Trump attacks mail voting as Republicans work to suppress turnout

Americans have their attention mostly focused on the health of themselves and their families, when they can get back to their jobs and whatever will pass for normal for the foreseeable future. But despite what Jared Kushner might say about such things, we are going to have an election in November.

Donald Trump’s erratic words and actions pretty well demonstrate that his re-election prospects are diminishing. There will be some sort of a re-bound in the economy over the next several months, but the consensus of business leaders and economists is that it will be a slow slog back.  Since Trump’s only serious bragging point for the campaign was the economy, the concern among Republican leaders is understandable. Continue reading

Is it time to think about ending private operations of nursing homes?

The previous Politics and Other Stuff post detailed a number of issues concerning nursing home ownership and management. This post discusses nursing facility operations during the pandemic.

How well are nursing facilities managing their patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic? From the New York Times:

At least 25,600 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. The virus so far has infected more than 143,000 at some 7,500 facilities. Continue reading

Is it time to think about ending the private operation of nursing homes?

The tragedies we have been watching unfold over the past two months are very hard to bear. It has been especially difficult to see how heavily the pain of the COVID-19 illness and deaths has played out in nursing homes here in Western New York, throughout New York State and the nation.

As this post is being published on May 12th, there have been more than 150 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 deaths in Erie County nursing facilities, 30 in Niagara County, 5,200 in New York State and more than 25,600 nationally.  The national numbers are undercounted to some degree because the governors of certain states have chosen to hide public health information from their constituents and many statistically unexpected deaths were not tested. Continue reading

New Yorkers send billions of dollars to Kentucky and other states every year; Mitch McConnell isn’t satisfied

Where is Pat Moynihan when you need him?

Unfortunately the late Senator from New York is no longer with us. We could use his forceful advocacy.

Senator Moynihan, during his 24 years in office, made it a habit of reporting on a “balance of payments deficit” between and among the federal government and the states. He would annually compare the amount of money collected from New York residents and businesses in various taxes with the amount of federal money paid to New York State residents, its localities and school districts. Continue reading

A tale of two budgets

As previous posts have noted, the COVID-19 tragedy will, among other things, wreak havoc on the finances of states, local governments and school districts. The most direct evidence of these consequences appeared last Friday.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that all county departments, including those headed by independently elected officials, would need to come up with 13.1 percent in cuts in their spending during the current fiscal year.   With only half a year left in which to implement approved cuts, they will feel more like a 25% cut to the remainder of the fiscal year. Since most county spending is mandated by the state, that won’t be easy.  Given the lingering effects of the recession and massive unemployment we are now seeing, it is likely that similar cuts will also be necessary in 2021.  It is sound policy to begin the hard work now. Continue reading