‘American Marxism’ by Mark Levin is an Extraordinary Book – By George J. Marlin

Posted September 17, 2021 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Newsmax

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, September 17, 2021.

Time for prudent fiscal policies in Albany – By George J. Marlin

Posted September 7, 2021 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Blank Slate Media, Political Issues

The following appeared on Monday, September 6, 2021 on The Island Now’s website: 

The word “prudence” is rarely uttered in the political arena. This is particularly true in Albany where Democrats, controlling the state government, have been acting like kids in a candy store spending every penny of their allowances the day they receive it.

For those under 60, not exposed to classical and medieval thinkers who opined on “prudence,” here’s a little background.

The greatest Athenian philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 BC), distinguished scientific knowledge and craft knowledge from practical wisdom—“phronesis” or prudence. The historian John Mearsheimer, interpreted Aristotle’s position as meaning “prudence dictates that [politicians] behave according to realistic logic.” So, for instance, Albany’s politicians spending all the state’s one-shot revenues on recurring operating expenditures, would be imprudent and contrary to “realistic logic.”

In medieval times, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1275), writing in his masterpiece the “Summa Theologica,” agreed with Aristotle and defined “prudence” as “wisdom concerning human affairs” or “right reason with respect to action.”

Perhaps the most succinct definition of “prudence” was expressed by the contemporary French thinker André Comte-Sponville. “Prudence,” he noted, is “what differentiates action from impulse and heroes from hotheads.”

And having watched this year’s spending spree in Albany, I have concluded there were plenty of impulsive hotheads who have ignored practical financial reasoning.

This year the state Legislature approved a record-breaking $212 billion spending plan. They imprudently funded the budget by dispersing the unrestricted federal COVID one-shot revenues of $12.2 billion and on top of that increased taxes by $4 billion.

They also utilized various fiscal gimmicks such as deferring $3.5 billion in Medicare payments owed to providers into the next fiscal year.

The fiscal antics of the spendthrifts in Albany may get them through the 2022 elections, but as E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy pointed out, “after that the bottom falls out with big and growing deficits projected by mid-decade.”

There is one elected official, however, who preaches prudential fiscal realism, and that person is State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has released thoughtful annual reports analyzing the flaws in the state’s budget plans and he has warned, time and again, that steps must be taken to shore-up the state’s finances.

In a recent op-ed DiNapoli penned for Newsday, he calls for much-needed prudent fiscal measures.

DiNapoli warns that the state’s current fiscal plan has inherent risks. “A slowing recovery or a second economic downturn,” he cautions, “will upend revenue forecasts, and may create spending pressures to extend or enhance programs currently funded federally or intended to be temporary.”

Yes, a drop in capital gains revenues that the state is heavily dependent on or a mass exodus of the top 1 percent of taxpayers, who pay about 40 percent of New York’s personal income taxes, could be devastating.

To avoid a fiscal meltdown, DiNapoli made several sound recommendations:

  1. “Prudently [his word] and transparently use federal recovery aid.” Avoid employing one-shot dollars “to support recurring spending, which may put spending on an unsustainable trajectory.”
  2. Replenish the state’s rainy-day funds that are presently significantly below the statutorily authorized $6.4 billion.
  3. “Carefully consider strategic infrastructure priorities.” Proceeds from long-term bonded debt should be used prudently for projects that “are most important to improve service, enhance economic growth, or address repair needs.” In other words, avoid boondoggles like Cuomo’s scandal-ridden “Buffalo Billion.”

Following these steps, DiNapoli rightfully concludes, “will help ensure the state limits the financial impact of future risks and is able to sustain investments through downturns, disasters and other emergencies.”

The key concern of the prudent government official, Aristotle wrote, “is to determine not ends, but means to ends, i.e., what is most useful to do.”

And Comptroller DiNapoli’s recommendations are “most useful” because they are not driven by delusional ideological formulas that have no relation to reality.
Tom DiNapoli is a prudent politician whose analyses could save an ailing state.

If the leaders of the Democratic Party are wise, they would nominate DiNapoli as their gubernatorial candidate in 2022.

