Political journalist Matt Palumbo’s new book is aptly named “Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and De Blasio Ruined New York.”
While this work is only 157 pages long, that’s all it takes to expose how “high taxation, absurd regulations, inefficient government, and poor social services” are driving people out of the Empire State.
I found most absorbing the first third of the book. It’s devoted to depicting the blunders committed by New York’s ruling class during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
While most New Yorkers are familiar with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fatal nursing home order and the subsequent scandals, less is known about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “tragic comedy of errors” in the early stages of the virus outbreak.
Palumbo sharply focuses on the de Blasio administration’s ideologically driven policies and proclamations in early 2020 that led to New York becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
As early as Jan. 24, 2020, before a single case was reported in New York, he made this dubious declaration: “What we do know to date is that only through prolonged exposure can someone contact this virus. It is not a situation as with some other diseases where a single contact would be enough.”
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, agreed. “New Yorkers,” she said, “should know the risk to residents of the city is low.”
Fearing an anti-Asian uprising during Chinese New Year celebrations, Dr. Barbot tweeted on Feb. 2, “As we gear up to celebrate the Lunar New Year in NYC, I want to assure New Yorkers that there is no reason for anyone to change their holiday plans, avoid the subway, or certain parts of the city because of cornavirus.”
Seven days later, the health commissioner continued to be more concerned about possible anti-Asian racism than the growing threat of the virus. “The risk for New Yorkers of the coronavirus,” she insisted, “is low, and our preparedness as a city is very high. While it is understandable that people feel anxious, that is no way shape or form an excuse for them to use that as an opportunity to spread misinformation, to spread racist ideas because that is currently the greatest risk to New Yorkers.”
As late as Feb. 26, Mayor de Blasio was still insisting “we can really keep this thing contained.”
And then when the first case was reported on March 1, the city’s health commissioner made this unscientific announcement: “Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19.”
Even after the Centers for Disease Control warned March 7 that people could catch coronavirus by touching surfaces and then touching their nose or mouth, de Blasio remained defiant. “It’s not resolved,” he said. “Out team thinks coronavirus has a very limited shelf life.”
As more cases were being reported, de Blasio doubled down on his ill-informed policies. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he said on March 10, “We cannot shut down because of undue fear.” The very next day he urged New Yorkers to spend money in restaurants because Corona 19 “doesn’t transmit through food and drink.” He continued, “If you’re not sick, you should be going about your life.”
De Blasio finally acted March 16. He ordered the closing of gyms. (Yes, gyms!). Only after threats of massive City Hall staff resignations did the mayor expand the shutdown.
One irate de Blasio adviser, Rebecca Katz, tweeted concerning the gym closings: “No current or former staff member should be asked to defend this. The mayor’s actions today are inexcusable and reckless.”
Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s inaction and fallacious policies, The New York Times reported the city’s “coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States.…”
Regardless of one’s opinion on the merits of a complete shutdown of the city’s economy and schools, the fact is Matt Palumbo notes “De Blasio did absolutely nothing to get ahead of the virus. And in many cases, his and his colleagues’ advice literally encouraged the spread of it.”
Matt Palumbo’s book has quite a punch. “Dumb and Dumber” is must reading for anyone interested in understanding why Cuomo-de Blasio policies are causing economic decline, social unrest, and skyrocketing crime.