During last night’s Democrat debate, Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg said “Before I left, life expectancy in New York City had grown by three years during our 12 years in office such that, when I left, it was three years greater than the national average.”
Mike wants the public to think positively about his nanny-state policies. He likes to present himself as a hero in the battle against obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices. So, he’s suggesting his policies to force people to live healthier have resulted in these good outcomes.
But that simply isn’t true. First, it will take years to determine if there’s a causal link between Bloomberg’s ridiculous (not to mention wildly unconstitutional) policies to ban sugar, soda, Styrofoam, loud music, salt, trans fats, fun, happiness and personal joy. Second, there are more obvious reasons for New York City’s increase in life expectancy—reasons Mike doesn’t want to talk about.
First, in Bloomberg’s years in office, many poor people left New York City. The reasons are obvious. When a city gentrifies (as it did under Bloomberg), life expectancy rises because the population is wealthier and therefore able to afford better medical care and preventative medicine.
According to an extensive report by the WSJ on Bloomberg’s NYC record, the city became unlivable for those at or under the poverty line and even Bloomberg’s attempts to create affordable housing were a disaster:
His administration created a program that allowed developers to build higher in rezoned areas if they made a percentage of the housing affordable, which the de Blasio administration later made mandatory. It was meant to create more affordable housing but didn’t create enough to meet the city’s needs, some urban planners say.
Today, the New York City Housing Authority needs an estimated $31.8 billion in repairs, the de Blasio administration says. It was placed under monitorship after a federal judge ordered the city to produce a plan to address poor management and crucial health and safety concerns inside buildings, including lead paint that has sickened hundreds. Mr. de Blasio has said that the Bloomberg administration neglected the buildings.
Mr. Loeser said the Bloomberg administration tried to tackle backlogged repairs and check for lead at the same time, a plan developed in consultation with federal officials. “It did not always happen as planned,” he said.
Secondly, crime declined significantly under Bloomberg, including murders. That’s good but that decline also contributes to the increase in life expectancy. But these declines came at a cost. Again, the WSJ reports:
- He increased the use of stop-and-frisk, a policing tactic that primarily affected black and Latino New Yorkers and resulted in thousands of arrests, despite most stops resulting in no charges. As more stops were made, opposition to the practice grew. New York City’s use of stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional by a judge in 2013, Mr. Bloomberg’s final year in office.
- By then, the annual number of murders in the city had fallen to 335, a figure as low as those seen in the 1950s. But the public’s relationship with the police had partly frayed. When Mr. de Blasio took office, he reduced the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk, and most crimes continued to fall.
- On. Nov. 17, Mr. Bloomberg apologized for proliferating stop-and-frisk in a speech he delivered at the Christian Cultural Center, a black church in Brooklyn.
“I can’t change history,” he said. “However, today I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
So sure, life expectancy went up in New York City. But it went up because poor, less healthy people were driven out of the city and crime went down. It isn’t because of Bloomberg’s nanny state policies. Those resulted in nothing more than lost jobs, shuttered businesses, inferior food products, and annoyed consumers.
Hardly something to brag about, Mike.