Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bazzo Says: Blurring the line between need and want

I was taught in Sunday school that envy is one of the seven venial sins. I was also taught, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods," which is in the Ten Commandments. I was then taught that it was "godly" to share your abundance with the less fortunate. Hell, "A Christmas Carol" is based on these teachings. Yet the question is, "Who decides when someone has abundance?" 

How much is too much? How high on the hog are you allowed to live before you are told it is too high? How many goodies does one need to own before others begin to envy? Who decides? Here in the United States and in New York, we are compelled by law—regardless of ability to pay—to finance safety nets for the less fortunate. Here in the United States and especially New York, we measure how caring and compassionate a politician is based on how much that politician demands one person give (monetarily) to another. 

The problem becomes when the safety nets for those in need become nets for those in want. Somehow, the safety net that provided the poor with landlines has morphed into the government providing cell phones and free minutes for the poor. One needs the landline, but one wants a cell phone. Our politicians have blurred the lines between need and want. 

When President Obama was justifying his change in Cuban policy, he said, "When you do something over and over again for 50 years and it doesn't work, it's time to try something new." In response, we have feckless politicians (is there any other kind?) standing and cheering: "Yes, yes!"

However, none of those feckless politicians dare say the same about the War on Poverty—ya know, that over the past 50 years trillions of dollars have been confiscated by the government and given to the needy, yet there is still the same amount of needy. Talk about failure! However, we are told that the policies of the War on Poverty are not failures. Oh no, ya see the War on Poverty and its trillions have failed because of rich people. Not enough of their money has been taken by the politicians. We are only a few more tax increases away from utopia. Duh!

Well, I don’t subscribe to that argument. The War on Poverty has created (intentionally?) a dependent class—a class of voters who can be depended upon to vote for whoever will give them more free stuff. (Hint, they vote for Democrats.) The War on Poverty has destroyed (intentionally?) the nuclear family. The black population has been utterly destroyed, thanks in large part to the liberal policies of the War on Poverty. Cities and families don’t just crumble on their own, but that’s for another day.

So, who has been the winner? Well, Uncle Sam and the Democrat Party. This dependency is passed on from one generation to another as is the voting preference. The dependent class, which is ever-growing, has zero motivation to succeed or to achieve anything as generations of people are now satisfied with simply existing.

After all the trillions spent in the War on Poverty, why hasn’t the number of needy individuals changed? Because we continue to change the definition of needy. Today, nationwide, an individual is eligible for Medicaid, welfare and food stamps if that individual makes $43,000.

Today, in New York, you qualify for government-paid child health care if you make $92,000. Is this about need or is it about want? A predictable result of this specific law is that many parents stopped paying the private childcare businesses and went with the state, which in turn hurt those private businesses. Ya see, this “government compassion” is often deadly, but that is something we in New York, for all of our supposed street smarts and intelligence, always fail to realize.

It is not just the "needy" that are affected. Look at the calmness over national unemployment. We are told it is under 6 percent, when in real terms, the U6 figure is 12 percent. Why is there not clamoring in the streets? There are many answers: extended unemployment, easier access to food stamps, Medicaid eligibility has been raised (George W. Bush did that) and housing continues to be subsidized (both parties take the blame here, but Democrats more so). That is just a few of the things that the middle class, not just the poor, can access. Basic needs are being met. People are dropping out of the work force not just because there are not enough jobs, but they have become complacent and have accepted simply existing. 

(Wanna hear a stat that really depresses me? There are 50 million people collecting food stamps today, up from 21 million in 2008. While it makes me shake my head, it is a stat that often warms the hearts of liberals.)

If you believe in self-reliance and personal responsibility, you are an uncaring and selfish extremist as far as the political class is concerned. An employer—large or small—that does not provide entry-level wages high enough to feed a freaking family of four or more is called greedy. So, once the government forces the job creators (the government just hates job creators, doesn’t it?) to artificially increase wages, the price of goods and services rises because the job creator needs to offset the extra cost of the increased wages. So, back come the Obamas, Schumers and Warrens of the world to declare that job creator, a gouger!

We are told that by increasing these wages, people will be less reliant on the government services we pay for through our taxes and so our taxes will not increase. Only in fantasy land is that true. The minute those who depend on the votes of the dependent to keep power feel that people are becoming self-reliant, they raise the income eligibility for those services. Also, other than in fantasy land, where did any government program receive less money? Even when we are told there have been cuts to a specific program, the only thing cut was the rate of growth, not bottom line. How do you think our governor says New York has spent less, even though the budget has increased?

