Muffie Potter Aston and her friend Jacqueline Weld Drake are two wealthy New York socialites who are so terrified of Bill de Blasio that they are threatening to move to — gasp — New Jersey. "I fear for New York City if Mr. de Blasio gets elected. He just wants to tax everyone to smithereens," Potter Aston (pictured above) told Women's Wear Daily's Erik Maza during a party
where people only ate lobsters weaned on foie gras and iced their champagne with cold diamonds honoring Mayor Michael Bloomberg's partner, Diana Taylor.
Drake also chimed in. Drake is kinda like the kid in the Sixth Sense ... except, instead of dead people, Drake apparently only sees rich people:
New York is a city of financial entrepreneurs, of genius stock traders and bankers. It would be a smart idea to keep it that way. It’s not a city that’s going to benefit from high taxes because people who have substantial incomes have a choice. They have a choice of venues. New Jersey beckons. Florida beckons. All kinds of other states who do better at job creation. We are really biting the hand that feeds us. No question about it.
Living in Drake's world kinda sounds like a fairy tale — the kind where Veruca Salt makes it out of the chocolate factory unscathed and moves to New York City at the end. And there's part of us that would pay to watch Drake answer the siren song of New Jersey. But that's not likely to happen. As Bloomberg himself said in 2008, "I can only tell you, among my friends, I've never heard one person say I'm going to move out of the city because of the taxes. Not one. Not in all the years I've lived here." (Several studies confirm this.)
Potter Aston and her Dolce Gabbanna turtlenecks were the subject of a New York Times fashion profile in 2011, and she was noted for being a mainstay on the city's charity circuit. She is married to a plastic surgeon. In a 1998 wedding announcement, Drake was described as "A writer, Park Avenue socialite and the chairwoman of Casita Maria, the oldest Hispanic settlement house in New York." The reason these very rich women are telling WWD these things is because of Bill de Blasio, the overwhelming favorite to become the city's next mayor, and his tax plan. Throughout his campaign, de Blasio's central message was that New York City was a tale of "two cities" and that the income disparity in the city was something that could be fixed by increasing taxes on people who make over $550,000 to pay for things like universal pre-school. New York's poverty rate rose to 21.2 percent in 2012.
The language de Blasio is using is not unlike what we saw in the 2012 presidential election — Barack Obama promised to help people who can't make millions; Mitt Romney promised people who make millions that he was going to help them keep it; and well, we saw what a lot of rich people think of poor people when Romney said that the 47 of American voters are "dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims." And these women aren't unlike some of the Romney surrogates we saw during the campaign trail—living stereotypes of the one percent.
"So if we can float that, you can say Muffie Potter Aston wants a fourth term for Michael Bloomberg," she said. Potter Aston believes that she's living a c'est la vie type of life under her beloved mayor. That isn't really the case.
What these two women fail to realize is that they're already being taxed to smithereens. New York City is one of the few cities to have an income tax on top of a state tax and further, New York state has some of the most pricey property taxes in the county.
Here's the state's 2012 tax income rate (filing jointly) for the very rich:
And here's New York City's:
It's very possible that these women are so rich that they don't even have an idea of all the taxes they're already paying. (Or, as Bloomberg said after Hurricane Sandy: "[It] always annoys me when they say, 'Oh, you’re a high taxed place,' Yeah, and we get something for it.") And what they also fail to realize, is that de Blasio has no power to change income taxes on his own. He needs Governor Andrew Cuomo to do that and there's already a possible clash of interests there — not that they'd notice.