Nicole Gelinas has a must-read op-ed in the New York Post today on the sinking fortunes of New York City’s financial sector.  Her message:

oct-5-march-night1-300x300-3881801Thanks to Washington’s support for big banks, New York City has been a cocoon of prosperity compared to the rest of the nation over the last three years.

But banks can’t stay on the dole forever — and the city’s done nothing in the 37 months since Lehman Bros. collapsed to prepare for a leaner Wall Street.

Nicole notes that securities firms hired back 10,600 people in the spring of 2010, reversing about a quarter of its roughly 41,000 job losses during the 2007-09 recession. Now Wall Street hiring has shifted back into reverse, shedding 4,000 jobs since May — “and that’s just the beginning.”

While Nicole focuses on Gotham, her analysis has obvious implications for the entire state, given Albany’s heavy dependence on taxes paid by the financial sector’s high rollers.

Sensing an opportunity to promote their push for a renewed state “millionaire tax,” municipal unions have been lining up beside the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators — oblivious to the connection between the Wall Street profits they denounce and unsustainable increases in public employee compensation.

State lawmakers, and not just City Hall pols, need to pay attention to Nicole’s money grafs:

As bailout anesthesia wears off, Wall Street can’t figure out how to make money — and the problem’s not just the European crisis or new regulations. It’s worse: Investors and clients are increasingly skeptical of the Wall Street business model, and of the Western governments upon which too-big-to-fail finance depends.

And the demonstrators in Zuccotti Park are a reminder to astute bank investors that the broader public remains inconveniently white-hot angry about bailouts. The Tea Party hasn’t gone away, either

In other words, banks and their investors have no idea how the shifting business and political climate will affect their profits in the years to come. But it’s pretty clear they won’t enjoy the growth they experienced before 2007 — and neither will New York.

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