Archive for the ‘Spitzer-SCC’ category

Governor Spitzer, Cardinal Egan and the Feminists – By George J. Marlin

March 16, 2008

Throughout his political career, Eliot Spitzer relentlessly promoted the feminist movement’s agenda.

To curry their favor, as attorney general, he harassed pro-life health clinics and broke up prostitution rings.  At press conferences he described call girl operations as a “scourge,” as “egregious,” an “abuse of young women,” and a “systematic exploitation and suppression of young women that is simply unacceptable.”

As governor he introduced legislation “to enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade in New York State law.”

The Catholic Courier recently reported that Spitzer’s radical bill, Reproduction Health and Privacy Protection Act (RHAPP), “would establish the choice to terminate a pregnancy as a protected and fundamental right, and would ensure that abortions were legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy…. It would also allow post-viability abortions to be performed outside of hospitals and on an outpatient basis in clinics…. The proposal also would eliminate the conscience protection in current law, which allow doctors and hospitals to refuse to perform abortions; medical students to refuse to lean how to perform abortions; and Catholic agencies, hospitals and schools to refuse to provide insurance coverage for abortions.”

It should be noted that since the Spitzer prostitution story broke on March 10, feminist groups have been silent.  Not one word; not even a statement of sympathy for Mrs. Spitzer and her daughters.

Meanwhile, Spitzer’s foe, the spiritual leader of New York’s Roman Catholics, Edward Cardinal Egan, who has huge policy disagreements with Spitzer and whose scheduled Monday, March 10, Albany meeting with the governor was abruptly cancelled, has not been silent.  The Cardinal said he would be “keeping the governor and his family in his prayers.”

One can only hope that Eliot Spitzer grasps the irony.

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Governor Spitzer Compounds the Bond Insurance Mess – By George J. Marlin

February 24, 2008

For decades municipal bond insurers prospered:  they collected handsome fees for providing coverage that guaranteed to pay principal and interest if municipal issurers failed to pay on a due date.  This insurance underwriting job was easy because municipal defaults are rare.  Between 1940 and 1990, for instance, only three-tenths of one percent of municipal issuers failed to pay off their bonded debt – only 1,200 out of 400,000 tax-exempt bond deals.

The growth of the bond insurance business closely paralleled the increase in individual investors, as opposed to institutions, in the marketplace.  Individuals, the dominant buyers of municipal bonds, do not want to hear about a risk when talking about what is often their retirement money.  Retail investors are usually risk averse, and often will sacrifice a few basis points in yield in exchange for the added security of bond insurance.

In recent years, however, the management of bond insurance companies endangered their very profitable and risk averse business by insuring esoteric bond issues that very few people fully understood.  Also, to increase the yield in their investment portfolios they used capital to purchase these complex securities.

When the sub-prime mortgage market collapsed last year these insurers (i.e., MBIA, Ambac, FGIC) were caught between a rock and a hard place.  Their capital drastically declined because they had to write down many securities backed by worthless sub-prime mortgages held in their investment portfolios, and their pay outs on the defaulted debt significantly increased.  As a result of this predicament, the major rating agencies threatened to drop the triple A rating of the insurers.  (Two weeks ago Fitch rating service downgraded Ambac to a double A rating.)

Hoping to be proclaimed the saviors of Wall Street, New York’s governor, Eliot Spitzer, and his insurance commissioner have been trying to steamroll the major banks and insurance companies into embracing their controversial bail-out proposal that calls for: 

– the endangered insurers to split their companies into two new entities, one that contains the safer insured municipal policies and one that holds the vulnerable guarantees;

– the banks to infuse the bond insurers with the cash/lines of credit needed to maintain their triple A ratings.  (The Spitzer administration argues that the losses bank investment portfolios will take if insurance ratings are downgraded will be far greater than the amount of money they invest to shore up the ailing insurance companies.)

Sadly, on Friday, February 22, 2008, Ambac Financial Group agreed to a version of this plan.

The Spitzer solution is not only ridiculous, but is a sterling example of arrogant and overreaching government activism.  No doubt, Ambac policyholders will sue to block the plan and their shareholders will not vote to approve it.  Neither will agree to decrease the insurance risk pool.  They will not permit Ambac to abrogate contracts.

