Governor David "Downer" Paterson was at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street earlier today to talk about how screwed New York is. He called the state "ground zero for the recession" and said, "We have a ‘lack of cash’ crisis in this state. We are in a very deep quagmire. New York is now at the breaking point. We are about to cross the financial Rubicon into fiscal disaster." To bail water, Paterson promised to begin delaying payments for services in order to keep the state solvent. And he's ready to defend the stop-payments in court.

"I will probably be sued for this, but I will not let New York State run out of money on my watch," Paterson said to a group of civic, business and labor leaders. "People will remember who stood in this financial period and tried to address it and who buried their head in the sand." Some Democrats and advocacy groups have said that impounding the money would be "illegal," and vowed to sue. (The $2.7 billion gap-closing plan approved by the Legislature is $500 million short.) "The governor is trying to force a constitutional crisis to get his poll numbers up," one Senate Democrat tells the Post. "It's a very dangerous game."

Paterson also stepped up to defend Wall Street firms that have been heavily criticized for continuing to pay large bonuses to employees. He maintained that in most cases the bonuses help compensate for the relatively low pay doled out to some in the financial industry! "We need to stand behind the engine of our economy in New York, and that engine of the economy is Wall Street... People in Michigan stood behind the engine of their economy. You don’t hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder. You don’t hear anybody in Maryland complaining about crab cakes. If you say anything about corn in Iowa, they’ll run you out of town. If you say anything about oil in Texas, they’ll string you up near the nearest tree." So shut up about Wall Street's bail out and bonuses, or face the lynch mob!