2011-03-25 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

Job, Revisited
By Peter Stubben

The leader of the State Assembly is a religious man and comes from a very religious family, so I’m sure he’s familiar with the writings of the Bible, and undoubtedly The Book of Job. Job – a wellrespected man of his exiled community in Egypt – was smitten bitterly: first with the ruination of his property; then, with the death and destruction of his oldest son’s family; and finally, his entire body was ravaged by boils as he sat in ashes.

Not to take too seriously the application of this Biblical tragedy and restoration to the financial and social condition of the great State of New York ... but the fact is our Empire State has been smitten with the greatest taxes in the nation; the biggest debt; a weakened infrastructure of broken down bridges and track-beds; taxpayers held hostage by foolish work-rules and bone-crushing pension and benefit obligations; billions stolen yearly from state agencies; ridiculously heavy-handed regulations that destroy financial innovation, economic expansion and wealth creation for all; and, it seems, monthly revelations of political corruption by the State Attorney General’s Office.

Allow me to document this trail of woe with one devastating factoid ... people have left New York State in such large numbers that our representation in the US House of Representatives is at its lowest level in more than one hundred years. Why? Because if New Yorkers can’t do it here, they will do it elsewhere. Across the Hudson from NY’s Financial District, for instance, there’s now a new skyline of gleaming glass towers built by the Wall Street firms seeking refuge!

Arrogance, as well, destabilizes. On the Beach 108 Mall, for instance, cops sometimes ticket locals who double park for a minute or two as they drop into their favorite deli to pick up a bagel with a smear, while around the corner a State DEC enforcement jeep is routinely parked illegally in ‘no parking’ and ‘no standing’ zones! Why are locals gettin’ hundred dollar tickets for a 2-minute double park, while some guy – off the job – arrogantly parks his official State vehicle wherever he wishes and flagrantly violates NYC parking regulations? Compound this arrogance to 100,000 bureaucrats from Rockaway to Rochester, and you have average joes escaping elsewhere.

How about buying a bottle of fine California wine from Trader Joe’s? They are pretty famous across the country for their fresh fruits and vegetables, and also for their great wine selection and prices.

Albany has decreed, though, that Trader Joe’s is allotted but one liquor license for the entire state. So, Buffalonians and all other New Yorkers must trek to 14th Street for a Trader Joe bottle of California Merlot. Absurd ... no, routine I would say for our up-river legislators, led by Speaker Silver and his hall of regulators.

NGO’s and NFP’s (Non-Governmental Organizations and Not-For-Profits) used to be enormously useful organizations doing beneficent work worldwide. Many were established by religious and civic groups ... especially to assist people in times of crisis and disaster. That is until now! Our up-river pols have discovered these lightly regulated self-help organizations and turned them into conduits – that is, dummy organizations – for the express purpose of siphoning taxpayer money into their own personal accounts.

They have bastardized useful into usurious.

What can Rockaway do?

If there is a special election soon for the NY State Assembly, Rockaway will send a new delegate to Albany. Will Rockaway choose a voice of the past and present, or a beacon for the future? That is, will Rockaway choose a voice that resonates with Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and his swill of the status quo; or will Rockaway choose a voice that resonates with reformation and restoration?

Job was restored ... will New York likewise?

That choice may be in our hands soon. How exciting, no?

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