Governor Spitzer must learn that he does not have dictatorial powers; that he cannot impose his misguided policies by threats and browbeating.  Ambac policyholders and shareholders must teach Spitzer that he is not above the rules, that he cannot abuse power, that he cannot violate the sanctity of a contract and that he is not the smartest man in the room.

Governor Spitzer: “Defining Deviance Down” – By George J. Marlin

September 3, 2007

After announcing on August 29 that “indefinitely suspended” Communications Director Darren Dopp was to be restored to a state job, Governor Spitzer told the press, “[Dopp] didn’t violate any rule, any law, any ethical obligation that we are aware of.”

The very next day Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told the Albany Times Union editorial board that while Dopp’s behavior was probably not criminal, it was certainly “improper, unethical.”

Who is wrong — Spitzer or Cuomo? (more…)

Governor Spitzer’s Summa Theologica – By George J. Marlin

August 18, 2007

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, hero of post-World War II “vital center” liberals, must be rolling in his grave.

At the Chautauqua Institution on August 7, New York’s politically wounded governor, Eliot Spitzer, in a speech titled “The Need for Both Passion and Humility in Politics,” invoked Niebuhr to knock President Bush’s Iraq policy and excuse his administration’s unethical conduct.

The governor, whose previous theological speculation was pretty much limited to describing himself as a “f—ing steamroller,” now says that we “need a sense of modesty about the virtue, wisdom and power available to us” and “a sense of contrition about the human frailties and foibles which lie at the foundation of both the enemy’s demonry and our vanities.”

New York’s enemy is the status quo which “drives the injustices of our time.”  The status quo says the governor “simply represents the policies I oppose.”

To “realize a Progressive Era for the 21st Century” and to achieve what is morally right, Spitzer acknowledges that Niebuhr’s principles of humility were abandoned:  “We were fighting so hard for what we believed was right that we let down our guard and allowed our passion to get the best of us.”

Spitzer’s public confession is flawed.  He does not understand that the “Progressive Era” he seeks to realize already exists.  The “status quo” he despises is actually the product of a half century of progressive policies.  New York’s progressives created the politics of control and coercion that is destroying the Empire State.  They have been the guardians of the forces responsible for the sorry plights of New York’s educational and health care systems and its physical infrastructure.

The Progressives sanctioned Albany’s fiscal mismanagement, spending sprees and excessive taxes.

The Progressives absconded capital projects monies to fund bloated general operating budgets, thus causing the neglect and decay of New York’s infrastructure.

The Progressives created New York’s $44 billion Medicaid program that cuddles the Health Care Cartel and is bankrupting county governments throughout the State.

The Progressives pumped billions into failing inner-city public schools to pacify the teachers union.

And since taking office, Governor Spitzer has rolled in the mud with these status quo Progressives:

– Spitzer capitulated on the Campaign For Fiscal Equity Suit and poured billions of additional state tax dollars into New York City’s abysmally inefficient school system.

– Spitzer agreed to a state-spending increase of 9 percent – three times the inflation rate, approved $300 million in legislative pork and supports pay raises for part-time legislators.

– Spitzer enhanced the power of status quo state and municipal unions by signing an executive order that grants 60,000 child care workers the right to unionize.

– Spitzer exempted state and municipal union political action committees from campaign reform restrictions.

And Spitzer’s Chautauqua speech claim that he enacted the largest property tax in State history is a lie.  The School Tax Relief Program (STAR) is not a tax-cutting program but an income redistribution plan – a sort of homestead exemption.  The State subsidizes homeowners with a yearly relief check while school districts continue to tax and spend without restraint.

Eliot Spitzer is not an agent for change; he is just another progressive enabler.

As for Spitzer’s public mea culpa for his aides’ misdeeds – publicly accepting responsibility for these actions is not enough.  To be a true penitent, there must be the admission of all wrongdoings; nothing can be withheld.  The governor must stop the stonewalling and permit a proper and thorough investigation of Troopergate.

Governor Spitzer is mistaken if he thinks his Chautauqua theological musings put his administration’s scandals behind him.  His pledge to “give scrutiny to the rightness of our means” has only increased demands that he comes clean.

Human Events.com – Steamroller Spitzer by George J. Marlin – August 7, 2007

August 7, 2007

This ARTICLE appeared in Human Events.com August 7, 2007.