THE DEPARTMENT OF SCREW THE LITTLE GUY
Despite the fact that both houses of the legislature enthusiastically voted to allow lottery (Lotto) winners to remain anonymous, the governor vetoed the bill. Andrew said, I think wrongheadedly, that New Yorkers who play the lottery deserve to know who won.
Presumably, the governor’s reasoning was that confidence in the whole “soak the poor” operation we call the lottery might decline if there was no named winner. But wait, things get even more interesting because the maybe future president says that if you REALLY don’t want to be named, you can choose to accept your winnings by creating a Limited Liability Corporation or LLC.
These same LLC’s play a role in contemporary politics because that’s the way people get to contribute more than the law allows individuals to give to a campaign. The governor made out like a bandit through his LLC contributions and says that he is against the LLC’s although he obviously will continue to use them as long as the law allows such activity.
So now the guv says that LLC’s have a real place in helping individual lottery winners avoid disclosing who they are. “Hooray for LLC’s!” might as well have been written on the governor’s misplaced veto message. It the governor hypes the evil LLC’s, maybe he will be able to use them to collect campaign money in the future.
The cowardly legislators clearly have the votes to override Cuomo’s veto. It will be interesting to see if they do so. They should, for a lot of reasons. Let’s just say that you won a huge lottery windfall. Would YOU want the world to know? Every relative, huckster, fraudster, crook, con artist, “financial advisor” and leech would be on your case. I suspect that the legislators who voted nearly unanimously for the bill could each imagine themselves in the spot of a big winner. You know that the big capitalist winners in our economy sure aren’t bending over backwards to tell people how much they’ve got.
I guess the lottery people know full well that the more transparency, the better for sales. The more sales, the less taxes that the anti-tax governor will have to collect. It’s all part of the “never give the suckers an even break” mentality that is symbolic of Albany’s way of doing things. It is also demonstrative of the fact that certain actors are more willing to do what’s right for them as opposed to the Department of Screw the Little Guy.
And speaking of that, there is the massive debate over legislative pay raises. It really isn’t a matter of giving these people a pay raise. Grudgingly, I suppose that everyone, no matter how parasitic they are in our society, deserves an occasional pay raise to offset the inflation that is eating us alive. The whole system has been corrupt to the core for years. Folks seek out powerful people with government ties to get them something extra. Look, you can hire a lawyer or a lawyer who is a senator? Do you need a road map?
Now Andrea Stewart Cousins, the new Senate majority leader, says they should get the raise but they should also pass ethics reform including a limit on outside income. Finally, a leader who understands what it will take to regain some of the people’s confidence. They should put a bronze statue of the new leader on the State Street side of the State Capitol. Tough to believe that she may actually achieve this reform. Those people who are making a fortune on the outside are already being heard from. The golden goose is about to be taken to the butcher. You can just imagine the frustration of all those folks who have been bringing home a lot of money and perks as the system changes. Put yourself in their greedy places. Finally, change for the better may be upon us.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].