POLITICAL ROUNDUP

March 13, 2019 at 4:30 am

A prediction from some financial analysts have New Yorkers on the economic edge. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is heading back to court tomorrow. We have a preview of the upcoming proceedings and potential political fallout. State University of New York swimmers and divers are heading to the prestigious NCAA Division III national championship meet in North Carolina, but can’t stay in state. We’ll tell you why.

Aired on March 12, 2019. 

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>>> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS," I'M JACK FORD.
IS NEW YORK CITY GOING BROKE
AGAIN?
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS,
THE CITY IS CLOSE TO BANKRUPTCY
WITH LONG-TERM DEBT PER
HOUSEHOLD WELL ABOVE $80,000,
AND MAYOR De BLASIO SPENDING $3
BILLION MORE IN THIS YEAR'S
BUDGET, THE CITY IS RUNNING A
DEFICIT.
EXPERTS WARN THAT WE COULD BE IN
A BAD SITUATION IF WE HAVE A
SETBACK LIKE A RECESSION.
HERE WITH SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT
ALL OF THIS AND MUCH MORE IS
AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR AND
COLUMNIST AND OUR GOOD FRIEND
ELLIS HENNIKEN.
ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US.
LET'S START WITH THIS NOTION OF
THE POTENTIAL FISCAL DISASTER
FOR NEW YORK CITY.
I GUESS MY FIRST QUESTION IS, IS
THAT NEW?
>> SO, BEGINNING WITH THE
OBVIOUS, BILL De BLASIO IS NOT
MIKE BLOOMBERG.
FOR 12 YEARS IN THE CITY WE HAD
A REAL FISCAL MANAGER IN CITY
HALL.
AND YOU KNOW, WE CAN QUIBBLE
ABOUT VARIOUS POLICY DECISIONS,
BUT A GUY WHO IS CLEARLY WELL
VERSED, HAD GREAT RELATIONSHIPS,
LOTS OF HISTORY, AND BACK TO YOU
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME.
OH, AND BY THE WAY, IF THINGS
GOT TOUGH, COULD WRITE A
PERSONAL CHECK TO SOLVE SOME OF
THE PROBLEMS.
WE DO NOT HAVE THAT ANYMORE.
SO YES, THERE ARE UNDERLYING
PRESSURES WORTH PAYING ATTENTION
TO.
PROBABLY THE BIGGEST AND LEAST
EASY TO DEAL WITH ARE THESE
PENSION OBLIGATIONS THAT HAVE
GROWN UP OVER THE DECADES,
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES GETTING OLDER,
DESERVING LIFETIME PENSIONS.
BOY, THAT STUFF GETS EXPENSIVE.
ADD ONE OTHER ELEMENT WHICH IS
THE CHANGES IN THE TAX LAW
TAXES HERE.
IF YOU DON'T DEDUCT THEM ON
FEDERAL INCOME TAX, IT MAKES
LIVING IN NEW YORK MORE
EXPENSIVE.
ALL OF THAT HAS COME TOGETHER TO
ADD PRESSURES THAT WE SHOULD BE
PAYING ATTENTION TO.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE TAX
CONSEQUENCES IF YOU WILL.
WE'RE ALSO TOLD AS YOU
MENTIONED, NOW THE DEDUCTIONS
THAT PEOPLE USED TO HAVE AND
USED TO COUNT ON AND THEY USED
TO BE ABLE TO USE IT TO JUSTIFY,
YOU KNOW, BUYING UP.
WE'RE TOLD RECENTLY THAT NEW
YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE,
NUMBER ONE IN TERMS OF THE TAX
BURDEN.
AND MY GUESS IS YOU'RE NOT GOING
TO SEE ANY REDUCTION IN THAT
SOON.
DOES THAT SUGGEST TO YOU THAT
WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOMETIME SOON
