In 2015, Andrew Cuomo wrecked the party. The Southern Tier and the rest of upstate New York were ready to celebrate the incredible gift of vast stores of natural gas under our feet and the prospect of prosperity, jobs and a booming economy, so close we could taste it. But Andrew “Scrooge” Cuomo and his down-state Democrat cronies gave us an early Christmas present in June of 2015: he banned hydrofracking. He didn’t give us coal in our stockings; coal is a cheap and plentiful fossil fuel, and Cuomo hates that. Instead, he gave us casinos, a comedy museum in Jamestown, and a failed economic development program. Not to mention the Buffalo Billion – a billion dollars of our money “invested” in a solar panel company that hasn’t produced a single job. Bah! Humbug! While New York languishes, other states produce natural gas and prosper.

 Right next door, Pennsylvania is the second-leading producer of natural gas in country. In a previous article called A Tale of Two Counties (Dickens again), I compared the economies of Steuben County, NY with Tioga County, PA. They are both rural counties located a stone’s throw from each other. They’re alike in many ways, except that Tioga can drill for gas. The result is that Tioga County handily beats Steuben in every economic measure.

Economists have studied the effect of the fracking boom – and boom is the right word, because the effect has been huge. The Brookings Institute (no conservative outfit) says, “The US fracking revolution has caused natural gas prices to drop 47 percent compared to what it would have been prior to the fracking revolution in 2013. Gas bills have dropped $13 billion per year for gas-consuming households.” This puts more money in the pockets of American consumers.

But what about local communities? The DI Blog has tuns of information on that issue.

The net effect of fracking is an increase in wages and general employment. Approximately 725,000 jobs have been created. Unemployment during the great recession was reduced by 0.5%. Salaries in counties that have fracking have risen by 2.4% to 13.5%. Counties with fracking generally have 5% higher employment that those counties that don’t. The gains in wages are across all income groups.

Unemployment during the great recession was reduced by 0.5%. Salaries in counties that have fracking have risen by 2.4% to 13.5%. Counties with fracking generally have 5% higher employment that those counties that don’t. The gains in wages are across all income groups.

The University of Chicago News found similar gains in local economies. These include a 6% increase in income, a 10% increase in employment and a 6% jump in housing prices. They declared, “In the last decade, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has helped deliver lower energy prices, enhanced energy security, and lowered air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Cuomo, like Scrooge, is closed-minded and selfish. Cuomo banned fracking to assure his political future. His base would have revolted if he allowed it, and you can’t run for President without your base. In describing Scrooge, Dickens said, “The cold within him froze his old features.” But maybe Cuomo will be visited by the ghost of Upstate’s future: “Ebeneezer….I mean Andrew, let the people of Upstate prosper. Let them unlock the vast natural resources they own.” Then Ebeneezer Coumo’s glaciated heart would thaw, and Upstate would once again thrive.

Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas present.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


WRITERS NOTE:  This article will also appear on Tom Shepstone’s excellent blog, Natural Gas Now. Tom’s blog is always interesting and informative.  Every time I go there, I learn something new.  Please give it a visit.









Every conservative knows the news media is biased, leaning left while simulating fairness. But the Elmira Star-Gazette dropped all pretense at objectivity in the Friday (11-23-18) edition. The front page headline stated, “Candidates with strong voices can launch political careers even while losing an election.” The non-sequitur pointed readers to an article touting the failed candidacy of three Democrats, headlined “In politics, losing just might be a winning proposition.” Only in Lefty Mediaville does losing mean winning. Can you imagine a similar headline and story written about defeated Republicans?

But the leftward rush continued, with Joseph Spector’s article headlined, “Trump travel ban impacting New York.” The link is below.

This article was an editorial disguised as news, claiming that New York State refugees and their families are being hurt by the Trump travel ban. Never a mention that the countries that Trump banned are the terrorist havens of Libya,

Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and the thugocracies of North Korea and Venezuela.

Every expert quoted in the article is from a left-leaning pro-illegal-immigration organization. This is an old media trick: stack the sources to make the story fit your narrative. In this case: Trump bad, immigration good. Another trick is to quote people who claim to be put upon, thus garnering sympathy for the cause and antipathy for the policymaker (usually a Republican.)

Heavens! Did you know the number of refugees coming to New York (mostly to upstate cities) dropped from 5,026 in 2016 to 1,218 in 2017? And that this has created a “vacuum for groups that seek to help refugees relocate from their native countries”? Translation: the pro-immigration groups Spector quoted are hurting.

According to Spector, the travel ban is very bad for upstate. He stated, “The drop has been felt predominantly upstate, where most refugees settled because of a lower cost of living and a well-developed social services structure to help them acclimate.” More on this later.

Native New Yorkers have been fleeing the state for decades, and all we heard from upstate newspapers and editorial boards was the sound of crickets. But let the refugee flow drop and it’s a crisis. Apparently, native New Yorkers are expendable, but refugees are vital.

