Bill de Blasio’s win in New York City’s mayoral primary has Democratic interest groups rushing to offer their endorsement. Josh Gold, political director of the Hotel Trades Council, said, “It’s time for working people and Democrats to unite behind our next mayor, Bill de Blasio.” An endorsement from the prominent labor group indicates that the Dem machine has its man.So what does de Blasio’s agenda look like? It entails ambitious spending plans, and conspicuously omits any reform of the job-killing regulatory jungle that has smothered the middle class in New York. We appear to be getting a candidate whose plan is basically to extract more wealth from the Wall Street money machine. Bloomberg reports:
Days before next week’s primary election, de Blasio, 52, has seized the lead decrying economic inequality….De Blasio’s plan would raise the marginal tax rate on incomes above $500,000 to 4.4 percent from almost 3.9 percent. For the 27,300 city taxpayers earning $500,000 to $1 million, the average increase would be $973 a year, according to the Independent Budget Office, a municipal agency.For those making $1 million to $5 million, the average extra bite would rise to $7,793, the budget office said. At incomes of $5 million to $10 million, it would climb to $33,518, and for those earning more than $10 million, it would mean paying $182,893 more.
You don’t have to be an acolyte of Ayn Rand to think this is not a very good approach. It makes the city even more dependent on the financial overlords that Democrats claim to hate but secretly rely on. But the biggest problem with de Blasio’s agenda isn’t that he wants to tax the rich; the State Legislature will make it hard for him to do that anyway.The big problem with the Democrats’ new candidate is that he isn’t going to do anything about the miserable tangle of job-killing regulations and city bureaucracies that make New York a hard place to set up the kinds of businesses that can create the kinds of jobs in which relatively unskilled people can make a living wage. New York these days is much too hoity-toity to make it possible for industrial jobs to come back, or other kinds of metal-bashing enterprises to be welcome.New York Democrats are going to tighten the city’s dependency on a handful of industries (Wall Street chief among them) that don’t much care about high taxes and tough regulations. Thanks to what Dems cluelessly tell themselves are “progressive” policies, New York is going to be less and less hospitable to the middle class. It’s going to become an increasingly unequal city of investment bankers and hotel maids, while liberals weep and wail and gnash their teeth about an unequal economy their own policies help to create.And sooner or later the Wall Street growth engine will slow down. Employment in finance and profits in the I-banking world can’t go up forever. Wall Street sucked in hundreds of billions of dollars in ‘stimulus’ funds and TARP money, while the Fed’s QE program represents an immense subsidy for the rentier class that Democrats affect to despise. Those conditions aren’t going to last and as revenues slide, even rich Wall Street firms will start cutting costs. They won’t employ as many Ivy Leaguers, and they’ll start to worry about the high costs of doing business in New York. They will outsource work to foreign countries, they will automate their back offices even faster, and they will demand bigger tax breaks or threaten to move to cheaper, greener pastures where New York progressives can’t get at them.In the past, New York voters have kept enough common sense to keep the Democratic Party’s liberal tendencies somewhat in check. Mayors like Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg have had their flaws, but all of them understood that too many liberal nostrums would put even New York’s economy under an insupportable burden. Voters seem ready to forget those lessons now; the Big Apple could be cruising for a bruising as a result.[UPDATED]