Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast writes a fascinating article about the way the “left” is currently being reshaped. It seems that young adults in the Democratic Party are far more radical than what America saw in the Clinton White House. In fact, as the article notes, Bill de Blasio’s Democratic Party nomination to run for New York City mayor is a signal of this new direction. If those who love liberty are not paying attention to this shift, they should: we are likely to see more and more of de Blasio’s platform at the local and state level. Here are just a few things de Blasio wants to accomplish in New York City if elected:
(1) Raise the minimum wage: “Bill de Blasio will advocate for Albany to give New York City the ability to set the minimum wage rate at a level appropriate to the city’s high cost of living and worker productivity, rather than having the same rate as that of lower-cost upstate counties.”
(2) Price controls on the housing market: “Bill de Blasio will keep working and middle class people from being priced out of the neighborhoods they helped build. As mayor, he will fight to retake control of rent rules from Albany, so we can make our own decisions again. Bill de Blasio will also support tenants fighting to maintain the affordability of their homes. . .”
(3) Expand public housing: “As mayor of the nation’s largest city and biggest public housing authority, de Blasio will rally the country’s cities around a new urban agenda in Congress for public housing, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Section 8 rent vouchers, and other crucial components of the affordability matrix.”
(4) “Free” meals for every child in public schools: “As mayor, Bill de Blasio will require schools to make free breakfasts available in classrooms.”
(5) Every 4-year-old in city childcare: “In New York City, the single greatest expense for low-income households with children is child care, surpassing even the cost of housing and food. Bill de Blasio’s commitment to providing universal pre-K for every 4-year-old means we will have more child care slots available for younger children.”
The de Blasio website has a long list of proposals, but if you read them carefully and think about the likely long-term unintended consequences of each, you’ll become painfully aware that if de Blasio is elected mayor, and if his reforms are implemented, New York will slowly slouch towards Detroit.
To start, setting an arbitrary minimum wage is not only going to prompt low-skill employers in the small business sector to avoid the city, it could also increase rents and prices if employers pass on the additional costs to consumers. The city would become even less “affordable.” If de Blasio intends to increase rent controls, that will do nothing but lead to rent increases in the long run, which decreases the availability of affordable housing. Free lunches for children actually discourage parents from taking responsibility to meet the needs of their children. Lastly, that child care is such a problem in New York City among low-income residents is a reflection of low marriage rates. Universal pre-K gives fathers yet another reason not to care for their children, fostering irresponsibility.
This is the new left. It has the social values of older Democratic Party baby boomers, but is increasingly committed to ignore the role of civil institutions and rely nearly absolutely on government to solve all of society’s problems, either real or perceived. Pay attention: this ideology is coming to a city and state near you.