After he was defeated for mayor of New York in 1989, Rudy Giuliani spent a lot of time at Manhattan Institute seminars. They helped to shape his thinking on issues like crime, welfare, and taxes. Now Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute reminds us how successful a mayor he was and how he achieved that success. Under Giuliani, crime was reduced by 64 percent and welfare dependency by a similar proportion. He took on established liberal interests, most notably the editorial writers of the New York Times, and prevailed. It is an executive record second to none. A more detailed and, I think, definitive account of Giuliani's achievements is Fred Siegel's The Prince of the City, to the latest paperback edition of which he has appended an afterword. America knows how Giuliani performed on September 11. But Republican voters who must choose who the party's nominee will be should at the very least read Malanga's article and will profit from reading Siegel's book.
Daniel in the Lion's Den
I can't say how much I admire Daniel Pipes, who was warning us about the dangers posed by radical Islamic fascists long before September 11. For that, of course, he has been assailed by all the usual suspects. Daniel was invited to a debate by London's leftist Mayor Ken Livingstone; it took place last Saturday. Here are two accounts, well worth reading, by Stephen Schwartz in the Weekly Standard's online edition and by Daniel Johnson in the invaluable New York Sun. Side note: When Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean came to U.S. News for an interview in November, he noted that his mother, who lives on Park Avenue, reads the New York Sun and gives him copies of it when he comes to visit. He said she especially liked the culture pages. Perhaps Seth Lipsky can ask her for an endorsement.
As I've noted, one issue on which I still have populist instincts is executive pay. Are these CEOs really worth the hundreds of millions of dollars they're paid. In this article in TCS Daily, Nathan Smith examines Sen. Jim Webb's denunciation of the rise in CEO pay relative to workers and argues pretty persuasively that CEO pay is high and has gotten higher because the market is working, and working better than it used to. An effective CEO can increase a company's market cap hugely (see Jack Welch) and so is worth the money. Question for Jim Webb: Assuming it's true that the ratio of National Basketball Association player pay to NBA fan pay has increased vastly over the last 40 years (I would think it has but haven't bothered to look up the numbers), does this mean that NBA fans are worse off?
Smith's article makes another, larger point: George W. Bush in his State of the Union offered policies to make the poor better off; Webb merely complained that some people are getting too rich and that we needed to do something for the middle class. He said nothing about the poor.