Nah, it is still a venial sin to be envious of the achievement of another and it is still a sin to covet thy neighbor’s goods. It is not compassionate to take another’s money by the force of law to in order to keep millions of people dependent upon you. There is no compassion in blurring the lines between need and want. A compassionate people (and we are) can fund people's needs, but there is not enough money out there to satisfy people's wants.

This is what I say. What say you? 

 Bazzo 01/28/15

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bazzo Says: Economic Lies From The Left

Bazzo Says:

I am trying to understand the liberal re-write of the laws of economics: By raising the cost of doing business, businesses will flourish and the workers will reap the rewards; that business and life are one-dimensional; that a business, large or small, whether through mandate, regulation, or taxes (when those are increased), will be willing to eat the cost and make less profit. 

Liberals believe that these businesses will not raise prices and/or cut labor costs and people; that these businesses were created solely to provide jobs and benefits, and one can arbitrarily dictate what a particular job is worth; that business pays taxes—not the consumer—through the price of the goods and services received; that unskilled entry-level jobs are meant to feed a family, not train one in the work ethic whereby one receives more money and/or a promotion based on merit.

As far as this final dynamic is concerned, because we as a country and state turn a blind eye on the unskilled labor crossing our boarders illegally, businesses are being forced through government intervention to pay more than the jobs are worth. 

We are being told that raising the minimum wage will make it easier for low-skilled workers to live in high-cost-of-living states such as New York. This is where the one-dimensional theory comes in. Liberals and Democrats actually believe that these higher labor costs will not be offset by higher prices. It is a Catch-22 that the liberal brand of economics refuses to acknowledge. In real life, money will always find a way, and business will make the profit they believe they have earned. In real life, businesses are created to reward the creator and investor with a profit on their ideas and money, and they will only hire those necessary to reach that goal. So in real life, when the cost of doing business goes up, the cost of the product will also rise, and those on the lower rung of the economic scale will continue to be unable to make ends meet.

We are told that the only source of income low-rung workers receive is their wages. This, of course, is a falsehood. Because we are a compassionate people, there are certain safety nets that we who are higher on the economic rung pay for through our taxes. Lower-rung workers are eligible to receive rent subsidies, food stamps, child care, and welfare, among other safety nets. They also receive the earned income tax credit that, in effect, gives back the monies paid to Social Security and Medicare. According to Congressional Budget Office figures, a person who makes $13,000 a year, when the other safety nets are factored in, actually makes close to $35,000 a year, depending on their use of Medicaid.

Two years ago, when the minimum wage was raised to $9 an hour, it was deemed sufficient. Now the governor wishes to raise that to $10.15 an hour; more for New York City. The Working Families Party says that is not enough - it should be $15 an hour. Why stop there? Let’s make those wages $20 an hour, or better yet, $30 an hour. How much is enough?  How far before you price those jobs out of existence to the low-skilled worker?

It is the same when we are told the rich must pay their fair share of taxes?  How much more is their fair share? Already the top one percent pay 47 percent of all taxes. The top 3 percent pay 70 percent. The bottom 45 percent, through the earned income tax credit, pay no taxes. In fact, a great portion get rebates.

No matter how hard the Liberals and Democrats try, you cannot change the laws of economics. You cannot achieve an equal outcome regardless of skill without lowering the bar for all. You cannot make the poor rich by making the rich poor.

The only way to raise the bar for those on the lower rung is to make sure all have equal opportunity. Their initiative  is what and should determine whether they rise on the economic scale. It may not be fair, but life itself is not fair, and no law or laws can make it fair.

This is what I say. What say you?

Bazzo 01/22/15

Bazzo Says: Yorktown's Special Election: Retreads And Lunatics

Bazzo Says:
From YourYorktown.com: “The Yorktown Democratic Committee has endorsed Rosanne Brackett and Bob Giordano in the upcoming March 10 special election for the two Town Board vacancies.

Brackett will face Republican Greg Bernard for the seat formerly held by Sen. Terrence Murphy and Giordano will face Republican Tom Diana for the seat formerly held by Councilman Nick Bianco. Murphy’s term expires Jan. 1, 2018 and Bianco’s term expires Jan. 1, 2016.”

So these are the names. Of the people who showed interest in their party’s nomination, these are the best and brightest Yorktown’s political class has to offer. Yuck! Retreads and ideologues.

In politics, the customer is always wrong. You can see this play out on the Republican side. How many times must a candidate be rejected by the voters in general elections? Or, in Greg Bernard’s case, rejected twice in primaries by his own party’s voters? The question then becomes, “Can any of these beat Susan Siegel in the general election come this November?” We already know Tom Diana cannot.  Greg Bernard cannot win over Republicans.

