Meet Bill de Blasio, the Obama of New York

The Democratic frontrunner for mayor has a lot in common with the president.

The man New York Democrats seemed poised to choose this week as their candidate for mayor, Bill de Blasio, sure has a lot in common with President Obama.

Both men were born in 1961. They both describe their fathers as alcoholics and say they were brought up primarily by their mothers and their mothers’ families. Both politicians have degrees from Columbia University and once lived in Cambridge, Mass. They both once lived under different names — Obama as Barry Soetoro and de Blasio as Warren Wilhelm Jr., the name he was born with.

They both have ties to the far left New Party; de Blasio reportedly worked as executive director of the New York branch of the New Party, while documents indicate that Obama joined the Chicago New Party and signed its candidate pledge. Both Obama and de Blasio are married to black women they met at work.

Beyond the biographical coincidences, and more importantly, the two politicians seem to be following the same political and policy playbook. They want to raise taxes on the rich to fund health-care and education sectors whose government-spending-reliant growth they are unwilling to restrain. While for Obama and perhaps de Blasio, that’s been a path to political success, or at least election and re-election, it’s a policy that also comes with considerable costs and risks.

De Blasio’s signature policy proposal is an income tax increase for New York City residents who earn more than $500,000 a year, with the proceeds directed to public education. President Obama ran on asking “millionaires and billionaires” to pay higher taxes, in part to fund his Obamacare subsidies for health insurance.

But de Blasio likes health care spending, too. He’s been fighting to keep city hospitals open, even if there’s insufficient patient demand to support them. And Obama likes education spending, too; he has ramped up Pell Grant spending and called in a State of the Union speech for exactly the expanded pre-kindergarten programs that de Blasio is campaigning to bring to New York.

De Blasio has backed an increased minimum wage at the local level, just as President Obama has supported one nationally. De Blasio has used his teenaged son in a campaign commercial against the New York Police Department’s “stop, question, and frisk,” tactics, while President Obama famously said, after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

De Blasio and Obama both have scant private-sector experience, which may account for their tendency to see successful businesspeople as cows to be milked for the maximum possible tax revenue. Obama’s ambitions have been somewhat limited by Republicans in Congress, while de Blasio, if he wins the primary and the general election that follows, will be constrained, at least somewhat, by Republicans and more conservative Democrats in Albany.

The final constraint on a Mayor de Blasio, however, won’t be merely some other politicians in Albany; it will be the reality that a tax, spend, polarize, and regulate approach to government inevitably confronts. It’s wasteful, it’s expensive, it doesn’t function particularly well, it breeds corruption and resentment, and eventually the people who are being taxed to excess decide to stop participating, either by moving or by restructuring their affairs so as to generate less taxable revenue (and usually fewer jobs, too).

President Obama does have some tools de Blasio will lack, among them the ability to print money and the ability to conduct foreign policy in a way that distracts from domestic problems. If de Blasio governs as he has campaigned, though, don’t be surprised if in a few years he finds himself wishing he could ask the City Council for the authority to attack New Jersey.

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  • Curtisls87||

    Wait, is this supposed to be like that Lincoln-Kennedy comparison thingy?

  • canuhuv||

    This is actually the best job Ive had. I work at Home with Google. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Moreover, My Uncle Carson got a stunning gold Porsche Cayenne Hybrid only from working part time off a pc. Official website www.Pow6.com

  • KalkiDas||

    This makes me think of this paragraph:

    "He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, has demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors. It is this foulest of creatures—the double-parasite who lives on the sores, of the poor and the blood of the rich—whom men have come to regard as a moral ideal. And this has brought us to a world where the more a man produces, the closer he comes to the loss of all his rights, until, if his ability is great enough, he becomes a rightless creature delivered as prey to any claimant—while in order to be placed above rights, above principles, above morality, placed where anything is permitted to him, even plunder and murder, all a man has to do is to be in need. "

  • -Umbriel-||

    What doesn't make one think of that paragraph nowadays?

  • KalkiDas||

    Good point. Nothing. If you just change the names, you have a transcript of current events.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    de Blasio is Muslim?

    I thought the article was about how they're alike.

    I kid, I kid.

  • Bill||

    No, don't be ridiculous. Are you some kind of denier? On a different topic, I'm not sure de Blasio is an American citizen either. :)

  • XM||

    I don't care if taxes go up on the New York elite, they'll vote for this man and do whatever Obama tells them to do.

    They just shouldn't flee to other, less blue states.

  • KalkiDas||

    Especially, do not move to New Hampshire.

  • William Walsh||

    If he makes good on his pledge don't be surprised if one of the big Financial Services firms decamps for Austin or Miami. Once one leaves, the sucking sound you hear will be a rush for the exits.

    Then, NY will die.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, the tax is on the personal earnings, not on the those of the company. On the other hand, it will drive a lot of financial professionals out of the city. We live in the age of telecommuting.

    New Yorkers have a retarded attitude about the financial services sector. They should thank God for the industry. It employs one in every six people in Manhattan and accounts for more than half of the wages. But that doesn't even begin to describe its importance. The jobs in business services, in law, in real estate are all ultimately supporting the financial services business. Beyond that, there are all the jobs providing for this market - all the bars and restaurants and nail places and clothing stores - that are being kept afloat by people in financial services and their families. It's why New York can follow idiotic progressive policies and still do okay. It's why the health of the New York's economy pretty closely tracks the quality of the bonus season on Wall Street.

    Without financial services, New York City would become a backwater. And they really don't have to do anything to get it. The city got lucky. The industry is there because of networking effects. It's there because it's there.

    But a lot of New Yorkers suffer from a failure of imagination. They see these guys doing better than them and they think it's unfair that they aren't "sharing". They can't imagine the world where the financial services sector isn't propping up the whole city.

  • KalkiDas||

    Yup, big enough host, the ticks can be big and fat too. In spite of...

  • Alice Bowie||

    de Blasio For Mayor !!!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Retards for New York !!!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "income tax increase for New York City residents who earn more than $500,000 a year"

    Nice round, meaningful number there. Not arbitrarily selected at all.

  • Alex the wolf||

    As president, Obama has it so much easier. The failure of these tax and spend policies quickly become so evident at the local level.

  • AlgerHiss||

    What a vile piece of human debris the NYC inhabitant is. If that sewer gets hit by Islamics again, why would anyone possibly care?

  • UnCivilServant||

    The education problem in New York cannot be solved by throwing more money at it. We already spend more per student than most states and get at best average results and on average worse results. de Blasio is a moron.

  • Bill||

    So you are telling us that this guy will be running for President in 3 to 7 years?

  • Phil||

    De Blasio is a shoo-in, and New York deserves him. He and Baaawby Kennedy will be a fine pair.

  • Ziggy Stardust||

    I'll believe O'Bumbles has a degree from Columbia when I see a transcript.

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