New York City

Sorry, De Blasio, You're No Lenin: Jim Epstein in The Daily Beast

It's hard to admit this, but Mike, we may miss you.

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I have a new piece up at The Daily Beast on yesterday's inauguration ceremony for New York City's new mayor. Here's an excerpt:

Bill de Blasio, Gotham's 109th mayor, was sworn in at an event that left pundits of all political

New York City's 109th Mayor |||

stripes aghast at the strident rhetoric of rich versus poor—not to mention one speaker's headline-grabbing comparison of modern New York City to a slave plantation. The tone and message were familiar to anyone who has frequented New York City Council meetings over the past twelve years, where cringe-worthy grandstanding and wildly inappropriate comparisons to the country's history of enforced servitude are commonplace. But this sort of talk has rarely gotten a mainstream airing—which is what happens when a time-server from the city's political establishment finds his way into Gracie Mansion.

In his inaugural speech, de Blasio promised to make good on his campaign promise of solving New York's "inequality crisis." Twice he name-checked Fiorello La Guardia, New York's celebrated 99th mayor, who, though de Blasio didn't mention it, famously quipped that there's "no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets." This often-quoted line encapsulates the sound wisdom that the job of a mayor is to manage the complex workings of urban life: pick up the garbage, fix the potholes, and guard the coffers. In his speech, de Blasio affirmed that his main interest is in re-engineering New York's social order.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: So How Is France's De Blasio Doing, Anyway? (Hint: Like Merde)

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  1. It’s so reassuring when a radical leftist invokes A Tale of Two Cities – a novel about the French Revolution.

    1. It is appropriate considering we’re in the middle of our own French Revolution where liberty is being sacrificed on the alter of equality.

      1. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: Choose any one.

    2. File under “getting the gubmint you deserve”.

  2. Let the new “Escape from New York” adventure begin!

    Capital and high-earners (what kept NYC from going the way of Detroit) will be enthusiastically welcomed elsewhere.

    1. No, no. Everyone assures me that people love NYC too much to ever leave. It’s fun and ports and stuff.

      1. I’ve heard many a New Yorker exclaim they never need to travel anywhere because they have the whole world right there in NYC. And they think rednecks from flyover country are close-minded.

        1. This x infinity.
          NO ONE is more provincial than folks who live in NYC, Chicago, or LA

        2. To be fair, we visit NYC every year.

          Awesome, awesome city.

          1. I visit NYC sometimes, too. That’s kind of a non-sequitur to what I said, which was some NYers don’t ever leave the confines of the 5 boroughs because they have “everything” right there. And everything they do have is superior to everyone else.

            1. I don’t know about that. Here in L.A., we get inbound migration from NYers fairly often. If your city is so bad that you leave it for L.A., it must be hell on earth.

        3. Maybe. But, you can count on the extremely wealthy to be good at math. Or at least have someone on staff who is.

          1. Look, spelling your last name a little off isn’t fooling anyone.

            1. Heh. I actually joked about putting my name on the ballot during the election to stop this outcome. Nobody wanted to listen to me.

  3. “Because Michael Bloomberg wasn’t ENOUGH of an Asshole…”
    – Paid for by Bill De Blasio for Mayor

    1. “Let’s finish the job David Dinkins began!”

      Seriously, they praised and cheered Dinkins at the inauguration. NYC is seriously screwed.

      BTW: Props to Jim Epstein for a good article.

  4. Yeah. They don’t really give a shit about the poor. They’ll fuck up a few things just enough to make them feel good about themselves. They will do nothing to improve education nor opportunity to start a business without grand tribute which no poor person could ever afford.

    1. But if they make regulation and licensing affordable, businesses won’t be adequately punished for making profits!

    2. Hey, they kept WalMart out of the city. And the poor hate WalMart, right?

    3. They don’t really give a shit about the poor.

      They care about the poor only as much as it will take for them to keep voting for Dems over and over.

  5. I’d like to see the NYSE become the DSE (Dallas Stock Exchange) or the OCSE (Oklahoma City Stock Exchange) and leave NYC to rot.

    1. When liberals migrate they bring their agenda with them.
      “Oh I love Texas but what they really need here is cactus regulation and rattlesnake protection.”

