Come Back, Nanny Bloomberg? Remembering Mayor Mike as Bill de Blasio Takes Reins in NYC


"The Mike Bloomberg Legacy: 12 Years of Little Tyrannies in 2 Minutes," produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Go here for details, links, resources, and downloadable versions.

Finally-gone three-term Mayor Mike Bloomberg—in NYC, it takes forever to evict anyone—is looking a little better after the first week of the Bill de Blasio era. As I noted in a Daily Beast column yesterday, at the very top of de Blasio's "boldy progressive" agenda for the Big Apple is shutting down the city's venerable horse-carriage-ride industry. Indeed, despite a sluggish economy, a failing school system, and more,

here's de Blasio, hell-bent on becoming the Simon Bolivar of the Mr. Ed crowd. In fact, he's not just going to free our four-legged friends. He's even pledged to "provide a humane retirement of all New York City carriage horses," thus loading even more pension and health-care liabilities on his preferred beasts of burden, the city's taxpayers.

Read the whole thing.

If there's an upside to de Blasio's focusing first on horses, it's that it will delay his larger economic agenda. As my Reason colleague Jim Epstein has pointed out (also at the Beast), de Blasio has pledged to fix New York City's "inequality crisis."

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.

For de Blasio, that means hiking taxes, padding out public payrolls, protecting and subsidizing native industries, and more. The good news, writes Epstein,

City Hall is subject to stringent accounting rules that mandate a balanced budget—a positive legacy of Gotham's 1970s fiscal crisis. The mayor doesn't have all that much extra cash on hand to reward the city's labor unions with rich new contracts.

Read the whole thing.

Which brings us back to the man whose mug is at the top of this post: Mike Bloomberg. For all of his faults, Epstein writes, Bloomberg wasn't a product of a "culture of far-left theatrics" the way de Blasio is. Bloomberg was enough of a billionaire to realize that certain policies could destroy a city's economy.

And yet, in his dozen years in office, Bloomberg also set the pace for nanny-state intrusions based more on apparent blood-sugar spikes of his own than anything resembling sound science or, horrors, a respect for individual autonomy. No personal consumption item—the size of a serving of soda or the salt content of a meal—was too small to escape his all-knowing counsel. There's a reason that he's the Babe Ruth of Reason TV's Nanny of the Month series, appearing more often than Michael Jackson or Princess Di did on the cover of People.

And, given de Blasio's plans for New York, there's a reason why residents may join Jim Epstein in saying, "It's hard to admit this, but Mike, we may miss you."