Editorial Roundup: New York

New York Post. April 3, 2024.

Editorial: Calif. fast food minimum wage law’s already a disaster — and NY wants some too

California’s absurd fast food wage law has been in effect for less than a week and it’s already made prices hotter than a fryolator.

The law mandates $20-an-hour minimum wages for fast food workers (with one corrupt carve-out made to order for a campaign donor and biz buddy of Gov. Gavin Newsom ).

That’s translated to price hikes like $4 on a Big Fish meal at Burger King, 53% higher than pre-law prices.

On the chain’s signature double Whopper meal, the hike was $1.80, a bump of nearly 12%.

Progressives have turned Have it your way into Pay up, chumps!

Don’t forget big chains like Pizza Hut are planning to slash jobs,leaving less opportunity for kids and less-educated, less-affluent adults.

The move — much vaunted by progressives obsessed with economic justice — is going to make the state far less just, with higher costs and fewer jobs.

And it ain’t rich white guys like Newsom who will be bearing the brunt.

Don’t forget the carve-out: Greg Flynn, a bigtime Newsom donor and Panera franchise owner,will not be facing any new wage mandates, because restaurants that bake and serve bread as a standalone item and did so before the law passed (basically only Panera) aren’t subject to it.

The law’s a regular McFlurry of corruption, swirled with insane economic policy and big chunks of payola.

And guess what?

New York’s lefties are hungry for what Cali’s having.

A city minimum-pay mandate for food delivery drivers kicked into effect here April 1, to almost $20 per hour.

In response, as anyone capable of doing third-grade math foresaw, DoorDash and Uber Eats have hiked fees, and mom-and-pop places dependent on app deliveries are taking a hit.

And a bill percolating in the Legislature would vest decisions about wages and benefits not with businesses themselves but with unelected and unaccountable external boards, for all sectors covered by minimum wage law — not just fast food.

If Cali and the Empire State keep on down this path, we can expect a real Hunger Games to begin all too soon.


Albany Times Union. April 1, 2024.

Editorial: A lopsided playing field

New York is poised to make a small dent in its fossil fuel subsidies. It should strive to cut even more.

The fossil fuel industry and its defenders like to argue that government investment in clean energy gives solar, wind and other green power sources an unfair advantage. If only we level the playing field, the argument goes, the free market would wisely sort out the winners and losers.

That argument would be less transparently disingenuous if the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. wasn’t the beneficiary of billions of dollars in subsides and other perks that are funded, in one way or another, by the public. That includes tax breaks, credits or direct subsidies for things like drilling costs, research, depletion and investment.

In New York alone, the public subsidies for fossil fuels are estimated to be worth more than $1.5 billion.

But just try to trim those, and the free market defenders quickly turn into consumer advocates. Cutting subsidies, they warn, would only cause fossil fuel prices to rise. We can’t hurt hard-working folks now, can we?

A case in point is a subsidy that just might be on the chopping block after some years of debate. Known as the 100-foot rule, it requires gas companies to provide free hookups to customers whose buildings are 100 feet or less from a gas main.

As the Times Union’s Rick Karlin explains, that “free” hookup, of course, isn’t free. The cost is passed on to consumers – that is, it’s subsidized by other ratepayers.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Senate and the Assembly all seem to agree in their respective budget proposals that it’s time for the rule to go at a time when the state is trying to dramatically reduce consumption of fossil fuels in coming years. The state last year passed the All-Electric Building Act, which requires that much new construction use electricity, not gas, though there are a host of exemptions that don’t entirely make the 100-foot rule moot.

So ending the rule would be, at, least, a start in moving to a cleaner energy future. But it shouldn’t be the end of it. The state should get a full handle on all the direct and indirect subsidies baked into the budget, the law and regulations, in some cases going back years. Such efforts have stalled in the past, like a bill introduced last year in the Assembly that would have required a complete accounting of all the state’s fossil fuel-related tax breaks. It also would have mandated that those breaks end after five years, which might explain why it didn’t pass.

We understand that cutting subsidies could – in fact, probably would – cause home heating costs to rise and put a burden on lower income people. That doesn’t mean it can’t be accomplished with targeted programs for those who might struggle to pay their utility bills – subsidizing them, rather than fossil fuel interests.

Not surprisingly, there are proposals in the Legislature that would take the state in the opposite direction. One bill from Republicans would repeal the prohibition on fossil-fuel systems in new construction that’s slated to start in 2026. Another would grant a religious exemption for people whose “genuine and sincere religious beliefs” oppose a prohibition on fossil fuels. And yet another would require a cost-benefit analysis of the state’s climate goals and strategies.

All of which makes sense, perhaps, if you don’t think that saving the only habitable planet we know of isn’t its own bottom line, economically, spiritually and existentially.


Oneonta Daily Star. April 2, 2024.

Editorial: Eclipse appeals to our sense of natural wonder

It’s great that people today, despite all the technological marvels we enjoy, are still fascinated by grand, natural events.

We still stop to look at rainbows, enjoy the majesty of a thunderstorm and enjoy (from a safe distance) things such as volcanic eruptions. We watch with rapt attention to video of tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and the like.

