Cost of Living Blues
infographic on Monday that highlights the costs of living in our nation’s most and least expensive cities, Manhattan and Harlingen, Texas, respectively. Based on the price of equivalent goods, a Manhattan resident needs to make almost three times as much as a Harlingen resident to maintain the same standard of living. In Manhattan, it’s not luxury items that are more costly; essential items break the bank too.The typical blue governance response to this problem, so common in many of our largest cities, is to combat it with subsidy programs like welfare, food stamps, and housing assistance, all of which are aimed at helping the poor pay big city prices.We shouldn’t be against helping the poor. But why not do that by figuring out ways to make the cost of living more affordable? The problem of blue governance as we see it is that it’s aimed at perpetually mitigating the ill effects of persistent inequality rather than exploring fixes that would strike at the root of the problem.We see this same blue model governance pattern playing out with DC’s misguided “living wage” bill—a bill that seems intent on driving Walmart out of areas of the city that could really use more jobs and more retail options. City governments like DC’s ought to be moving aggressively to cut high costs of living as a way to improve real wages for the poor.The message the blue model sends to the poor is that they are neither good enough nor smart enough to take care of themselves. This is an incredibly destructive message, and one that city governments in places like DC, NYC, Chicago and LA are broadcasting 24/7, on all channels.
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