Act One. Mister Fix It.

ira glass and david paterson

Ira Glass interviewing David Paterson at the Capitol in May.

This week's This American Life featured a long segment about the New York State budget. During the setup for the piece, host Ira Glass says: "For those of you who live far from New York, you need to understand a few things about just how terribly run New York State is." And then he runs through all the scandals and drama (that part runs longer than many regular radio segments).

That all leads to the appointment of Richard Ravitch, whom Glass describes as the "hero of our story." Says Ravitch at one point, when asked if he felt like he was going to into a "madhouse" after being appointed to Lt. Governor (at Peter Luger):

Yes. But I'm also... this sounds terribly pompous, forgive me... but I have a kind of romance with the whole idea of government and public service. So, at the same time I knew I was going into a madhouse, I also, it was a matter of pride that perhaps I could be helpful and there was nothing more useful I could do with my life.

Ravitch later says: "I didn't know how serious the problem was. I didn't realize the state had been faking balanced budgets for so many years."

The piece includes a bunch of people from around the Capitol, including David Paterson, state budget director Bob Megna (and his non-state-funded stress balls), Ruben Diaz, public radio correspondent Karen Dewitt, YNN's Erin Billups, the singing of Jay Gallagher and NYSNYS's Kyle Hughes.

The piece is a good overview of how the state got into so much budget trouble. It's not a hopeful picture.

The show is available as a free download this week. It's also available for streaming.

photo: Paterson admin media images

Comments

Ravitch? Hero of the story? What's he done to get the budget passed?

I think the point was that Ravitch was the only one who identified the way that the budget needed to go, rather than selling off government buildings then paying rent to stay in them. And any of the other short-sighted moves the gov. does to stay operating for one more year.

And I hope you listened to broadcast before posting....

Listen to the story, He'll tell you...

Quite an interesting piece. We're on our way to 60 billion in the red over the next five years.

How inspiring...

I don't really understand why Ravitch was depicted as the hero of the story. The only substantive ideas he's proposed are borrowing, GAAP accounting and a financial advisory board. What are his ideas for closing the current-year budget deficit? What would he cut? In the story I thought that Ravitch just came off as a grizzled veteran of NYS politics who is simply dumbfounded with the current state of politics.

I hate to admit it, but the real hero of the story should be David Paterson. Aside from his whinny references to "Planet Albany," I have a new-found respect for him as the only leader proposing real spending restraint -- and actually sticking to his guns.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

It won't be the site of the Albany convention center, so what will it be?

What is the next life of the southern edge of Albany's downtown? That's the question at the heart of the request for proposals (RFP)... (more)

New York City as city state

Here's another look at the break-up-New York State topic, this time with the focus on New York City as something more along the lines of... (more)

Day trip: Glens Falls

As the winter drags on, I'm continuing to look for accessible day trips to keep away cabin fever. I recently visited Glens Falls, which was... (more)

A check list for Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn articles

The "Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn"/"People are moving from New York to Upstate Place/Rust Belt City" has become its own distinct genre... (more)

Morning Blend

Several Democratic lawmakers are already vying to replace the speaker. Here's a look at who they are, and a breakdown of the six days that... (more)

Recent Comments

All of these articles make me stabby. I don't think the condescending tone is so faint. It's more like, "Isn't it amazing that people managed to live in this uncultured place before we discovered it and caused a demand for artisanal cheese?" ...

A check list for Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn articles

...has 12 comments, most recently from Susan

Day trip: Glens Falls

...has 8 comments, most recently from Linda

It won't be the site of the Albany convention center, so what will it be?

...has 1 comment, most recently from Paul

New York City as city state

...has 3 comments, most recently from Craig

Good wine classes?

...has 8 comments, most recently from Jessica R W