The Public Interest

Anatomy of a Fiscal Crisis

James Ring Adams

Winter 1978

THE Johnson years taught us to be wary of the reports of government commissions. LBJ’s appointment of Presidential research groups seemed intended less to produce serious insights into issues like racism, violence, or student unrest than to give the public a sense that something was being done about them. The notable individuals who served on these commissions often contributed little beyond their names and a few snippets of “establishmentopinion, and the work of their largely anonymous staffs was frequently compromised or tendentious. So New York City insiders can be forgiven for any cynicism that they might have felt when, at the onset of the 1975 fiscal crisis, Mayor Abraham Beame announced the formation of a Temporary Commission on City Finances (TCCF). 

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