Big government in the empire state breeds corruption
With Republican State Senate speaker Dean Skelos and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver convicted of corruption, you’d think there’d be some impetus among the citizens of New York to take rudimentary steps to clean up Albany. I was shocked to learn the other day that convicted state legislators still get to keep their nearly $100,000 per year pensions! Convicted criminal Dean Skelos will collect $95,000 per year and convicted criminal Sheldon Silver will collect $87,000 per year.
I’m not a big fan of state legislators getting pensions in the first place, but this is absolutely unconscionable. Convicted felons from the New York legislature collect over $500,000 per year in pension income. Only the most deluded of political insiders could possibly think such a gross abuse of public funds to benefit former colleagues would be appropriate.
And yet, while some progress was made back in 2011, efforts to strip criminal legislators of their funds stalled earlier this year.
Now, Governor Andrew Cuomo has stepped up in favor of revoking pensions for convicted state legislators, so there is a good chance we’ll see some movement in the near future. (Governor Cuomo is suspiciously effective at getting things done even when the legislature opposes him). But you can bet the Morland Commission destroying Cuomo will do what he can to cover himself.
A lot of conservatives and libertarians were certain that if we only ousted Andrew Cuomo and a couple other bums in the last election, the problem would be solved. The reality is, corruption is rampant in both the Republican and Democratic parties in New York. We’re #1 in corruption. But as long as there are favors to give away and power is closely held by elites with little regard for the rule of law, we can expect this continue.
If we can work towards a smaller government with less taxpayer money to give away, less regulatory capture, and less crony capitalism, we’ll have less corruption. I’m convinced Libertarian Party candidates outside of the toxic Albany power-broker culture are the only ones that’d be serious about pushing the kinds of changes that would actually solve the problem. But when voters keep re-electing people like Republican Tom Libous, who was on trial for corruption during the 2014 election, I can’t say I’m too optimistic.