James Madison, Federalist Papers #51:

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Mr. Madison, like many of the Founding Fathers, knew that combining human frailty with government power usually has bad results. Exhibit A: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Covid 19 was Cuomo’s opening. He declared a State Disaster Emergency on March 7th which he recently extended to June 6th. This gave Cuomo the authority to temporarily suspend or change ANY New York State law. He already had executive power; he then seized legislative and judiciary authority, making him a dictator. Please find the link below.


Any honest observation of Cuomo’s daily briefings reveals a man who loves power, is not shy in welding it, and loves the attention of a fawning media.

Cuomo’s playbook is on full display. He claims everything he does is rooted in “science” and “metrics.” Any opposition is branded as emotional, political or just plain mean. Next, he loses people in a blizzard of verbiage, charts and numbers. And of course, he always satisfies his political base. Cuomo never deviates from this.

In 2014, Cuomo ordered the DEC to ban hydrofracking. He used “dangers to health” as an excuse, citing dubious studies focusing on potential future health risks. With one move, he solidified support from his base and short-circuited any serious political opposition by making sure Upstate stays poor and economically weak. Cuomo is not to be trifled with. This is one ruthless dude.

The economic effect of Cuomo’s shutdown order has devastated Upstate’s already weak economy. We are always first into recession and last out of it. Businesses don’t easily start in New York State. And before the shutdown, census data pointed to further population losses in upstate counties.

Now Cuomo has a plan to re-open the economy, with “essential” businesses first in line – he decides what’s essential, of course. Cuomo promises to shut it all down again if his benchmarks (which he claims are based in “science” and “metrics”) are not met. That uncertainty is a job killer. Add to this the concentration of power in one man’s hands and his dislike of the private economy and you have a recipe for a long recession in upstate New York.

Cuomo decreed that nursing homes accept Covid-positive patients, which exposed vulnerable seniors to the virus. Everyone knew the elderly were the most likely to die from Covid, but Cuomo didn’t care. He didn’t even require increased testing for nursing home staff. The result: 5,000 seniors died. Tragically, this is what results from one-man rule.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph.D.





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Tom Hanks as Forest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Chris Cuomo threatened to throw a man down the stairs for calling him Fredo, a reference to the character brilliantly played by the late John Cazale in Godfather 1 and 2. Fredo was easily the dullest of his three brothers, and as a result, he was given menial tasks in the Corleones’ vast criminal empire. I’m Italian-American and proud of it, but calling someone Fredo is calling them stupid, bumbling and incompetent; it is not an ethnic slur. Since the Fredo affair I’ve been thinking: which Cuomo brother is the biggest bumbler? Who’s really Fredo? It’s a close call.


Astonishingly, both Cuomos claim that calling them Fredo is smearing their Italian heritage. They’re the sons of a former governor, presidential hopeful and scions of one of New York’s most powerful families. One is a CNN anchor, the other New York’s governor. They both whine like victims. If that’s not Fredo-level stupidity, I don’t know what is.


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Fredo Corleone: “I can handle things.  I’m smart and I want respect.”  Like running New York State, Andrew?

Let’s look at Andrew Cuomo’s record as Governor. Upstate NY has been hemorrhaging people since 2010. The grim numbers show that 43 of the 50 upstate counties have lost population since the last census.

Cuomo had a chance to jump-start the upstate economy, but he banned gas development. Fracking would have brought billions of dollars into Upstate. Pennsylvania produces 20% of the nation’s natural gas, second only to Texas. Imagine the cash tidal wave flooding into that state. That could have been us. But instead of being a net exporter of gas, we are an importer. Our dollars flow out but in Pennsylvania, dollars flow in. Cuomo looked prosperity in they eye and said no, thank you. This should go down in history as one of the dumbest executive decisions in the history of executive decisions.

Cuomo banned fracking, rendering the vast natural resource that is natural gas unusable.  Natural resource development has been a source of prosperity throughout history. Steuben County NY is a stone’s throw from Tioga County PA.  But while Tioga County prospers because of fracking, Steuben County withers, in no small part because fracking is banned.   

Cuomo’s economic development plan is a joke. Cuomo “invested” $15 million in the Central New York Film Hub. It was sold last month for $1. Soraa LED reneged on a $90 million factory near Syracuse funded by us, the taxpayers. But don’t worry, the State Senate “invested” $15 million more to lure another company to the factory.

New York State’s jobless rate lags behind the national average of 4.1 percent at 4.7%. In 55 of the 57 counties outside of New York City the jobless rate rose from 2016 to 2018. Then there’s the Buffalo billion. Cuomo “invested” $750 million of our hard-earned money to create 3,000 jobs. So far the jobs created stand at 700. Cuomo spent $600 million for a factory for a company called Ams AG. They bailed on the deal. Job growth in the counties outside of New York city was a puny 1% from 2010 to 2016, but from 2016 to mid-2019 job growth slowed even more, to 0.5%

Like that great philosopher Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.” By the Gump standard, Governor Andrew is really stupid.

