Archive for the ‘Articles/Essays/Op-Ed’ category

Summer 2022 Reading for Political Junkies – By George J. Marlin

July 13, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, July 11, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

Here are books I recommend political junkies read while vacationing:

Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower and the World They Forged by Robert O’Connell.

In Team America, Dr. Robert O’Connell, a military historian and former professor at the Naval postgraduate school, has written an informative overview of the lives of the nation’s greatest World War II leaders. What I found most interesting is how these four men interacted with one another during military careers that began in the early 20th century. Needless to say, there were ego clashes—over war-time strategy, over promotions.

But, as O’Connell concludes, the key ingredients to the success of Team America was “mental agility, a gravitas that masked their intensity, and an almost intuitive understanding of how armies in the millions actually functioned and fought.” Were it not for their leadership in time of war and peace—“the world we know would be vastly different.”

The War on the West by Douglas Murray.

The associate editor of the British journal, The Spectator is an accomplished commentator on the human condition. He argues that the collapse of religion and political philosophy as guides for our day-to-day existence has been replaced with identity politics whose aim is to “politicize absolutely everything … to turn every human relationship into a political power celebration.”

The result, “in public and private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”

Murray laments in The War on the West that students “are offered a story of the West’s failings without spending anything like a corresponding time on its glories.”

They will never understand, he concludes, that it is Western culture “that gave the world life-saving advances in science and medicine and a free market that has raised billions of people around the world out of poverty and offered the greatest glowing of thought anywhere in the world….”

Campaign of the Century: Kennedy, Nixon and the Election of 1960 by Dr. Irwin F. Gellman.

The presidential campaign of 1960 between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Nixon was one of the most exciting in the nation’s history. The two candidates, both World War II Navy veterans and in their 40s, vied to be the first leader of the nation born in the 20th century.

The coverage of that campaign and the subsequent Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White, cast Kennedy as a knight in shining armor and Nixon as a black knight.

That narrative, which has been perpetuated for over 60 years, has been challenged by Gellman.

His outstanding work is based on previous unused sources. The result, Kennedy does not “come out as a saint” because “his campaign was far more corrupt and ruthless than has been presented.” And Nixon does not “come out as the villain or the foil; he ran a far cleaner operation than has been described.”

The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson by David S. Brown.

For most of its history, the Democratic Party revered its founder, Andrew Jackson. But not anymore. He has been dismissed by the WOKE crowd as a white supremacist. Brown, the author of an excellent biography of historian Richard Hofstadter, attempts to place the nation’s seventh president in the context of his times—something contemporary leftists are incapable of doing.

Jackson was the nation’s first populist president. His political code could be summed up in four words: honor, self-reliance, equality and individualism.

Living by that code in the early 19th century, Brown points out Jackson “became the defining figure of his era, variously a hero, a sometime scoundrel, and to his enemies, a second Caesar.”

Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War 1931-1945 by Richard Overy.

This distinguished British military historian attempts to recast the origins of the Second World War. He postulates that the conflict was “the last imperial war, with almost a century-long lead-up of global imperial expansion, which reached its peak in the territorial ambitions of Italy, Germany and Japan in the 1930s and early 1940s, before descending into the largest and costliest war in human history—and the end, after 1945, of all territorial empires.

Blood and Ruins, at 1,000 pages, is a long read—but worth the effort.

Happy reading on your vacations this summer.

Why We Can Call NY Nation’s Abortion Capital – George J. Marlin

July 1, 2022

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Empire State Faces Population Drain – By George J. Marlin

June 29, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, June 27, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service do not bode well for the Empire State and the City of New York.

The IRS announced that the number of federal income tax filers continued to decline between 2019 and 2020.

While over 477,000 filers fled to other states, there were only 248,000 new filers. The net loss, 229,000, is the largest drop since the IRS started tracking the numbers a decade ago.

The IRS report also revealed this frightening fact: While the average annual income of those fleeing is $114,000, the average income of those who have migrated to New York is $83,000.

Overall adjusted gross income for the state is down $23.7 billion. Compared to the other 49 states, New York was the biggest loser. California came in second place with adjusted gross income down $17.8 billion.

As for states that experienced a net increase in adjusted gross income, Florida gained the most at $23.7 billion and Texas came in second at $6.3 billion.

Census Bureau figures released in March confirm New York’s population drain. Manhattan was hit the hardest, losing 110,000 people (-6.9%) between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Brooklyn was down 3.5%, Queens off 3.1% and the Bronx lost 3.2%. The total number who moved out of N.Y.C. was 305,605.

On May 23, the Census Bureau struck another demographic blow. It disclosed the bureau had overcounted New York’s population by 625,000 people. The actual number is 19.6 million, not 20.2 million people.

So, the population figure used to determine the number of New York Congressional seats was wrong. If the correct number had been utilized, the state would have lost two seats not one.

What an incredible decline. In 1940, the Empire State had 45 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. On Jan. 1, 2023, that number will be only 26—and should really be 25.

Overall, the state’s population has been falling steadily since 2016. And I expect that to continue.

Here’s why: A survey commissioned by the Partnership for New York City revealed that 40% of people who work and live in Manhattan are seriously contemplating moving out and finding employment in another state.