IS MORE OF AN EXODUS?
>> WELL, THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF
THAT.
THE NUMBERS HAVE CREPT UP, BUT
PARTICULARLY WEALTHY PEOPLE LIKE
LIVING IN PLACES LIKE THIS.
THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD STUFF
ABOUT LIVING IN THE TRI-STATE
AREA, NEW YORK PARTICULARLY TIS
WOULD SAY.
HUGE NUMBERS -- HERE'S WHAT I
WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT -- IF
THE NATIONAL ECONOMY SLIPS INTO
RECESSION, IF WALL STREET TUM
BELTS IN A BIG WAY, WE MIGHT
HAVE -- TUMBLES IN A BIG WAY, WE
MIGHT HAVE PROBLEMS.
THE TAX BURDENS ARE TOUGHER, SO
MUCH OF THE ECONOMIC ENGINE IS
PRODUCED BY THAT PART OF THE
ECONO
ECONOMY -- IF IT GETS IN
TROUBLE, THAT HAPPENED 40 YEARS
AGO, WE'RE IN TROUBLE, TOO.
>> 50% OF THE TAX REVENUES COME
FROM THE TOP 1%.
>> THANK GOD FOR THEM.
>> YEAH --
>> THANK GOD FOR THEM.
>> WHICH WE CAN SAY THE WALL
STREET, THE FINANCIAL GROUP THAT
YOU MENTIONED HERE BEFORE.
>> YEAH.
ALL THE PEOPLE WE LOVE TO HATE.
UNTIL THEY WRITE THE CHECKS.
>> KEEP WRITING THE CHECKS,
PLEASE.
>> EXACTLY.
>> HOW ABOUT THE IDEA OF MAYOR
De BLASIO, HE'S ANNOUNCED
HIMSELF AS A PROGRESSIVE.
HE'S BACKED THAT UP WITH AN
INCREASE IN THE BUDGET OF OVER
30% OVER THE TIME HE'S WENT IN
OFFICE --
>> A LOT OF HIRING, TOO.
>> THERE'S SPENDING GOING ON
THAT TIES IN TO THE NOTION OF
I'M A PROGRESSIVE, AND I'M GOING
TO INVEST IN THINGS THAT ARE
IMPORTANT.
HE'S ATTEMPTING THAT, PROJECTING
THAT IMAGE NATIONWIDE.
SO WHAT DOES THAT SUGGEST IN
TERMS OF ANY POTENTIAL FOR
SAYING, ALL RIGHT, WE'LL PULL
BACK THE REINS ON SPENDING HERE
IF THESE NUMBERS ARE AS DIRE AS
THEY ARE SUGGESTED.
>> WELL, YOU GOT TO REMEMBER WHO
ELECTED HIM, RIGHT.
TO SOME EXTENT THE ELECTION OF
De BLASIO WAS A RESPONSE TO
BLOOMBERG, RIGHT.
THE NOTION THAT HE WAS TOO
FOCUSED ON THE CREATION OF
MONEY, HE WAS MANHATTAN CENTRIC,
AND SO De BLASIO CREATED A
POLITICAL COALITION OUT OF
BORROWS, LABOR PEOPLE, MORE
ETHNICALLY AND RACIALLY DIVERSE
COALITION.
AND YOU KNOW, HE NEEDS TO TAKE
CARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT
HIM HERE.
NO, IT'S PRETTY HARD TO IMAGINE
THEY'D VOLUNTARILY -- THAT HE
WOULD DO MAJOR CUTTING IN THOSE
AREAS.
>> LET ME SHIFT THE FOCUS AND
TALK ABOUT SOME NATIONAL STORIES
HERE.
>> SURE.
>> PAUL MANAFORT, NATIONAL BUT A
CONNECTION CERTAINLY TO THE NEW
YORK AREA.
PAUL MANAFORT GETS SENTENCED,
AND TO MANY PEOPLE, IT WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY SURPRISE BECAUSE
THE SENTENCING GUIDELINES
SUGGESTED SOMEWHERE IN THE RANGE
OF MAYBE 20, MORE THAN 20 YEARS.
HE GETS A LITTLE BIT LESS THAN
FOUR YEARS.
>> YEAH.
>> HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU BY
THAT?
>> I WAS SURPRISED BY IT.
BECAUSE USUALLY WHEN WE TRY TO
PREDICT SENTENCING, WHICH IS
ALWAYS A MISTAKE WITH LIFETIME
APPOINTED U.S. DISTRICT JUDGES,
THAT'S AT LEAST KIND OF WHERE
YOU THINK IS THE JUDGE GOING TO
DEPART UPWARD, DOWNWARD,
PROBABLY IN THE RANGE, THAT'S
WHAT THE LAWYERS ON BOTH SIDES