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One Cuomo brother screws up New York State, the other brother makes a hash of television journalism, but the question remains, who’s Fredo?

Chris may be adding to the low ratings and joke status of CNN, but you can turn off CNN. Sadly, Andrew’s governorship has no off button for New Yorkers. The mute button offers relief from Andrew’s noise, but not from his policies. By the sheer the weight of impact, the hands-down winner of Who’s Fredo is Andrew, and the joke is on us.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in his 1964 State of the Union address, saying, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” Johnson wanted to “break the cycle of poverty” and “make taxpayers out of tax-eaters.” In the 54 years since war was declared, we have spent over 22 trillion dollars on anti-poverty programs, three times the cost of all the wars America has ever fought. And yet, the poverty rate remains unchanged. This is sadly true in cities across upstate New York. Unfortunately for those trapped in poverty, progressive solutions remain the go-to for elected officials and journalists alike.

An article by Jeff Platsky appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette on September 13th 2018. The link appears below.


Platsky cites the American Community Survey, which finds that three upstate cities are in the top 25 in the nation in child poverty and overall poverty.

Rochester has 56.4% of its children living in poverty, third worst in the nation, and 32.3% of its people in poverty, 12th worst nationally.

In Syracuse, 47.4% of children live in poverty, 10th worst, and 32.4 % overall are below the poverty line, 9th worst.

Buffalo has 43.6% of its children living in poverty, 17th worst in the nation, and 29.6% of its citizens in poverty, 24th worst nationally.

These numbers ought to set off alarm bells across New York State, hearings in the NYS Senate and Assembly, heated questions to the Governor and other Democrat leaders, and scathing editorials from Buffalo to Albany. But there’s been nary a peep. Why?

For his part, Platsky interviews the 14-term Assemblyman and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D), who says these numbers should be a call to action for New York. Morelle blames uneven job growth, industrial loss and the old standby, “structural racism.”

These cities have been decaying for as long as Morelle has been in the Assembly. Morelle is the second highest ranking Democrat in the Assembly. He helps set the legislative agenda. Democrats run the Assembly and, notably, all these cities. Rochester has had Democrat mayors since 1970. Syracuse had Democrat mayors from 1970 to 2017; an independent now runs the city. As for Buffalo, it has been run by Democrats since 1966. Democrats occupy every statewide office and have done so for 12 years.

Several things are apparent. The war on poverty is an abject failure. The promise was to end poverty, but poverty is alive and well. The progressive idea that big government can solve individual and family problems should be put to rest once and for all. Yet it lives. Why? And why do people who live in continual poverty keep voting for the same people?

Platsky never asks Morelle about government policy on the state or federal level. This allows Morelle to answer as a bystander and not a policy maker. Platsky’s article reads like: “One day poverty happened – who knows how or why?” Here are some questions he should have asked: Mr. Morelle, you’ve been in the New York State Assembly for 28 years, several as Majority Leader. Are you in part responsible for this? Mr. Morelle, is the 54-year-old war on poverty a failure? You said structural racism was in part responsible. Could you define that term and tell us exactly who is discriminating against the residents of Rochester, Buffalo et. al.? Mr. Morelle, your party has been in charge of the state and these cities. Does the Democrat party bear any responsibility for the poverty in upstate cities?

The press never questions the effectiveness of progressive policies and never asks Democrats about those failures. Therefore, the unfortunate residents of these cities never hear a critique of the policies that keep them in poverty.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

First Pundit Night Remarks

I was pleased to participate in Dr. Coleman’s political pundit night on 9/12/18 to answer the question: Is Tom Reed a success or failure? Naturally, I answered that Tom is a success. In a state absent conservative governing principles, Tom Reed is a breath of fresh air. But the heavily progressive audience did not agree. Most listened politely to my remarks. I’m guessing they totally disagreed with me, which is fine. Some, however shouted, laughed and were rude. We expect such behavior from some on the left. It’s right from their playbook: when you have no argument, mock and harass. We don’t let their childish tactics deter us. My brief speech follows. Please note that the text below is mostly in the form I used to deliver the speech. The next pundit night is in late October to discuss President Trump and the midterm elections. I’m looking forward to it and I thank Dr. Coleman for inviting me and for trying to get people from opposite sides of the political spectrum to talk to each other.

Dr. Coleman, fellow pundits, ladies and gentlemen.

I have good news and I have bad news.

First the bad news.

Upstate New York is in a generations-long death spiral.

In a 1962 speech to the Economic Club of New York,

President John F. Kennedy noted

the chronically depressed areas upstate.”

