Mayor Bill de Blasio used his sixth State of the City speech to present his tenure in New York City and his promises of things to come as the alternative.
“Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. Plenty of money in this city,” the mayor said, flanked by screens with graphs of productivity outpacing compensation. “It’s just in the wrong hands!”
He cast himself as an aspiring Robin Hood — aiming to take from the rich and give to the poor — even as he has thus far been unsuccessful in his many attempts to raise taxes on high earners.
New York is the “safest big city in America,” the mayor said. With Washington showing no interest in creating Medicare for all, “New York City will lead the way,” Mr. de Blasio said in announcing his health care initiative.
The speech concluded: “Those goals are not utopian or unreachable. They are achievable.”
Not Utopian Indeed
Socialism is never utopian. It simply does not work. The more extreme the efforts, the quicker the failure. That is the proven track record.
But it never stops people from trying.
Indeed, promises of "free" healthcare, food, shelter, phones, have an allure. This kind of nonsense is after all what got Mayor Bill de Blasio elected, complete with a $225,000 salary.
Despite his promise to reform to pay and perquisites, Mayor Bill De Blasio showered the city workforce with billions of dollars in overtime and extra pay. Last year alone, this amounted to $3.2 billion.
The De Blasio administration is minting millionaires. City employees routinely earned $1 million in wages every four to six years. This is a serious trend at the Department of Corrections, an agency employing 66 of the 100 highest overtime earners across the city last year.
The city’s pay and overtime systems are so broken that some employees worked 100-hour weeks for the entire year. That means these employees worked 13 hours every day for 365 days, including holidays and weekends without taking a single day off for vacation or sick leave.
- Daniel Cherenfant, a community associate at the Department of Buildings, worked 2,736 hours of overtime last year on top of 2,000 hours of regular work. This means Cherenfant worked the equivalent of 13 hour days every day of the year.
- Mohammed Uddin, a motor vehicle operator at Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), worked 2,459 hours of overtime – the equivalent of 12.2 hours each day of the year when added to regular hours.
- Tyrone Watkins, a custodian at ACS, cleaned off 2,420 hours of overtime – the equivalent of 12.1 hours each day of the year when added to regular hours.
- These examples give new meaning to New York City’s nickname as “the city that never sleeps.”
Dedicated Civil Servants
These dedicated civil servants no doubt do work tirelessly at one thing: Getting out the vote for Mayor de Blasi.
But much of what de Blasi wants to do requires assistance from the state government in Albany. His programs clearly do not "pay for themselves".
Democrats in Control
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Democratic Party seized complete control of the New York State government, decisively evicting Republicans from running the State Senate, which they have controlled for all but three years since World War II.
“My great frustration has been the inability to pass progressive measures that would have made a significant positive difference for the state and, as governor, bearing the burden of the failure of their passage,” Mr. Cuomo said in an interview on Wednesday. “The Democratic Senate will liberate me from that frustration.”
There is already chatter about legalizing recreational marijuana; investing more in the crumbling subways; addressing climate change; and installing an early voting system for the first time, all ideas that the governor has previously offered differing degrees of support for.
And after a tumultuous primary season in which liberal challengers ousted seven more moderate Democratic state senators, the virtual Holy Grail of current progressive thought seems within reach: a state-run universal health care system. Mr. Cuomo stopped short of fully embracing the proposal, saying it “has merit.”
If you have wealth in New York, they have pledged to take it. And they will. Get out.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock