For over a year I’ve been giving Senator Schumer hell over his harebrained idea to place a 27.5% tariff on goods coming from China. It always puzzled me that in this day and age a Senator, especially one from the business capital of the world, would actually think tariffs are a good idea for an economy.
I believe there was actually a point during this crazy plan where Schumer realized that his idea was ridiculous. I recall during one of Ben Bernanke’s testimonies where Schumer asked about his bill with Schumer telling Bernanke that he knew it wasn’t a good idea but didn’t know what else to do. I wondered at the time if I was the only one worried that our Senator “didn’t know what to do”.
It’s become obvious for months now that Schumer has wised up and never had any intention to implement his bill and was instead trying to use it as saber rattling to hopefully get China to act. China new better and even Schumer’s visit to the country had him coming back with nothing but more proof that he’s out of his league when it comes to dealing with the country’s economic policy. Schumer threatening China with tariffs would be like me threatening to throw my HDTV out the window if my wife didn’t stop watching Desperate House Wives. She knows I would never do it because I would only be hurting myself more.
Fortunately for Schumer a man who knows a thing or two about sound economic policy, Hank Paulson, opened a door for Schumer to save face with his own trip to China. Paulson’s trip to China was a tremendous success as China finally had someone they can talk shop with that understood all aspects of trade and the theory of “Comparative Advantage”.
Give Schumer credit though for being wise enough to seize the opportunity to pull his bill. He still couldn’t do it without making somewhat of an ass out of himself, by stating during the press conference that his bill was a “blunt instrument” that got China to this point. I’m sure people unfamiliar with how things work might believe him but everyone who knows better laughed at that statement and thought it fitting that he is from the party represented by a donkey.
On the front page of most New York papers this morning is the Bloomberg Administration’s decision to propose the banning of trans fats in restaurants across the five boroughs. Whether Bloomberg’s ban passes or not doesn’t matter because as of this morning the damage has been done to thousands of restaurants with the risk of all of them going out of business.
The ramifications that will take place from the precedent set yesterday by Bloomberg is dangerous. First the ban will only cover restaurants still allowing city residents to by hundreds of products with trans fat in their local supermarket. However it is still early and if the ban passes a spillover effect into the supermarkets can still occur forcing hundreds of products to be pulled from the shelves.
The biggest risk to the city and its small business restaurant community will be economically. The admission by Dr. Thomas Frieden, the city’s health commissioner, that trans fat is a “dangerous” ingredient along with the bill will be used in courtrooms across the city as America’s litigation society will storm the castle and attempt to raid the banks of every restaurant across the city.
Over the last couple days we have been reading about the door being open for people to now sue tobacco companies over light cigarettes. Thanks to mayor Bloomberg the door has been open for New Yorkers to sue any restaurant. My father has lived in NYC for 65 years; he’s had four heart attacks and a quadruple bi-pass. He has also eaten in hundreds of restaurants from steak houses to Italian restaurants. His situation is can be copied thousands of times over and Mayor Bloomberg has just given people like my dad a free ticket to sue and personally put a restaurant out of business.
Near the end of Tuesday’s debate, State Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s name came up. Spitzer thinks that Hevesi is an honest, able accountant who ably serves in this position. Of course, Spitzer’s definition of honest and able differs from John Faso’s, and pretty much everyone else’s for that matter.
To get a little background on Mr. Hevesi, take a look at this note from J. Christopher Callaghan, Republican candidate for state comptroller. And visit Callaghan’s Web site, too.
Special message from Chris Callaghan
Last Thursday, Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the man responsible for protecting New York’s taxpayers against fraud and abuse in government, admitted to one of the most shocking cases of abusing the public trust in recent history.
After the Comptroller had gotten into hot water as New York City Comptroller for having a City employee work as a chauffeur for his wife, Hevesi paid restitution to the City and discontinued the practice. Certainly, as City Comptroller, he should have known better. At the very least, he should have learned from his mistake. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of New York, he hasn’t.
In response to a tip I phoned in last week to Comptroller Hevesi’s fraud, waste, and abuse hotline, the Comptroller’s office admitted that Hevesi had, incredibly, done it again as State Comptroller – same employee, same passenger, just a different level of government. Worse, after being told by the State Ethics Commission that he had to reimburse the State, Hevesi failed to do so. The kicker? Hevesi’s spokesman admitted that they don’t even know how much the Hevesis owe the State, because the calculations had not yet been made.
Not long ago, Hevesi earned the ire of New York’s corrections officers for failing to deliver a pay raise that the officers had won, deservedly, through arbitration. Hevesi’s office had known what the numbers were long ago, but it declined to make the necessary calculations to permit the officers to be paid promptly upon legislative approval. Instead, Hevesi never made the calculations, and when pressed, blamed union leadership for the problem.
