Thursday, February 03, 2011

Heroes of Reform

Greg David has a shout out to those heroes of reform that he feels paved the way fro Governor Cuomo's effort to, once again, make New York State economically competitive: "The extraordinarily radical budget Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed yesterday--an actual reduction in state spending for the first time in a decade and an end of automatic, legislatively mandated increases in spending--would not have been possible without years of work from people who laid the groundwork for a major shift in thinking about government in New York."

The group includes two individuals whose work we have long admired: Steve Malanga-a fervent champion of the state's small businesses-and E.J. McMahon, a pioneerwhen it comes to raising the alarm about the ruinous levels of taxation and spending in New York. As David tells us: "Steve was one of the first writers to raise alarms on the power of public sector unions, an insight that grew out of his work as executive editor of Crain's on the rising clout of nonprofit organizations. For years, he was a voice in the wilderness on this subject, but now his views have become surprisingly mainstream."

And E.J.: "No one is more prolific than E.J. in exposing the fiscal crimes of the state; virtually no week goes by without another op-ed on what's wrong. Once his views were considered extreme, including abolishing defined benefit pensions for state workers; now the liberal Democrat Mr. Cuomo has adopted most of them."

David goes on to credit the NY Business Council for comparing, "...New York and other states on economic growth, state spending and taxes-a template now for the governor's narrative; and the Citizens Budget Commission for raising the alarm, among other things, about the out of control Medicaid spending.

All deserve our plaudits, but it is clearly no time for any one to rest on their laurels-as the counterattack is being launched from the public sector feeders. The key point of attack? That those who want to see change represent the "wealthy." YNN has this story: "
HANYS President Dan Sisto assailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget during a CapTon interview last night, taking the governor and his business community allies to task for being unwilling to extend the so-called millionaire’s tax while advocating deep spending reductions in health care and education."

This is the same arguments that we heard in the 1970s, and for those too young to remember how bad things were, we suggest reading Ken Auletta's, The Streets Were Paved With Gold. Auletta made the point that what NYC was trying to do was run a proto-socialist style government superimposed on a free market economy-with the resulting collapse being inevitable when, as Margaret Thatcher  would have pointed out, the city ran out of other people's money.

What Sisto forgets, is how the government gets funded, and he is so desperate in his defense of his client that he becomes blind to the golden goose killing nature of his advocacy: "Sisto took aim at the Committee to Save New York, which has raised some $10 million from business and real estate interests (but not disclosed the source of that cash) to fund a campaign in support of the governor’s agenda.

You know, I know there’s a committee to protect New York,” he said. “To me it’s the committee to protect New York’s wealthy.”

“To put up money to say we’re going to defend the governor who defends us from paying the surcharge we have now on our taxes, but we’re going to cut $15 billion where and take money out of education. You know, sick children can’t learn, but we need healthy schools.”

Yeah, Dan, all of those small business millionaires making $200,000 or more a year so that a government worker can retire on a six figure pension. The fact remains, that it is not only the very wealthy-not by a long shot-who are impacted by the out of control tax and spend government. Every home owner and tax payer is impacted-and the exodus of productive citizens and businesses will continue until things are gotten under control in Albany.

People like Steve Malanga and E.J. McMahon are the prophetic voices that have been raised-and are now being heard. The special pleaders have lost the narrative, and the governor's bully pulpit is being held up by tens of thousands of small business owners and average citizens saying, "Enough is enough!"