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Home | Mises Library | The Pataki Problem

The Pataki Problem

  • Former_governor_george_pataki.jpg

Tags Big GovernmentCorporate WelfareU.S. EconomyInterventionism

05/17/2001James Ostrowski

New York Governor George Pataki, continuing his shameless lurch to the left in preparation for his reelection effort next year, has proposed banning cell phone use while driving. Pataki, who was elected in 1994 largely because he was the un-Cuomo, in recent months has begun to act like Cuomo on Quaaludes.  

Ironically, one of his potential opponents is Mario Cuomo’s son, Andrew, who looks and sounds and acts exactly like his father.  Who said cloning wasn’t possible in 1957?  

Pataki’s cell phone bill is straight out of the left/liberal playbook:

  • It’s a money-raiser.  Millions will be pilfered from citizens minding their own business.        
  • It’s elitist.  Limousine liberals like Pataki have chauffeurs and won’t be affected by the law.  It’s also elitist because it is premised on the stupidity of the people, who may be smart enough to choose the next governor, but are too stupid to choose whether or not to talk on the phone while driving.        
  • It’s arrogant.  Pataki thinks he and his minions can know whether banning cell phone use while driving will decrease or increase accidents.  Pataki boasts that auto accidents are at an all-time low in the last five years, apparently oblivious to the fact that this occurred while cell phone use was increasing exponentially.  Whether Pataki thinks this measure will decrease accidents, I do not know.  I do know he thinks it will increase votes.        
  • It’s coercive.  The whole left/liberal program can be summed up, "We know what’s good for you, stupid, and we’re going to force it down your throat at gunpoint, fool!"  That’s why liberals want to ban private gun ownership.  These timorous moral crusaders want to point guns at people without getting shot back at, which really hurts.        
  • It’s utopian.  Liberals are under the delusion that the clumsy hammer of the state can solve any and all human problems, and make everybody real happy, and rescue people from that most dreaded state of having to think rationally and act responsibly which nature imposes on us as a requirement for living in this universe.  "Let me out of this terrible universe," is the muted cry at the bottom of the liberal soul—excuse me, make that, Pavlovian pain/pleasure calculator.

So why Pataki’s leftward leer?  If all Americans born in New York were allowed to vote for governor, a decent Republican candidate still could be elected.  Alas, New York is not the same state that elected a then-moderately conservative Pataki in 1994, or that went for Reagan twice in the 1980s. 

 During twelve years of Cuomo’s rule, many of the best and brightest, the cream of the crop, the young and ambitious, made daring escapes through the front lines and found their way to the Confederate States of America.  They have been replaced by an ever-expanding underclass and a steady flow of immigrants who vote overwhelmingly socialist (Democratic), skillfully manipulated by a voracious political class: hacks, bureaucrats, poverty pimps, featherbedders, and public school "teachers."

Pataki is pandering to this new motley majority.  His Web site emphasizes that "State funding for education has risen by record amounts under Governor Pataki, with greater emphasis being placed on classrooms instead of administration. Today, total funding exceeds $13.6 billion, the highest level ever."  I rest my case.  I am always amazed that Republicans purport to be able to reduce the size of state and local government without abolishing the public school system, which is its largest single component.  

Okay, my case has rested long enough.  

Pataki recently supported and signed one of the most bizarre and incomprehensible gun (owner) control laws I have ever seen.  I have attempted to read the law and haven’t the slightest idea what it means.  All I know is that somewhere in there, our Second Amendment rights have been diminished.  

Pataki’s Web site describes the law this way: "Last year, Governor Pataki and the Legislature passed the most sweeping set of anti-gun violence laws in America—common sense laws that protect the rights of honest gun owners while keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals."  Governor, the "honest gun owners" don’t even understand your fascist law, which I suppose is the beauty of fascist laws.

Pataki has a link on his site called "Less Gov’t."  When I saw that, I got scared and thought it might contain evidence contrary to my thesis.  Silly me.  On that page, there was no checklist of programs and agencies cut and of taxes eliminated; only a boring discussion of the state’s improved credit rating.  Gee, could that be because of the tax windfall from the Wall Street boom?  At least Ronald Reagan got rid of the Commission for the Evaluation of Unnecessary Government Agencies.

Pataki brags that he passed a "hate crimes law."  I really hate that crimes law.  It somehow gives less weight to crimes committed against WHAMS (white, heterosexual, able-bodied males, in Paul Craig Roberts’ acronym).  Pataki has vastly expanded medical socialism for half a million children and eighty thousand "seniors."  

Expect the usual unintended results: increased demand, waste, shortages, rationing, waiting periods, lines, price controls, etc.  What about adults?  They are covered by "the most comprehensive health care legislation in the nation—Family Health Plus."  Pataki helped pass a patient’s bill of rights.  The Soviet Union had one, too.  Who is going to pay for all these freebies?  Fewer productive people each year, judging by demographic trends.  Atlas is shrugging ever so gradually.

The remainder of Pataki’s program is a miserable miasma of statist folly: subsidized day care, corporate welfare—racially and mindlessly targeted—and "job training."  Pataki has created "child care centers located at virtually all SUNY and CUNY campuses."  That way, parents can learn socialist theory, while their children learn socialist practice.

Pataki has abandoned his original "I’ll get rid of big government" platform for the same reason that Republicans usually sell out: yes, they would like to make government smaller, but their desire to stay in power is larger.


Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
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