WHO’S FREDO?

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

NO PRINCIPLES!

Democrats have no principles. A bold statement, to be sure, but I can back it up. Just watch Governor Cuomo twisting himself into a logical pretzel over SALT (state and local taxes.) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as the Trump tax cuts, passed in December of 2017, limiting the amount of state and local taxes deductible on federal income tax returns to $10,000. This effects only wealthy taxpayers. Who else has deductions of state and local taxes of $10,000 or more?

Cuomo and his Democrat buddies run New York. They have held every statewide office since 2007 and enjoy a 2:1 advantage in voter registration. Democrats are always trying to increase taxes on the “rich.” They have demonized the rich

since FDR – he called them “princes of privilege” and “economic royalists.” Now Democrats call them greedy, selfish and so on. This is as dumb as it is cynical. So when the Republicans limited the SALT deduction, effectively raising taxes on the wealthy, you would think Democrats would be rubbing their hands in glee. But no, they were angry. They blamed Trump and his Republican colleagues for raising taxes on the wealthy – which wouldn’t be possible if Cuomo and company hadn’t raised them to begin with.

The following may be too sensible for most Democrats to grasp, but state and local taxes are the responsibility of the states and localities. What Cuomo is angry about is that his high taxes are no longer subsidized by other states with lower taxes. Cuomo and his cronies are now exposed, they have to own the effects of their “tax the rich” policies, and he is not happy.

New York is now facing a shortfall in projected revenue of $3.2 billion, the direct result of wealthy New Yorkers leaving the state. Cuomo calls this “serious as a heart attack.” The top 1% of New York’s highest earners pay 46% of all taxes. Maybe Democrats should now love the rich; 46% of all taxes sounds like the rich are “paying their fair share.” A reporter asked if the state should yet again raise taxes on the rich.” Cuomo said, “Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did! Now, God forbid the rich leave.” When average New Yorkers leave the state, as they have been, Cuomo is unfazed. We’ve lost 1.9 million people between 2005 to 2016, well before the SALT limitations took effect. First Cuomo blamed the weather for the New York exodus, now he blames Republicans.

Democrats (progressives) love taxes and regulations and hate incentives, which is what is needed. In the competition between the states for jobs, taxpayers wealthy and not, New York is the loser. Cuomo never mentioned the things that would bring people back to the state, a meaty tax cut and a corresponding reduction in New York state’s bloated government.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

A BIG PRESENT FOR THEM- BUPKIS FOR US

It’s going to be a very Merry Christmas for New York State lawmakers and bureaucrats, who are poised to get a lavish pay raise. As of now, Assemblymen and Senators receive $79,500 per year for a part-time job. The proposed pay increase would boost their pay to a whopping $130,000 by 2021, an increase of $50,500, or 64%. Naturally, our so-called leaders fobbed this decision off to a commission so their fingerprints won’t be on it – a weak attempt at plausible deniability. The commission will render a decision soon. Any bets on their recommendation?

 

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(Greedy Albany politicians grow fat while New Yorkers suffer.)

 

Republican Senate Minority leader (in January 2019) John Flanagan and Democrat Assembly Speaker Carl Hastie are foursquare behind the gluttonous increase. Senators and legislators from NYC and its suburbs are behind it. The Governor loves the idea, too, saying, “We’re trying to get quality people into state government and frankly, we are non-competitive.” Non-competitive, non-moral and non-competent too. But the great pay bump comes at a steep price, says the commission and the greed-friendly newspapers. If approved, our lawmakers will be allowed to make only 15% of their income from sources outside their elective office. This is supposed to curb corruption. If approved, this would make New York lawmakers the highest paid in the nation.

But that’s not all. The heads of agencies currently make from $90,000 to $136,000. Under the proposal their salaries will jump to $220,000 by 2021. As of now the Comptroller and Attorney General make $151,500, which is scheduled to bump up to $220,000. Cuomo’s salary will jump from $179,000 to $250,000. (The last pay raise was in 1998.)

According to the latest census data, the median household income for New Yorkers is $64,894. The median per capita income in the state is $37,156. Cuomo recently said, “You want to get talented people into the legislature. You have to pay them a salary that allows them to live and not be a martyr.”

You read it right. If an Assemblyman makes 79.5 K, he’s a martyr. That’s more than twice the income of many New Yorkers. Do agency heads and commissioners need to make five times the earnings of the average New Yorker? In this state, we have high taxes, less personal freedom, slow economic growth (especially upstate,) population loss (especially upstate,) no deal on state mandates, infrastructure in disrepair. In the real world outside of government, raises are based on productivity. Is this a record that deserves a raise?

Democrats are always bleating about income inequality – the exception being when it involves their income. Then it’s equality be damned.

 

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( Who owns the government us or Albany politicians?)

 

This proposal solidifies the Albany government as a permanent ruling class: well paid, well-connected and safe in their incumbency. They will be groomed for government, work in government and retire from government—knowing nothing of life outside of government. Don’t tell Cuomo and his fellow Democrats this, but government does not have a dime that it doesn’t first take from someone who, by the sweat of her brow, earned it.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

COUMO’S BAH HUMBUG

 

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.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2015/03/23/the-economic-benefits-of-fracking/

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

https://info.drillinginfo.com/local-economic-impacts-fracking-boom/

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.”

https://news.uchicago.edu/story/study-suggests-hydraulic-fracturing-boosts-local-economies

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.

Mike