Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long Live the Prince: a sign of things to come as an outcome of the Supreme Court’s rejection of corporate spending limits

In a February 2 editorial, the NY Post noted, “Gov. Cuomo yesterday challenged the Albany establishment to accept "change" and pass a $133 billion budget -- the first in 15 years meant to actually shrink and not grow.” The same day, Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle editorialized that, “Cuomo is proposing radical change. It's political heavy lifting that threatens to turn the Albany establishment upside down." With the passage of the state’s budget before the April 1 deadline, New York made tremendous progress toward achieving the goals of putting the state’s fiscal house in order and getting New York’s economy running again. The budget includes historic reforms that eliminate a $10 billion deficit with no new taxes or borrowing, redesign government to cut waste and inefficiency, and deliver real results for hard-working families across New York State. As noted in the January post to this blog, undoubtedly difficult decisions needed to be made in the current budget and during future budget debates-both at the federal, state, and local levels. However, education and research must be encouraged and supported rather than cut simply for the sake of reducing a deficit. Education and research are both aimed for improving the future thereby support for both are an investment. On January 7, Charles Bagli for the NY Times reported, “powerful real estate moguls, bankers and business executives behind the Committee to Save New York are moving ahead and expect to run their first television commercial early next week supporting Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s campaign to oppose tax increases, reduce the size of government and reform Medicaid and public employee pensions. The governor has already called for a one-year salary freeze for state workers.” Although “corporations” have been given carte blanche over our government due to the January 2011 Supreme Court decision, our elected officials need to vote with their minds not with any single organization’s wallet. The problem will be in actually deciphering the truth among the deceptive and misleading statements and materials that can now bombard the average citizen and politician as a result of this unwise Supreme Court decision and the control of media markets allowed since 2003, when the Bush Administration changed the FCC ownership rules, (see the August post) Last week I received a mailer paid by the Committee to Save New York, Inc. The pamphlet exhibited politics of the worst sort: using hyperbole to make one group the enemy to forward a group's covert agenda. The aforementioned pamphlet noted: “Behind closed doors superintendents and administrators are taking money out of classrooms-but putting hundreds of thousands of dollars in their own pockets.” Let's ignore the intended message- that the proposed layoffs of school teachers are being caused by superintendents' bloated salaries and instead examine the reality that the Committee to Save New York seems intent on implementing a lobbying and marketing approach whereby their own preferences, behaviors, and advocacy, should not be seen as a source of blame for pain inflicted upon others when a suitable scapegoat can be identified. Alas, Machiavellian philosophy is being exhibited with insidious perfection. Mr. Cuomo, has previously exhibited collaboration with union officials representing health care workers in his effort to overhaul the state Medicaid program. Everyone is encouraged to help him maintain a desire for collaboration and reject, as suspicious and deceptive, the marketing and lobbying plan being utilized by groups such as the Committee to Save New York, which no longer need to identify their political agenda or affiliation. Education is the only protection against a system that is being stacked to allow misinformation to manipulate, distract, and confuse the masses. Stay informed, act locally, think globally, and remain life-long learners! Otherwise, soon all can be lost!