Thursday, February 11, 2010
Everyone, please, act surprised and fast
The State of New York, one of the crown jewels of liberalism is in dire financial straits. The 2010-2011 budget deficit is a cool 8.2 billion dollars. And if you think this is due to a dramatic drop in the revenue - let me show a simple graph that clarifies the issue. On the y-axis, you will see the total spending in the NY State, and on the x-axis you see the budget year.
As you can see, the NY spending was going up relentlessly, even when the economy started tanking in the end 2007. And, as one would expect - at some point the revenue became less than the spending, and the budget deficits crawled in. No mystery there for people who finished middle school.
So, who runs this dysfunctional state? It must be mentioned that the current governor of the state is completely accidental. The elected governor of New York State, Eliot Spitzer, previously known as a top prosecutor of all sins, real and imaginary, was caught hiring very expensive prostitutes and screwing them in fancy hotels (according to one of the prostitutes, he enjoyed wearing socks while he was doing them). In response to the scandal, Spitzer resigned in March 2008, and his side-kick, David Peterson, a man of equally high moral values moved into the governor's office.
Governor Peterson, a financial genius extraordinaire decided to improve the State's financial difficulties by expediting the legalization of casino business. Previously, the NY authorities invited world-renown companies to compete for the right to work in the State. NPR reports that the "process took years and years, and the rules kept changing. But when the state finally asked for bids to run it, a lot of famous casinos applied: Harrah's, MGM Mirage, Hard Rock Entertainment. There was big money at stake."
All is well that ends well - and according to NPR, "...in a secret process, the governor and the leaders of the legislature did not pick MGM or Harrah's. They picked a group called AEG, which runs some of Elko, Nevada's finer establishments." A naive reader will most likely assume that a small unknown company from Nevada offered the best deal to the long suffering taxpayers of NY - and get quite excited about this Cinderella story.
According to wikipedia, the word Cinderella "come to mean one whose attributes are unrecognised, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect." And boy, is it true for NY State. The achievement of AEG came quite unexpectedly after a period of obscurity.
The reliably liberal NPR noticed that the choice was influenced by some, should we say, unconventional reasons - because according to Peterson "AEG was ranked number two in the process". And true - what kind of Cinderella would be rated #1 in a decent fairy tale in NY State? So, what could have forced the governor of NY to betray the financial interests of the taxpayers and choose an inferior company? As Peterson explains "They [AEG] had a good relationship with the community. They had a strong minority in women's business quotient to their plan."
This explanation fails to clarify the actual decision making process. How exactly have Peterson and the team of accountants calculated the community relationship? And what is the meaning of a mystical term "strong minority in women's business quotient"? Is it better or worse than, say, a "weak majority in Eskimo's' business quotient" - and by how much? Is one Eskimo worth more than a woman or less? Is there a formula that we can put into a computer and check which company comes first? And why were these criteria not clearly explained beforehand? And why would the governor of a near-bankrupt state spend his time counting the number of women in a company - hasn't Spitzer's story taught him anything? Finally - the most important question - was Peterson wearing socks when he screwed NY taxpayers and picked AEG?
Of course, things were much simpler, and Mr.Peterson did not spend time counting women or Eskimos. The mystery was resolved when NPR announced that one of the owners of mysterious company is a NY big shot, former Congressman, Floyd Flake. Any Cinderella worth her britches needs a fairy - and Floyd was the one. It's fair to say that Mr.Floyd was a typical NY fairy - Director of an African-American Center in a university, former House Representative, who resigned in the middle of his term, and prosecuted for fraud and embezzlement of church funds (a friendly judge was able to defend Mr.Floyd from conviction). In spite (or because) of all his shortcomings, Mr.Floyd is a very powerful figure in the NY State politics today, and could be quite useful to Mr.Peterson's re-election campaign.
And thus all became clear - NY taxpayers were sacrificed in order to help Peterson's re-election. And the mystical term "community relationship" simply meant the obvious - how friendly or useful were the company owners to Mr.Peterson and his political future.
This story brings us to a query - is it possible that every time a liberal politician tells you that the government should choose businesses based on some non-monetary unquantifiable values - he may have an ulterior motive? Maybe it makes them easier to operate like a fighter plane and ask one simple question - "Friend or Foe?" If you are a friend to the politician - you will get the business. If you are not - well, you better think fast on how to become his friend. Everything else is pure bullsh*t for idiots. And I trust there are no idiots among my readers. Am I right?
BTW, during the entire report, NPR was unusually shy and did not find it appropriate to mention the party affiliation of Mr.Peterson and Mr.Flake. Any attentive reader would immediately guess that they are both Democrats - and he would be correct. The Democrats - the Party of Corruption. Another "dog bites man" story.