Archive for the ‘Political Issues’ category

Can Cuomo beat Gov. Hochul in November? – By George J. Marlin

April 5, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, April 4, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

Lately, there has been plenty of nervous chatter in Democratic circles that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will seek a political comeback.

Political wags tell me that Cuomo may attempt to resurrect the defunct New York State Liberal Party and nominate himself as its candidate for governor.

For the under-50 folks unfamiliar with the Liberal Party, here’s a little background: Founded in 1944 by leftists who abandoned the Communist-dominated American Labor Party, the Liberal Party provided the margin of victory for many like-minded Democrats and Republicans. Democrats endorsed included Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, and Robert F. Kennedy. Republicans were Jacob Javits, John Lindsay, and Rudy Giuliani.

Ironically, the Liberal Party went out of business in 2002 when its gubernatorial nominee, Andrew Cuomo, failed to receive the 50,000 votes required by law to maintain its ballot line.

Cuomo may have convinced himself that by running on the Liberal Party line he could win in a four-way race because sexual harassment criminal investigations into his behavior have been dropped by five district attorneys due to a lack of evidence.

Theoretically, that outcome is possible if the following were to occur: First, the Working Families Party candidate Jumaane Williams would have to receive at least 5 percent of the vote. Next, support for the Republican-Conservative candidate Lee Zeldin could not exceed his base, which is about 30 percent.

That would leave 65 percent of the remaining electorate for Gov. Kathy Hochul and Cuomo to tussle over.

If Cuomo’s traditional supporters—minorities, center-left Democrats and Independents—were to stick with him, he could get the 33% needed statewide to win.

Then again, such a plan could easily backfire and put Zeldin over the top. Yes, if enough centrists, particularly in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley area, say a pox upon the houses of Hochul and Cuomo and support Zeldin, he could pull off a surprise victory with a 33% plurality.

Frankly, I believe a Cuomo comeback is unlikely.

In my judgment, his coverup of nursing home COVID-related deaths will destroy his chances.

An audit released in March by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Cuomo’s COVID performance explains why Cuomo has much to fear. DiNapoli reported that “the public was misled by the highest level of state government and given a distorted version of reality that suppressed facts when they deserved the truth.”

Cuomo’s Department of Health:

  • Understated the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 by at least 4,100 and at times during the pandemic by more than 50 percent.
  • Was slow to respond to a federal directive to conduct surveys of nursing homes for infection control problems, surveying just 20 percent of facilities between March 23 and May 30, 2020, compared with over 90 percent for some other states.
  • Imposed impediments on the audit, including delaying requested data, limiting auditors’ contract with program staff, not addressing auditors’ questions during meetings and not providing supporting documentation.

The audit also revealed that the Department of Health was delinquent in performing its duties. Instead of being dedicated to promoting public health, it “conformed its presentation to the executive’s narrative”, (i.e., the former governor and members of his staff) “often presenting data in a matter that misled the public.”

Andrew Cuomo’s management of the reporting of COVID-nursing home deaths throughout the crisis “lacked transparency, and was at times, inaccurate, inconsistent, incomplete, and/or not amenable to analysis,” the audit said.

DiNapoli’s report concluded that consistent with Cuomo’s governing style, his DOH was “plagued by a threatening environment, closed ranks and lack[ed] commitment to openness—at the expense of the public’s trust.”

That’s quite an indictment!

If Cuomo jumps into the governor’s race, I am certain his opponents, and the families and friends of the more than 15,000 New Yorkers who died in nursing homes from COVID-19, will brandish the devastating DiNapoli report.

And that would sound the death knell for Cuomo’s restoration hopes.

Bernie Sanders’ Future for America Has Arrived in California—And It Is Not Pretty – By George J. Marlin

November 1, 2021

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, October 29, 2021.

For Hypocritical New York Democrats, Gerrymandering Is Back in Vogue – By George J. Marlin

October 16, 2021

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, October 15, 2021.

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

September 7, 2021

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.

Emulate True Freedom, Not Leftist Icons Like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. – By George J. Marlin

July 1, 2021

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Thursday, July 1, 2021.