The following appears in the September 6-12, 2013 issue of the Long Island Business News:
In my Aug. 16 LIBN column, I noted that late summer is traditionally the “Silly Season” for politicians and described several recent antics. This being a banner Silly Season year, however, I’m compelled to devote another column to the follies of our political class.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo tops the list, having dissed President Barack Obama during his two-day swing through upstate New York. Cuomo greeted his fellow Democrat, who carried New York last year with 63 percent of the vote, at the first stop in Buffalo on Aug. 22 but bailed out after the rally, claiming he had to help two of his daughters prepare for their departure to Ivy League schools.
The real reason Cuomo deserted Obama is that he’s reluctant to appear at any assemblage that’s not managed by his staff and isn’t held at a state-controlled facility. The governor avoids most other events because he fears being taunted by pro-fracking protesters who are angry that he’s become a dupe of radical environmental ideologues.
Check out the governor’s public schedule on his website: Almost all of his public appearances are on state-owned land.
When he came to Long Island July 29 to sign the LIPA legislation, for instance, the event was a totally controlled “invitation only” ceremony held near LIPA’s Uniondale headquarters. Select local elected officials and state legislators were invited, but no LIPA trustees.
Cuomo has become a prisoner of the State Capital’s second floor. He’s a control freak who fears confronting irate upstate citizens who are watching their region, which is rich in natural gas, die economically, while neighboring Pennsylvania is prospering, having created 30,000 jobs via a sane hydro-fracking policy.
Next up is Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who continues to maintain the fiction that the county in fiscal year 2012 incurred a $41.5 million budgetary surplus – despite an analysis based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles revealing the county incurred an $85.5 million deficit.
The comptroller came up with a surplus by failing to pay some current bills in 2012 and paying others with borrowed money. For example, $88 million in tax cert refunds were not paid in 2012 but were pushed into fiscal 2013. Also, there was an unbudgeted use of $10 million in reserves in 2012 and the use of $67.8 million in long-term borrowing to pay current bills, such as termination payments.
These absurd practices are similar to using one’s credit card to make current mortgage payments on one’s home and then making minimum payments on the credit card balance for the next 30 years.
Then there are the seven delusional leftists vying for the New York City Democratic mayoral nomination. Critical of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations that brought crime down to historic lows and restored the city’s economic vitality, the wannabees aspire to turn back the clock to the late 1960s, when Mayor John Lindsay championed the Great Society’s liberal tax-and-spend agenda.
When Lindsay left office in December 1973, New Yorkers lived in a seriously declining city. As liberal journalist Murray Kempton observed, “under Lindsay, the air is fouler, the streets dirtier, the bicycle thieves more vigilant, the labor contracts more abandoned in their disregard for the public good, the Board of Education more dedicated to the manufacture of illiteracy.”
Lindsay proved that big, expensive, activist government not only failed to achieve expected social and financial equality, but also created a permanent underclass – and bankrupted the nation’s largest city.
Fortunately for all New Yorkers, this year’s Silly Season draws to a close in about three weeks.