Commentary

There's been some, not a lot, of national attention to a New York scandal that has kept the chattering and political classes agog and aghast. Long story short, Cuomo kept hammering the legislature as corrupt, evidenced by a series of thefts and misappropriations. He created an investigative commission that lurched into the world of petty thievery, and then lurched into the more interesting question of who was giving huge dollars to who, and for what. This is the murky world of legal corruption.

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New York State once again is facing a dilemma.  This time, however, it’s a nice dilemma to have:  How should the state use the billions of dollars  it will receive in a settlement with a French bank?

The state was already headed for an estimated $2 billion surplus, but will get an additional $3.3 billion to $3.6 billion now that the French bank BNP Paribas reached a settlement deal with state and federal officials last month.  The settlement resolves charges that the bank violated U.S. trade sanctions and did business with clients in Sudan, Iran and Cuba.

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Reformers in Washington are looking for a few good scandals.

Watergate led to the biggest overhaul of campaign finance law in the past century. Outrage over donors sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom and Enron influence peddling helped spur the 2002 McCain-Feingold overhaul. And the Jack Abramoff affair got Congress to act quickly on lobbying and ethics reform.

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Every rule of government budgeting — not to mention common sense — says using a one-time windfall to finance ongoing commitments is a very bad idea.

It’s the political equivalent of hitting the lottery for $1,000, then rushing to put a down payment on a Ferrari.

So it was disturbing that Gov. Cuomo — when asked how he would spend an unprecedented $4.2 billion in legal settlements flowing into state coffers this year — threw out the following list of options:

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One of the most unnoticed labor trends in the past few decades has been the rise of “just-in-time scheduling,” the practice of scheduling workers’ shifts with little advance notice that are subject to cancelation hours before they are due to begin.

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Citing clear evidence that numerous low-income Arizona residents have been denied the opportunity to register to vote, the League of Women Voters of Arizona and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) sent official notice today to Secretary of State Ken Bennett, as well to the heads of three Arizona public assistance agencies (the Department of Economic Security, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and the Department of Health Services), that the state is vio

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Analyzing a government report is like eating and digesting a meal — better to take it slowly than gobble quickly and suffer the possible consequences.

Example: last Thursday’s report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on whether or not large financial institutions were still perceived as “too big to fail.”

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The economy grew at an impressive rate of four percent in the second quarter of this year, according to a government report released on Wednesday. But the stock market promptly tanked. The Dow lost more than 317 points Thursday and another 70 points Friday.

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Today's economy doesn't contain a lot of good news for working people. While the Great Recession officially ended five years ago, millions of Americans are still out of work and wages continue to lag. Yet this week, working people made some hugely significant gains as the fruits sowed by organizing efforts, lawsuits, legislative action -- and above all, workers standing up for themselves despite tremendous risk -- began to be visible.

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No think tank commands more respect among liberal policy wonks and Capitol Hill Democrats than the D.C-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, founded over 30 years ago by the indefatigable Robert Greenstein. The center is revered for its analytical rigor, its rapid response time, and its sheer relentlessness. The place is like a machine: Any time a proposal appears that whacks the poor, you can use a stopwatch to clock how it long it takes the center to whip out a scathing critique, often written by Greenstein himself. Does the guy sleep? 

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