      1. It was just bad luck that things went so badly for New York City. Lets move to Texas where the luck is better.

        1. They’re like locusts. After they completely destroy their state they migrate to a new one to destroy.

          1. They vote one way with their heads and another way with their feet.

      2. We’ve had some liberals migrate into the town where I live, and they’ve been sorely disappointed. Their most recent failure was an effort to shut down the egg farms that, well, stink like chicken shit. The rest of us breathe the stench with a smile because that’s the smell of low property taxes. Needless to say, the liberals were completely shut down.

        1. It takes a lot of arrogance to move to a new place, and start telling the locals how they need to change.

          1. I could have called them arrogant liberals, but that would have been redundant.

        2. Why do you and your low property tax loving brethren hate the children sarc?

        3. But the world owes them accommodation sarcasmic. They want to live there and they don’t like the smell. How dare you tell them they can’t have everything.

          1. It’s actually kind of funny. They moved into a development with some really nice homes up on a hill, overlooking the egg farms. I mean, they can see them from their house and they still moved in. Then they’re shocked and dismayed that their kids don’t want use the expensive outdoor playground equipment they bought for them because those egg farms that they can see them from their fucking houses waft a sometimes overpowering stench of chicken shit low property taxes.

            1. I must say though that since the egg farms came under new management, the stench hasn’t been nearly as bad.

            2. They never bothered to visit the house at different times of day before they bought it? I bet the developer got that land cheap from someone who didn’t understand just how dumb some people are.

              1. The land was all apple orchards. But apple trees don’t live forever, and when they got old the owners sold the land. So yeah, I’m sure some developer got it on the cheap, made a bunch of money selling apple wood, then a bunch more selling cookie cutter prefab houses.

              2. This happened alot in the fringes of Chicago suburbia when I lived there. People loved to move to the quaint countryside, until the farmers spread manure to fertilize their fields.

                I laughed, because I grew up in a little farm town, and actually learned to distinguish cow manure, pig manure etc

      3. I hear Austin is living proof of this phenomenon.

    2. More likely, Allentown. Lots of New Yorkers moving to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton.

      1. The Lehigh Valley is doomed. But really lots of people from Northern New Jersey and New York have been moving in since the late 1980s.

        1. Yeah, I lived there in the mid-90’s and it was already a depressing shithole. I’m glad I got out if it’s getting worse.

          1. It’s not. It’s pretty nice and seems to be heading up.

  6. Didn’t DeBlasio run Hillary’s campaign or something? Hopefully, he’ll become yet another albatross to hang around her neck, not that it makes any difference to her minions.

    1. He was so incompetent at it, she fired him.

  7. The voters have spoken. Time to get it on.

  8. THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN……

    Of course if you live in New York city….not so much!

  9. It is amazing to think what a half wit you have to be to think that “income inequality” is a problem in a city that is famous for accepting immigrants and has always prided itself on the “if you can make it there you can make it anywhere” motto.

    Can DiBlasio feed himself or remember to tie his shoes? What must it be like to live life completely detached from reality?

    1. What must it be like to live life completely detached from reality?

      Tony….shreeky….you guys want to weigh in on this?

    2. Would not ‘if you can make it there you can make it anywhere’ imply it is more difficult to make it there?

      1. Badda bing!

      2. Bo: just asking questions.

        1. What else would it mean? If it were easier to make it there then the saying would be ‘you can make it here when you can not anywhere else.’

          1. but it also implies that you can make it on your own, through your own initiative and wits, not taking from some govt trough. The whole point of succeeding in NY is that it’s tough, and the presence of this mayor is the antithesis of this ethic.

            1. But I think that would play in to his rhetoric. ‘It is too hard for the poor to make it in this city, we need to life the barriers that etc., etc., etc.,’ with ‘lifting barriers’ meaning ‘provide assistance to with other people’s money.’

    3. I’ve never seen this issue brought up here by New Yorkers. I get income inequality as a national issue. I don’t agree with it, of course, but it’s a viable tactic because everyone can point to the poor out there somewhere and you have a lot more data to manipulate. But unless you’re talking Detroit, I don’t see how income inequality is taken seriously as a local issue. Especially here in NYC.

      The only possible issue that could be related to income inequality is the gentrification and rise of living costs. But I don’t know if that’s really a new issue, and again, when we’re on the level of a city it’s a specific issue. Ditto for failing schools or unemployment. All of these can be placed under “income inequality,” but people generally stick to the specific when they’re talking local issues.

      1. Ironically the best thing big urban centers could do for their poor is to scale back the taxes and regulation that make everyday goods and services so much higher there than in non-urban centers.

