There is a full throttle mayoral race going on right now in Los Angeles. Four major candidates are vying to succeed current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who finishes his second term on June 30. Each of these candidates is asserting more forcefully than the next that she (or he) will be both a “fiscal watchdog” and “helpful to business.”
But can political leaders honestly be both “fiscal watchdog” and “helpful to business,” at least in the way that government leaders typically think of those things? On one hand, many leaders argue that we need to cut the pensions and health benefits of public employees and keep public services lean and mean. On the other hand those same political leaders advocate for cutting business taxes and giving away large subsidies to big developers who promise simply to “create jobs,” with few if any strings attached.