Gingrich Blasts de Blasio's 'Soy Latte Liberalism' as 'Ultimately Hopeless'

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 11:55 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Who knew a cup of coffee could solve New York’s problems?

Former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich ridiculed newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio for his suggestion that the city would see a marked cash infusion by taxing the rich the equivalent of “less than three bucks a day – about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks.”

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“De Blasio has done us all a favor by being so clear about the small, timid, and ultimately hopeless efforts to use big bureaucracies to solve the real problems of impoverished Americans,” Gingrich chided in a piece he wrote for CNN.com. Gingrich co-hosts the network’s weekday Crossfire program.

De Blasio’s proposal – to increase taxes on New Yorkers earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year, on average about $973 -- lacks depth, knowledge and a true understanding of combating the issue of poverty in America, according to Gingrich. The mayor’s remarks were especially symbolic since they were made just a week before the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's declaration of the "War on Poverty."

In 1964, Johnson cautioned Americans that combating poverty would be a long and difficult struggle.

"The richest nation on earth can afford to win it,” Johnson pledged. ”We cannot afford to lose it."

But the battle has not been won. America’s poverty rate stands at 15 percent, with 46 million people living at or below the poverty line -- $11,490 annually for an individual and $23,550 for a family of four.

“Fifty years after the War on Poverty began, the boldest declaration our new champion of liberalism can muster is that his own expansion of the welfare bureaucracy will cost the New York elite no more than their daily dose of caffeine,” writes Gingrich. “Oh, how the price to ease their consciences has fallen in half a century. And yet the poor are still impoverished.

The poor and disadvantaged deserve more, he suggests, including an approach that focuses on training, incentives and economic growth.

Though de Blasio campaigned on “boldness, radicalism, populism and the ‘new Progressive’ commitment to fighting income inequality” he is now governing with “timidity, incoherence, and absurdity,” according to Gingrich.

“Let's say no to ‘small soy latte liberalism’ and yes to profoundly rethinking the best way of helping our fellow citizens,” Gingrich suggests.

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