Answer to Niagara Falls’ fiscal distress may lie in classic comedy film

“The Mouse that Roared” (1959) was a dark comedy that foreshadowed the classic “Dr. Strangelove” in which Peter Sellers played three roles in the movie.

The Niagara Falls Reporter has a solution to the budget crisis facing the city of Niagara Falls.

It’s common knowledge that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to run for president in 2020. The governor recently even went on a fundraising trip to California, being feted by Silicon Valley titans, Hollywood elites and assorted Mainstream Media bigwigs, with donors ponying up as much as $50,000 to hobnob with the second generation politician from Queens at dinners and receptions.

Now there’s a Peter Sellers movie from the late 1950’s titled “The Mouse that Roared,” which tells the story of a fictional little country located between France and Switzerland in the Alps named the “European Duchy of Grand Fenwick.”

It seems Grand Fenwick is forced into bankruptcy when an American company comes up with a cheaper imitation of Grand Fenwick’s sole export, its fabled Pinot wine. Similar to how the city of Niagara Falls is in great fiscal distress because its tourism and hydropower have been hijacked by distant Albany.

The crafty prime minister of Grand Fenwick devises a plan: the tiny nation will declare war on the United States, then surrender, taking advantage of American financial aid toward its former enemies to rebuild the defeated nation’s economy.

An assault force of twenty Grand Fenwick soldiers books passage across the Atlantic on a small merchant ship, arriving in New York Harbor during an air-raid drill that leaves the city deserted and undefended (a not unlikely scenario at the time, with the Cold War in full tilt).

Looking for a place to surrender, the motley army stumbles across America’s top secret “Q Bomb” – capable of destroying an entire continent – which had prompted the defense drill.

In a plot twist, the Grand Fenwick soldiers commandeer the Q bomb and return with it to their Grand Duchy in the Alps, declaring victory. The U.S. government is thwarted from retaking the weapon by force, fearing the dishonor of attacking such a small and defenseless nation.

But the United States and Grand Fenwick finally come to terms: the competing wine will be taken off the market and Grand Fenwick will receive large amounts of foreign aid from the U.S.

While critically panned, “The Mouse that Roared” was a hit at the box office.

Now hear us out.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presidential aspirations most likely would not be enhanced if one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, and proud beneficiary of his many and varied economic development programs, the city of Niagara Falls, went belly-up broke.

So that’s what Niagara Falls should do. Just get it over with. Mayor Dyster and the City Council want to exceed a tax cap? Hell. Raise taxes by fifty times the tax cap. Drive out all the taxpaying businesses and homeowners. Those that are still left, that is. Huge salary increases for everyone at City Hall.

Let’s build another Amtrak station, to be used exclusively on Sundays.

We’ll engineer a fiscal meltdown that will make headlines worldwide, to coincide with the moment Andrew Cuomo mounts the podium at the Democratic National Convention to accept the nomination of his party for President of the United States.

Before that comes to pass, however, maybe the upwardly-mobile Governor Cuomo might be motivated to sit down and discuss how the city of Niagara Falls may be allowed to more fully realize the tourism and hydropower riches that have been stolen away from it.

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