By CITY HALL
The Occupy Wall Street protest made labor leaders and some Democratic pols into both winners and losers this week — winners because the movement gave them a spotlight, and losers because they utterly failed to lead on America’s economic insecurity issues until a bunch of funny-haircut kids did their organizing for them. Let’s ignore their chants for a moment and focus on the rest of this week’s Winners & Losers:
Jason Helgerson – Maybe the achievement didn’t get a ton of ink, but health care aficionados around the state may have noticed State Medicaid Director Helgerson’s report Wednesday that the state was actually cutting Medicaid costs this year, and had trimmed more than $600 million so far, despite adding 72,000 more people to the rolls. Cutting Medicaid, we remember, was once thought of as political suicide, but for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Helgerson, it now seems prescient – especially given the fact Washington has begun to talk about entitlements reform in an earnest way. The state’s plan is to trim $ 2.2 billion by the start of the next fiscal year, and that’s still a high jump, but Helgerson seems to bring that Wisconsin work-ethic to a state where problems can sit for years collecting dust.
Scott Stringer – Political insiders may puzzle at the Manhattan Borough President doing things like jumping into a news stand up after an East River helicopter crash or hosting a fundraiser with Scarlett Johansson, but to voters these things were the kind of ubiquity one wants from a Mayor. For someone who has been polling soft for 2013 elections in part because he’s not well-known, his everyman antics this week make him a winner.
Greg Ball – Its not often that an elected official earns both an overwhelming thumbs up from the Conservative Party and a stern warning from conservative commentator Sean Hannity, all in the same week. But Greg Ball is no ordinary legislator. Only Ball could earn an 80 percent score from the Conservatives while at the same time mouthing off against Republicans in Congress – namely Nan Hayworth who he may run against next year – and Hank Williams Jr. for his ill-timed Obama-as-Hitler comparison. The overarching message? Don’t bounce around with Ball.
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