Stephen Colbert Gives Platform To NYC Mayor Pushing Liberal Economic Policy

Keeping in tradition of Comedy Central talk-show hosts giving Democratic politicians softball interviews, Stephen Colbert treated New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to one on the July 16 edition of The Colbert Report.

Colbert could have used some of his interview to make his subject uncomfortable, by say challenging the left-wing populist on his controversial efforts targeting popular and successful charter schools or making him squirm over his puzzling crusade against Central Park’s world-famous horse-drawn carriage industry – something opposed by roughly 2/3rds of New Yorkers. Instead, Colbert gave the mayor a platform to further his left-wing views on the “vast income inequality” of America today. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

The Comedy Central host used his faux conservative persona to portray free-market economic principles in the most ridiculous way possible. Colbert mocked supply-side economic theory as trickle-down economics, telling de Blasio that  “we don't have enough money yet to come over the rim of our bucket and start trickling” but that “I promise you, any day now if you just let us have more of the money, it will-- that trickle, it's like a siphon, once it gets going, once it gets going.”

When De Blasio touted that the City of New York would be providing “free, full day pre-K for every child in this city,” Colbert even went so far as to claim conservative support for child labor, claiming “do you realize those little hands change bobbins so well?”

Meanwhile, De Blasio was given a new network in which to proclaim his socialist economic beliefs, that “government can make sure there's fairness in our society. And I think government can make sure, thank you, that there is-- we can make sure that people have decent wages and benefits, that the middle class gets reestablished.”

See transcript below:

Comedy Central
The Colbert Report
June 16, 2014
11:53 p.m. Eastern    
3 minutes


BILL DE BLASIO: You know Stephen, in this country today, with vast income inequality, and growing income inequality, we actually have to change our course.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Why do we have to change course. Those of us who have the income do not wish you to change our course.

BLASIO: Well, that doesn't surprise me.

COLBERT: Okay.

BLASIO: But look at New York City, the worst income inequality since 1929 and a situation where more and more of our people can't afford to live here. 46 percent of all New Yorkers at or near the poverty level. We can't continue with a divided society. In fact, we want to create some unity. We're going to create more jobs, we’re going to create higher wages and benefits, we're going give people paid sick leave.

COLBERT: Government can't create jobs.

BLASIO: Government--

COLBERT: Only the private sector can create jobs by trickling down to the poor people, and I as a rich person and my friends, we don't have enough money yet to come over the rim of our bucket and start trickling. We're so close. I promise you. I promise you, any day now if you just let us have more of the money, it will-- that trickle, it's like a siphon, once it gets going, once it gets going.

BLASIO: I didn't realize it was that close.

COLBERT: Oh yeah, we're right on the edge, so please.

BLASIO: I think government can make sure there's fairness in our society. And I think government can make sure, thank you, that there is-- we can make sure that people have decent wages and benefits, that the middle class gets reestablished. That we have an education system that actually prepares our young people for a future. In New York City in the next two years, we will have free full day Pre-K for every child in this city.

COLBERT: You said, let's get to that, let’s get to that. Because to hand out the free, you know, nap times and juice boxes you want to do to these, you know, these freeloading miscreants, that you wanted to tax rich guys like me, you said the rich of New York will pay for these. You got stopped from doing that. But why do you want to take my money away. Why is it my problem if somebody who can't afford Pre-K gets Pre-K. Let them work for it themselves.

BLASIO: Most four-year-olds are not yet in the workforce.

COLBERT: Okay, that's another problem. That's another problem. Do you realize those little hands change bobbins so well?

BLASIO I think the fact is it is in everyone's interest, it's in those who are doing well's interest. It is in folks who are struggling's interest to have a stronger society. What does that mean? An educated society. The future of this city, the future of this country runs through our education system. So full day Pre-K, full day Pre-K means that you'll have kids with a solid foundation regardless of demographic background. Everyone getting real opportunity and ready for the modern economy which demands a higher level of education treatment than any time in history. Real national security, real strength derives from an educated people. And that's what we're going to have here in this city.
                   

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.