John C. Goodman

Have you ever noticed how often cities where there are very few Republicans elect Republican mayors anyway? Or if they don't elect a Republican, they elect a Democrat who acts like a Republican.

New York City is known for being a bastion of liberalism. But the city hasn't had a real liberal mayor for almost 40 years. When Jersey City, New Jersey, elected Republican Bret Schundler as mayor, there probably weren't more than five Republicans living in the whole city. Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in Dallas County, where I live, for quite some time. Yet Dallas has never really had a liberal mayor.

On the other hand, consider the coming mayoral election in New York City. The Democratic nominee, Bill de Blasio, is unapologetically liberal/progressive. His two main issues are clamping down on the New York Police Department's "stop and frisk" policy and raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-K education.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Vincent Cannato reminds us all of what liberal governance looked like in years past:

Under Mayor John Lindsay, who embodied the promise and then the tragedy of Great Society liberalism, the city suffered through a tumultuous 1960s and early '70s. While Lindsay was in office (1966-73), crime continued its dramatic rise, public-sector labor unions turned New York into "Strike City," welfare rolls increased even amid an economic boom, swaths of the city were hollowed out by arson and abandonment, the city's infrastructure began to deteriorate, graffiti proliferated, and the middle class continued its flight to the suburbs…

After years of chaos and tumult, New York no longer looked like a good investment. It nearly went bankrupt, and its finances were taken over by an Emergency Financial Control Board.

What happened in New York 40 years ago is not all that dissimilar to what has been happening in Detroit. As that city inched toward its own fiscal cliff, city services deteriorated, taxes rose and taxpayers fled. Now we learn that while all that was going on millions of dollars were being looted from city workers' pension funds. As reported in The New York Times:

The payments, which were not publicly disclosed, included bonuses to retirees, supplements to workers not yet retired and cash to the families of workers who died before becoming eligible to collect a pension…

John C. Goodman

John C. Goodman is President of the Goodman Institute and Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. His books include the widely acclaimed A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America and the award-winning Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts.”