Bill de Blasio has made a career of sticking his paw in New Yorkers’ pockets. Now he’s planning another national tour, and he’s digging deeper than ever.
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Kaiser Wilhelm is the luckiest sonfabeech in American politics. Hectoring “millionaires” all the way, he parlayed a seat on New York’s do-nothing City Council into a term as the city’s pointless public advocate, which he then rode into Gracie Mansion — arriving just when federal monetary policy was giving Gotham a cash bath to end all cash baths.
Bill came, he saw, he grabbed every dollar on the table. And now he wants more.
“Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. Plenty of money in this city,” he droned at Symphony Space Thursday morning, delivering his annual State of the City message. “It’s just in the wrong hands!”
And there you go — the politics of class warfare, tucked into a single de Blasio gem: “It’s in the wrong hands” — what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine, too!
Now, Mayor Robin Hood is not wrong about the plenty-of-money bit, of course. A quick scan of the city’s pulsating skyline — not just in Manhattan, but in Queens and Brooklyn, too — confirms that. Billions have been invested — are being invested.
And all the other indicators tell the same tale — employment up; unemployment down; investment at record levels and city and state tax revenues outrunning even the most optimistic estimates.
Spending, too. Schools are relatively flush; city unions are happy as clams; social outlays are off the charts — Kaiser Wilhelm has cramps from writing checks!
So what’s a committed class warrior to do when the money is rolling in even faster than a spendthrift such as himself can spend it — that is, when the times are so flush hardly anybody hates millionaires anymore?
That is, when jealousy no longer moves the masses (however temporarily)? Why, juice the rhetoric, that’s what.
That is, invent new crises for Mayor Robin Hood to address, find new reasons for him to pick private-sector pockets.
Certainly de Blasio is up to that challenge: In just the past week, he’s pledged $100 million to provide health care to 600,000 people who already have it (through the state Medicaid program). And he’s proposing what amounts to a massive new tax increase — mandatory paid vacation for private-sector employees, laid right on top of sharp increases in the minimum wage.
Hey, anybody who’s opposed to health insurance and free vacations must be a 1-percenter, right. And there’s “plenty of money in this city,” after all.
Which, again, there is. But while it’s not de Blasio’s money to steal, so far there’s been enough of it for the city to survive his goofy progressive-proselytization efforts — indeed, to prosper in spite of him. How that must sting.
Time to turn up the volume and take the show on the road.
This piece originally appeared at the New York Post
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. He retired as editorial page editor of the New York Post in 2013 and has since worked as a freelance editor, columnist, and writer.