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The Dem Divide
Blue Civil War, Gotham Edition
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  • JR

    NYC, because it includes one of centers of world finance on the island of Manhattan, suffers from a very acute case of the resource curse. But even Manhattan cannot possibly pay for all the policies that Comrade de Blasio is pushing forth.There just aren’t enough money.

  • wigwag

    “America’s cities (and some of its inner suburbs) are increasingly going to need federal and state bailouts, largely due to spiraling pension costs but also thanks to slow growth and rising public demand for new government programs and services…This is going to be a big problem nationwide, and we are already seeing a trend in which urban areas are shifting left while states are shifting right. Michigan doesn’t want to bail out Detroit, and Illinois doesn’t want to bail out Chicago.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Poor befuddled Professor Mead; he’s suffering from another bout of confusion. Whatever the case may be in Michigan and Illinois, he has it decidedly backwards when it comes to New York. New York State isn’t bailing out New York City, it’s the other way around; New York City massively subsidizes New York State. Without New York City, the rest of the State would be an economic backwater. But it isn’t just New York State that’s being subsidized by New York City, it’s the rest of the country as well. Professor Mead’s home state of South Carolina is being subsidized by New York City taxpayers and so are blue states and red states all over the United States. New York City residents pay far more in federal taxes than they receive in direct federal spending; unlike say, Kansas, Wyoming or Oklahoma.

    It is not entirely unfair of Professor Mead to suggest that federal monetary policy has disproportionately benefited the New York economy but Mead’s suggestion that “New York City has been the principal beneficiary of both federal stimulus and the easy money policy of the Federal Reserve system” is, at the very least, deceptive. New York is simply not a company town the way, for example Las Vegas, Houston or Los Angeles are. While Wall Street brings home a lot of the bacon, New York is also home to the advertising industry, the fashion industry, the media business and a thriving non-profit sector. That’s before you get to the technology sector, the biotech sector and other engines of economic growth too numerous to mention.

    Despite Mead’s attempt to fool his readers into thinking that its only hordes of the great unwashed (who are mostly democratic voters) rushing to live in New York, the befuddled Professor is leaving out the part of the story that fails to support his point. Arch-conservative Republicans love New York as much as radically progressive Democrats do. More billionaires chose to call New York City home than any city in the world, including London. Rupert Murdoch is a New York City resident. So is David Koch of Koch brothers fame. So are Steve Ross, (the owner of the Miami Dolphins), John Griffin (Blue Ridge Capital) and Dan Loeb (the hedge fund billionaire); each of them are major bundlers for the Jeb Bush campaign. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker will all raise more money in New York City than they will raise in any other state in the nation, including Florida, Texas and California. So much for New York City as a liberal bastion.

    In the post at Via Meadia before this one, one of Professor Mead’s acolytes has written an essay celebrating the fact that the Ne Jersey Supreme Court has just empowered the Chris Christie Administration to dramatically underfund its commitment to the New Jersey State pension system. The Christie Administration will contribute about $1 billion this year as opposed to the $3 billion that he had originally promised to pay. Christie’s irresponsibility isn’t unique; most New Jersey Governors, but especially the GOP Governors, have failed to fully fund the system going back to the Administration of Christine Todd Whitman. That’s why the New Jersey pension system is in such precarious shape.

    Once again we see Via Meadia sticking to its habit of averting its eyes from inconvenient facts that call his thesis into question. While New Jersey’s state pension system is in the doghouse, the state pension system in New York is robust, well funded and probably the healthiest in the nation. Why? The answer is simple; all of the Governors (of both political parties) going back decades have fully funded the system without an ounce of objection from New York voters, including the billionaire voters. New York City has the healthiest pension system of any large city in the United States.

    How does Professor Mead explain away the fact that the “blue model” that he believes is in extremis still seems to work reasonably well in New York; it’s a fluke he would have you believe. It’s just dumb-luck. New York is the financial capital of America and federal monetary policy has disproportionately benefited New York. It’s funny though; when he’s touting the success of Texas, he rarely bothers to mention that the economic success of that State is largely (not entirely) the result of the hydrocarbons that coincidentally happen to reside under the ground there.