There is an interesting aspect to the candidacy of Councilwoman Siegel. Will she run for the council or supervisor? Multiple sources have told me it will be the latter. This would be a mistake. I am convinced of two things: 1) Voters want her to have a seat at the table. She is well-versed on the issues facing Yorktown. The problem is a good deal of her conclusions are wrong.  2) Voters do not want her setting the agenda. Her term as supervisor was a failure, begat with animosity and lawsuits. She cost the residents more than she says she saved them. No, her best chance to stay at the table is to run for the council, there are no vetoes and each person only has one vote, including the supervisor. 

Michael Grace is just as well-versed on the issues, and like Siegel can make his case. The difference is Mike usually makes the more compelling argument. He is always moving forward, looking how government can get things done. Susan is always looking how government can impede forward motion.  When one compares their terms as Supervisor, and it would be compared, Supervisor Grace has earned another term should he seek it. Numerous sources tell me he will.

I have been told the Supervisor Grace is vacillating on whether to run. He should not be doing so. He is a true public servant, knowing what that term means. He owes it to those people looking to invest in Yorktown’s future to make sure these projects in the pipeline are secure enough that whoever follows him cannot screw it up. He has a responsibility, and I believe he will own up to it.

A note to the Republican committee: Grace, Murphy and Paganelli put you back on the map. While you have always shown the love for Murphy, more times than not, you treat both Grace and Paganelli as the bastard step child. Neither were your first choices for the offices they sought; they had to go to the voters via primaries to earn their spots and eventual victory. You owe them more respect than you have shown—not only in the past but in Michael’s case just this past week. He should have been allowed to be heard at the nominating convention, damn your rules! After all, he will head the ticket. I have my sources (plural).

At least in Rosanne Brackett and Bob Giordano the Democrats have put new blood on the ballot. The bad news is that as both have been outspoken on recent issues facing Yorktown and, like Siegel, their conclusions are wrong. Just look at their opposition to the proposed pipeline. Their opposition is based on political science and fear mongering. The belief that a 60-year-old pipeline is safer than a new and larger one is ludicrous. Pipelines have been running under parks for years. I put fear mongering like this in the same category of sitting too close to the TV can cause you harm, cell phones can destroy your brain, microwave ovens can cause cancer and cell towers will harm children—none of which came to pass.

The Democrats should have looked to the past and nominated the more contemplative Ilan Gilbert and James Martorano. Both would listen to reason before making their opinions heard and their votes cast. 

These choices are what they are. It is too bad you cannot vote for none of the above. It is too bad there is not enough time for a primary. However, I would recommend to the candidates not chosen by their parties, after the March vote, you should seriously consider a primary run for the nomination for the November election.

By the way, Eric Dibartolo, the new president of the Yorktown Chamber Of Commerce, being true to his word, has informed me the Chamber will NOT be making endorsements for this special election. This is what I say, what say you?

 Bazzo 01/22/15

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bazzo Says: Tell gas taxers to go to hell

As I write this, oil is hovering about $48 a barrel. Around here, you can find gas going for as little as $2.56 to the rip-off prices of $2.79 a gallon and above. Basically, it comes down to a savings of $13 per 10 gallons from a year ago or even six months ago. This savings is money staying in your pocket. This savings is money you can spend on things you could not afford before. As the Obama Administration has recently touted, it is like a tax cut for the average American.

Other than Wall Street, which sees this as a bad thing because oil futures are tanking, this is a good thing for the consumer who has been taking it in the neck for the last six years. Economists are now saying you should feel sorry for these investors who instead of making hefty returns on their investments are only making nice returns on their investments. 

Oh yeah, there is another group that thinks this is a bad thing: the tree huggers. To them, lower gas prices mean you may actually go back to driving your car, enjoying the freedom of the road and coming and going as you like instead of taking mass transit where they get to tell you when to get on, where to get off and can control your movements. Worse, by enjoying the freedom of the road and being the selfish pig that you are, you will kill the planet by adding to man-made global warming.

Problem is, when too many people inside and outside of this administration keep saying this is like a tax cut for the average American, like Beetlejuice, if you say it too many times a nasty apparition appears, the dead rises again. The Beetlejuice here is the idea of raising gas taxes anywhere from 10 to 20 cents a gallon. Even the great Charles Krauthammer (a liberal turned conservative) has advocated raising the federal gas tax—which is now 18.4 cents on a gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents on a gallon of diesel—a full dollar and use the added revenue to cut the Social Security tax. Remember, these taxes are per gallon, not total sale.

Do not be surprised about Krauthammer advocating a massive tax increase on the average American, because he made his bones as a speechwriter for Walter Mondale‘s sad presidential run against Ronald Reagan. Like all beltway-centrics, Krauthammer believes this extra money in your pockets is not a good thing because you will spend it incorrectly. Washington can spend this extra money more wisely than you. 

