Spring has thankfully arrived in the city of New York. And along with the blooming leaves and flowers along with an influx of (weaker) vaccines about to come to town while public spaces and streets are still barren public during this stubborn pandemic, the Democrat primary race for mayor to rid this town of de Blasio will truly commence until it’s final destination on the second day of summer. But one candidate has already taken over your city’s poltical zeitgeist, and according to corporate local news, that candidate is Andrew Yang.
It wasn’t that hard for Yang to conquer all the attention, he already ran for president of the United States and his unlimited basic income proposal from that campaign actually influenced national policy with the last three congressional budgets with checks of $1,200, $600 and most recently $1,400* given to every citizen during this pandemic (although incrementally, since Yang’s UBI was supposed to be for a check every month and the 1,400 payout was means tested and limited to an earned income cap, not to mention that Biden promised 2 grand and lied). And now with the celebrity and name recognition, jumping into New York City’s Democrat primary mayor’s race was an easy transition since the competition is pretty stale across the board with career city bureaucrats like current office holders Brooklyn BP Eric Adams and Comptroller Scott Stringer, Ex Sanitation Chief Kathryn Garcia, Big banker Ray McGuire and two ethically challenged candidates lawyer Maya Wiley and prodigal son bureaucrat Shaun Donavan. After Wang’s announcement on the Coney Island boardwalk, the first poll immediately put Wang at a commanding lead over his opponents at the time.
But after that auspicious start, reality and even logic has crept up to Yang in only a few months, revealing himself more as a dilletante huckster than the political outsider he’s being portrayed as.
As with his presidential campaign, there is nothing much or distinguishable from the other candidates about Yang’s mayoral platform to run this city except for his Basic Income proposal, which he marked down from a grand a month nationally to a one time payment for the city’s check to check working class. There is a lot to like about it because it does target residents who needs this money the most, even if it can barely pay the rent and utility bills but might be just enough to play lottery scratch tickets. The big hairy but to this is how as mayor is Yang going to come up with the city funding for this and his answer was quite startling but expectantly and obviously vague.
last week, Yang was talking to reporters about the movie he planned to see on the first day that New York City theaters reopened since the pandemic shut them down. He also fielded questions about he’d fund his basic income plan and gave an admittedly “vague” response, suggesting it’s still unclear if he’d rely primarily on existing city funds, hit up private investors, rely on a rollback of state tax breaks — or a combination of all three.
First, he said that even in its “diminished” state, the city has the “level of resources to commit to this, in part because it’s going to save us a lot of money on things like homelessness services and shelters that are very, very costly.”
“Keeping people in more secure and stable environments will actually, in large part, pay for itself,” he said.
But Yang did not say where in the ailing city budget he intends to draw the $1 billion it will take to pay for the plan.
He then added that he’s been in talks with “several New York-based philanthropists who are very excited about this program and so hopefully we’ll have some private sources of funding as well.”
When asked to name who those potential financial backers are, he replied: “Of course I’m not going to tell you right now after I just gave you, like, you know, like, this vague, like, several private sources because, you know, we have to have things to announce for later.”
At least Yang’s fumbling and his campaign manager’s pathetic sop defense of the candidate’s ambitious program has a scintilla of honesty even if for the past 2 months they didn’t even have a solid budgetary plan to justify it, considering how it’s the main driver of the candidate’s platform.