New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt to lead a panel on post-pandemic “reform” of health and education systems, despite criticism for taking other billionaires with conflicts of interest on board.
Schmidt will head a ‘Blue Ribbon Commission’ tasked with “reimagining” New York’s existing systems of healthcare and education.
Cuomo announced this horrifying news during his daily Corona-virus briefing. The decision to place such power in the hands of another un-elected billionaire has riled society and critics already uneasy about the governor’s post-Covid-19 plans.
While Cuomo confirmed in the same presser that the state is partnering with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg – another billionaire – in building a human contact-tracing network, any digital component will likely involve the participation of Google.
At the same time, the tech giant’s insatiable hunger for health data, as evinced by initiatives like Project Nightingale and Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, is unlikely to sit well with New Yorkers concerned about the company’s privacy record.
Cuomo was previously deluged by criticism after announcing that he would place the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in charge of developing a “blueprint to re-imagine education in the new normal,” praising former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates as a “visionary” and calling for state schools to be “revolutionized.”
Public schooling groups slammed the billionaire, accusing him of promoting “one failed educational initiative after another, causing huge disaffection in districts throughout the state.”
Cuomo himself has landed in hot water in the past for his efforts to unilaterally refashion New York’s admittedly dilapidated public school system.
In 2014, Schmidt, then the company’s executive chairman, was appointed to a three-person commission to advise on a ‘Smart Schools’ bond issue, setting off alarm bells among consumer advocates who pointed out that Google would directly benefit from system-wide adoption of Google Apps and Chromebook laptops.
The New York governor’s history with his state’s healthcare system is equally checkered, marked by a long string of budget cuts, hospital consolidations, and layoffs, and his pledge to “revolutionize” the chronically strapped system has already gotten off on a bad foot.
Today, Cuomo announced that out-of-state nurses who had come to New York to help out with the Corona-virus epidemic would be required to pay state income tax on whatever compensation they had received, even if they were being paid by companies located in their home state.
Cuomo’s decision to appoint private equity bigwigs, including Bill Mulrow of Blackstone Group and Steven Cohen of MacAndrews & Forbes, to the economic advisory team charged with reopening New York has also come in for criticism.
These greedy private equity firms often benefit from the same bankruptcies the state’s businesses are hoping to avoid.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2020.