How silly that another New York governor didn’t think of it.
Free college tuition at SUNY and CUNY for everyone — every state resident from a household making $125,000 per year or less that is, which is most people.
What genius, this proposed Excelsior Scholarship, what a demonstration of generosity by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. He should henceforth be known as Andrew the Munificent.
But why stop at free tuition when what we really want are houses — free houses and free cars to park in our government-issued, three-car garages. Nothing extravagant, something with a decent stereo system, all-wheel drive and at least four doors. We could go halfsies with the state on gas, if we make, say, $100,000 or less. Think of the jobs that would be created in the construction and auto industries.
Like I said, genius.
Where are the Senate Republicans in the highest-taxed state in America on this grand new plan that the governor, straight-faced, says would cost $163 million per year? “This proposal appears to move us in a positive direction,” a spokesman said.
I wonder what he really thought. Do tell.
This politics thing isn’t so complicated, it turns out. Promise enough people whatever they want — no matter the consequences; no matter how pie-in-the-sky — and our elected representatives will bark like seals in approval, as long as it will help get them re-elected.
Take last year’s 70 percent increase in the minimum wage. Just about everyone wanted it, other than those who had to pay for it. The governor and Senate leaders were on record acknowledging that it would shutter small businesses across the state and hurt the young and the poor the most. But darned, did it poll nicely.
If they truly don’t care about being fiscally responsible in Albany, and they clearly don’t, why stop at $15? How about $25? Or $50 per hour? New York could be the state that guarantees a middle class existence for everyone — who can find a job. Free health care cradle to grave? We could keep our doctors this time, providing we’re able to visit them in Arizona, where they’ll have relocated.
Everyone wants to reduce the price of higher education — no one more so than my wife and I, who have two daughters in college right now. And a reasonable minimum-wage increase, ideally one permanently indexed to the rate of inflation, would have been worth discussion. But shock-value policies like the 70 percent wage increase and now free college tuition are simply irresponsible.
There is an unseriousness about New York that is growing increasingly disconcerting. We live in a state bereft of grownups. But who really cares, so long as we get ours.
William F.B. O’Reilly is a consultant for Republicans.