In the city’s other boroughs, the number who would like to take a powder hit 48%.

Why have so many people had it with New York?

First and foremost, ever-increasing taxes. New Yorkers pay the highest state and local taxes in the nation. A city resident in the highest tax bracket pays a combined federal, state and city income tax rate of 51.8%. (If Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez gets her way in Washington, that burden will increase to 61%.)

Driving people out on the high end of the wage scale can easily destroy the state and city income tax base. That’s because 40% of income tax revenues come from the top 1% of households.

Other reasons people are leaving the city—increasing crime, growing number of homeless living on the streets, declining and unsafe transit service, filthy streets and lousy public schools.

And when the recession kicks in, those quality-of-life issues will only get worse.

Why?

Because a huge drop in the stock market means Wall Street executives will earn less money and will pay less in taxes.

Remember, while the financial industry employs only 5% of N.Y.C.’s workforce, it generates 20% of wages.

As for the state, E.J. McMahon, of the Empire Center, pointed out that “New York’s state budget depends more heavily than ever on taxes generated in the multimillion-dollar tax brackets where incomes tend to correlate more closely with financial cycles.”

Less tax revenues will force the state and city to exhaust its reserves, to utilize fiscal gimmicks and to raise taxes even higher.

With inflation rampant, government employees will demand higher wages—and the political class will add to deficit woes by giving in to their demands.

As taxes and spending continue to climb and quality of life continues to decline, more and more New Yorkers will flee, and the state’s fiscal and economic prospects will continue to deteriorate.

It is a vicious cycle that’s driving the Empire State down the path to financial collapse.

No Winners in War on Western Civilization – By George J. Marlin

June 18, 2022

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Gov. Hochul — Cuomo Redux – By George J. Marlin

June 14, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, June 13, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

In her quest to win this year’s gubernatorial election, Gov. Kathy Hochul has been adhering to the key precept in the Andrew Cuomo campaign playbook: “Take the money.”

Like Cuomo, the governor has taken money from every conceivable special interest group. Numerous real estate developers, government employee unions, and corporate giants have donated the maximum amount permissible under law, $69,700.

Employees of Ostroff Associates, a noted Albany lobbying firm, have given her the maximum so far. And a firm that represents banks and automotive dealers has contributed $25,000.

Crypto currency miners have also opened up their checkbooks. The CEO of one such company, Coinmint, has donated $40,000.

Will such contributions affect her decision to approve or reject legislation on her desk that curtail bitcoin mining operations utilizing carbon-based power sources? We will see.

Then there are the real estate developers. One player, who was very close to Andrew Cuomo, Scott Rechler, and his wife, have given the Hochul campaign the maximum as of the last filing with the state.

The chairman of Tishman Speyer, Jerry Speyer, wrote checks totaling $50,000.

The owner of Madison Square Garden, James Dolan, who has a major interest in the future of the area around his midtown real estate, has donated $69,700.

Lest we forget, Hochul, like her predecessor, has endorsed the revitalization of the Pennsylvania Station area that will include 10 new buildings. The governor made the commitment despite The New York Times reporting that “New York City’s Independent Budget Office has raised serious questions about the financial viability of the development, the state’s role in it and the possibility that taxpayers would have to foot the bill if the revenue its boosters are expecting fails to materialize.”

Hochul has also been placating another group of generous donors—government employee unions.

There’s the rollback of pension reforms; reduction of vesting periods to five years from 10 years, and the cutback of some pension contribution rates.

The Medicaid budget which soared by 11% in fiscal 2021-2022 and is expected to jump another 11% in the 2022-2023 state fiscal year, takes care of unionized health care workers. Gov. Hochul’s spending increases, the Empire Center for Public Policy has reported, “included across-the- board increases in Medicaid fees for providers, extra funding for financially distressed hospitals and nursing homes, one-time bonuses for front-line health workers, and a $3 hike in the minimum hourly wage for home health aides.”

Hochul has also boosted state spending for education by 7.2%, or $2 billion, to make nice to the teacher unions. This increase is on the top of the $9 billion of “emergency” aid from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Spending on New York teacher salaries and benefits will top $18,000, about 120% above the national average.

To further placate teacher unions, the state Legislature and the governor are throwing Mayor Eric Adams under the school bus.

The extension of the mayoral control of public schools is for only two years. Provisions in the new law not only weaken Adam’s authority but impose increased spending that could cost as much as $1.5 billion.

Worse yet, the United Federation of Teachers will be granted a power they have sought for years: control over class size.

The legislation states that reducing the number of students in the classroom “shall be developed in collaboration with the collective bargaining units representing teachers and the principals and signed off on by the chancellor and the presidents of each bargaining unit.”

The “collective bargaining units” have to be overjoyed by this development. For the first time they will have a veto power over class size, and their membership rolls will swell as more teachers are hired to teach fewer children.

It also means more union dues to contribute to Hochul’s campaign treasury.

Gov. Hochul learned a lot from her mentor, Andrew Cuomo. He must be proud that his star pupil excels at fiscal “sleight of hand” of the worst sort: convincing the public that she is a responsible executive—all the while pandering to special interests by increasing spending and pork and building a fund-raising machine that is outperforming Cuomo’s operation when he was at the peak of his power.