“Fox News Got It Exactly Right. Amen”: De Blasio Double Downs On Plan To “Redistribute Wealth”

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During the Democratic primary, I wrote about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his “eat the rich” pitch for votes. He pledged to “tax the hell out of the rich.”   It did not work. Not only did de Blasio never got to one percent nationally. Worse yet, he polled at zero in his own New York city with a 58 percent unfavorable rating.  Yet, De Blasio later continued his anti-capitalism agenda including using the pandemic to renew calls to curtail capitalism and demonstrating a shocking lack of knowledge of basic economics.  Now de Blasio has declared the purpose of the New York public schools as redistribution of wealth and doubled down on that call after being criticized on Fox News.

Last week, de Blasio declared that he viewed the public schools as a tool for wealth redistribution and not just education:  “I’d like to say very bluntly our mission is to redistribute wealth. A lot of people bristle at that phrase. That is, in fact, the phrase we need to use.”

His remarks drew criticism, including on Fox News.  That coverage led to the recent response from de Blasio:

I’m going to say it one more time in case Fox News is watching again: ‘NYC mayor sees the redistribution of wealth as an important factor toward ending structural racism in education.’ Exactly right. I don’t get to say it very often, but Fox News got it exactly right. Amen. We are going to fight structural racism through redistribution, so Fox News, congratulations, fair and balanced coverage right there. If we think we’re going to deal with structural racism and segregation without redistribution of wealth, we’re kidding ourselves,” the mayor added. “Nothing changes unless you put the resources behind it.”

It was an interesting pivot.  In his campaign, de Blasio was attacking calling for redistribution directly. He then called for curtailing capitalism in the name of fighting Covid-19. He is now calling for redistribution in the name of fighting racism.

It is a message that will not help with the exodus of New Yorkers out of the state, including many going to lower tax jurisdictions.  While Gov. Cuomo has declared that the loss is draining the state, but de Blasio is fueling the concerns of affluent New Yorkers that they are being targeted. While telling the federal government to just print money, de Blasio seems to be doing his best to continue to shrink the number of high-paying taxpayers.  New York already leads the country in its drop of population and could lose a house seat.  The

Ironically, he could receive help from an unlikely source — one of the most expensive private schools in New York city. The Dalton school (which charges $54,180 a year in tuition for K-12 grades) circulated a controversial list of proposals to become “an anti-racist institution.” The list included

  •  Hiring 12 full-time diversity officers, and multiple  psychologists to support students “coping with race-based traumatic stress.”
  • Assigning a staffer dedicated to black students who have “complaints or face disciplinary action,” and a full-time advocate to help black kids “navigate a predominantly white institution.”
  • Paying the student debt of black staffers upon hiring them.
  • Requiring courses that focus on “Black liberation” and “challenges to white supremacy.”
  • Compensating any student of color who appears in Dalton promotional material.
  • Abolishing high-level academic courses by 2023 if the performance of black students is not on par with non-blacks.
  • Requiring “anti-racism” statements from all staffers.
  • Overhauling the entire curriculum, reading lists and student plays to reflect diversity and social justice themes.
  • Divesting from companies that “criminalize or dehumanize” black people, including private prisons and tech firms that manufacture police equipment or weapons.
  • Donating 50 percent of all fundraising dollars to NYC public schools if Dalton is not representative of the city in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic background, and immigration status by 2025.

The last proposal is the most interesting in terms of de Blasio’s plan to use the public schools to redistribute wealth.  You could have Dalton charging parents over $54,000 a year while the school gives half of its fundraising dollars to the public schools.

As with my criticism of his understanding of economics (in demanding that the federal government just print more money to wipe out the New York city debt), I believe de Blasio is fundamentally wrong about the purpose of public education. In Chicago, my parents were great supporters of the public school system and sought to stop the white flight from public schools.  While we could afford private schools, I went to public schools for virtually all of my pre-college education. They believed that public schools constitute important forums for shaping citizens in a diverse and common education. I believe strongly in public schools and we sent all of our kids public schools for the same reason.

Public education is not about wealth distribution. It should be a place for all families — wealthy and impoverished — to experience a common education, including important civics courses. This is the place where we shape future citizens. It is about affording all children a common and shared educational experience, not laboratories for de Blasio’s experiments on social or economic reconstruction.

It is certainly true that all forms of social welfare programs involve distribution of resources. However, public education is not about redistributing wealth. It is about guaranteeing common education and opportunities for all citizens. The level of support is tied to its educational, not a redistributive, function.

As an educator of over thirty years, I find de Blasio’s statement deeply troubling. Our schools and our children are not vehicles for de Blasio or others to recreate society. It is a highjacking of our schools for their own agendas. Public schools are struggling with low performing test scores, particularly among minority students. We need a greater focus on education, not economics, in our schools.