Hassett also said, “The data’s very clear: refugees and immigrants are a positive economic force.” Really? Doesn’t that depends on the refugee’s skills and education? There is general agreement among immigration economists that low-income, less-educated refugees are a net drain on the economy, while highly educated, highly skilled refugees are a net plus. The Spector article implies every refugee is a net plus. But Specter said that refugees relocate upstate because of the social safety net. Why would those economic dynamos need social services from upstate taxpayers?

What we need is a sane immigration and asylum policy. We also need an honest media. If they want to be advocates, they should at least admit it.

WRITER’S NOTE: I asked the Star-Gazette for comment before I posted this article, but they chose not to reply to my request. Remember who the media are. They ask us for comment, we can’t ask them. They judge us. We can’t judge them. A quote that is variously attributed goes, “never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” But times have changed thanks to the internet. We can expose every bit of their institutional bias and naked advocacy and post it on blogs just like this for all to see. Thanks for reading my blog. I welcome your comments.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.



Nature and politics abhor a vacuum. In this election the Republicans left one for the Democrats to fill, and fill it they did. When Democrats accused Republicans of gutting the so-called pre-existing condition protections in Obamacare. Republicans offered no push-back to the attack. Instead they parroted that they are for pre-existing protections too. Pre-election polling found that health care was the top issue in the recently concluded campaign. This was especially true of white suburban women, a group Republicans lost by 20 points. Democrats rode this issue to regain control of the House for the first time since 2010.

A pre-existing condition means someone is already sick. To insure is to mitigate against risk – in the case of health care, an expensive illness or accident. By analogy, consider homeowners insurance. If you have a roof that’s about to collapse and you try to buy homeowners insurance, you’re out of luck. Insurers won’t sell you a policy because they know they’ll lose money. That’s a pre-existing condition, a sure loser for an insurance company. Now let’s say the government mandates that insurance companies must issue a homeowners policy to insure all homes in any condition. What will happen? The cost of insurance and everything associated with it will skyrocket for everyone.

With health insurance, we don’t have to guess what might happen if insurers are forced to issue policies to already sick individuals, because it has happened under Obamacare. The main reason for the now-defunct individual mandate, which forced young and healthy people to buy health insurance, was to defray the cost of insuring the sick. The effect of these so-called protections has been disastrous. Insurance companies in the Obamacare exchanges have declined in number every year, and yet again in 2018. Remember the promise that each family would save $2500 in healthcare premiums? According to Health and Human Services (HHS), premiums have doubled since 2013. Doubled. In 2018, costs have risen by 19% for expensive plans and 32% for the cheapest plans. Inflation for all other goods and services is only 2%.

When Democrats attacked, Republicans ran for the tall grass. They allowed Democrats to tout the benefits of pre-existing conditions protection without making them own the terrible price that these protections cost average people. Republicans should have pivoted and attacked, accusing Democrats of wanting to deprive people of healthcare coverage by making health insurance unaffordable. Republicans should have asked: Why should Democrats have any credibility on health care given how they lied to pass it, then badly bungled it? These are arguments that college-educated suburban women would have understood. These arguments might have saved the House. But Republicans would have needed the courage to fight and make a case to a public hungry for leadership.


Michael A.Morrongiello, Ph. D.



Democrats always sink to the lowest intellectual and moral common denominator, and the latest Tracy Mitrano advertisement is a prime example. Tracy is the Democrat candidate for Congress in the 23rd Congressional district.

Here is an excerpt from the ad, attacking Reps. Claudia Tenney and Tom Reed: “…backing a tax bill that burdened the middle-class homeowners, handed tax breaks to the wealthy, and made it nearly impossible for people to relocate or start a business in upstate New York.” Mitrano blames New York State’s problems on the federal government. State and local taxes are the result of legislation produced by Democrats in a state dominated by Democrats. The Trump tax cuts put $1,400 in the pockets of every family across the 23rd Congressional district. Having more money makes it easier to pay the outsized property taxes foisted on us by Manhattan and Albany Democrats. This logic is inescapable to all but Mitrano. Republicans have not held a statewide office in New York since 2007. Businesses and people have been fleeing New York since the 1960’s.

Mitrano and her running mate, Anthony Brindisi also said: “With state and local taxes no longer deductible for the first time in history, why would they think any company would relocate to our communities? They had to know this was a job killer.” Yes, the list of companies that have left New York is a long one, and it long preceded President Trump’s tax cuts. State and local taxes remain deductible up to $10,000. Apparently Mitrano favors tax cuts for the rich, since the $10,000 cap only effects wealthy taxpayers. Why not ask the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay their fair share? If Mitrano believes in a big, expansive government why not endorse it, along with the humungous taxes needed to fund it?

