Black And Blue 2: Blacks Flee Blue States in Droves
Published on: March 27, 2011
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  • Luke Lea

    A good case can be made for more and better vocational education for that half of the population who don’t go to college. The liberal arts deserve more respect in our society, but so do the industrial arts. Personally I wish I’d learned how to cook in high school.

  • JDW

    Unfortunately, African-Americans are inexplicably, reflexively liberal. So they, like so many northeasterners and west coast liberals, bring their politcal pathologies with them. Sure, they’ll go to states like Texas that are more welcoming to business. But they’ll remain stridently liberal and remain so long enough to infect their new home with their leftist thinking.

  • Oh, don’t worry. Someone will find a way to describe this as a function of failed free-market policies*, not bureaucratism. Facts have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    *Or continuing racism, or conservatism, or corporate greed, or what have you.

  • Principlex

    A good case can be made for economic freedom and the separation of economy and state. Detroit, bastion of liberal policies writ large, looks as bad as Haiti. Why? Liberty means nothing there. Hence they lose all the ingenuity of the American people to solve problems – including education problems.

  • Scott M

    Just out of curiosity, why do you consistently capitalize “Blacks” throughout the piece, but the only two times you use “whites” in the same context, ie, describing a racial demographic, you don’t?

  • Yahzooman

    Here, here.

    Command-and-control, top down liberal solutions have failed our inner cities. In deep blue Philadelphia, for example, it’s nigh impossible to start a business. If you do, work rules, licenses and inspections, poorly educated workers, run-down infrastructure and a killer gross receipts tax will snuff out entrepreneurs faster than you can say Ed Rendell.

    Minor quibble: Why do you capitalize “Black” and use a lower case “w” for white? Example …
    “None of this represents some kind of neo-Confederate, anti-government agenda, and all of it is necessary for the social and economic recovery of our blighted inner cities and the construction of a stronger and more entrepreneurial Black (and for that matter, white) middle class.”

    I find it common among writers with a white guilt complex. More political correctness run amok, I’m afraid.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      I wrote about this in an earlier post. It’s not racial guilt.

  • murph

    The problem remains, we CANNOT guarantee ‘smarter government’. Until then, wouldn’t everyone be better off with smaller, transparent government?

  • Milwaukee

    Wisconsin, that bastion of liberal public sector unions, has the worse achievement gap between White and Black students in the country. It also has the highest incarceration rate for Blacks in the country. While they celebrate “diversity”, they promulgate a social welfare system which engenders corruption and leads to over-dependence. We could say all those White liberals “love” the Blacks to death.

  • C.Olivas

    I believe Glenn Raynolds of Insapundit fame put it best:
    “The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.”

    This has been an ongoing problem with blue model applied to blacks and other miinorities. Blue social policies have had devatating consequences to blacks and latinos in particular.

  • Owen McCall

    I think you probably mean the opposite of what you wrote in this pen-penultimate paragraph. Sounds a bit garbled. “The focus of activism to help the poor needs should be just a movement to persuade politicians to pass laws (and raise taxes) to hire more bureaucrats and write and enforce more regulations. We need a movement for the poor that to persuades Americans to put their own time and treasure on the line for the by getting involved and helping out.”

    • Walter Russell Mead

      The responsible interns will be flogged! Thanks for the head’s up.

  • WigWag

    Those long, slow train rides between New York and Poughkeepsie must be so boring that they afford Professor Mead not only ample time to grade papers (how thrilling that must be) but also to generate fictional accounts like the one he’s posted here. I love Mead’s blog, his books and his articles, but with all due respect, this post is a cornucopia of nonsense.

    First we have Mead’s suggestion that the interests of teachers unions and the interests of inner city kids are diametrically opposed. We’ve reached a sad day if intellectuals like Professor Mead don’t realize that offering teachers a living wage and a modicum of job security isn’t what is making it impossible for inner city children to get a decent education. They idea that inner city kids are being poorly educated because they’re being taught by legions of unqualified teachers is a canard. Eliminate teacher tenure completely and the education that school children get won’t improve one iota. And if Mead and colleagues get their way, and the demise of trade unionism causes teacher’s wages to decline, does he really expect lower wages to attract higher quality teachers? To ask the question is to answer it.

    The reason government officials want to eliminate teacher tenure is so that they can replace older, higher paid teachers with younger, less experienced teachers. It would be like putting Professor Mead out to pasture so a young junior faculty member that Bard pays $35,000 a year could take his place. Would Bard students be better off or worse off?

    There is literally no other field of endeavor other than professional sports where inexperienced professionals are preferred to experienced ones. Who prefers the surgeon who has operated only a few times to the surgeon who has operated thousands of times? Who prefers the young associate right out of law school to handle their case as opposed to the law firm’s senior partner who has litigated thousands of cases?

