USA: All Power to the Businessmen

Government by billionaires? Cuomo names former Google CEO to join Gates & Bloomberg in drafting post-pandemic ‘reforms’

6 May, 2020
New York Gov. 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 on Wednesday during his daily coronavirus briefing. The decision to place such power in the hands of another unelected billionaire has riled critics already uneasy about the governor’s post-Covid-19 plans.
The panel’s initial priorities will be “tele-health, remote learning and broadband,” Schmidt announced, dropping into Cuomo’s broadcast. The former Google exec still receives a paycheck from parent company Alphabet in an advisory capacity, raising questions of conflict of interest given Google’s leading role in developing a digital contact-tracing platform for Covid-19. 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.

Dueling corporations: Cuomo’s elite consultants spar with Trump’s Big Business CEOs to control Americans’ futures

By Helen Buyniski
US President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have retained squads of Big Business honchos to advise them on reopening the economy. Lost in the scuffle are the voices of those worst affected by the shutdown.

A ‘scientific’ model advised by two elite management consulting firms tasked with ‘Trump-proofing’ the reopening, or a business-first model recommended by the CEOs of some of the largest corporations in the US? The 22 million-plus Americans put out of work by the coronavirus-induced recession might balk at both, and they wouldn’t be wrong.
Cuomo’s coalition of mostly Democratic governors is advised by McKinsey & Co., the same elite management consulting firm that drew up an egregiously flawed model to predict the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds the state of New York would need during the pandemic. That model’s worst-case scenario projected 40,000 beds would be needed by April 7 – and in the best-case scenario, by April 14.

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