Cuomo’s Post-Sandy Cash Grab
Gov. Cuomo kicked off the third week of Sandy by getting everyone fixated on a number: $30 billion. That’s what the governor figures New York has lost — and what he thinks would be “fair” for Congress and President Obama to give it. But getting money to rebuild doesn’t help if you don’t spend it on the right stuff.
Cuomo was aggressive this week.
“This is a very clear case,” he said. Considering that other regions, including New Orleans after Katrina, have gotten special post-disaster funding cash, “the equity and the fairness is inarguable.”
Yes, the city and state (and Jersey, too) have suffered a huge blow. Look around, even in parts of the city that didn’t take a direct hit.
Manhattan is not as crowded as it should be. Transit, especially across the Hudson, is a fraction of what it was. When commuters can’t come to work, they can’t buy lunch, can’t have a drink with friends, can’t meet the spouse to see a show. That alone adds up to a big loss.
Plus, think of people who are looking at tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs — and more. People know that insurance can be slow and won’t cover everything, or even most things — meaning they’ll pull back on Christmas shopping, intensifying the economic hit.
But it’s simplistic for New York to think because it’s suffered a $30 billion hit, it should get $30 billion from DC. Some losses, for starters, are irrecoverable. Moreover, the governor is asking without knowing what New York needs.