TEND TO EXPECT.
THE FACT THAT JUDGE ELLIOTT DOWN
IN VIRGINIA CAME IN SO MUCH
LOWER THAN THAT, YEAH, I WAS
SURPRISED.
BUT HOLD ON A SECOND.
WE'RE NOT DONE SENTENCING PAUL
MANAFORT.
SO WHATEVER YOU THINK OF WHAT
JUDGE T.S. ELLIS DID, AS YOU
KNOW, THIS WEEK THERE'S ANOTHER
JUDGE WITH A WHOLE DIFFERENT SET
OF FACTORS TAKING ANOTHER CRACK
AT IT.
>> THIS HAS A COUPLE OF
CONSPIRACY COUNTS.
LOOKING AT POTENTIALLY ANOTHER
TEN YEARS, AND THE BIG ISSUE IS
WHATEVER THE NUMBERS ARE GOING
TO BE, GOING TO BE CONSECUTIVE
OR CONCURRENT.
>> AND AS YOU KNOW, IN THEORY,
JUDGES DON'T LOOK OUT THE
WINDOW.
THEY DON'T TRY TO CONSIDER THE
POLITICS OF A SITUATION, WHAT
SOME OF THE COURT HAS DONE.
WE KNOW THAT JUDGES, EVEN U.S.
DISTRICT JUDGES IN FEDERAL COURT
ARE HUMAN BEINGS.
SO IT'S HARD NOT TO BE AFFECTED
BY THAT.
I THINK THE LIKELIHOOD IS THAT
JUDGE AMY BERMAN JACKSON,
HANDLING THE SECOND SENTENCE, IS
GOING TO COME IN A WHOLE LOT
TOUGHER.
>> LAST QUICK QUESTION FOR YOU.
IN IS BAIT OF A CURE -- A BIT OF
A CURE YAFT TAKING PLACE IN NEW
YORK.
IN 2016 THE STATE OF NORTH
CAROLINA PASSED WHAT'S CALLED
THE BATHROOM BILL.
IT SAID THAT YOU HAVE TO USE THE
BATHROOM THAT CORRESPONDS TO
YOUR GENDER AT BIRTH.
THERE WAS EXTRAORDINARY PUSHBACK
FROM A VARIETY OF GROUPS.
CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS TO THE NCAA.
>> IT MOVED THE NEEDLE, ALL THE
SUDDEN THEY BACKED OFF.
IT WAS RESCINDED.
A NUMBER OF STATES INCLUDING NEW
YORK WHEN THIS WAS ALL PLAYING
OUT SAID, ALL RIGHT, WE'RE NOT
GOING TO ALLOW OUR EMPLOYEES OR
AGENTS OF NEW YORK TRAVEL TO
NORTH CAROLINA.
SO THERE IS COMING UP NCAA
CHAMPIONSHIPS, AND THE SWIMMERS
FROM THE NEW YORK STATE SYSTEM
HAVE QUALIFIED.
THERE'S A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER
YOU CAN STAY THERE IN THE STATE.
SO THEY'D HAVE TO STAY IN
VIRGINIA, COME IN, PARTICIPATE,
COMPETE, AND THEN LEAVE THE
STATE AFTERWARDS.
NOW, THIS IS BEING DONE EVEN
THOUGH NORTH CAROLINA HAS
RESCINDED ITS LAW.
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE, AND WHAT
DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE
HAPPENING?
>> WELL, LISTEN -- IT'S A LITTLE
HARD TO DEFEND AT THIS POINT
HONESTLY.
WHEN YOU GET INTO THE GOVERNMENT
OF DENUNCIATION, ONE STATE
TELLING OTHER STATES THAT WE
DON'T LIKE YOU SO WE'RE NOT
GOING TO SEND OUR PEOPLE THERE
OR LET US DO BUSINESS WITH YOU,
THE REALITY IS THAT THERE ARE
LOTS OF STATES THAT DO HORRIBLE
THINGS.
AND WITHOUT DEFENDING FOR A
SECOND THE STUPIDITY INVOLVING
THE BATHROOMS IN NORTH CAROLINA.
YOU KNOW, WE COULD GO DOWN 49
OTHER STATES, AND I'LL BET
THERE'S STUFF GOING ON AT ALL OF
THOSE THAT WE THINK ARE
DESERVING OF DENUNCIATION.
SO IN THE END, I THINK WHAT WE
HAVE IS SOME CONVENIENT
POLITICAL PANDERING THAT PLAYS
TO A CONSTITUENCY OF THE
GOVERNOR.
BUT I THINK IT MAY BE TIME TO
MOVE ON.
>> WE'LL SEE HOW THAT CHANGES.
ELLIS, ALWAYS A PLEASURE.
>> FUN SEEING YOU, MAN.

Funders

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