When Bill de Blasio was celebrating his mayoral victory in November, he made clear exactly what his agenda is for New York City:
My fellow New Yorkers: Today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city.
Make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together.
Progressive change is the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio’s vision for New York City, and it’s why he will be a great mayor of America’s largest city.
Bill’s agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time.
Media mouthpieces from ABC News to the New York Times signaled their thrall with the new direction. The News hailed de Blasio “as the face of a progressive movement that pledges a significant realignment of the nation’s largest city … that is poised to enact sweeping changes to the city…”, while the Times delighted to note that “Liberals across the country are looking to Bill de Blasio … to morph New York City’s municipal machinery into a … laboratory for populist theories of government that have never been enacted on such a large scale.”
Working quietly for decades for leftist causes including supporting the Marxist Sandinistas in the late 1980s before moving on to head up the city’s General Welfare Committee, de Blasio has been forthright and transparent about what he hopes to accomplish from the Mayor’s chair. He helped pass the Gender-Based Discrimination Protection act and the Domestic Partnership Recognition Law. He has voiced his opposition to charter schools, saying “I won’t favor charters. Our central focus is traditional public schools.” He wants to tax the rich to pay for universal pre-Kindergarten school programs, promoting the purpose as explained by the Communist Party Education Workers Congress:
We must create out of the younger generation a generation of Communists. We must turn children, who can be shaped like wax, into real, good Communists…. We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them.
From the first days of their lives they will be under the healthy influence of Communist children’s nurseries and schools. There they will grow up to be real Communists.
He made clear where the money for such ventures was going to come from during his campaign. Said de Blasio:
The bottom line is, I’ve said, we do need to tax the wealthy …
We need to tax those who make over a half million dollars to be able to fix our schools. It’s fundamental…
When he addressed some of those whom he would tax, including the owners of Kushner Properties, SL Green Realty, the Durst Organization and RXR Realty, all of whom are heavily involved in the city’s real estate market, he was clear:
Everything you’ve heard about me is true … I am not a free-marketeer … I believe in the heavy hand of government.
This was music to the ears of progressives who swarmed over his campaign with financing and endorsements, including Hollywood lefties like Alex Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, and Kathleen Turner.
Just exactly what is de Blasio likely to accomplish, in addition to extorting the rich to fund babes barely weaned and shutting down charter schools? For one thing, the rebirth of ACORN under the name New York Communities for Change (NYCC) run by the same head of ACORN operations, Bertha Lewis. Already well-funded with $400,000 from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to battle charter schools, Lewis can already see bigger things ahead: more city funding for “affordable housing units.”
That’s just the beginning. The entire welfare philosophy adopted under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg has to be discarded, and replaced with more lenient requirements and more generous cash payouts to the poor. Wrote Heather MacDonald at The New York Post:
The central idea of [the original] welfare reform was that recipients should work or look for work in exchange for benefits. This principle exploded [progressive] welfare ideology, which held that it was demeaning to require work.
Under de Blasio one can expect the number on welfare in New York City, currently at 350,000, to explode once those onerous work requirements are removed.
And the practice of “diversion” will end as well. Mayor de Blasio will “stop efforts to divert individuals [helping them find work first before putting them on the dole] from accessing cash assistance.” And he thinks that the number of those New Yorkers already receiving SNAP assistance – more than one in five – is at least 250,000 too low. In his mayoral “blueprint” de Blasio once again was clear: “Providing basic income and food security to all New Yorkers [is] a key responsibility of government.”
Much of this won’t happen, of course, to the great disappointment of the likes of Sarandon, Baldwin, Obama and Lewis. As Howard Dean, the inevitable liberal candidate for office and former governor of Vermont, asked rhetorically:
Do I expect him to keep every one of his promises? Absolutely not.
This is the truth of mayors and governors: until you sit in the chair, you don’t really know.
He’s going to find out that he can’t keep all of his promises…
That’s not to say that great damage to New York won’t be attempted by the city’s new hard-left mayor. But moving the city even more sharply to the left is like turning the Allure of the Seas. There are other political agendas at play in the city and in Albany where de Blasio may just find less willingness to turn the city into a vast welfare experiment just to satisfy progressives that their anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, totalitarian schemes will work, or not.