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Indebted to Reality

by on January 5, 2011

Nothing snaps prodigal slackers out of their cash-flushing ways quite like the repo man’s arrival. Seeing one’s former possessions lugged out of one’s domicile impacts a spendthriftaholic in ways that a third notice never could. If states were people, New York would be watching helplessly as the flat screen television was being loaded on the truck.

The actuality of life residing under an unfurnished viaduct explains why the new Democratic governor of perhaps the most Democrat-y state still claims he doesn’t want to spend until you’re broke even after he started his new job:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, holding a press gaggle in the hall of governors outside his office this afternoon, repeated his pledge to not balance the budget with new taxes and fees.

Why is he freaking out about paying bills? Oh:

Cuomo faces a $9.2 billion budget deficit and gaps of $40 billion over three years.

That’s enough red ink to make even Democrats stop spending like they’ll win a sweepstakes for wasting taxpayer money, at least the non-Obamanian ones. Still, some will fuss about what mammoth and/or wholly unnecessary state spending will face the woodshed:

It is difficult to parse how the cuts will be made. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, Westchester County, said the state has some obligations it has to meet to receive federal assistance for Medicaid, the largest portion of the budget.

Ah, Medicaid, whereby we cure the sickly underprivileged by injecting them with as much currency as possible. New York is infamous for its fantastically extravagant Cadillac medical welfare plan, although a non-GM luxury brand might presently offer a more appropriate comparison.

But even Medicaid might not be off-limits if Cuomo, yes, Cuomo, follows through and makes the cuts he’s pondering. Of course, that won’t stop other politicians from fretting about slashing a couple bucks from a $438 jillion strillion black hole of a budget:

“Ten billion dollars is a lot of money to cut, and especially in light of the new health care bill in Washington, we’re not allowed to cut Medicaid at all and if we cut Medicaid, we’re going to lose monies there,” Pretlow said. “We’re going to have to do some serious, serious cutting or look into the possibility of doing what (former Lt. Gov Richard) Ravitch proposed and look into some short-term borrowing.”

No, borrowing would be bad. Thankfully and amazingly, our new executive is still at least pretending to concur:

“The point that we are making today and you’ll hear me making for the coming months is that the government’s spending is too high, the state’s spending is unsustainable,” said Cuomo, a Democrat.

He said he would seek a wage freeze on state employees, which is expected to save about $200 million.

Nothing would please members of this state’s private sector more than watching state drones make the same amount by this time next year. But winning an election after a seemingly ceaseless campaign was the easy part. Now, can Little Mario actually be as tenacious on spending as he claims he will?

Bettors would be better served by wagering that the Bills won’t screw up 2011’s third overall draft pick than plunking money on the governor maintaining his fiscal prudence. After all, he is literally a Cuomo Democrat who has never before understood why you say “tax and spend liberal” like it’s an epithet.

Also, he’d be more trustworthy as a financial guardian if he had not spent his time as HUD Secretary encouraging people who couldn’t afford homes to buy homes. I’d trust me to guard your whiskey cave before I’d invest faith in a man who helped trigger our present incessant economic suckage.

But Cuomo is still playing along more than seven or eight hours into his term. Republicans mostly lost in New York during a year when even Russ Feingold and Jim Oberstar lost. Regardless, his words indicate that their principles apparently sort of triumphed.

The governor’s novel thriftiness is the closest the GOP will come to a win in today’s New York. That’s unless he relapses and buries us in even more unsustainable debt, in which case we may as well ask to be annexed by New Jersey. The fact that becoming New New Jersey would be desirable shows how important it is for Cuomo to remain out of character.

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