apartment with lead paint and a crazy management company, etc. - something you're not looking to do once you want to start a family.) What does it say about a city when those who live in the center of it - Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn, etc. - are all wealthy? Sure, it's an incredibly diverse city, but it's extremely economically segregated. It's the city's greatest downfall, and the reason I won't stay, and I wonder how the business and conservative mayor discussion relates to this. What is a mayor if s/he can't make the city livable and affordable, not just for investment bakers, but for teachers, nonprofit workers, and public servants, too? As far as I can tell, the corporate-focus ruins the fabric of the city in terms of who lives here. Really here, in the city.

Apr. 09 2012 11:36 AM

restaurants and cultural instit's are growing not due to wall st. They are due to tourism and the falling value of the dollar.

I used to like this guy, but he is so full of crap. Just enough facts to hang some very dubious opinions. Next!

Apr. 09 2012 11:35 AM
martha from greenpoint

I wonder when Brian will bring on someone who actually knows something about economics and governance, rather than someone who is clearly a ideologically driven business flack — I never heard of him so I could not know that in advance. The 'real' history of what happened to New York has been told often by many economic and social historians; this tale, complete with a skewed notion of crime statistics and trends, and evn what the actual nature of Bratton's reforms were (Compstat! or Comstat, sp?) is a sad comedown and does not even deserve serious airtime. (Maybe it is a step forward from the time when other commentators like this one blamed the decline in New York on unions.)
Sad to see NYC relying on right-wingers.

I THINK I agree with myopic myself...

Apr. 09 2012 11:31 AM

I am curious why Mr. David thinks that greed is the cause of the nine-fold inflation adjusted increase in CEO earnings he mentioned. Has greed increased nine fold? What has caused such a dramatic change in human nature in such a short period of time?

Apr. 09 2012 11:27 AM

"... the mission of the police department was not to arrest criminals but to prevent crime."
->>The mission of the health care system is not to treat ill patients but to prevent illness, eradicate disease and to promote good health.

Apr. 09 2012 11:27 AM
stan from downtown manhataan

Greg David's hypothesis is nonsense--blaming Lindsay, again, 40-plus years later. The real driving force of NYC's tax structure is the fact that the city NEVER gets back from the State what it constributes to the State....Home Rule has been an issue since the Mailer-Breslin campaign. They take--we lose. Not ''liberals'' giving the store away. Not Ed Koch, who was clueless in giving away J-51 loans to real estate--like they do now in tax incentives to keep businesses in town--which is bogus corporate blackmail. That's how and why the City's crumbled--because the rich won't pay their fair share and the need for services grows all the time....without the State's and Federal govt's help.

Apr. 09 2012 11:21 AM
monica from princeton

This discussion by Greg David explains finally to me how things fell apart financially for my family in the late 60s. Great discussion. Look forward to reading the book.

Apr. 09 2012 11:20 AM
John A.

A CEO pointing at another CEO and saying he wants to make more money than he does sounds more like Envy than pure greed. But I keep Greg at arms length at all times anyway. Greg points at Armageddon and can only say 'Isn't it beautiful?"

Apr. 09 2012 11:20 AM
John from NYC

Does your guest have any comments about the consolidation of the financial industry in New York City? Gone are Bankers Trust, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover, Irving Trust among other institutions. Besides NY City losing potential employers what benefits were derived from these mergers?

Apr. 09 2012 11:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I mostly agree with your guest regarding Liberal Lindsay's well-intentioned virtual destruction of NYC in the last 1960s. I remember those times quite vividly. We had welfare destroying the Black family, and rampant crime ascending as a result. But Manhattan was doing well as Brooklyn was coming apart. And yes, manufacturing in the city was declining as the financial industries were putting up hi-rises. IT was followed by two decades of uncontrollable crime and "white flight" into the burgeoning suburbs until Giuliani along with the Black "million man march" finally came with the early 1990s to put a halt to the overall chaos and rampant destruction.

Apr. 09 2012 11:18 AM
gary from queens

A good companion piece to what Greg Davis is discussing, if the following by Fred Seigal in City Journal:

"The Liberal Top-Bottom Coalition"
It started with Mayor Lindsay and continues with President Obama.

Fred Siegel
April 2012

The Obama administration’s pursuit of electoral victory in 2012 seems to be based on abandoning private-sector middle-class and white working-class voters. As Thomas Edsall rightly argued recently in the New York Times, the Democrats have become a top-bottom coalition comprising, at one end, highly educated professionals—many of whom work for government or are beneficiaries of government subsidies—and, at the other end, low-income recipients of government welfare benefits. But this isn’t a new model. New Yorkers who remember John Lindsay’s mayoralty from 1966 to 1973 will recall the devastating impact that a similar top-bottom strategy had on the city.

Apr. 09 2012 11:13 AM
C.E. Connelly from Manhattan

Evidence! How do we know that it was the Lindsay taxes that caused the companies/manufacturers to move. New York had been following a de-industrialization policy from the Wagner administration onward

Apr. 09 2012 11:12 AM
myopic myself

let's hear how one can blunder through predicting the past

Apr. 09 2012 10:15 AM

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