Saturday, October 12, 2013

New York City: De Blasio - The Wrong Choice

(Drivebycuriosity) - Soon New York City will have a new mayor. It looks like that Bill De Blasio will be the successor of current mayor Michael Bloomberg. The politician is the candidate of the Democratic Party, which has the majority (68%) of New York`s registered voters and therefore a high chance to win the final election. Recents polls show that De Blasio has a wide lead over the Republican Joe Lhota in the race for New York City mayor (wsj).

If De Blasio would indeed become New York`s next mayor this would be the wrong choice. According to the New York Times De Blasio is the "most liberal" of the "Democratic" candidates who had been fighting for the candidateship in the preliminaries (nytimes). In other words  De Blasio is most leftist of all "liberal" candidates. Some media call him a left-wing populist (newgeography).

Indeed De Blasio led a campaign which was polarizing and spiced with left leaning rhetoric: “Government must focus on the needs of families, must be the protector of neighborhoods and must guard the people from the enormous power of moneyed interests" (politicker). This reminds me of the propaganda of the communist party in the defunct GDR (German Democratic Republic = East Germany)

A central part of his strategy is his  “tale of two cities". In his book “One New York, Rising Together” he claimed: "Nearly 400,000 millionaires call New York home, while nearly half of our neighbors live at or near the poverty line. Our middle class isn’t just shrinking; it’s in danger of vanishing altogether" (nypost).

Really? A vanishing middle class? The streets, shops and restaurants of Manhattan - and parts of Queens & Brooklyn - show a different picture. They are crowded with affluent people who are capable to spend money. As you can see New Yorkers in general all well off. And even the rich are creating jobs, revenues and tax income by spending money in shops, restaurants and bars.

The site "" writes, that many business people rightly fear that De Blasio’s administration will raise taxes in order to meet public employee demands (newgeography). Recently he talked about lifting the tax for the rich to create revenues. In a recent interview the liberal candidate also defended his support for Nicaraguan Sandinista and Fidel Castro`s Cuba (politicker). 

De Blasio´s populist rhetoric reminds me of the French politician Fran├žois Hollande. In 2010 this candidate of the Socialist Party won the French elections by "throwing red meat to the left", writes the Economist (economist). Hollande used populistic leftish arguments like raising taxes on big corporations, banks and the wealthy and bringing the official retirement age back down to 60 from 62. He also pledged for creating subsidized jobs in areas of high unemployment for the young and promoted more industry in France by creating a public investment bank. Hollande`s policy has been bad for France`s economy because it is weakening private initiative and slowing down investments in capital. Today France is the weakest part in Europe (except Greece). While the rest of Europe (except Greece) is on the upswing again France fell back into recession and unemployment is on the rise.

The major of a city can do less harm than a president of a country, of course. The mayor of New York City has not just to deal with the federal government in Washington. D.C, he also has to respect the New York State government in Albany. But he could increase spending which could lead to higher debts and raise local taxes. The bankrupt of Detroit, ruled by left-wing politicians, in spite of the return of the U.S. car industry is an example how a bad management can destroy a city.

Part of De Blaso`s campaign also is his  critique of the stop and frisk program of the New York police department that was encouraged by the Bloomberg administration. This active police strategy is a success story. Today the east coast metropolitan is one of the less riskiest cities in the U.S. and much safer than in he 1970s and 1980s. An alert police strategy reduces the risk to get mugged and assaulted on the streets. Does New York really want a return to the 70s as gangs ruled the streets? Does the City really need to follow Chicago where a lax policy by liberal mayors invited new gang wars on the street?

New York City did well under Bloomberg. The metropolis came back after the 9/11 trauma, the financial crisis of 2008/09 and superstorm Sandy. Today the city is a prospering global metropolis again.

New York City strived for around 3 centuries and rose to one of the leading global centers because of the business friendly climate. For 3 decades "Gotham" has been attracting finance, media, fashion, technology and other industry, all creating jobs, revenue and tax income. The metropolis also is a magnet for global tourism and international business travel. A business unfriendly policy and a rising criminality could scare off companies and visitors.

New York is competing against other global centers like London, Shanghai and more. It is also challenged by U.S. places like Los Angeles.  New York has bad winters, it doesn´t need a bad mayor.

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