The last time Krauthammer floated this idea was 2008, (pre-Obama) when oil was going for about $40 a barrel. However, during Obama's regime oil has reached as high as $110 per gallon. It’s now around $48 a barrel. You see oil prices are cyclical, however the taxes are not. No one proposes that the tax expire when oil goes above a certain amount. No! Even if the price of gas goes up to $4 a gallon the new proposed extra tax stays to make the price even higher. Per-gallon!

These taxers wish to bribe you with the promise that this new increase will be dedicated to infrastructure or in Krauthammer’s plan, Social Security. Thing is, the gas tax we pay now is supposed to go for infrastructure but we have Obama and Cuomo telling us on a regular basis that more money is needed for infrastructure. We are buying gas. We are paying the taxes on that gas, so, why is there no money? There is no money because because like Social Security, the government takes your gas money and spends it elsewhere, leaving behind nothing but a worthless IOU.

Also, and this is important, Obama’s $1 trillion stimulus bill of 2009 was sold to us as money for shovel ready infrastructure jobs. Truth is, a lot of that money was sent to the states to shore up public sector union pension plans. They lied then and they are lying now.

This extra money belongs to you, to spend however you wish. You have been screwed enough! Do not let these taxers screw you again. It just kills them that you have money. You must remember that the beltway-centrics believe all money belongs to Washington, and Washington should get to tell you how much you can have and what you can spend it on. Tell these taxers to sit on it! You must remember prices will go higher once Saudi Arabia cuts back on production and domestic companies also cut back to drive up prices. 

This is what I say. What say you?



Tune in to channel 74 and see Chairman of the County Legislators Mike Kaplowitz and Yorktown News Editor-in-Chief Bryan Fumagalli discuss county issues at 9:30 p.m. on the following Wednesdays: Jan. 14, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28.
Bazzo 01/14/15

Monday, January 05, 2015

Bazzo Says: Mario Cuomo: A titan among midgets

A great man died last Thursday. A man who actually believed in the ideas and ideals he espoused, which is a rarity in today’s politics. A man of conviction who, through force of law and veto, tried to make those convictions our convictions. A man whose policies are still being felt all these years later. A true liberal that believed the intent of a policy was more important than the result of a policy. 

Yet, before we examine his policies and their results, we must first talk about "the speech." “The speech,” of course, refers to his address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. It put him on the national map. At the time of "the speech," the media told us it was an damning indictment of President Reagan, his policies and his vision of America as “A Shining City on a Hill.”

In those days all we had was the print and broadcast media, so it was even easier back then for “the deciders” running the various outlets to control the national narrative than it is now. Polls showed then, as now, that some 75 percent of “the deciders” were registered Democrats. 

It was therefore decided that "the speech" was an accurate indictment of Reagan and his policies. The media then, as now, only looked at the surface of things and decided that is how "the speech" would be forever known. However, this "tale of two cities" was not an indictment of Reagan and his policies because as one goes below the surface, it becomes an indictment of liberals and their policies. 

If one actually looks, those poor unfortunates described in "the speech' were the products of liberal policies. The failure of redistribution was being felt then and 30 years later it can be seen as an unmitigated disaster. To this day, we continue to be told that all failed policies need to be successful is more money, more rules and more income redistribution.   

Yes, Mario Matthew Cuomo was a great man, but we must remember that in his day, he was just one of many in New York politics who stood above others. Our crop of politicians back in his time was nothing like the sludge we have today.

So, as the obituaries of Mario Matthew Cuomo are written, they focus on his intents and overlook his results. So, just what are those results?

First is his meddling with the health insurance industry. After he broke the wall and decided New York insurance policies should be one size fits all, politicians after him continued to meddle with “me too” legislation. The system became so screwed up that to some, Obamacare looks reasonable. This is the most lasting effect of his policies.  

It was Mario Matthew Cuomo who started the creative accounting gimmick of having a quasi-state authority borrow money and give it to the state to purchase already state-owned property, and 30 years later are still paying off those bonds on property the state once owned free and clear. This has now been dubbed “back-door borrowing” and today's politicians have brought it to a fine art.  

It was under Mario Matthew Cuomo and his love for more and higher taxes that the flight of manufacturing from New York began. Not only that, but banks ended up leaving New York for states that did not seek to kill the goose that laid golden eggs. Who got hurt the most as he increased the cost of living in New York? Poor and miorities–the very people he spoke about in "the speech." 

Through a lot of hard work and good intentions, Mario Matthew Cuomo left our state worse off than he found it. I know this because when he tried for a fourth term, a little-known state senator defeated him. 

This is what I say. What say you?

 Bazzo 01/05/15