Of course we can see more elaborate spectacles in movies or on television, but it’s not the same. No, natural events are something different.

For one thing, they’re a lot larger. The biggest movie screen in the world can’t compare to the scope of the sky. A produced spectacle contained in a box, for all its sound, fury and speed, isn’t the same as something out in the world.

Another important difference is in the impact such events have on us. While entertainment happens for us, natural wonders happen to us. We don’t get to plan natural phenomena or choose whether they happen. We can’t stop them when they do happen.

That’s why the upcoming total solar eclipse is getting so much attention.

Think for a moment about what a grand coincidence an eclipse is. It’s a precise alignment of the Earth, moon and sun, playing a cosmic game of shadows, and we get to see it.

Of course, we could wish the path of totality were a little farther south. Those of us unable to travel on April 8 will have to settle for something less than total darkness. Experts tell us we can expect something like 97% coverage of the sun, though, so it’s still worth stepping outside to see something we’re not likely to see again. The hours between 2 and 4 p.m. seem to be the time we can watch the sky go dark and then brighten again, according to NASA.

As an aside, what a marvel science is! Smart people calculated when and where this would happen, just as they have many times before. Solar eclipses must have caused terror among the ancients, but astronomers today know years in advance when they’re going to happen. Our modern communications channels make sure it’s not a surprise to anyone.

So, let’s hope for favorable weather and plan to step outside to see nature’s show, following some safety advice from NASA:

• During partial or annular solar eclipses, which is what we’ll have here, it is never safe to look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection.

• Use eclipse glasses or a safe, handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. NASA does not approve any particular brand of solar viewers.

• Always inspect eclipse glasses or handheld viewer before use; if torn, scratched or otherwise damaged, discard the device. Always supervise children using solar viewers.

• Do not look at the sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.

• If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use a pinhole projector. Instructions for making one are widely available online.

• Do not use eclipse glasses or handheld viewers with cameras, binoculars or telescopes. Those require different types of solar filters. When viewing a partial or annular eclipse through cameras, binoculars or telescopes equipped with proper solar filters, you do not need to wear eclipse glasses.

• Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens or other optics.

If you can, take advantage of viewing opportunities offered by local schools, colleges or libraries. They’ll be able to offer information to enhance the experience. We hope many will enjoy nature’s show.


Wall Street Journal. April 1, 2024.

Editorial: How to Kill New York’s Rental Housing Market

Albany’s Good Cause Eviction proposal is universal rent control.

You have to marvel at the enlightened economic thinking of New York politicians. Gov. Kathy Hochul and her Legislature are hashing out a deal as part of the state budget that would impose universal rent control while creating tax breaks for housing developers. Increase disincentives for investment, and then layer on subsidies. Genius.

Rents in New York City have soared in recent years even more than inflation. The average monthly rent in Manhattan for market-rate apartments last year was roughly $5,300, about 30% higher than in 2021. Progressives accuse landlords of price-gouging, though their 2019 rent-stabilization law is a major culprit.

Democrats are now pushing so-called Good Cause Eviction standards that would establish a de facto cap on rent increases in what are now market-rate apartments. They want to classify rent increases that exceed 3% or 1.5 times the consumer-price index, whichever is higher, as “unreasonable.” Landlords couldn’t evict tenants who refuse to pay more.

If maintenance costs and insurance premiums increase more than the cap—as they have in recent years—landlords would have to spend thousands of dollars in legal costs to justify rent increases to local housing courts, which could take months. Even if they prevail, it could take a year or more to evict a tenant.

Rent increases on nearly half of New York City’s rental housing stock are already capped, which is a disincentive for landlords to invest in maintenance and improvements. Tenants in rent-regulated units are roughly twice as likely to complain about rodents, heating breakdowns, mold and peeling paint as those in market-rate units. Landlords used to be allowed to “de-regulate” units when tenants moved out and the rent exceeded $2,800 a month. The 2019 law bars them from doing so and limits rent increases to pay for renovations.

One predictable result is that multifamily housing values and investment have plunged. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unloaded loans by failed Signature Bank that were backed by New York rent-regulated buildings at a roughly 40% discount. New York Community Bancorp warned this year that 14% of its rent-regulated loan book was at risk of default. Worries about its heavy exposure to the city’s rent-regulated multifamily housing caused its stock to plunge.

Meantime, rents in market-rate apartments have surged in part because building management companies have sought to compensate for losses on rent-regulated units. Landlords have also removed tens of thousands of units from the market because they would lose money renting them out.

Extending rent control to market-rate apartments will compound the 2019 law’s damage and discourage new housing. Are Democrats in Albany trying to precipitate a local banking crisis by spurring massive write-downs on apartment buildings? Their plan could make New York housing uninvestable.

Perhaps this explains why Ms. Hochul wants to pair rent regulation with tax subsidies to boost “affordable” housing construction, which would be conditioned on developers paying union-scale prevailing wages. Even with tax breaks, developers may not be able to turn a profit. Every time you think Albany Democrats can’t do more economic damage, they come up with something worse.