Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State address on Monday. He has overseen some of the most draconian COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions in the country. Some of his more chilling moves were threatening to close churches and synagogues, yanking the licenses of business owners who defied his ridiculous orders, and covering up his own culpability in forcing COVID-19-positive patients into nursing homes.
More recently, he has led what might be the most botched vaccine rollout in the country. Originally he had set strict rules about who would have priority to receive the vaccine, and threatened to levy fines of up to $1 million if a healthcare provider gave it outside of his specified hierarchy. When doses, which have a short shelf life, expired, they were thrown in the trash.
Meanwhile, businesses are dying in the state, especially in New York City. As of August, the New York Times reported that up to one-third of the state’s small businesses were closing for good. In-person schooling has been an on-and-off affair thanks to the teachers’ unions insisting on a ridiculous 3% positivity rate to trigger closings. By way of example, Georgia’s students have been in school with a statewide test positivity rate of 25%, and Florida schools have stayed open with a positivity rate of nearly 13%.
Supposedly, according to Cuomo and many others, the vaccine was going to save us all, and everyone could get back to normal when a sufficient number of people were vaccinated. That was before the Electoral College vote was certified.
Today he said:
We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.#SOTS2021
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 11, 2021
Oh, really? I predict he will be the first of many lockdown governors to say this.
Here’s how I think things will go: Joe Biden will be inaugurated in nine days and make some proclamations about how he will defeat COVID-19 in the next 100 days. A national mask mandate and some other useless moves, like another “30 Days to Slow the Spread,” will be announced.
During that time, the National Center for Health Statistics will change the way COVID-19 deaths are reported to mirror how influenza deaths are tracked. This will cause the death rate to fall. The cycle threshold on the PCR tests will be lowered to indicate active illness and the ability to transmit the disease. According to a New York Times analysis in August and a study by Jaafar et al., this means positive tests will gradually fall to about 10% of what we see now.
I predict it will be underreported and ignored that states that ignore the national mandates, like Florida and South Dakota, will fare just as well, if not better. Governor Ron DeSantis has already said he will not lock Florida down again and Governor Kristi Noem has said she would not enforce any national COVID-19 mandate. Other governors whose states are open, like Georgia and Tennessee, will face backlash if they follow the mandates.
Then Cuomo and the other governors—who did the Democrats’ bidding by crushing their economies and keeping people isolated and miserable and blaming it on President Trump—will get their due. Remember how Mitch McConnell and President Trump said they were not bailing out years of mismanagement in states like New York, California, and Illinois? Cuomo has a projected four-year deficit of $60 billion. His wealthy residents are fleeing because of the high state taxes and a federal deduction limit on state and local taxes.
With complete Democrat control in Washington, leaders in the state are looking for that bailout with renewed hope. In his speech, Cuomo said:
“Washington has savaged us for four years,” he said on Monday, noting that New York gives more money to the federal government in taxes than it takes. “We expect basic fairness from Washington. Finally.”
Even Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows that removing the SALT cap benefits the wealthy and she voted against it like a good little socialist. New York also got the same resources from the federal government to manage the pandemic that are available to every state. Cuomo’s projected deficit comes from decreased tax revenue from business closures, people fleeing the state in record numbers, and unbridled spending. New York’s budget for 2020 was $177 billion. Florida, with a similar and slightly larger population, spent $93.2 billion.
Cuomo is sure his deficit problems are solved now so he can “safely” open. Meanwhile, the rest of the country will pay off New York’s debts with our tax dollars and higher inflation caused by the additional money we will print. That’s just “fair,” according to Governor Cuomo. You have to wonder how the New York business owners and parents whose children have lost nearly a year of education will view it.