Poor J. Jonah Jameson. For so long he's held such a passionate grudge against Spider-Man's vigilantism and has employed every means in his power as editor of The Daily Bugle to slander and whittle Spidey's popularity away from the public's eye. It's worked with mix results. But now, Jameson has just landed a position of power as the mayor of New York City. And that means things are going to be different. He has the political and budgetary power to take out Spider-Man through a variety of new methods. He's going to make life really rough on our web-crawler.
Except things are sort of the same.
You see, Jameson's first order of business was to use government funds to secure a special operative task force with the sole purpose of hunting Spider-Man 'round the clock. Aside from Spidey's quip about spending all this money in such a financial climate (Ecocomics Recession Watch!), there is a larger problem: it's not working the way Jameson had intended. His master plan is to either catch Spider-Man or force him into hiding, which would ensure him victory over New York and earn him respect for being a "no-nonsense, law-and-order, zero-tolerance arachnid" politician.
The problem with this plan is twofold. First of all, governments are generally lousy at catching superheroes. Many times in the comic book world have such task forces and organizations been created and it seems like they consistently get nothing done, while draining the economy's resources for high-tech surveillance gadgets. But the more interesting problem is that Jameson's actions are actually having a strange, adverse effect: rather than forcing Spidey into hiding, he actually decided to don the suit and fight crime 24/7, foregoing his Peter Parker persona. Jameson has actually increased Spider-Man's popularity.
I think that if Jameson really wants to beat Spider-Man, it's about time that he uses his newfound power and influence in a more creative way: economics.
Despite the fact that Spider-Man battles with an array of supervillains, most of his duties involve taking out regular crimes -- robberies, street thugs, gang violence, etc. This is what he is seen doing during Mark Waid's "24/7" story arc. And this sort of crime is currently running rampant in New York (at least in the Marvel Universe). But other things running rampant as well: poverty, uninsurance rates, health care and education costs, etc. These are factors that are known to contribute reductions in crime. A strong economy, for instance, is shown to have reduced the incidence of nonviolent crime (the kind with financial incentives--burglary, robbery, etc.). This paper from the Quarterly Journal of Economics shows that providing families with opportunities to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods significantly reduces juvenile violent crime. This article from The Washington Post describes investment in social programs' effect on reduction of gang violence.
Admittedly, a strong economy does not explain the whole story and there is plenty of evidence to suggest other factors in crime reduction (see Freakonomics, which argues that the legalization of Roe v. Wade in the 70s has played a large role in the reduction of crime rates in the 90s). Yet, Jameson should consider taking the money that he is spending on police forces, especially this anti-Spidey-squad, and funneling it towards anti-poverty measures, health care, education, job training, etc. This way, he accomplishes two things. First, he actually has a chance of achieving the reduction in crime that he preached in his campaign. This would win him the favor of the public. Second, he slowly but surely diminishes the need for Spider-Man, correcting the 24/7 plot that he accidently instigated and reducing Spidey's influence on the city. In this way, Jameson could demonstrate his considerable prowess and show to the people of New York that he is more effective than Spider-Man. Oh yeah, and it could also help reduce poverty, insure more people and help with education. Those things are nice too.
Economics: it might take a while and it might backfire, but it is certainly an idea that Jameson should try out if he's serious about finally nabbing that pesky arachnid.