Public Advocate in NYC?  Absolutely Superfluous Job - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Public Advocate in NYC?  Absolutely Superfluous Job

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Life is associated with many decisions which affect people’s lives. People are generally responsible for decisions like marriage, place of residence, political party, job, etc. People’s freedom to make a decision is an important aspect of a free society to allow individuals to grow on their own plateau. However, the role of government is essential in places where individuals are unable to do for themselves. Government is a mechanism to unleash society’s collected powers in a single unit to fulfill such duties as fighting wars, protecting water supplies, defending transportation services, building up and maintaining roads and infrastructure, etc. Government is therefore only an answer to unmet needs that individuals by themselves cannot fulfill. However, the enlargement of a government too much causes a clash between people’s individual choices and the government’s delineated responsibilities.

Recently, moderate Democrat councilmen on the New York City Council such as Brooklyn’s Kalman Yeger and Queens’ Robert Holden introduced legislation to abolish the office of the NYC Public Advocate. The Public Advocate (PA) was a position created to oversee the city council’s sessions and to cast tie-breaking votes. However, since the original creation of the position, the PA has lost the power of its role in the city council. The PA still retains, however, the powers of overseeing city departments and introducing legislation to the city council. The budget for the office is $5 million, with an office staff of 59. However, in recent years the question has been raised of the effectiveness and reason for the existence of the office in the first place. The PA’s roles in overseeing city departments and introducing legislation are roles that the city council already fulfills, therefore making the PA’s role superfluous.

Why should taxpayers, therefore, continue to fund a position that has no unique function? The NYC government’s responsibility is solely to use taxpayers’ money to support programs and needs that taxpayers can’t individually do. Creating and maintaining positions that have no unique functions except to be a springboard to a higher office is an abuse of power. This is especially true as four of the five holders since the PA’s position was created, have all run for higher office. At a time when 40% of Americans wouldn’t be able to afford a $400 emergency expense, and when assessments predict a $10 billion deficit in the NYC budget in upcoming years, the time to slash unnecessary government spending must be the only response.

Government has a role to play when individuals cannot. That role however cannot be abused or enlarged to further power-hungry politicians’ political desires. When the government makes such a move, however, the only response is for the government to reinforce itself to its original goal. Citizens are the only populace that a government serves, not the other way around.

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