Budget Shortfall

In 2003, with the city facing a budget gap of $6.4 billion, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the fiscal crisis at a meeting of the Citizens Budget Commission.

At stake, Bloomberg explained, were New York's prospects five, ten, perhaps even twenty-five years on. "Someone once said that the holidays are when kids get what they want and adults pay for it," Bloomberg observed. "A budget shortfall is when adults get what they want and their kids pay for it." Then he caught himself. "We're not going to do that..."

[At Bloomberg's Manhattan headquarters, sixteen screens facing the sidewalk show fluctuating stock and commodity prices, bond yields, and exchange rates. Inside the lobby, six more screens show much the same information. Upstairs, receptionists stand behind their own screens, and in every direction there are more screens, each displaying all Bloomberg, all the time. Even in the ladies' bathrooms, there are screens set into the mirrors above the sinks.]

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