A professor at Columbia has been arrested and charged with incest for having consensual sex with his 24-year-old daughter but,under the Supreme Court’s current interpretation of our constitution, this is clearly legal behavior. The ACLU, which has championed the right of Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods and Muslims to bomb us, has so far remained silent on this important civil rights case. Perhaps they’re all off at Cancun.
Daily Archives: December 11, 2010
Reader AB sent along this Op-Ed piece from Westchester County’s executive. His thoughts could be usefully applied to our own state.
GOVERNMENT WE JUST CAN’T AFFORD
By Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino
If state and local governments are ever to get their budget deficits under control, they absolutely must address spending. The issue here is simply one of affordability.
Westchester County has a skilled and dedicated work force that provides quality service 365 days a year. Unfortunately, the county can no longer afford it. It’s too expensive — in large measure because of union-contract-dictated health-care and pension packages that are beyond the wildest dreams of private-sector workers.
Next year, the average cost of a Westchester County worker will be $117,000. The scariest part is that fringe benefits — mostly health care and pension costs — will come in at 55 percent of salary. In contrast, the cost of fringe benefits for UAW workers at General Motors before the company went bankrupt was 37 percent of salary. Is there any business in America — or any level of government — that can stay in business with these kinds of costs?
Faced with this unsustainable expense spiral, only one choice remains if you take gimmicks and one-shots off the table: Workers must agree to become cheaper — or there will have to be fewer of them.
Let’s be clear: More revenue (that is, taxes) won’t solve the problem. Westchester already has had the dubious distinction of having the highest property taxes in America for three years in a row — 2007-09. Taxes just can’t be raised fast enough to keep up with ever-escalating spending, propelled largely by union-contract wage hikes, step increases, longevity payments, free health care, sick-day cash outs, vacation-day carryovers, pension expenses and retirement benefits for our 5,000-plus current employees and roughly 4,000 retirees.
Economic realities dictate that we adapt or perish. Our governments and their unions can take their medicine, make fundamental reforms to their cost structures by cutting expenses, and in so doing build more attractive places for people and businesses to live and operate. Or they can hold on to the status quo, chase fantasy revenues and watch the steady decline of their communities as people and businesses vote with their feet.
Long-shot gubernatorial candidate Jimmie McMillan became an overnight sensation this fall with his “rent is too damn high” chant. Here’s mine. It may not be as catchy, but its truth is unimpeachable: Government spending is too damn high.
Robert P. Astorino is the Westchester County executive.
Picard sues Madoff’s accountants for $900 million. He’ll never recover that much, of course, but he should be able to impoverish them. Couldn’t happen to two more deserving guys. That $10 million Nantucket home has to go.
Nativity scene pulled from Staten Island ferry terminal after someone complains. I’m more of a Taoist these days than a Christian, but I can see expressions of faith different from my own and survive, emotionally unharmed. This is as silly as the Jew who sued (successfully) the Cos Cob volunteer fire department for placing a cross on their building during Christmas. Lighten up, people.
This Old Greenwich house, new construction and asking $5.8 million, has gone to contract. A half – acre, no pool, go figure.
And Pathmart, and all their other iterations – I can’t keep track of them all. But the grocery store they run in Riverside has always been awful – if it’s typical of the chain, I’m not surprised that they’re going bankrupt.
Forget the Tea Party – Republicans and Demmerkrats are piling everything they can into this supposed tax bill: ethanol subsidies are just the least of it. Why aren’t the Republicans waiting until January to deal with the tax bill? Because the old guard (and some of the new) see an opportunity to pass out favors now, to their friends.
I was appalled to see the video of Prince Charles and his wife assaulted by an angry mob shouting “off with their heads” but it would be nice if we could import those protestors over here, to Washington.
“The add-ons were being attached behind the scenes.
Almost $5 billion in subsidies for corn-based ethanol and a continuing tariff to protect against ethanol imports were wrapped up and placed on the tree Thursday night for farm-state lawmakers and agribusiness lobbyists. Environmentalists won more grants for developers of renewable energy, like wind and solar.
For urban lawmakers, there’s a continuation of about-to-expire tax breaks that could save commuters who use mass transit about $1,000 a year. Other popular tax provisions aimed at increasing production of hybrid automobiles, biodiesel fuel, coal and energy-efficient household appliances would be extended through the end of 2011 under the new add-ons.
The package also includes an extension of two Gulf Coast tax incentive programs enacted after Hurricane Katrina to spur economic development in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
The ethanol money was added despite a growing congressional opposition to subsidizing the fuel after decades of government support. Last month, 17 Republican and Democratic senators wrote to leaders calling the tax breaks “fiscally indefensible,” since there’s already a law in place that requires ethanol be blended into gasoline.”