402 thoughts on ““Fox News Got It Exactly Right. Amen”: De Blasio Double Downs On Plan To “Redistribute Wealth””

  1. If you want to redistribute wealth then create more jobs. That is how regular people get money..THEY WORK FOR IT. Don’t expect to lay on your ass and then demand money for doing NOTHING. That crap has been going on long enough. And quit taxing the working person to a point of what is the use working, all they are going to do is take what they want and leave us the little left.

  2. Olly,
    I appreciate you aiming to steel-man the main thrust of my argument.

    Your restatement of a main thrust of my argument is close.

    “If I understand Prairie Rose’s original concern, it was that one or more charter schools in her district did not have any oversight from the taxpayers (community), similar to the oversight of the public school(s). As a private company accepting public funds, fundamentally that’s not acceptable.”

    Yes.

    “”But how are these charter schools performing in comparison to the public schools? If they are underperforming, the oversight should be reflected in parents removing their children and putting them into the better performing public schools. If they are performing as good or better, then what is the concern? If the issue is something other than “education” performance, like some of the social problems reflected in the community demographics that affect the students, then in my opinion, those are for the community to resolve and not the schools.

    Do I have her original position stated correctly?”

    Almost. The oversight of parents removing their kids is inadequate. Since the charters receive public funds, then taxpayers (be they parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, or some taxpayer without kids) should be part of that oversight, too. Currently, oversight is inadequate and lacks sufficient representation to address how/how much tax dollars are spent and visibility in the community, which would help community members/taxpayers see what the school(s) were doing (e.g., I had no idea the actual number of cyber-charters teaching kids from my family’s school district). The funding, as it stands now, is not the same from state-to-state (which is how it should be–local control). How NYS handles funding charters is very different from its neighbors and it isn’t always properly handled )looks down-right like a feeding trough in some places). I don’t think Sowell was aware of these differences; the interview seemed to indicate a more general view of how funding was handled, which it is not.

    Whether charters are performing well or poorly is somewhat besides the point. The oversight should be available regardless.

    Regarding the social problems reflected in the community demographics that affect the students, schools (including charters) do have to deal with that to some degree because they are dealing with children who are struggling to learn because they are poorly fed, get lousy sleep, have chaotic schedules, are abused, etc. Schools are held accountable for kids struggling to learn because their home lives are fouled up. Parents absolutely should hold schools accountable, but what if the schools are wanting to hold parents accountable because the parents are not holding themselves accountable? I agree that communities need to aim to resolve these issues, too–it rests far more on their shoulders.

    I will try to return to the discussion tomorrow. It is very late.

    1. ” I don’t think Sowell was aware of these differences”

      What differences are you talking about that affect what is written in Sowell’s book or interview on the book? I think that is a backdoor approach to cloud what Sowell has directly said backed up by excellent statistics. I think the statement is an inappropriate argument.

    2. Whether charters are performing well or poorly is somewhat besides the point. The oversight should be available regardless.

      I see, so you’re not motivated by school performance. 🤔

      Schools are held accountable for kids struggling to learn because their home lives are fouled up. Parents absolutely should hold schools accountable, but what if the schools are wanting to hold parents accountable because the parents are not holding themselves accountable?

      And that makes sense to you? Home lives suck, so let’s force the school to deal with it instead of the parent(s) and the community.

      I agree that communities need to aim to resolve these issues, too–it rests far more on their shoulders.

      There’s no “too” about it. Schools are not established to fix the communities problems. They are their to educate the children of the community.

  3. One tough chic

    Incoming Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) spoke to Breitbart News Wednesday and made clear she will “carry a firearm each day in D.C.”

    Breitbart News reported that Boebert asked Capitol Police about carrying a gun shortly after winning the November 3, 2020, election.

    On December 8, 2020, Boebert tweeted, “I’ve always heard to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ I prefer to speak loudly and carry a Glock.”

    Breitbart asked Boebert about her intentions upon taking office in January 2021 and she said, “I will carry a firearm each day in D.C.”

    “I’ve already gone through the concealed carry firearm courses to obtain a Washington, DC, permit,” Boebert said.

    She explained that as a representative, she will not be driven from her residence to the capitol “in an armored vehicle.” Rather, her safety will frequently be in her own hands.

    “I am my security,” Boebert observed.

    She added, “Washington, DC, like most Democrat-run cities, has a violent crime problem, so I certainly need a way to protect myself and I will be carrying each and every day.”

      1. The Capitol Police should accommodate this MOC with daily firearms storage and retrieval. This would be a way to stay within the law, while respecting her rights.

  4. F… this clown. They have the votes to override his veto and the GOP Senators aren’t going to approve $2k.

    Just more ego tripping disruption by the guy who hasn’t done anything in 45 days and very little of his job before that.

    1. The Democrats support increasing it to $2K. The only reason McConnell agreed to the $600 is because he’s trying to make Loeffler and Perdue look good for the GA runoff election, after having refused to take up either of the previous House bills for months. Fine by me for McConnell to be put in a spot about whether to support the increase or let his choice harm Loeffler and Perdue.

  5. Warren Wilhelm Jr. could be called the worst mayor in history, but he has so much competition, I’m not certain if he is.

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