    Sorry Professor Mead; while your thesis about the decline of the blue state approach is not without merit, by exaggerating and ignoring inconvenient facts you make your case weaker not stronger. It’s they type of mistake that freshman make.

    Your supposed to be smarter than that.

    • qet

      If you’re going to do a Kovacs on the high bar you ought to at least stick the landing. “You’re.”

      • wigwag

        Take another look; that’s what it says!

        Just kidding, qet. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • JR

      Wait, are you saying NYC is not a liberal bastion because there are rich people who live there who support Republicans?

      • wigwag

        Not exactly; I’m saying that New York is not a liberal bastion because it’s not a liberal bastion. That is, unless you consider everything just slightly to the left of the most right wing tea party activist, liberal.

        New York is more liberal than some places and less liberal than others. Our current a Mayor is a Demicrat and a left wing but job, but our prior mayors were not. Guiliani, who served two terms had some liberal features; for example he supported gay rights and abortion rights. On the other hand, he went ballistic when the Brooklyn museum (a city funded institution) displayed an exhibit by Robert Mapplethorpe that many New Yorkers thought was both blasphemous and pornigraphic. Broken windows policing was viewed as a heroic innovation on the right and detested on the left; Guiliani practically invented it. When Yasser Arafat came to New York to address the United Nations, Guiluani had him thrown out of a performance at Lincoln Center that the terrorist leader was attending.

        Guiluai, a stalwart Republican was replaced by another Republican, Michael Bloomberg. Or to put it more accurately, Bloomberg ran on the Republican Party line. Like Guiliani, Bloomberg was socially liberal. On the other hand, he was a fierce advocate of charter schools and he was extremely enthusiastic about the Common Core, high stakes testing and teacher accountability. Bloomberg also instituted a very conservative approach to policing. During his Administration young black men were stopped and frisked for potentially committing low level crimes hundreds of thousands of times.

        So it’s complicated. There are liberal and not so liberal things about New York.

        It is far from a liberal bastion. If New York isn’t too liberal for Rupert Murdoch and David Koch to call it home, it probably isn’t the socialist cesspool that many ultra conservatives consider it to be.

        • JR

          First of all, thank you for a very thoughtful response. I’m afraid dealing with Dan Greene’s of the world made me a bit less thoughtful that I need to be.
          I lived and/or worked in Manhattan my entire career so I see what you are saying. New Yorkers are very socially liberal, but there are definitely a lot more pragmatic than most people give them credit for. Examples you gave are perfect illustrations of that point. Anytime they deviate from that pragmatism, results have been… sub-par. I still remember what the city looked like in early ’90s, as the height of crack wars. I’m just afraid that Comrade deBlasio is taking us back to the bad old days.
          As for rich people living in NYC, I think they live there because if you have tons of money, Manhattan is an amazing playground, regardless of your political leanings. As that great American poet Axl Rose once said: IF you got the money, honey, we got your disease.

    • Boritz

      “More billionaires chose to call New York City home than any city in the world, including London.”
      This brings up a point that was not obvious:  Billionaires are voting with their feet.

      “Arch-conservative Republicans love New York as much as radically progressive Democrats do. ”
      I emailed Ted Cruz that this is very disappointing.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Things which cannot continue, won’t.

  • Pait

    You are right that rent control is a bad idea, but where did you get the idea that the Democratic party is the party of Jefferson and Jackson?

  • Brett Champion

    It probably isn’t a workable option for most states, but if any state ever decides to split, it’ll be New York. The city and its suburban counties could some day secede from the rest of the state because of the sharp cultural differences between them and upstate and the fact that neither side seems able to gain the upper hand in Albany, which makes the upstate folks liable to let the downstate folks walk. The reason why most states never even get to the step in the process where they petition Congress for division is that the area looking to secede has so little power that the areas that would be left behind have no incentive to let them go because they almost always get their way. New York is almost a stalemate, which makes no one happy.

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