New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is back on the road this week, giving quite nationally oriented policy speeches that sound for all the world like a guy thinking of running for president. (Instead of staying home and working on his collapsing transit system and rat problem.) He was in Vegas for several days, speaking to all that will listen. And while addressing a rollicking gathering of 35 people at an immigration advocacy forum this weekend, he took a question on reparations for the descendants of slaves. He gave the expected answer, but then went several steps further, declaring that we should be giving money away to all sorts of groups until the rich have nothing left to give. (NY Post)
While exploring a run for president in Nevada, Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed a committee to study reparations for descendants of slaves and then went further — saying that the country needs “a program of actual redistribution” of wealth…
“There’s no question that the issue of reparations has to be taken seriously,” said de Blasio, whose Vegas area barnstorming continues today, stating a clear, public position on the topic for the first time. But, he added, there needs to be a “bigger discussion about income inequality and oppression of other groups including Latinos, Native Americans, Asian and women,” he said at the event organized by the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road.
“I think we’re going to need something bigger even in a way, broader even in a way, then some of the ideas that have been put out there,” he said to the approximately 35 attendees.
“I think a program of actual redistribution which includes much heavier taxes on the wealthy,” he said.
This really isn’t new territory for de Blasio. He’s already on record saying that New York City is a place where there’s “plenty of money” but it’s just “in the wrong hands.” The solution for that is to take it away and put it in the “right hands” presumably. And it will take a big man leading a very big government to pull off that trick. During his travels to early primary states, the Mayor has been heard using the same phrase but substituting the words “country” or “world” for city.
Sadly, de Blasio can’t even catch a break in Vegas in front of a small but supposedly friendly crowd. The original question was about reparations, and even though he gave the correct answer in support of a bill calling for a commission to study the issue, he ticked off the questioner by going several steps further. The attendee wanted it made clear that the question wasn’t about any other economically disadvantaged groups, but about black people. That means that de Blasio had taken the “All Lives Matter” route in his answer, and that’s a sin.
“He did what a lot of candidates do, they, ‘All lives matter’ it. They try to broaden reparations for everyone,” Leslie Turner, 37, told The Post after the event.
“It’s actually ok to say, ‘This is actually for black people. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about what reparations specifically for black people could look like,” Turner said.
The small turnout de Blasio received, along with his next-level redistribution comments, certainly describe a person who still believes he has a shot at the Democratic nomination but hasn’t caught on to the fact that nobody is paying attention. Still, this exchange may prove revealing. Maybe it’s me, but this newly resurgent reparations discussion on the Democratic campaign trail may turn out to be yet another niche issue that splits the base. They can all talk about “studying” reparations all they like, but there will still be elements in the party asking what about everyone else? What about the Native Americans that were almost entirely wiped out? What about the Japanese put into internment? What about… you name the group.
Break out the popcorn. It’s gonna be a long primary.