This payroll failure was inexcusable. Hevesi’s provision of a chauffeur for his wife at taxpayer expense is both inexcusable and outrageous. But his failure to calculate and remit payments as advised by the Ethics Commission defies all logic, and irreversibly compromises his legitimacy as the State’s head accountant and chief elected fiscal watchdog.
Last Friday, we learned that the Ethics Commission actually never gave Hevesi permission to subsidize his wife’s transportation with State taxpayer money, “absent security concerns.” This directly contradicts information released by Hevesi’s office in the wake of this story. Each new day brings a new scandal and further evidence that Hevesi long ago traded in his moral compass for an easy button. What new ethical lapse will we learn of tomorrow?
My fight to remove Alan Hevesi and his questionable accounting practices began in 2004 when one of his accounting gimmicks threatened to cost Saratoga County taxpayers money. I’ve been fighting for the taxpayers in Saratoga County for 23 years, and today they pay the lowest taxes per capita of any county in New York State. As County Treasurer, I called him on the gimmick, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board agreed, and the taxpayers in my county benefited. I have been speaking out against his shady fiscal practices ever since, and believe that it’s high time to send this man on his way to collecting his third government pension.
Friday, Fred Dicker, State Editor of the New York Post, reported that if I had any money or name recognition, I might beat Alan Hevesi on this issue alone. Well, I have been traveling the State continuously, running a true grass roots campaign, and building my name recognition one handshake at a time. As to money, it has been a challenging year, as many of you know.
Many folks are hesitant to contribute to someone who they believe can’t win. I understand that. I’ve been a government accountant for 35 years, and I’m the last one to advocate throwing away good money. But Hevesi’s exploits, including his bizarre statements about assassinating the President of the United States, his office’s losing sensitive state employee personal data, and now this admitted misuse of public funds, have been so well documented, I know that we have a chance to show the voters of this State what kind of man he really is.
Hevesi has said that “I don’t report to anybody.” Well, this November, he reports to us!
I know that times are tough, especially for those of us drowning in a sea of unnecessarily high property taxes and struggling to make ends meet. But I need your help. Together, we can return credibility, competency, and accountability to the Comptroller’s office. Please help in any way you can, either by clicking on the online donation form below, by sending a check to my campaign headquarters, or by signing on to volunteer through the website.
Instead of passion, let’s bring some integrity back to Albany.
John Faso and Eliot Spitzer finally squared off Tuesday night in the first (hopefully not the last) debate of the NYS Governor’s race. They traded some pretty good barbs, and Eliot performed much as expected: snide comments and asides, and lots of pie-in-the-sky ideas with no realistic plan to implement them. Well, maybe that’s not completely fair. He can enact his agenda, provided he taxes us into the ground. He says he won’t, but if you believe that, then I can’t do nothin’ for ya.
There will be a lot of commentary about the big duke-a-roo come Wednesday’s news cycle. For my money, I think that Spitzer will get the majority of the positive coverage, which he does not truly deserve. True enough, Faso had a couple of painful missteps early on, but he recovered well, and did a good job of poking holes in Spitzer’s rhetoric.
And if you haven’t checked out the Web site Faso referred to, do yourself a favor and visit SpitzerSpending.com. Find out just how deep a “Governor” Spitzer will dip into your pocket to pay for his social engineering scheme.
Eliot Spitzer doesn’t have the guts to face John Faso on a stage down here in New York City, but we’ll still have the opportunity to see the two gubernatorial candidates duke it out.
Tune in to NY1 on Time Warner tonight at 7:00pm to watch the debate taking place at Cornell University in Ithaca.
And come back to the Record blog afterwards. There’ll be plenty to talk about.
Last night, a small contingent from the NYYRC showed up to help Robert Heim in his bid to wrest the 73rd Assembly District seat from the clutches of tax & spend liberal Jonathan Bing.
Robert brings a wealth of experience to his bid for the New York State Assembly. He served as a top prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also has worked in private practice, establishing Myers & Heim LLP to work with brokers, investors, and bankers on securities issues.
Robert’s campaign is dedicated to passing real crime control legislation that the Democrat-led Assembly has failed to do. He also has great ideas about giving health care management a much needed shot in the arm: a public-private sector partnership between “Manhattan’s premiere health care institutions and Wall Street’s investment banks so that new entrepreneurial biotechnology companies can stay in New York City to create jobs and new medical treatments.”
Visit Robert’s campaign Web site, RobertForNewYork.com for more details.
Like many fine candidates running for office this November, Robert Heim is someone who has the skills and the experience to represent us in Albany. But he needs our help to make it happen.
Over the weekend former President Clinton got more then defensive during a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace. Clinton became hostile when Wallace challenged him on his terror record, squirming in his chair and at one point poking Wallace.
