Monday, January 18, 2010

Obama Attacks NYC as NYC Extends a Hand to Haiti

Last week, the President declared that he is seeking a new tax on the financial services sector, and the tragedy unfolding in Haiti captured the attention of the people of our city.

Obama's War on NYC Continues

We have come to expect the Obama Administration to attack NYC, but we are having difficulty understanding why the President's dislike of New York City would cause him to undertake policies that threaten to undermine the overall US economy.

During the early part of 2009, we focused on the counterproductive attacks on NYC that were originating in Washington, DC. We were alarmed when the Congress and the President sought to outlaw bonuses of more than 1/3rd of salary at each of the institutions that took TARP money (even at the institutions that took TARP money because they were ordered to do so by the Treasury Department), and we were stunned when the House of Representatives voted to tax Wall Street bonuses at a 90% rate.

We were frustrated when the President attempted to order our Governor (the first African American Governor in the history of our state) to step aside and leave the Governor's mansion to another Democrat, and we were disappointed that the President was unwilling to support Bill Thompson's campaign to become the second African American Mayor in the history of New York City.

But, we had started to look at 2010 as a new beginning - the start of an era of cooperation between New York City and the federal government. We were wrong.

Last week, the President declared his intention to proposed a 0.15% tax on the liabilities of large financial institutions. The President's advisors estimate that 60% of the anticipated $117 billion in government revenue achieved by this new tax over 12 years would come from the 10 largest financial institutions. He made this declaration despite the fact that credit availability in our country is still inadequate, and despite the fact that the financial services sector's largest institutions have paid back their TARP money with interest. The federal government has already made a 14% return on the TARP money that was provided to the financial sector, and the federal government ownership of many of the financial sector's institutions will lead to even greater returns.

Someone has convinced the President that the banks will start lending more money to more credit-worthy individuals and institutions if the federal government requires more of the assets of the banks to be sent to the federal government as tax payments. The logic is very difficult to understand unless we see this latest maneuver as part of a pattern of anti-NYC policies coming from Washington, DC.

We applauded when Governor Paterson addressed the need for all New Yorkers to work to defend the financial services sector from these types of attacks with his remarks in December 2009.

He addressed the issues by stating, "You don't hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder. If you say anything about oil in Texas, they'll string you up from the nearest tree. We need to stand by the engine of our economy in New York State, and that engine is Wall Street."

He also used his Twitter account to reinforce his views. "Iowa, corn. Michigan, autos. Texas, oil. NY, Wall Street . . . We must stand behind the engine of our state's economy & strengthen it.""If we support Wall St, and make the tough choices necessary to stabilize our state, Wall St will help NY as we build a New Economy."

Ironically, the latest attack by President Obama is targeted specifically to New York City. The Detroit auto industry (Chrysler and General Motors) was a major recipient of TARP money, and the Washington DC based Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bailed out by the federal government. Yet, none of those private companies' shareholders are being asked to pay additional taxes to the federal government. The financial services sector, headquartered and concentrated in New York City, will pay the tax on behalf of all of the sectors that benefited from TARP. Paterson was correct to assert that we need to speak more aggressively in favor of our city and our state. Clearly, the Michigan politicians have been successful in convincing the President that New York should pay the bill for the disastrous state of the Detroit auto industry.

We need to fix this problem quickly in order to promote a healthy economy for our country as well as to promote fairness for New York.

Haitian Relief Efforts

New York City is home to the largest number of Haitians in the world outside of Florida and Haiti itself.

We have a special connection with the Caribbean national that led the way toward the emancipation of slaves. Because the Haitians freed themselves from slavery in the early nineteenth century, freedom of Black people throughout in North America became a goal for many. Haiti paid dearly for its leadership with regard to notion that human beings should not be owned as property - Western nations abused Haiti and demanded enormous payments from Haiti in order to allow goods to flow to the nation. Western nations were determine to discourage others from seeking freedom by making life in Haiti as horrible as possible, but the Haitian nation persevered and has remained free for two centuries while still suffering from the legacy of abuse from the outside.

You can help the recovery effort in Haiti with your gifts. The number of organizations poised to turn your gifts into a brighter future for Haiti is seemingly endless, but the need is equally daunting. If you have already provided aid to Haiti, we thank you.

If you are planning to offer support but have not had the time to do so, we hope that you will choose an organization and make a contribution today.

1 comment:

  1. screw Wall Street... and I've been a New Yorker a lot longer than you have.