Same as it ever was

siena poll 3The New York state budget is passed. It was the same freak show that it has always been. The so-called representative democracy is a farce. As usual, the same “three men in a room” controlled the show. You may vote for your representative but in the end, it’s likely that they won’t have read the whole budget bill before voting on it.

You might ask yourself, “How can they vote on the budget before they know what they are voting on?” Exactly. The whole thing is a hall of mirrors at the carnival. You are supposed to believe that your elected Assembly and Senate members know what they are voting on but the game is loaded in the other direction. These people usually ask for things, some of which may actually help their constituents; others of which help them more directly in a business or personal way. The way that it really works is that they usually don’t know whether they got what they asked their leaders for. In fact, they end up voting for the budget package in the hope that what they asked for is in the humungous document.

Then at the last minute before the budget deadline (April 1) like the bunch of sheep they are, they are all herded into their respective chambers where they will sit at their desks for most of the night. Then when the leadership thinks that they are all exhausted and tired, they start to vote on the budget bills. Anyone who dares to “debate” is looked upon as a troublemaker who is preventing the others from going home to bed. Finally, they begin to make the appropriate sound, “Bahhhh,” until the budget is passed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has his own shell game going. He is moving to the left as fast as he can to shore up his left flank to prepare for his third run for governor. To do that, he has been touting his fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage. Instead of this wage increase happening right away, the budget bill shows that it will be a mess. It will take two years in New York City and much, much longer in what we call “upstate.” Obviously, the upstate Republicans who are often business oriented, know that fifteen dollars an hour will mean the difference between living or dying for some small businesses. For that reason, they insisted that the fine print in the budget be filled with all kinds of exceptions and extensions in time and accommodations for potential hardship cases.

It is important to remember that Democratic Governor Cuomo has made a practice of keeping the Republicans in charge of the Senate. If he actually helps the Democrats to regain control of the Senate, the Republicans are out and will have the power of warm spit. So they had to give him some cover and by giving him very little toward his fifteen dollar an hour objective; they gave him what he needed. Now his people are braying that they got a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage. Of course, lots can happen before the wage hike takes effect. In fact, as his father used to say, “Between now and then a new Pope could be born.”

Conspicuously absent from the budget bill is any significant action on ethics reform. Despite the fact that both ex-Speaker Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Skelos appear to be headed to the pokey, these foolish people in the legislature stomp their collective feet like two year olds and refuse to do anything to change the disgusting way in which they all too often turn the people’s business into their own business. There should, for example, be a limit on how much they can make on the “outside” of the legislature. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did his best to clean up Albany but these people just won’t learn. They will not change their ways and like Pharaoh of the bible, they’ll have to learn the hard way.

All in all, we have yet another new budget but the same old way of doing things.

“Baahhhh,” say the sheep.