Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New York is not free in more ways than one

From Times Union:

Maybe we ought to just admit it and change the state's nickname from the Empire State to the Nanny State.

We've all seen the studies showing how New York tops the nation when it comes to taxes.

But now comes a survey showing that not only do New Yorkers pay a steep economic price to live here; we also give up a lot of personal freedom.

"New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland," according to "Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom."


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the most "liberal" states are the most controlling. Thought the term liberal meant open minded. What about tolerence of others and celebrating diversity.
Liberalism has morped into socialism.

Anonymous said...

When I moved to NY, I found health insurance was more than twice where I lived. I cannot even imagine owning a car here, between the insurance and the parking costs.

Anonymous said...

What about tolerence of others and celebrating diversity.

That's what the multicultural cheerleaders don't want us to know - you can't have free speech AND multiculturalism/diversity; you can't have universal health care, a Swedish style welfare state AND a diverse population.

It only gets worse......

Anonymous said...

No surprises here. In the economic sphere, I dumped close to 70% of my household income this year into taxes (40%) and housing cost (30%) alone. Another 10% went to transportation, and both my wife and I work within the city.
I live in a co-op that arbitrarily raised the maintenance three times this year, and I was told by more than one lawyer that I have no legal recourse.
I like to take photos. Every single time I go out to photograph stuff, I get stopped by cops or security guards.
It goes on and on and on.
Yet my in-laws still look at me like I'm from Mars when I say I want to move to the top of a mountain out west.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it here at least you're "free" to leave.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it here at least you're "free" to leave.


ah ho, one of the moderators from astorians.com are lurking here and want to post their logic for the world to see.

It works with the backward elderly Greeks and Italians but it doesnt play in Peoria, bub!

Anonymous said...

It's a stupid, biased article. Any author who tries to make his point with such as:

"..health policies in New York have to include coverage for contraception, even for 80-year-old people who are unlikely to need it."


Coverage for hospice care is likewise required, even for healthy 20-year-olds.

The 80 year old won't be asking for contraceptives and the a "healthy" 20 yr old won't be needing hospice care.

Is simply offering what you call a straw man argument.


"It's one of many rules and regulations that are designed to ensure a level playing field or "redistribution of wealth,'' Sorens says."

Now we are getting to the author's -real- motive. I smell a Limbaugh in the room.

Then with this gem he blows it wide open:

"That's OK, but why not simply give the poor, old or sickly a cash grant to help buy health insurance?"

-Sure it would then be okay to require all those "unnecessary" riders as long as some company is making a buck.

One of the reasons for the ballooning taxes over the last 28 years is the fact that the Federal Gov. cut taxes on the wealthy and left more of the burden on municipal governments -part of the Great Reagan Fraud.

Another factor is the fact that we have a massive, and pretty good, public health system here and people flock here from other states to take advantage of it.

If we had a National Single Payer system this would not happen and NYS could enjoy the same buying power, discounts and administrative efficiencies as the V.A. and Medicare systems.

Anonymous said...

Whine, whine whine about how we're put upon with taxes, lack of freedom.... Who among you will dare to engage in civil disobedience when the MTA raises the already outrageous fare on the worst subway service on the planet. Will you risk arrest to let your outrage and disgust be known about the latest injustice? Naw---you'll all complain and then choke up that $2.50 for the privilege of riding on those stink wagons to your job so you can fork over the bulk of what you earn to finance upstate NY. As long as YOU have your creature comforts, everythings a-ok.

We are all pathetic.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who suggest that I'm free to leave: I'm trying to leave, believe me. I've lived in this stinking rathole of a city (or its immediate suburbs) for longer than I'd care to think about. As soon as I can sell my apartment, I'm gone, along with my Queens born and bred family. We're all sick of it. And we don't have creature comforts, because the 20% left over after the government and my co-op board take their cut doesn't leave much for comfort.
There was a time when I cared enough to try: I would have been right there protesting, ranting, writing letters. But after 15 years of banging my head against the government, and getting nothing but a headache in return, I've had enough.
Once upon a time I loved this city, but loving it gets you stepped on harder, and it breaks your heart more when you realize what a cruel, heartless bitch this city really is.

Anonymous said...

You are all welcome in Alaska!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you'll love this bunch. They've got as much brains as you.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you'll love this bunch. They've got as much brains as you.

That's still much more than Chief Community Organizer Obama and creator of the internet Al Gore have!

Anonymous said...

You've lost your touch, Wade.
Washed up. Past your prime.

Ridgewoodian said...

