Re: The Decline of New York
- From: RLM <rlm@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 11:42:57 -0500
On Sat, 27 Feb 2010 05:37:11 -0800, Raymond wrote:
REVIEW & OUTLOOK FEBRUARY 27, 2010 The Decline of New York
It's enough to make Groucho Marx cry.
Move over, New Jersey, you're getting a run for your tax money as the
nation's most dysfunctional state from the once great mecca of
commerce and finance known as New York. Politics in the Empire State
has become a carnival of spendthrifts, sexual miscreants and the all-
purpose ethically challenged.
In the latest sign that the Apocalypse is upon Albany, New York
Governor David Paterson announced yesterday that he won't seek
election to a full term in November only two weeks after he had
announced that he would. Mr. Paterson, a Democrat who became governor
in March 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in a prostitution scandal,
has spent the past two years lurching from one fiasco to the next.
He's currently being investigated for awarding a lucrative casino
contract to a political backer. And this week he was accused of
contacting a woman who was seeking a protective order against one of
his aides. State police are reported to have pressured the woman to
drop her complaint.
Gov. David Paterson
Mr. Paterson's troubles have been catnip for "Saturday Night Live,"
but the state's voters are laughing to keep from crying. New York's
budget deficit is an estimated $8.2 billion, due in no small part to
state spending that has risen by nearly 70%, or $35 billion, over the
past decade. The recent financial crisis has exposed the state's
overreliance on tax revenue from Wall Street.
Mr. Paterson has promised several times to stop this, only to give in
to the legislature and tax and spend again. He'll now be the lamest of
lame ducks, and if he wanted to do the public at least one good turn
he'd resign early and let the state be run through next year by his
Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch, who is at least competent.
This mess is all part of the culture of Albany, arguably the most
corrupt legislature on Earth. Last June, the state government was
paralyzed for more than a month when Democratic Senators Pedro Espada
and Hiram Monserrate joined the Republican caucus, making it unclear
which party was in control. Eventually, both men returned to the
Democratic side of the aisle.
Mr. Espada would later be investigated for not living in his district
and funneling state money to health clinics that he operates. Mr.
Monserrate was later convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. Two weeks
ago the Senate voted 53-8 to expel Mr. Monserrate over his conviction,
which reminds us in reverse of Groucho Marx's famous line about not
wanting to belong to a club that would have him. You know you're
special when even the Albany legislature won't have you, though Mr.
Espada did vote to keep Mr. Monserrate around, perhaps to deflect
Meanwhile, this sense of entitlement also seems to extend to New
York's Congressional delegation. Democrat Charles Rangel of Manhattan
was admonished yesterday by the House ethics committee for taking
junkets to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008 that his staff knew were
financed by corporations. The committee said staff aides tried to tell
him three times about the corporate sponsors.
Mr. Rangel replied yesterday that the committee's "conclusion is wrong
on the facts and unsupported by the law." He added that, "If Members
are to be charged with knowledge of everything that each of their
staffs know or should know, Members will be blind-sided with ethics
problems." That's his defense.
Mr. Rangel is also being probed for his use of multiple rent-
stabilized apartments, for failing to pay taxes on rental income from
a property he owns in the Dominican Republic, and for belatedly
reporting half a million dollars in personal assets on his official
House disclosure forms.
He has refused to step down as Chairman of the Ways and Means
Committee and has had the full support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
When former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was admonished by the
House in 2004, Mrs. Pelosi had demanded that he resign as GOP leader.
Needless to say, Republicans are enjoying this one.
Meanwhile, back in Manhattan and in the spirit of the current New York
state of mindlessness, Mr. Spitzer is said to be plotting a comeback.
As gossip columnist Cindy Adams of the New York Post likes to say,
"Only in New York, kids, only in New York." Alas.
We would all be better off if both coasts slid into the sea.
- The Decline of New York
- From: Raymond
- The Decline of New York
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