Ignorance and arrogance are an ugly combination. But hey, what do you expect? He’s a Cuomo!
Like so many public comments by the political left, there’s a lot to unpack, and it’s sometimes difficult to know where to begin.
With the Wuhan Flu panic as a backdrop, Cuomo is trying to get ahead of a recent Coronovirus breakout in New York. One of the problems he is dealing with (partly because of panic buying) is a shortage of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
So, Cuomo has taken action and launched his solution — the Government is now making its own hand sanitizer.
He’s not much of a pitch-man. Maybe they should have called up the Sham-Wow guy. But here he is pitching the government-sourced competitor to Purell.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces hand sanitizer created by the state, and says it will be distributed to schools, governmental agencies, MTA, prisons and more, calling it "a superior product to products now on the market." https://t.co/iNGFbeHdD4 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/LFusYZQ9vj
— ABC News (@ABC) March 10, 2020
You will notice Cuomo takes a swipe at ‘Purell, Mr. Amazon and Mr. Ebay’ for price gouging… as though any of those three entities set the prices at the retail level.
Then he goes on to brag about how much less expensive his Government-produced product is than Purell. Of course it is. For two reasons.
First, he’s not a business worried about trivial little problems like ‘profit margins’.
The much darker reason for his amazing ability to make it so much more cheaply doesn’t come up — labor costs.
He said the inmate-produced “NYS Clean Hand Sanitizer” will be available to New York residents free of charge as well as to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York’s subways and commuter railroads, to other state agencies and to New Rochelle, the Westchester County city that’s been the epicenter of the state’s coronavirus outbreak.
The New York Post quoted Cuomo saying that “it’s much cheaper for us to make it ourselves than to buy it on the open market.” He said a gallon jug of the state-produced product costs $6 to make.
But the Legal Aid Society, which represents indigent defendants, accused Cuomo of “exploiting incarcerated New Yorkers to produce cheap hand sanitizers,” according to the Post.
“This is nothing less than slave labor and it must end,” the group said.
The hand sanitizer is being produced at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in upstate New York, which has the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week.
New York pays inmates less than 65 cents an hour, according to Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
You’re paying inmates less than 65 cents an hour?
Well of course you can do it for less than the free market!
It’s also a reasonable argument why this product shouldn’t be for sale on the open market because it exploits an unfair competitive advantage in labor costs. Use it to save money in your own institutions, or to give away to the public in health emergencies if you like.
But exploiting prison labor to compete with national brands?