I was raised believing that if you’re not guilty then you have nothing to be defensive about. Clinton’s Howard Dean moment was an interesting look at just how sore President Clinton is over the subject. I have said numerous times that Clinton did a poor job fighting terrorism during his eight years in office. Between the first WTC bombing, two embassy bombings, a U.S. barracks bombing and the U.S. Cole, Clinton never really did all he could and actually hurt matters by slashing defense spending in half, cutting our battle ready forces from 19 to 10.
To be fair it wasn’t all Clintons fault. As discovered in the 9/11 Report, Tenet was instrumental in talking Clinton out of several plans by Clark to get Bin Laden. The problem with Clinton is that he was more interested in not doing something that could go bad. He wasn’t a risk taker and when things got messy he picked up and ran.
He took the pressure off Iraq when Saddam threw out weapons inspectors and he hightailed it out of Mogadishu when things started to get heated. This morning there is more news coming out of Somalia that shows not only what a big mistake it was for Bill to accept defeat but also why staying in Iraq is critical. It’s being reported today that heavily armed Islamic militiamen have seized control of another town in Somalia giving them full control of all the countries seaports. Clinton’s surrender in Somalia paved the way for al-Qaida to take charge of the country and effectively create a new base for their operations.
I’m not going to argue that Clinton didn’t “try” but the question is how hard? The difference between Clinton and Bush is that Clinton new what should be done but never took the all out risk because he was more concerned about his image then doing what was needed as the leader of a country.
Yesterday Wal-Mart announced that it was cutting the prices on 350, yes 350, generic drugs to $4 a refill. These drugs will cover everything from asthma to diabetes.
New York City residents will have to keep paying the $20+ they do now since our brilliant City Council thinks Wal-Mart shouldn’t be allowed to open in the city.
So not only has the City Council’s ignorance cost us hundreds of millions of tax revenue by watching NYC residents go to Jersey, Long Island and Westchester to shop at Wal-Mart, they can now be thanked by those who don’t own a car for making them pay full price for their meds when Wal-Mart rolls out the plan nationwide.
Bravo City Council, Bravo!!
Yesterday Spitzer finally decided to give New Yorkers a glimpse at what he would do to help New York if elected Governor. In his speech to the New York State Business Council, Spitzer spoke about his five-point plan.
His first plan was to “reduce taxes”. To achieve this, the first thing he would like to do is increase the amount New Yorkers receive in the Star Program, which lowers homeowner’s property taxes by a certain amount. The Star program is a good one and any move to expand it is not a bad idea. However Spitzer made the mistake of announcing that anyone making over $235,000 a year would not get the benefit.
This is when New Yorkers should start to get concerned. Attacking the highest earners in the state is a mistake. Those fortunate to earn that much are also the ones who have the luxury to leave. It has been no secrete that the wealthiest New Yorkers have been leaving because of New York’s discriminating tax system and singling them out further will only make matters worse. Further Spitzer’s plan fails to index for inflation, which means more and more people will lose the tax benefit as incomes rise. What’s worse, people who need tax cuts the most are usually the ones that don’t own a home. So if you rent, which most people in this city do, you’re not going to get relief from the burden of New York taxes under Spitzer.
Finally the biggest problem with Spitzer’s “tax cut” plan is that he doesn’t cut taxes. New York has been tops on the list for years when it comes to States with the highest tax burdens. For Spitzer to think that he’s going to be able to turn New York around without having to cut corporate or personal income taxes he’s as lost then I originally thought
Be sure to attend the September general meeting of the New York Young Republican Club tonight at the Union League, 38 East 37th Street, corner of Park & 37th.
We are hosting a panel on Emergency Preparedness Five Years After September 11th.
Panelists will include Frank Tabert, Assistant Director, New York State Department of Homeland Security; Avi Bell, visiting law professor at Fordham University; and Philip Caracci, Republican District Leader and survivor of the World Trade Center attack.
The panelists will discuss the state of emergency preparedness in New York City and will take questions from the club. Mr. Tabert, Assistant Director of the New York State Office of Homeland Security, oversees state agency, public authority and select private sector procedures for deterring, preventing and responding to terrorist acts or threats. He also works developing and implementing statewide counterterrorism training programs; and specializing in air, rail, and seaport security programs and critical infrastructure issues. Before joining the department, Mr. Tabert spent 25 years working in airport and transportation law enforcement.
Professor Bell is a law professor at the Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law in Ramat Gan, Israel (a suburb of Tel Aviv) and a Visiting Professor at Fordham University Law School. His fields of expertise are administrative law (including anti-terror law), international law (especially the laws of war), and property. He is also a staff sergeant in a reserve infantry unit of the Israel Defense Forces, and was called up for active duty in Lebanon this summer.
Philip Caracci is a District Leader in the 74th Assembly District. He has been involved in the Republican party in New York City for nearly 20 years and has served on the executive committees of several local clubs including the TR Group and Gramercy Park Republican Club.
The meeting at the Union League starts at 7:00pm sharp. As always, business attire required. Please check your coat at the door and turn off your cell phone.
Look forward to seeing you there.