Time for New York to go on a diet

It is time for New York and other governments to cut up our credit cards. The era of buy now, pay later and later is over. Gov. David Paterson, July 29, 2008 Thats right cut them all into tiny pieces and burn them, preferably in an outdoor burn barrel (thats a joke I dont want any environmentalists knocking down my door). Weve all had to face the music at one point or another; now, its the states turn to own up to its debts. Ive been cutting my own spending habits left and right, and Im not alone. No more Two-for-Tuesdays at Morgans 11 for me. I havent enjoyed a buffalo chicken pizza pie for several months now, but according to the statistics in Patersons July 29 speech, somebody in Albany has been enjoying the financial equivalent of $1.4 billion in pizza for the last four months. When Paterson took office back in March, he ordered cuts to the state budget across the board. He estimated that the deficit for next year would be $5 billion. Now? Were at $6.4 billion. And some like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are calling Paterson an alarmist. Frankly, Ive had enough of this alarmist talk. A similar thing happened in early July, when the Bush Administration said that Sen. Charles Schumer was ringing the alarm in regards to the IndyMac fiasco. Schumer told National Public Radio: Theyre doing what the Bush Administration always does: Blame the fire on the person who calls 911. Indeed. Paterson surely did not start this fire. Instead, hes trying like heck to put it out while it is still relatively small. Nevertheless, say Paterson is exaggerating New Yorks current economic state, and all this will pass by the time the leaves have fallen, as Mr. Silver has suggested. What has Paterson done wrong, other than draw attention to a serious trend of overspending? You dont write off the importance of a fire drill simply because there is no fire. The argument shouldnt be about whether or not these times are as dire as the Great Depression. Its about rampant, out-of-control state spending. Some politicians in Albany are telling people not to panic, simply by stating that it could be worse. Try telling that to low-income families come December. Silver wants to take a wait-and-see approach. Lets consider how effective that would be using Patersons credit card metaphor. If a person has six credit cards maxed out and is late on their payments, would a debt counselor tell them to wait-and-see? Im not sure what the exact advice would be, but Im sure a sharp pair of scissors would be a good place to start. Chris Morris is the news editor at Denton Publications. He can be reached at chrism@denpubs.com

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