But don’t hold your breath. Sadly, the AOC-wing of the party will not be content until the chief executive office is controlled by one of their imprudent “tax and spend” comrades.

Afghanistan: Another Failed Nation-Building Experiment – By George J. Marlin

Posted September 3, 2021 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Newsmax

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, September 3, 2021.

The Tragedy of Andrew Cuomo – By George J. Marlin

Posted August 20, 2021 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Andrew Cuomo, Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Newsmax

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, August 20, 2021.

Is The LIRR Only For The Rich? – By George J. Marlin

Posted August 11, 2021 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, The Island Now

The following appeared on Monday, August 9, 2021 on The Island Now’s website: 

Memo: To Nassau County Elected Officials

A recent New York Times Sunday editorial, “Is This Railroad for the Rich?” insinuated that the LIRR is maintained and operated to cater to wealthy commuters from gated communities like Garden City. And I’m curious what all of you make of it. But first, a little background.

My guess is the editorial was a reaction to criticism of The Times editorial writer Mara Gay’s comments about her “ghastly” Memorial Day experience on the island.

“I was on Long Island [Memorial Day] weekend and visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed,” she said. “I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pick-up trucks with expletives against Joe Biden on the backs of them, Trump flags, and in some cases dozens of American flags, which, you know, is also just disturbing because essentially the message was clear. It was: This is my country; this is not your country. I own this.”

The message is essentially clear? I think not. To infer that displaying a U.S. flag, particularly on a national holiday is racist, is by its very nature an absurd comment.

I have displayed a flag on a 14-foot pole since my family moved into our home 20 years ago. Our flag, waiving on our front lawn, has nothing to do with Trump or deep-seated racism. It is an expression of pride in being Americans.

And since Mara Gay’s remarks went viral on the internet, I have noticed that more of my neighbors, of all races and creeds, have been hoisting flags.

The Times editorial of June 27, 2021, took Mara Gay’s comments one step further. It accused the state and the MTA of “squandering its investment in the expansion of the commuter rail” to cater to owners of single-family homes in exclusive neighborhoods like Garden City.

The editorial’s implication is clear: single-family zoning laws are a relic of Long Island’s racist past and should be abolished to permit the construction of multi-family housing, particularly around railroad stations.

Several observations: First, the LIRR does not cater solely to the rich. In fact, the vast majority of commuters are working-class folks, such as first responders, civil servants, construction workers, clerical workers, etc.

This has been particularly true throughout the pandemic. Many white-collar employees, to this day, have been working from their homes, not commuting.

Second, ownership of single-family homes, particularly on Long Island, was encouraged and codified, not by racists, but by New Deal Progressives who authored the GI Bill of Rights that included FHA/VA home loans with no down payments.

In the name of “regional planning,” Federal Housing Administration social engineers designed requirements on lot size, house width and distance from adjacent homes that forced banks to lend on suburban single-family homes instead of older city 16-foot row houses.

I doubt if Mara Gay and her confreres on The Times editorial board are familiar with this history, hence their calls, in the name of social justice, for the state of New York to override local zoning laws to force the building of apartment buildings.

The Times argues, “The city’s suburbs, especially in underdeveloped Nassau County, need to build more too.” It goes on to insist that Albany override local zoning laws and “make it legal to build multi-family housing on land near transit stations currently occupied by single-family housing.”

“Democracy,” The Times concludes, “is no defense for the behavior of these local governments. There are no citizens of Garden City; its residents are New Yorkers.”

Nassau Elected Officials:

Do you agree with The Times’ claim that people who pay local taxes are not citizens of their municipalities and should have no say in governing policies?

Do you agree that our democratically elected local government officials are unfit to make decisions regarding zoning laws?

Do you agree that the MTA is squandering money to improve and expand the LIRR?

Do you agree that the LIRR is a mode of transportation exclusively for the “rich”?

Do you agree with The Times’ demand that the state override local zoning laws and impose the construction of apartment buildings?

Do you agree that single-family homes should be demolished to provide space for multi-family housing?

As a Nassau County taxpayer and a citizen of the Town of Hempstead, I would like to learn your views on the issues raised by The Times before casting my vote this fall.

I look forward to hearing your responses.