The lowest common intellectual and moral common denominator, indeed.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


These are my planned remarks for the last Political Pundit night, which was October 23rd. Most plans don’t survive first contact with real people, and neither did mine. I had to answer baseless charges from one panelist that millions were dying as a result of having no health care. Not true, as everyone is required to be treated at the ER. And besides, if millions were dying, wouldn’t we hear about it from our Democrat-loving media? I’m told the crowd was quiet while I spoke, a welcome change to be sure. I hope some of what I said got through.

Thanks again to Dr. Coleman for putting this event together. I was pleased to participate. It’s a fun event in an iconic setting, the Elmira Heights Theater. Please come to the next Political Pundit Night, scheduled for late January of 2019.

My remarks follow.

Dr. Coleman, fellow pundits, ladies and gentlemen:

Seniors, President Trump vowed to never touch Medicare. Keeping

Republicans in charge will preserve the program for us, the seniors it

was designed for.

Beware Democrats who will throw seniors under the bus to pass

single-payer (“Medicare for all.”)

Democrats lied to pass Obamacare.

Here are some whoppers they told with a straight face.

Premiums will decline by $2,500. (They skyrocketed.)

You can keep your insurance and your doctor, said Obama some 30


Millions lost plans they liked and doctors they trusted.

Democrats promised to protect Medicare, but they robbed $500 billion

from it to fund Obamacare.

If they lied about health care then, why trust them now?

What do the single-payer advocates really think about seniors?

ABC news gave an infomercial disguised as a Town Hall to

promote Obamacare, hosted by the selfsame President Obama.

One participant, Jane Sturm, asked Obama if her 90-year-old mother

could have a life-saving heart operation. Would he consider her

spirit, her joyful approach to life? Obama’s chilling reply was that

maybe her mother should take the pain pill… (meaning: die.)

Obama wielded the power of life and death with a

disquieting ease that should have frightened all of us.

This was a totalitarian moment more in line with the likes of

Mussolini and Castro than the tradition of Washington.

The message: seniors are disposable.

Bernie Sanders, like most Democrats, wants single-payer health care.

Bernie loves the Canadian system, which is plagued by shortages. Quebec native George Zelotis was 73, suffering from heart problems and needed a hip replacement.

But he was on a wait list for surgery. That’s common in Canada.

Zelotis was stuck and in pain.

Private insurance is illegal and physicians in the Canadian System

can’t privately sell their services to patients.

So Zelotis and his doctor, Jacques Chaoulli, sued. The case wound

its way to their Supreme Court, which found that Zelotis’s rights were

violated by being forced to wait for the surgery that would ease his


Here’s what Justice Marie Deschamps said, writing for

the majority:

Some patients die as a result of long waits for treatment in the

Public system…”

Medicare for all means two things. One: seniors will no longer be

Medicare’s priority. And as you can see in the case Chaoulli

v. Quebec, the second meaning is—get in line.

Economist Milton Friedman said “if you put the government in

charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

A shortage of sand is an inconvenience. For seniors, a shortage of

health care means a shorter life.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Look out: Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan lies in wait for the day Democrats take over the government. With the debacle of Obamacare fresh in their minds, Democrats will make sure that this time, they take total control of your health care. This is a decades-old Democrat dream, and if they get the chance, they will say and do anything to achieve it.

The draconian BernieCare will outlaw all private insurance. The bill creates Regional Health Authorities to curb “over-utilization.” Translation: the Authority will decide if you get health care, and what kind you get. Every American will be automatically enrolled, and every child will be signed up at birth. If you are a union member with a hard-earned deluxe plan, you lose your plan. If you’re a senior, the Medicare you’ve grown to trust and paid for all your life will change forever. A program designed for seniors will now cover everyone, and seniors will be shunted to the back of the line.

Bernie wants Canadian-style healthcare, having declared that “..for decades, every man, women and child in Canada has been guaranteed health care through a single-payer publicly funded healthcare program.”

Canadian health care has been plagued by long waiting lists for years. The average wait between referral from a primary care physician to a specialist is five months. In 2007 the Canadian government enacted the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Trust to “introduce guarantees” of prompt service to all Canadians. But isn’t prompt health care the promise? This “guarantee” cost an additional $1 billion on top of their already steep taxes, all in a country of about 37 million. Imagine how this would work in a country of 325 million.

To enact single-payer, Democrats will say, “We’ve tried the private sector and it failed.” They will promise unlimited health care with no waiting. And that will be the most cynical of the many lies they will tell to sell the plan. We must remember the many Obamacare lies: your premium will decrease by $2500 (premiums skyrocketed,) we won’t raid Medicare to pay for Obamacare (Democrats robbed Medicare to the tune of $500 billion.) Obama looked the American people in the eye and said “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your plan you can keep your plan, period.” Millions lost doctors they liked and insurance they trusted.

Every government-run system eventually constricts access to care. In the UK they created the Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to “guide” doctors. The real purpose is to limit access to care.

The great con of all single-payer schemes is to say everyone is covered, but that doesn’t mean you actually get care. If Democrats gain control, your health care is in serious jeopardy.


Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.