Posted by Brooklyn Bill
I was taken aback when Governor David Paterson defended Wall Street's immense year-end bonuses the other day during a speech at the Museum of American Finance. Especially while using such ridiculous phrasing as "you don't hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder. You don't hear anybody in Maryland complaining about crab cakes." Really, governor? Did I miss the gajillion-dollar seafood-dish industry bailout following rampant speculation on shellfish, potatoes, and bread crumbs? And to talk about people getting strung up in Texas, as he did later in his speech, even if the people in question are those who criticize the oil industry, was in poor taste.
I'm glad to see that State Senator Bill Perkins, whose district includes Harlem, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights, and part of the Upper West Side, is pushing back against the governor's not-at-all-nuanced remarks. I understand the state is in dire need of revenue, but I'm so tired of living in a world where most politicians won't speak even a little bit of truth to the powerful for fear of losing out on campaign donations. "Wall Street needs to resurrect, but they should be criticized when they do wrong like anyone else," Perkins is quoted as saying in the Wonkster post I linked to above. "It makes my constituents wonder, 'What about me? I don't even have a job.'"
Many queer New Yorkers have warm feelings toward Paterson because of his steadfast support of gay marriage. His speech on Wednesday chilled me by a few degrees.