Andrew Cuomo And Progressives Treating The Voters Like Idiots

In yesterday's post I remarked on the degree to which climate propagandists treat their readers like idiots.  How does that compare with the way New York politicians treat their voters?  You be the judge!

Today's New York Post engages in a little tea leaf reading, and foretells a likely 2020 presidential run by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  From the article headlined "$$ moves hinting at Cuo '20 run for prez"

Gov. Cuomo has hired two Florida fundraisers, a sign he’s building a national network to launch a presidential bid, sources told The Post. . . .  “Hiring out-of-state fundraising staff, particularly in a battleground state, opens up money spigots beyond what would normally be available and is a key first step to laying the groundwork for a run,” said one source, a Democratic operative. . . .  Karen Hinton, a former Cuomo aide [said], “He is positioning himself to be seen as a liberal who can speak to a national audience.”

So when this guy goes out and speaks "as a liberal" to the "national audience," what is he going to say?  To get some clues on that, we might look to the most recent initiatives that he has launched.  For example, in the New York Times on Friday, we have "Cuomo's $1.4 Billion Plan Targets Brooklyn in Fight Against Poor Health and Poverty."  Yes, it seems that in that corner of the universe subject to the very most intense levels of anti-poverty, Medicaid, and public housing expenditures anywhere -- namely, Central Brooklyn -- and where poverty and health never seem to get any better despite all the spending, our genius governor has decided that an extra $1.4 billion of taxpayer funds is now finally going to turn the tide.  Excerpts:

Citing persistent problems of poverty, violence and poor health, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a comprehensive plan on Thursday that would direct $1.4 billion of New York State’s resources to long-suffering areas of central Brooklyn.  Obesity, murder and unemployment rates are all higher in central Brooklyn than the city and state averages. The plan would allot the biggest chunk of money, $700 million, to health care. It would also create 3,000 affordable housing units, 7,600 new jobs and more than five acres of recreation space at state-funded housing developments.  Mr. Cuomo said the plan also includes anti-violence programs and job-training efforts — a “soup-to-nuts” approach that he said was designed to give central Brooklyn enough resources so its residents could be “in a position to help themselves.”  The initiative, which Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, held up as a national paradigm, comes at a time he is burnishing his credentials with a string of progressive moves that have stirred talk of a possible run for the presidency in 2020. It also comes as anti-poverty initiatives have all but dropped from the national political agenda.

Now, I'm going to suggest a revolutionary concept here.  How about this:  before we spend this next $1.4 billion on health and anti-poverty efforts in Central Brooklyn, can we take just a little peek at how things are going with the current spending on health and anti-poverty efforts in the same location?  Is the current level of spending above or below national norms, and what do the results look like?  If you read through that New York Times article, you will undoubtedly note that they do not undertake this task.  That's why you have the Manhattan Contrarian!

Start with health.  New York State and City have a famously over-the-top Medicaid program that has long provided every available healthcare option, at absolute top dollar. cost to the taxpayer.  They don't break down cost per enrollee by county, let alone neighborhood; but with a little looking we can learn that New York State had 6.39 million Medicaid enrollees as of December 2016, and total spending in the most recent year available (FY 2015, Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015) was $59.8 billion.  That would be about $9,500 per Medicaid enrollee, and $38,000 for each family of four.  With another year-and-a-half under our belt, we're probably right around $10,000 per enrollee and $40,000 per family of four by now.  (And you thought that $20,000 per year for a family of four was a "cadillac" health plan!  We spend double that, and on every single poor family.)  By contrast, total U.S. Medicaid enrollment was 74.2 million as of December 2016, and total spending for FY 2015 was $532.2 billion, or about $7200 per enrollee (same links).  Not cheap, but a lot less than New York.  And fiscally prudent states spend way less.  For example, Texas had total Medicaid spending in FY 2015 of $35.8 billion, less than 60% of New York's Medicaid spending, even though its population is 30% larger than that of New York.

Surely then, New York achieves top end health outcomes for its poor citizens?  Not even close.  You actually can get some key health metrics for New York broken down by neighborhood.  The two big predominantly-black neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn are Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill-Brownsville.  In 2015 New York City put out "community health profiles" broken down by neighborhood.  Here's the profile for Bed-Stuy, and here's the one for Ocean Hill-Brownsville.  You won't be surprised to learn that Bed-Stuy and Ocean Hill-Brownsville are at the bottom of the heap on every health metric that they report.  For example:

  • Obesity rate: Bed-Stuy 33%, Brownsville 32%, New York City 24%
  • Diabetes: Bed-Stuy 15%, Brownsville 15%, New York City 10%
  • Alcohol-related hospitalizations:  Bed-Stuy 1713 per 100,000; Brownsville 2285; New York City 1019
  • Drug-related hospitalizations: Bed-Stuy 1830 per 100,000; Brownsville 2682; New York City 907
  • Stroke hospitalizations: Bed-Stuy 415 per 100,000; Brownsville 413; New York City 319
  • Psychiatric hospitalizations: Bed-Stuy 1060 per 100,000; Brownsville 1727; New York City 684

Go ahead and keep this up as long as you want.  In the face of over-the-top blank check Medicaid spending, these poor black neighborhoods lag the City norms on literally every health metric you can think of.  And when this is all that $60 billion per year can accomplish, now the next $700 million of annual healthcare spending is supposedly going to turn it all around?  You'd have to be completely delusional to believe that.

The next big focus of the new Cuomo initiative is of course that regular progressive Holy Grail, "affordable housing."  Have they tried that yet in Central Brooklyn?  Yes, in spades.  It's highly likely that you have never been to the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn, and certainly I would not recommend it as a tourist destination.  It's hideous.  Basically, it's NewYork City Housing Authority projects in every direction as far as the eye can see.  So how has that worked in lowering the rate of poverty?  Actually, the poverty rate in Ocean Hill-Brownsville is 37%, as against a Brooklyn-wide rate of 24% and a City-wide rate of 21% (and a national rate of about 14%).  Bed-Stuy has a much lower concentration of projects than Brownsville, but still a few.  Its poverty rate is reported as 35%.  

It is completely obvious to anyone who is awake that subsidized and "affordable" housing initiatives increase rather than decrease the rate of measured poverty.  That is because the amount of the subsidy is not counted as "income" in determining who is in poverty, while at the same time the subsidies induce people to accept the housing and to keep their income low in order to keep the housing and/or minimize their rents under income-related rent formulas.

In short, Cuomo's new initiatives are the usual progressive doubling down on abject failure.  He's treating the voters like they are idiots!  But then, New York voters clearly enjoy being treated like idiots.  That's how you get elected here.  On the national stage, I wouldn't think this would work quite as well.