Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
10 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Taking Progressives for Granted

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 6   Well Said 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 4/12/11
Become a Fan
  (70 fans)

opednews.com



When liberals and progressives have nowhere to go, New York's new Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo can move toward the corporatist-right of the political spectrum with impunity. Brandishing an inherited $10 billion state deficit, Cuomo has earned the following description in the April 7th edition of The New York Times :
"He has clashed with unions, who he believes have helped drive the state toward bankruptcy. He has been praised by prominent conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rudolph W. Giuliani. And he has taken thousands of dollars in campaign money from the New York billionaire David H. Koch, who with his family has helped finance the Tea Party movement.
   
"The man who began public life advocating for homeless people won passage of a state budget that makes steep cuts to schools, health care and social services. In a year when Wall Street posted record profits, Mr. Cuomo finally rejected a politically popular income tax surcharge on the wealthy."
Praised by the Wall Street Journal and the republican raptor, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who calls Andrew Cuomo "my soul mate," the son of moral vision orator, former Governor Mario Cuomo, is on a roll unchallenged by his fellow Democrats and the media. Using the deficit -- which is far less per capita than Connecticut's deficit -- he revels in being "Cuomo the cutter": "I am a realist...Forget the philosophy. Here are the numbers."
   
Mr. Cuomo picks his numbers so that the cuts fall on the lower economic classes, the powerless along with the reviled public employee unions. Granted, there is waste, fraud or ineffectiveness in many social service programs, but Governor Cuomo is cutting the programs indiscriminately without cutting them by squeezing out the waste and eliminating ineffective programs directly.
   
What results is that the wasteful practitioners know how to fight to preserve their programs better than the efficient ones do. The former have allies like well-connected corporate vendors with their procurement contracts.
   
But there is a more blatant misfocus by Cuomo. It is his fear of Wall Street whose crooks, speculators and self-enrichment pros collapsed the economy by looting or draining savings and pensions in 2008-2009. This led to much unemployment and many closed businesses that, through the loss of tax revenue, expanded the state deficit. He refuses even to speak about holding these spoiled, back-to-business-as-usual financial giants responsible.
   
On the contrary he is rejecting an extension of the tax surcharge on New Yorkers and residing foreigners who make over $200,000 dollars in income a year, which expires this December. It is so much easier to tax the faceless masses. Already, lower income New Yorkers pay a slightly higher percentage of their income in all taxes imposed than do the wealthy. Regressive!
   
It gets worse. During his campaign for Governor, Mr. Cuomo refused to even contemplate keeping the $14 billion (some estimate higher amounts) a year that the state collects from a century-old stock transfer tax, but instantly rebates what is really a sales tax back to the stock brokers. New York used to keep this tax revenue until the early Eighties, when Wall Street pressure finally prevailed. During a public debate, Green Party candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins argued that keeping these revenues would eliminate the deficit and prevent the reduction of necessary programs. On that stage, Mr. Cuomo refused to engage. Mum's the word on Wall Street's fair share.
   
Cuomo calls himself "a progressive Democrat who's broke." A progressive Democrat would push for sacrifice at the wealthy top and work down if necessary. Many of the wealthy derived their billions and millions from many favored policies like tax leniency and other privileges and immunities including violation of the law (some of whom Cuomo pursued as Attorney General.)
   
After all corporate lobbyists work hard to produce many layers of favoritism, including selling products and services to the state government, that are as profitable as they are often wasteful. Consider, for example, the immense gouging in the outsourcing of CityTime -- a large ongoing contract to computerize the New York City payroll.
   
The costs of health care reflect big time fraud in billing practices. Should a Governor just cut benefits across the board -- stranding indigent patients to suffer or die -- or should he crack down on the cheating and stealing that too many vendors have refined to perfection?
   
To be sure it is quicker to slice arbitrarily, but there is no indication that key cost-beneficial law enforcement budgets against business crime are going to increase on Governor Cuomo's watch.
   
Mr. Cuomo did relent on one budget provision, which would have enriched the hospital and insurance lobbies placing a lifetime $250,000 cap on serious baby injuries from malpractice. That was too much to defend by this "progressive Democrat" in Albany. Credit the Center for Justice and Democracy for urging that good deed.

How far will elected Democrats -- from the White House on down -- go in capitulating to the insatiable corporate dominators if their liberal/progressive base continues to signal that they politically have nowhere to go? These voters seem to have few visible breaking points on the dark horizon of over-reaching corporatism.

 

Ralph Nader is one of America's most effective social critics. Named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Corporate Supreme Court; Time For Impeachment

Time to Topple Corporate Dictators

Ralph Nader: Only the Super Rich Can Save Us!

President Obama Treats Tax Dodging GE's Immelt Better than Consumer Protecting Elizabeth Warren

The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome -- From Japan to America

My Friend Barack

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
9 people are discussing this page, with 10 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Mr Nader makes the point that this one Democrat is... by Patricia Gray on Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 at 12:24:05 PM
which, as things stand now, w/ computerized voting... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 12:24:30 PM
The 2000 US Supreme Court decision was that we do ... by Dennis Kaiser on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 1:23:11 PM
Nader only runs to make money.... one never hears ... by Dennis Kaiser on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 1:18:34 PM
n/t... by conrad elledge on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 1:27:48 PM
As Ralph says, most Progressives have "signaled" t... by E. J. N. on Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 at 9:13:12 PM
When he said that the two parties are just about i... by Al Rodbell on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 9:34:50 AM
At one tinme the name Cuomo was taken with solemn ... by liberalsrock on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 10:15:07 AM
Well written. Well said.... by Wendy Culpepper on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 11:10:23 AM
With Democrats like Cuomo, who needs Republicans? ... by Sister Begonia on Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 5:23:23 PM