Ladies and gentlemen – that was 56 years ago.

According to the Federal Tax Agency,

New York State has the highest combined taxes in the nation.

Chief Executive Magazine rates NYS with the second worst business climate in the country.

Meanwhile – upstate continues to de-populate.

From 2000–2016 NYS lost 14% of its population to other states.

NY leads the nation in population loss.

In the recent debate between Governor Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon

they spent 10 seconds on upstate, and zero seconds on tax reduction, the

awful business climate, and population loss.

That is no accident.

Because – upstate’s decline is the direct result of their progressive policies.

That’s the bad news.

Now the good news. Tom Reed stands like a lighthouse—his ideas, a beacon to

point our way out of the mess we’re in—and to warn us to avoid Democrat policies. policies that have failed us for 60 years.

Tom stands for lower taxes, less government and the inevitable result-


Tom spoke at a “Defend Private Property Rights” rally to support victims of Cuomo’s fracking ban. Who were the victims? Farmers, union men and women;

electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders. Regular folks looking for work, a chance to make it.

Tom fights for them.

Tom voted for the Trump tax cuts, keeping $1,474 in the pockets of married couples with 2 children in the 23rd Congressional District — an 18% tax cut.

Last February, Tom threw the wasteful Omnibus spending bill under the bus,

a gutsy, common-sense vote.

Tom introduced the “Reduce” act to help middle-class families by reducing the cost of college and to make academia more transparent, a desperately needed reform. Tom supports school choice to give minority children a chance at success

by escaping failing public schools. In New York, Tom Reed is one of the few

commonsense conservative voices in a room crowded with incompetent


We desperately need his voice, here and in Washington.

He’s a runaway success.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.



Andrew Cuomo has been a disaster for all of New York but especially for Upstate. The Upstate economy is fragile and has been in an economic depression for generations. Cuomo promised to turn it around but he has failed. Seth Barron of the Manhattan Institute cataloged the boondoggles Cuomo funded with our hard-earned tax dollars. The title of the article is “A Kings Ransom” and it appeared in the Sunday July 22nd New York Post. The link appears below:


The article is an indictment of Democrat economic policy. The basic theory is that government and the experts who reside therein must direct tax-payer dollars to the “right” places to grow the economy and create jobs; in stark contrast to empowering people to create economic growth. Any Republican candidate running for state-wide office in New York state should loudly and clearly state that Democrat economic policies don’t work. We have 8 years of Cuomo’s abysmal record to prove it.

I urge you to click on the link above and read the article by Mr. Barron.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Progressives usually blame the country (us) for their failures. And so it is with a new report from the Brookings Institute (a left-leaning think tank) on urban racial income inequality.

The author, Alan Berube, details racial income inequality (RII) in the nation’s 100 largest cities from 2014 to 2016.


New York has its share of RII. On May 20, the Elmira Star-Gazette’s headline blared: “A startling racial income gap in Monroe County.”

According to the Brookings report, whites make twice as much as blacks in Monroe county. Onondaga county is the seventh worst county in the nation, while Kings County (Brooklyn) is 18th worst. Two New York cities made the RII top ten, New York (7th) and Buffalo (10th).

Politicians predictably reached into their bag of politically correct cliches. Rochester mayor Lovely Warren said: “The data in this report confirms what we’ve known for a long time – that there is a lack of equality in our work force.” (What exactly does that mean?)

Naturally, there’s a program to address the issue, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Its director, Leonard Brock, says the program is focused on institutional racism, stating, “We could give people jobs all day, but that doesn’t necessarily mitigate some of the structural challenges that create inequality.” (Wait – a $25-per-hour job wouldn’t help?)

The lack of imagination, critical thinking and common sense on the part of politicians and the press are, to borrow a phrase, “startling.” Every city in the top ten is governed by Democrats. The study covered a period when Democrat Barak Obama had been President for six years. Cuomo, a Democrat, had been Governor for four years. Cuomo said he wanted New York to be “the progressive leader” of all states. Every statewide office in New York is held by Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in New York by 2:1.

Psychologists call it externalization, which means fixing responsibility outside yourself. In the minds of progressives, their policies never lead to bad outcomes; it’s racism, sexism or some kind of “ism”, which means it’s your fault – you, the citizen, with no power to make policy, simply going about your business each day. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren acts like an innocent bystander. Her party, her political philosophy and her decisions as mayor are in no way culpable.

Where’s the press skepticism of Democrats in power? Where are the editorials asking why their policies haven’t worked? The press never asks such questions of them.

African-Americans vote 90% Democrat. Progressives build straw-men to deflect from their incompetence and keep minorities voting for them. This is the progressive Houdini trick: to slip the shackles of responsibility and point the finger of blame away from them and at the rest of us.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D