Have any of you soupnazis even GLANCED at the actual report, Freedom in the 50 States?

I’ve skimmed through it - I can’t say that I’ve studied every word - but it seems to me a deeply weird document.

First of all, one of the authors, Jason Sorens is best known as the founder of the Free State Project wherein 20,000 libertarians are being solicited to move to New Hampshire in order to exert influence on the government there. You can read an interview with him here in which he swoons over the idea of privatizing social security, packing heat (even around schools), and driving without a seatbelt. He claims that his movement is not secessionist although he did accept the endorsement of one Walter Williams, who has written approvingly of secessionism. Also, his (Sorens’) Ph.D. dissertation was entitled The Political Economy of Secessionism: Regional Responses to Globalization which, not having read, I can’t report on in full. But it seems that he has given some thought to the idea of secession. Also, the Free State Project was supposed to be represented at the North American Secessionist Convention (where, incidentally, the independent nation of Long Island was represented) but apparently they couldn’t get their act together. None of this is mentioned in the report but the report should probably be understood in the context of the author’s agenda.

The report itself probably should have been entitled “Libertarianism in the 50 States,” but that wouldn’t have been very sexy. The mistake that Sorens and his co-author, William P. Ruger, make is that they seem to equate freedom with their own libertarian ideology. And, as presented in the report, what does freedom mean to them? In the economic realm, apparently low taxes, deregulation (no minimum wage!), and privatization. In the personal it’s access to gambling, cheap smokes, plentiful booze, cell phones in cars (but not necessarily seatbelts), pot, whores, home schools, and guns. Now, some of these can be debated - has the deregulation and privatization of the last thirty-some years really worked to the benefit of all Americans, are there really good reasons why prostitution or marijuana are illegal in most states? - but they’re pretty idiosyncratic. Do I feel like I’m living in a police state because when I go into a bar folks can’t legally use my lungs as an ash tray? No, no I don’t. And I actually LIKE the idea of everyone not being armed to the teeth at all times.

And why are these freedoms emphasized when others are not mentioned at all or are only mentioned in passing, or are brought up and then dropped? Just off the top of my head: there’s no discussion of violent crime rates even though the authors themselves note that, “individuals are less free the more they have reason to fear private assaults and depredations.” Nor is there a discussion of criminal justice systems or incarceration rates across the several states. On the death penalty the authors basically punt. Apparently it’s too thorny an issue for them and so they exclude it from their index of freedom. Personally, I think that I would feel less free living in a state that claimed the right to kill me - especially if it kills my fellow citizens on a routine basis - than I would if I were merely taxed somewhat more that I would like to be (and I don’t love to be taxed). Abortion is similarly glossed over: “Rather than take a stand on one side [of the abortion debate] or the other (or anywhere in between), we have coded the data on state abortion restrictions but have not included the policy in our overall index.” I can find no mention at all of access to contraception or family planning. I guess the prostitutes whose profession would become legal in the Sorens Republic would just have to hope for the best. The authors seem generally to support non-traditional domestic partnerships (on a contract basis) yet incredibly they write, “we do not consider same-sex marriage to be a freedom concern either way.” Not explored at all, as far as I can tell, are issues relating to access to diverse media (just how many newspapers are there in New Hampshire?), or freedom of speech, or religion (Utah theocracy anyone?) or most of the other freedoms from the Bill of Rights, save the (supposed) individual right to keep and bear arms. As the authors themselves note: “our ‘freedom index’ does not capture all aspects of freedom.” No, no it certainly does not.

Now, I’m not saying that the State of New York is perfect. Far from it. I have little but contempt for the STATE of New York. As a state we just don’t work - this has been proved time after time after time. Just this week it was proved again, with the failure of the legislature (thanks to FOUR members) to pass a plan to avert disastrous transit fare increases and service cuts. (Although they did get around to reforming the Rockefeller drug laws, which would probably boost the state’s freedom index.) Personally, I think the lower and upper portions - New York and “Albanya” - should divorce as amicably as possible and go their separate ways. But to call the state the least free in the Union based on some strange criteria - and in support of a crypto-secessionist agenda - is just asinine. But by all means, if you are an ass, please do move to the Granite State and good riddance to you.

Ridgewoodian said...

Grrrrr....the Free State Observer report on the Third North American Secessionist Convention has suddenly morphed into a long paragraph about mamography and buying property in New Hampshire.

Info about it can be found HERE (notice Jason Soren's name shown fairly promently under the Miscellaneous Links heading) and HERE and, for pictures of real life secessionists, HERE.