Krugmans Delusions of Grandeur - September 5, 2003

Times Watch for September 5, 2003

Krugmans Delusions of Grandeur

If its Friday, it must be France. Compared to his already-notorious interview with LiberalOasis (in which he used a 1957 book by Henry Kissinger to liken the Bush administration to Germany in the 1930s), Krugmans Friday column, The China Syndrome, is positively restrained. He merely compares Bush to Louis XIV: Mr. Bush seems to have a serious case of l'tat, c'est moi: he impugns the patriotism of anyone who questions his decisions. If you ask why he diverted resources away from hunting Al Qaeda, which attacked us, to invading Iraq, which didn't, he suggests that you're weak on national security.

For the rest of Krugmans column, click here.

Towering Hypocrisy at the Times

Fridays piece by Charles Bagli, Plans to Use Tax-Free Bonds for Midtown Tower Cause a Stir, sounds at first like your typical Manhattan business story. The opening paragraph sets up the conflict: Plans to build a 50-story headquarters for Bank of America on 42nd Street have stirred opposition from some real estate executives and civic groups because of the bank's request for $650 million in tax-exempt bonds allocated for post-Sept. 11 rebuilding. The critics do not object to the construction of the 2.1-million-square-foot tower near the Avenue of the Americas. But they said they do oppose the state and city using special subsidies designed to encourage the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan for projects in Midtown, particularly because some of the new office space will compete for tenants with acres of vacant office space downtown.

But sandwiched in the middle is this gem reminding us the New York Times Co. is doing precisely the same thing: A second project in Midtown has also set off criticism. Forest City Ratner has asked city officials for $400 million in Liberty Bonds for its part of a new building on Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, which it is developing in partnership with The New York Times Company. But city and state officials said they have not decided what to do with Forest City's application. For some reason, the Times action isnt also seen as causing a stir.

To his credit, on July 17 Bagli did write on the New York Times Co. pursuit of tax-exempt bonds. Yet the opening of that story (starting with the bland headline, Developer Wants 9/11 Bonds for Times's Project in Midtown) was significantly milder in tone: The New York Times Company's development partner in building the newspaper's new headquarters on Eighth Avenue has asked city officials for $400 million in tax-exempt bonds that were designated for rebuilding New York after the attack on the World Trade Center. Not until the fourth sentence did Bagli note criticism: But some critics questioned whether a project in Midtown, which embraces some of the most valuable real estate in the world, should receive another round of subsidies.

Columnist Michelle Malkin calls the Times pursuit of tax-exempt bonds sky-scraping editorial hypocrisy, writing: The New York Times - unrelenting champion of the underprivileged, mighty battler against all corporate evils, and vehement opponent of Republican tax cuts for the rich and powerful - lives by a far more self-serving motto: All the corporate welfare that's fit to collect.

For the rest of Baglis article, click here.