New York State's passing legislation legalizing same sex marriage is a wonderful thing. Recognizing all our citizens as having equal rights, equal protection, is a wonderful thing.
However it is also clear that there was pretty much a de facto quid pro quo between the support for this bill, and the earlier support by Cuomo, the NY State Senate Republicans, and way too many NY State Democrats for all the economically regressive legislations that was passed (cuts in taxes for wealthy coupled with cuts in services, and other related issues connected to housing and regulation).
As the NY Times published back in mid-May, Donors to G.O.P. Are Backing Gay Marriage Push. Specifically a who's-who of usually right wing Wall Street folks ponied up to pay for the lobbying required, and promises of future supportto key swing Republicans (and the Republican senate leader's okay to even allow the issue to a vote) and a handful swing conservadems:
The donors represent some of New York’s wealthiest and most politically active figures and include Paul E. Singer, a hedge fund manager and top-tier Republican donor, as well as two other financiers, Steven A. Cohen and Clifford S. Asness.
and Daniel Loeb, our old hypocritical friend Ken Mehlman
and of course Michael Bloomberg.
In NY State:
The new donations represent roughly two-thirds of the same-sex marriage coalition’s fund-raising, making New York the rare state where a lobbying campaign in favor of legalizing gay unions is not being financed primarily by liberal donors and Democrats. The support is likely to jolt the traditional financial and political backers of gay rights causes, who now find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being outraised and outspent in New York.
Who are these donors:
Paul E. Singer, a hedge fund manager, chairman of the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning research group, and one of the most generous Republican donors in the country.
Clifford S. Asness of AQR Capital Management, a frequent Republican donor, has praised Tea Party activists on his blog and attended the Koch a conference of right-wing donors.
Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates for federal office in the last two years
Steven A. Cohen, who runs SAC Capital Advisers, and has become increasingly active in Republican fund-raising,
Now of course some of this is attributed to their either being gay or having close gay family members. Some is even attributed to libertarian ideology of individual freedom and the belief that government should take a hands off or neutral approach.
But living in NY, and watching Cuomo during the campaign right through to the deal making around this year's budget, and watching the "surprising" confluence of business groups and wall street and their astroturf front groups and think tanks (e.g., the Manhattan Insitute) all supporting him, it is also clear that this has been a premediated quid pro quo. In return for getting what they want in economic policy (tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in government programs, lessened oversight and some adjustments in programs related to real estate, Medicaid and wall street, etc.) from Cuomo and too many of the NY State legislature's Democrats (de facto acquiescence), they would buy the support needed for marriage equality.
One key tip-off is the role of our local conservative (corporate hackery) think tank, the Manhattan Insitute. Sure, Singer has a gay son who got married in Massachussetts. But he is also a principle backer and chair of the Manhattan Insitute which is our own little Cata/Heritage joint. And they never back Democrats in NY. And Cuomo pretty took their economic policy planks and adopted them openly during the campaign. And they backed him. And he delivered.
Sure, it is also part of Cuomo's long term positining for an eventual presidential run. Social liberal but fiscal conservative. A Democrat who might go after a few token Wall Street crooks when he was attorney general, but can be trusted not to really be a class warrior and happy to cut taxes and cut government programs, and not be a NY liberal. (like his dad).
Meawhile income and wealthy inequality, wage stagnation and jobs remain the real problem. Hopefully we can address those tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if the ostensibly progressive NY State Attorney General will be agressive over Wall Street and Banker. It will be interesting if any tax hikes for the rich are ever allowed on the agenda for the rest of Cuomo's term (no taxes was such a strong mantra, that even the sugary drink "soda" tax bill that was close to passing was not allowed to be even on a subcommittee agenda).
But for now, some NY Democrats and some gay rights activists are a little less likely to go after Wall Street. Of course, this is how politics works we are told. This is how serious folks get the job done.
A different Cuomo at a different time: