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City eateries that can’t pay rent won’t survive under Cuomo’s 25 percent rule

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City eateries that can’t pay rent won’t survive under Cuomo’s 25 percent rule

New data from the NYC Hospitality Alliance show that nine out of 10 city restaurants couldn’t pay their rent in December, yet Gov. Cuomo still insists on capping indoor dining in the city at 25 percent occupancy. That’s not enough to keep eateries from going under.

The survey showed that 92 percent of more than 400 respondents couldn’t afford to pay rent in December — up from 80 percent in June and 88 percent in October. Because they have their own bills to pay, only 36 percent of landlords formally deferred restaurants’ rent, while 14 percent have renegotiated leases during the pandemic.

Eateries saw some mercy: About 58 percent reported that the landlord had waived more than 50 percent of the rent owed. But that can’t last forever.

Again, Cuomo’s restrictions are senseless. Why let the rest of the state open at 50 percent, but not the city? Why limit restaurant hours at all? It’s not like COVID is more transmissible after 11 p.m. This is as absurd and tyrannical as the gov’s earlier rule that bar patrons had to buy a meal, too.

Bars and restaurants around the city are on life support, yet Cuomo ties knots in their breathing tubes with his capricious regulations. As one frustrated restaurant manager told The Post, “Every time the restrictions change, we’ve had to hire people back and forth, let people go again.”

The Post’s Steve Cuozzo pointed out many restaurants aren’t chancing a second reopening for fear Cuomo will pull the rug out again. Some owners won’t reopen until capacity rises to 50 percent because another shutdown “would be beyond demoralizing having to lay people off again.”

Cuomo justifies the 25 pecent limit by citing the greater density of seating in many city establishments. But that’s just his guess. Science — the state’s own data on COVID cases — shows that bars and restaurants aren’t where bug transmission is at all likely to occur.

New York City needs to start righting its economy, and the governor needs to get out of the way.

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Opinion

Even the non-woke should support just demands for reparations

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Even the non-woke should support just demands for reparations

White House officials this week indicated that Team Biden is ready to “start acting” on the question of reparations for African Americans. The news is sure to set off speculation about a civil war on the left over the issue, between progressives and “moderates.” But a more interesting question is whether conservatives should oppose reparations?

The answer is no. Reparations are the most straightforward means of acknowledging the historic injustice inflicted on African Americans, which is why such proposals have been made in some form or another almost continuously since the end of the Civil War, when Andrew Johnson unilaterally revoked the “40 acres and a mule” policy that would have gifted valuable property to 40,000 freed slaves.

More than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, we have black professionals and CEOs and even black billionaires. But most descendants of slaves have never had access to the broad-based prosperity of the middle class. For the vast majority, especially before the 1960s, there never was an American Dream.

This is true despite the fact that in the last decade and a half we have elected a black man and a black woman to our nation’s two highest offices. The rise of former President Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist and a white anthropologist, and Vice President Kamala Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican economist and a high-caste Indian scientist, testifies movingly to the success of our immigration system. Successive generations of immigrants, including those from sub-Saharan Africa, have leapfrogged over Americans whose ancestors were held as property on these shores — but that only reminds us that the situation of African Americans is unique.

This brings us to two of the most common objections to reparations. The first is that we shouldn’t expect Americans whose ancestors were soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Chinese peasants to answer for crimes committed here two centuries ago. The second is that reparations won’t put an end to the persistent wealth disparities between black and other Americans.

Both of these objections miss the point, which is that reparations aren’t a question of inherited guilt for sins, which is the shared condition of the human race, or simply a means of reducing income inequality. They are in part a symbolic gesture and an immensely valuable one.

Money is sometimes more than just a medium of exchange, which is why your grandmother still sends you a birthday card with a $20 bill tucked inside long after she knows that you don’t need it.

Such gestures aren’t limited to the personal sphere. Civilization has always depended on virtues such as courtesy, munificence and magnanimity. Just as we don’t refrain from using racial slurs simply because they are politically incorrect, we shouldn’t insist that reparations can only be valuable if they right every injustice or if they are paid for by those whose ancestors were slave owners.

Being willing to do the right thing doesn’t require having previously done the wrong one.

One other great virtue that civilization demands is particularity. While progressives sweep these issues into their boutique obsessions about language and the liberation of ever-more-exotic sexual identities, conservatives should recognize the sound and particular demands for justice from those whose forebears were brought to this country in chains. Demands for reparations don’t arise from silly campus woke-ism.

Blacks and whites in the post-industrial Midwest face similar plights today, but the difference is that the grandfathers of the latter likely had good-paying union jobs at a steel mill at which the ancestors of the former couldn’t have been hired as janitors. Why not address this, as we have the singular experience of American Indians? My Czech great-grandparents were no more responsible for the Trail of Tears than they were for slavery, but I do not begrudge my Indian friends their land and free tuition.

There are other serious questions about reparations — the amount to be paid, and when, and how to determine eligibility. A realistic plan would likely involve cash payments to proven descendants of slaves. The details are vexing and serious. But they are also beside the point until we accept the humane and decent case for some form of reparations.

Matthew Walther is editor of The Lamp magazine.

Twitter: @MatthewWalther

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Why does it take a Post story to get a public-health problem fixed?

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Why does it take a Post story to get a public-health problem fixed?

Within hours of The Post’s report of a festering junk heap on an Upper West Side side street, the city Sanitation Department showed up with NYPD support to handle the eye-sore. We’re glad we got results, but why did area residents’ complaints go unheeded for weeks?

The hoarder turns out to be a former fashion designer who admits he has “no aspirations for sanity whatsoever,” so this is yet another failure of the city’s mental-health system, too. That he’s not homeless is no excuse for the city allowing him to mound up chairs, books, baby toys, bedspreads and other of trash over the course of months.

Leaving property unattended on a public sidewalk is against the law, and the makeshift flea market (he occasional got some gentle soul to buy some of his junk) was beginning to butt up against a nearby school.

“We’re trying to do the best we can. We’re trying to help him,” said a Department of Homeless Services rep. But what about the garbage?

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer says she wrote city officials in November to complain about the junk pile, and neighbors had complained to police for weeks and saw cops speaking with the man.

A neighborhood group featured it on social media, too. But nothing happened. Nor does the belated cleanup mean the man is getting the help he so clearly needs. Where’s Chirlane McCray’s ThriveNYC?

Such is #DeBlasio’s New York, where public problems fester until it bad publicity threatens.

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Opinion

Democrats’ #MeToo hypocrisy and other commentary

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Democrats' #MeToo hypocrisy and other commentary

Cuomo watch: Democrats’ #MeToo Hypocrisy

Gov. Cuomo should be facing “explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans,” reason Axios’ Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. “And it’s not a close call.” During the #MeToo moment, Democrats “led the charge” in purging powerful men in politics, media, fashion and the movies for exploiting and harassing young women. Their silence now “seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.” Their only plausible explanation would be to claim Cuomo’s three accusers “are exaggerating or misremembering things.” Yet that’s “precisely what Democrats said was unacceptable in GOP cases.”

Media desk: Nursing-Home-Scandal Deflection

Cuomo is “finally getting his comeuppance,” but it’s odd that the backlash is for a few “icky” comments and not “for killing thousands of nursing-home residents,” notes Spectator USA’s Amber Athey. The media are trying to establish “a pattern of abusive behavior” to distract from the real scandal, which “might force progressives to challenge many of the lockdown policies they have so eagerly embraced since last year.” Alas, “introspection and mea culpas aren’t the left’s strong suit”; they would rather cover up the “far more serious and damaging story” — and it’s obvious which that is: “I don’t much care if Andrew Cuomo is a bit sleazy. I do care that, in his arrogant incompetence, he might have killed my grandmother.”

Education beat: Beyond Student-Debt Relief

There is a better way to deal with student debt than loan forgiveness, argues Beth Akers at National Review. It’s called income-driven repayment, and it ties monthly payments to borrowers’ income, minimizing “moral hazard” and, “in a true progressive manner,” delivering more benefits to people who took on debt to go college but didn’t see the ­return they expected in the form of a high-paying job. Compare that to loan-forgiveness programs that would “encourage students to borrow more than they would have otherwise, attend more expensive schools and make less of an effort to constrain living expenses.” Universities would also hike prices. IDR loans are already available, but they need to be “replaced with a single user-friendly” plan that can be “universally marketed and better understood.”

Foreign desk: Beware Playing Politics With MBS

President Biden seeks an easy human-rights win by tightening the screws on Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman — but, warns Karen Elliott House at The New York Sun, “playing politics with an ally in such a dangerous part of the world” is risky business. Biden recently released an old intel report linking MBS to the killing of a Saudi journalist, inviting “relentless pressure from Democrats on the left of his party” to squeeze Riyadh. But “the Biden team is exposing its own hypocrisy,” since the president is determined to ­renew talks with the Tehran regime, which has gallons of dissident blood on its hands. Then, too, Team Biden ignores the fact that “MBS has, over the past four years, engineered a breathtaking expansion of individual liberty” by curbing the religious establishment — reforms that a hard-line stance from Washington could undo.

Centrist: Due Process Matters

In today’s “hair-triggered culture of Twitter attacks and ‘canceling’ opponents, due process is treated as hopelessly arcane and inconvenient,” observes Jonathan Turley at The Hill. As Gov. Cuomo is proving, it’s “rarely valued until its loss becomes personal.” When now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced sexual-assault allegations, Cuomo “effectively called Kavanaugh a rapist, without any due process.” Still, now that the governor is facing his own allegations, “Cuomo deserves due process,” even after “loudly denying it for others.” Yes, it would be easy to leave the guv “to the mob and call it poetic justice,” but real justice demands that he “receive all of the due process he denied others — not because he deserves it, but because he embodies the costs of ignoring it.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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