        1. Or maybe the poor can find a way to move out of expensive cities.

          1. But expensive cities have all sorts of free services available for the poor, no questions asked. Plus more opportunity for crime, and easier drug connections.

      2. Red Bill will get a pass on the gentrification issue in that his voter base is built on non-income producing gentrifiers, but they are also the loudest opponents of gentrification. The people actually hurt by it generally have to work for a living and keep their head down.

        Of course, most of the people that have invaded Brooklyn in the last 20 years have an understanding of economics and urban governance that would embarrass a 12-year-old.

  10. Death Wish: Part XXXXCVIII

  11. can you dig it?

  12. Will Martin Bashir suggest someone should defecate in DeBlasio’s mouth?

    1. With the amount of defecation that comes out of it, how would he even know?

    2. I thought we didn’t criticize alternative life choices here at reason.com?! What goes on between Martin and Bill is between Martin and Bill.

  13. That’s Grade A pedosmile right there.

  14. I lived in NYC briefly when it was under Republican control (well, the mayorship). That is a story in itself. As is widely known registered Democrats greatly outnumber registered Republicans or Conservatives in the city, and in national and state elections Democrats easily win the city. So imagine how terrible Democrat Party misrule of the city had to be in order for that city to pick non-Democrat mayors several times in a row. It was legendarily terrible. And now they have returned to the Democrats, and things look bad again.

    I think in part the blame for the success of De Blasio can fall on Obama. Before Obama the Democrats had opted for a different, DLC kind of ‘moderate Republican’ stance (at least rhetoric) and away from the full throated Progressivism that was associated with McGovern or Mondale. This was out of some grasp of electoral necessity more than anything else. But when Obama beat Hillary Clinton, and then went on to win the Presidency twice, the old style progressives mistook his wins for mandates for old style progressivism. Simply put, they are convinced they can win now espousing and governing under that philosophy, and so a pseudo-Marxist, New Age liberal like De Blasio (or Jerry Brown in California) are now put forward. The good news is that, as we are seeing with Obamacare, nothing makes such Progressivism more unpopular than actually living under such an administration and its proposals for a few years.

    1. The Democratic Party has always been Elizabeth Warren. They just used to hide it better.

      1. Sure, but hiding it can have its advantages. The rhetoric at least has some restraint on proposals. I will take Clinton’s DLC ‘triangulation’ over Obama’s ramming through an effective nationalization of one of our biggest industry sectors any day.

        1. I agree with you. Ring in the New Year, folks!

          1. I think the Democrats will lose the Senate this year, and barring the nomination of a terrible Romney-esque candidate the White House in 16. Obamacare is going to be a perennial nightmare for the Democrats, as I have said before if there is any justice it will be for them what Iraq was for the Republican Party for a few years. As they lose the Democrats can be counted on to try old style progressive themes (I posted an article the other day saying they hope to run on the minimum wage this year), and so those themes will be electorally discredited for at least a few years leading to the re-ascent of ‘DLC’ ‘Third-Way’ Democrats like Clinton again. So, I expect better times for economic liberty coming.

            1. Nightmare? I was assured by the local NBC affiliate yesterday that 2 million signups, and that they had PAID their premiums, was a huge victory for Obamacare.

              1. That is not selling, look at the polls.

                Even on NPR the other day their ‘health care correspondent,’ while of course offering that sign ups had improved recently, had to admit that they were at 66% of where they were supposed to be. It is going to be an ongoing failure of this type. Remember, this is just the sign up phase, the actual phase of running and managing the health care industry is yet to come!

      2. exactly. Even Bill Clinton, for all his DLC business, was a big govt guy. He was also astute enough to realize no one gets everything he wants and that working with the other side gets you some of what you want.

        1. Not wanting to lose elections is what kept Clinton espousing small government and resisting the urge to propose bigger government policies. Obama changed that playbook because liberals now think he won because his ideas and rhetoric were popular when rather he won the first time as a rebuke to the Bush years combined with a desire for many to ‘make history’ and elect the first African-American President (then in 2012 he eked by because of the general distaste for Romney, a truly awful candidate, was greater than it was for him).

          1. All true except for the last bit. Practically nobody voted against, or for, Romney. It was all for or against Obama, as far as deciding the election, and nobody the GOP nominated would’ve made any difference to that. They voted for Obama in 2012 because they had to make his election as president a “success”. If he’d failed to be re-elected, he would’ve been understood as a “failure” as president, which would’ve reflected badly on all black politicians for the next century.

