QOTD: Howard Wolfson
This is very honest and straightforward:
MT: De Blasio wants to raise taxes on those making more than half a million dollars to pay for pre-K and after-school. Tell me exactly what’s wrong with that.
In case you don't know who Wolfson is:
HW: We’re already the highest-taxed jurisdiction at the high end in the country.2 People who live here are already making a decision that says, “It’s more expensive for me to live here then anywhere else, and I’m willing to pay that price.” What changes that? You can raise the price, and people could decide it’s not worth it anymore. Or it could be because crime goes up or it becomes dirtier. Or both of those things could happen. A combination of things could really have an impact.
MT: You say people might leave. And you imply that you would rather have those less-affluent people leave than have the people making more than $500,000 leave. Why?
HW: In a pure economic sense, one person who pays an enormous amount of money in taxes is worth more to the city than someone who doesn’t. A very small number of people in the city pay a very large portion of our taxes. That’s all redistributionist. And that’s fine! God bless. That’s America. But you only need a very small number of those people to leave before you have a revenue problem.
MT: So you’re saying that the economic imperative trumps all the others? We could all adopt a sort of libertarian, anarchic …
HW: Well Mike Bloomberg is very far from that.
MT: I think we know that. But on economic issues …
HW: Here’s the thing. We can all whistle “The Internationale.” But this is the most redistributionist place in the country.
MT: But it’s also the most unequal place in the country, and when you extrapolate to the five boroughs, it’s the most unequal big city. And that’s fine, there’s reasons for that.
HW: I was gonna say, Detroit is very equal.
MT: I get that. But given that, why isn’t it okay to make a little correction?
HW: I guess I’m more concerned about mobility than inequality. I’m more concerned about poverty than inequality. To me, inequality is a political argument, and from an economic or policy perspective, we ought to be talking about mobility. I would rather have a conversation about how we reduce poverty and increase mobility than how we redistribute wealth.
Howard Wolfson is counselor to the Mayor of New York City and a Democratic political strategist. He replaced Kevin Sheekey as Deputy Mayor of New York City for governmental affairs.
If there is one person who accurately represents the political establishment in all its glory, it's Wolfson.
A native of New York, Wolfson graduated from the University of Chicago and holds a Masters in U.S. History from Duke University. He first worked for U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) as her chief-of-staff and press secretary, and was executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 1998 to 2000. He served as communications director for the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer (1998), Hillary Clinton (2000, 2006), and Ned Lamont (2006).
Wolfson was co-chief strategist and communications director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, after which he became managing director at the consulting firm Glover Park Group. He was a senior strategist for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2009 re-election campaign. He was a Fox News contributor, and advised Ned Lamont's campaign for governor of Connecticut.
Now go back and read what he said again.