REBNY Turns Socialist! (Sort Of)

The Real Estate Board of New York, the city’s leading industry group, issued a statement this afternoon applauding the federal government’s bailout of insurance giant A.I.G. From the statement:

“Providing the necessary infusion of capital at this moment in Wall Street’s history is exactly what the local, state and federal government should be doing right now to help such an important business, and we commend our elected officials for their efforts,” said [REBNY president Steven Spinola]. “As with the recent intervention with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and earlier with Bear Stearns, government action has had a beneficial effect on the marketplace and our economy. We are confident that this investment will quell some of the anxiety in the financial markets and will have a positive impact on our industry, our city and the nation’s economy.”

REBNY’s support of government interference in the free market will surprise anyone who’s followed the group’s fight against the government-backed changes to the pro-developer 421a tax abatement; its push to scale back the number of rent-stabilized apartments in the city; and its resistance to government-mandated use of union construction labor. (Here’s an Observer interview with Mr. Spinola from January.)

In fairness, of course, landlords and the bigger property owners comprise REBNY’s core constituency. So, when your ox is being gored… turn Western European!

REBNY Turns Socialist! (Sort Of)