      3. More importantly, I think, is that local Democrats have always been Elizabeth Warren. I don’t think national figures are usually that leftist. The city councils of New York, LA, etc. would make Bernie Sanders blush.

      4. The Democratic Party has always been Elizabeth Warren. They just used to hide it better.

        No, they were more centrist in the past, but over time got totally taken over by leftists. In the ’20s Democrats were anti-tariff, because that made things cheaper for the working class. FDR opposed government worker unions. Democrats were explicitly anti-Communist. Many other examples.

    2. So you’re saying it will take another Giuliani to clean up the coming inevitable mess once the brainless infantile chumps are done?

    3. Amazingly enough, Jerry Brown has not been a new-age liberal since becoming governor in CA. Oh, he’s still Left, but he is often the sole voice of reason in a one-party state. He’s vetoed tons of bills, essentially going against his own party. His elimination of the Redevelopment Agencies may have been the best move by a governor in CA that I’ve seen (though there is a horrible bill, SB 1, sitting on his desk that essentially recreates them under a new name — if he vetoes this, I’ll really be impressed.)

      1. Jerry was never a pure lefty. He has flashes of common sense amid the dogma and the wacky ideas. Plus, I think he learned a lot as mayor of Oakland, and what he learned didn’t fit with the Team Blue party line.

    4. So imagine how terrible Democrat Party misrule of the city had to be in order for that city to pick non-Democrat mayors several times in a row. It was legendarily terrible. And now they have returned to the Democrats, and things look bad again.

      They elected a non-Democrat mayor twice: Giuliani. Bloomberg was literally a Republican-in-name-only, who changed his affiliation from Democrat only because it made his primary campaign easier.

  15. De Blasio has appointed only four agency heads out of 50 he needs to appoint. It’s the fewest since 1966.

    One thing that doesn’t get brought up enough about progressives is their unwillingness to do the work that might make some of their less idiotic plans actually succeed. They think they’re plans are so great, that they don’t need to worry about minutia like actually hiring people to do the job.

    It would be like if I claimed to have a great strategy to win a war, but was such a lazy dipshit that I didn’t actually bother buying my soldiers guns.

    1. Also:

      To take on the task of financing yet more subsidized housing, the mayor-elect has already tapped a member of the city’s favored classes?a Goldman Sachs executive?as the head of his department of housing and economic development.

      Huh. For some reason I hadn’t heard about this before.

      It’s almost like progressive “Eat the Rich” rhetoric actually means “Eat the Rich (except for my friends)”

    2. Well, look at Obama. Lofty speeches + extended golf holidays = change!

  16. Man, he’s got the look. The look OF a statist-progressive that cluelessly and smugly evokes “just wait and see what I’m gonna do.”

    For the children.

  17. This brings back my notion of feeling like a libertarian doomed to the fate of Cassandra. I know this is going to end badly. I can’t help but know. It’s as stunningly obvious as the nose on my face. Yet, I run into people who should know better, educated, otherwise intelligent people, who act like somehow or another this is a good thing. Everything in history and basic economics tells you this guy’s policies are going to be an absolute disaster. But, you try to explain that to people and they look at you like you’re speaking some kind of foreign language.

    1. Unlike Cassandra, we can sit back and enjoy the show. Only an asshole would move to New York (sorry Matt).

      1. Or somebody whose job is there.

        1. Then, like Cassandra, you are going to get raped hard and often.

    2. As I’ve said before, we should just embrace it and become The Cassandra Party.

    3. The same applies to Obamacare. I’ve seen the phrase “well-intentioned” in more than one editorial. As if the problems and failures are a surprise. Yet they were predicted. An easy prediction because if the twentieth century taught us anything, central planning doesn’t work. But, when I point that out to people, they think I’m a crank for comparing us to what happened in Soviet Russia, Mao’s China etc. Cause that’s just crazy talk.

      1. In some ways the “surprise” is the worst part. You predict the results, get laughed at and dismissed, get proven right, get no credit for being right about this SHOCKINGLY UNEXPECTED turn of events, and start all over again.

  18. Do New Yorkers actually embrace the term “Gotham”? It’s fitting enough. The name comes from an English village of legendary stupidity.

    1. Or a fictional place so wrecked that only a vigilante can do jack-shit about it.

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