Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party Meeting a Triumph

Tom Santopietro and his board of directors are doing an excellent job on the Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party. The group met for its regular monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month. About 50 people attended. The group is planning several protests and bus trips to Washington, including an April 15 tax day protest.

Don Wise for State Assembly

The highlight of the evening was a talk by a conservative Republican State Assembly candidate, Don Wise. Mr. Wise owns a successful construction firm, Apex Building. He says that he has seen the Ulster-and-Dutchess County economy crumble under the Democratic Party policies of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. Mr. Cahill claims to have brought jobs to the county economy and someone shouted "Erie County!" I added "Broward County!"

According to a local Democratic Party newspaper, the Kingston Freeman, Wise ran for Town Supervisor in the Town of Ulster three years ago, for State Assembly in the 1980s, and for County legislature. Naturally, when the Democrats report on Republicans they look for ways to slander them, and the articles in the Freeman are no exception.

Mr. Wise is articulate, intelligent and thoughtful. He presents a positive image. Mr. Wise aims to freeze state spending and eliminate waste in fields like education. After the meeting I questioned him as to why he does not advocate cuts in state government. He says that he is still formulating his aims. Kevin Cahill, the incumbent, is in contrast a big government advocate.

A nurse at the meeting who works in a local hospital told me privately that about one half of Medicaid spending in New York is pure waste, and that the percentage of waste in New York's Medicaid system is greater than in other Democratic Party- dominated states. In 2006, according to this source, Medicaid amounted to 23% of spending in the average state budget. According to a 2005 New York Times article, Medicaid abuse in New York is in the billions. The Times does not discuss systemic waste such as the transfer of personal assets in order to obtain Medicaid funding for long term care. According to the Citizens' Budget Commission:

"New York has the highest Medicaid spending among the 50 states, accounting for 15 percent of the national total, although it covers only 8 percent of beneficiaries.

"By comparison, California accounts for 11 percent of national spending while covering 18 percent of the beneficiaries. New York’s cost per person enrolled in the program, program, $7,912 annually, is 75 percent higher than the national average of $4,484, and nearly three times the California average of $2,770."

That was written near the end of the Pataki (R-NY) administration in 2006. In other words, Pataki had held office for 12 years and those facts were true at the end of the 12 years. Has the two party system enabled the voters to choose?

In addition to Medicaid, there is massive waste in state operations. The Department of Social Services not only provides welfare, the Department is itself a welfare program for non-working state employees. All of the agencies massively overspend and over-employ.

We might rename New York "The Emperor Has No Clothes and It's All Waste" state. I wish Mr. Wise all success in his election bid, but with the Democratic Party's strong local propaganda-and-lying machine led by the Kingston Freeman, it will be an uphill battle.

Other Business

Tom Santopietro, the president of the Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party, defended Glenn Beck against unnamed attacks (I wonder who the attacker might be) but emphasized that the Tea Party is non-partisan. Tom mentioned that he objects to the GOP's use of the Tea Party name, which it has been doing unethically in some western states. Tom also mentioned that he was frustrated with Sarah Palin but still supports her to a degree.

I raised my hand at three different points and suggested that the Tea Party (a) focus exclusively on state and local candidates and issues (of course, as Chris Johansen mentioned in the car, big issues like Obamacare and cap and trade need to be included); (b) establish an ongoing state legislative bill monitoring process whereby Tea Party members might be alerted to bills about which to contact the state legislature; and (c) that I personally do not think that there is a single national politician, Republican or Democratic, who is fit to be president because they are all tainted by the same special interests that inspired the 2008 bailout. In other words, there is no small government candidate in either party.

Someone in the audience raised his hand and said angrily that he blogs for the American Thinker blog and that he does not trust any organization any more, including the Tea Party. He questioned Mr. Santopietro as to why there is no formal platform. I raised my hand and offered to help Mr. Santopietro put together a platform and offered to include the gentleman who raised the point on the platform committee. A similar proposal was discussed when I attended in January, I recall. No action has been taken.

Concluding Thoughts

The group is inexperienced but is making important progress. Tea Parties around the country need to support local candidates and avoid national ones. National politics is irrelevant at this point because the federal system is corrupt. It will need to be overturned as it has already failed. In place of the current system a more decentralized one with greater emphasis on states' rights (as in the Tenth Amendment) and reduced federal power would be better. Before the Constitution there were the Articles of Confederation. The nation needs to return to its roots. The fact is that about 30 states have a larger population than the entire nation did in 1783, approximately three million. The national population is too large to support a federal democracy. Powers currently granted the federal government, including constitutional interpretation, social security, medicare, labor law, most business regulation (except for unavoidable issues such as true interstate commerce) and monetary policy should be downloaded to regional or state governments. If New York favors massive inflation, for example, that should not force other states to subsist under inflation.


Wavy Davy said...

I feel your comments about Mr. Cahill being in favor of big government are off base. Everything I read about him describes his efforts to reduce wasteful government spending, improve shared services (especially in our top-heavy school districts) and make NY more energy-independent, thereby reducing our reliance on out-of-state and overseas energy sources. I encourage you to read this and other press releases to that effect on his website. Thanks


Mitchell Langbert said...

Mr. Cahill is a nice guy but has done absolute zero to reduce the massive growth in New York State's government and taxes. As I mention in the blog, Medicaid has grown to a greater extent in New York than in any other state in the nation, yet likely about 1/2 of the spending is waste. That alone is likely in excess of ten per cent of the state budget.

Add to the massive Medicaid waste in New York there is massive mismanagement and waste in the education field. Mr. Cahill has not been willing to "Just say No" to NYSUT, the teachers' union. Administrative costs in school districts around the state have mushroomed, but the state continues to support and coddle the mismanagement.

With respect to the state operations budget, 30% cuts are in order. Mr. Cahill has not taken any initiatives in cutting the massive waste in state government.

Under Cahill's watch, there have been massive, 50% range or more, increases in property taxes. Fees, nuisance taxes and income taxes have all increased. Yet Mr. Cahill has done ZERO, absolutely zero, to reduce state spending and waste.

Osborn Cox said...

FYI...It was brought out by Mr. Nick Woerner during his last campaign that Mr. Donald Wise has filed for bankruptcy. That is not the type of person I would want representing me. Do we need that in Albany?

Mitchell Langbert said...

Have the Democats offered a solution to the biggest and most wasteful Medicaid plan in the country? Have the Democrats a solution to exorbitant property tax rates that fund make work union jobs for the SEIU?

While personal bankruptcy is not a good thing, Mr. Cahill has sat quietly while the Democratic Party has wrecked this state's future. Maybe you should focus on policies and economics rather than personal attacks on Mr. Wise. But, of course, partisan personal attacks are the Democrats' speciality, that is, along with raping the state and destroying its economy.

Osborn Cox said...

Sir, I am not a Democrat. I am however a person who has been the victim of a bankrupt business. If you can't pay your own bills, I will not trust you with other peoples money. And by the way, of the two, Cahill is the better choice.

Mitchell Langbert said...

I appreciate your comments. Of course, continuing to elect Mr. Cahill and his colleagues means ever higher taxes, economic decline, population exiting the state, more Medicaid waste, more kowtowing to the teacher's union NYSUT, which means stagnant or declining student achievement and ever more expensive schools. In other words, you're for more bloat, more waste and economic decline.

friendsofstephenlabate said...

We have a primary race in the NYCD2