    Protecting teacher tenure (which is one of the main functions of teachers unions) protects teachers but it also protects school children by preventing government from saving money by replacing experienced professionals with cheaper teachers who by virtue of their experience simply aren’t good enough. It’s painfully obvious that poorly paid teachers, unprotected by tenure, will almost always be less talented and less effective. While it may be true that a few incompetent teachers are protected by the current system, this is a small price to pay for preventing government from saving money through poorly thought out evaluation schemes that are merely smokescreens for what government really wants to do-educate kids for less money regardless of the results.

    Secondly, I had to laugh about the picture that Professor Mead chose to caption his piece with; the picture of Queensbridge Housing. Mead suggests that Queensbridge is somehow a metaphor for urban decay and failure. This is simply not true. Queensbridge is just a few short stops on the F train from the Roosevelt Avenue stop near the Mead Mansion. Queensbridge is home to a bustling subway station where thousands of New Yorkers of all racial, ethnic and economic classes gather to get on the bus or subway. It is a three block walk to the Kaufman and Silver Cup movie studios which are major sources of employment in Queens and where major television shows and movies are shot. Movie stars working on films can routinely be found eating in restaurants a short walking distance from the housing project that Mead assures us perfectly epitomizes the failure of public housing. Less than half a mile from Queensbridge Housing is the hottest real estate market in New York; it’s called Long Island City which is filled with new coops and condos that routinely sell for in excess of a million dollars. This is a new neighborhood in Queens, construction is happening everywhere, and the fact that the largest public housing project in the United States is a short walk away, has done nothing to detract from the attractiveness of the neighborhood. The idea that public housing projects (including Queensbridge) necessarily represent urban blight simply isn’t true. I think Mead owes an apology to people who live in Queensbridge. When he’s in New York, he’s practically their neighbor.

    As for African Americans fleeing the inner city; why shouldn’t they? As the schools that Mead decries have provided more and more African Americans with an education that is good enough for them to escape poverty and move into the middle and upper middle classes, they want the same things most Americans want-more space, two cars and an easier commute to work. If Mead thinks that suggests a failure of the Blue State model, he has it backwards; it represents the success of the Blue State model. As African Americans increasingly move into the mainstream of American economic life, largely because of the benefits offered by the Blue State model, economically they are behaving like everyone else including the Jews, Irish and Italians who also became upwardly mobile because of the Blue State model. Mead should be celebrating the Blue State model, not criticizing it. He also needs to reflect more critically on what life will be like for future Americans as the race to the bottom in the Blue States becomes a marathon.

    There’s nothing surprising about the fact that African Americans are just like everyone else; as the Blue State model has empowered them educationally and economically they become less eager to shoulder the higher taxes, sterner regulatory environment and more densely packed neighborhoods that enabled them to thrive in the first place. The question is where upward mobility will come from in the future when all that’s left is the failed “red state” model. Is the solution some new form of capitalism that Mead believes is hiding in the bushes waiting to emerge?

    Perhaps, but Professor Mead has already told us not to look to him to reveal the details; after all, that would be like Queen Isabella asking Columbus for a map of the New World before he even launched the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria. Or maybe it’s just that there is no new form of capitalism lurking just over the horizon; just a map to the same grim past that the Blue State model helped to eradicate, at least temporarily.

  • Anthony

    As a native Chicagoan and a witness to more than fifty years of both blue model politics and segregated interests manipulation,the movement of so many Americans (black)from old social arrangements infers recognition that public goods, public services, public facilities, and public interests are yet inequitably distributed via private preferences. Whether new social arrangements can address the 392 year old black and white question in America remains…. As Howard Zinn asked, “is it possible for whites and blacks to live together without hatred” given our developed social/economic predilections and the very real societal/human need to demean the “other” in raising ourselves?

  • Big T

    WigWag couldn’t be more deluded. He writes:
    “As for African Americans fleeing the inner city; why shouldn’t they? As the schools that Mead decries have provided more and more African Americans with an education that is good enough for them to escape poverty and move into the middle and upper middle classes, they want the same things most Americans want-more space, two cars and an easier commute to work.”

    Apparently WigWag knows nothing about those inner city schools – they are very bad and getting worse. People are FLEEING the ghetto, not rising out of it.

    Pelple flee from Mexico to get to the US for economic opportunity. Same with people fleeing NY, ILL, etc To think the blue state model is working is truly delusional.

    WigWag if it works so well, why aren’t people of means flocking to these states? After all, those people have the freedom and means to live anywhere.

  • ThomasD

    “It’s clear that organizations like ACORN and Planned Parenthood (perhaps less as the result of national policy than of rogue employees) have taken advantage of lax regulation to exploit the poor and have failed their duties of public trust.”

    Rogue employees are a fact of life. Ants will always find the spilled sugar. Therefore the abuses come as a direct consequence of the policy and the methods of implementation.

    Ignorance of this reality is a prime reason for the wholesale failure of the Blue model of governance.

  • Tristan Gray

    While I agree the implications for presidential electoral math are pretty clear (though not determinative yet), this migration will also impact the political mix within southern states. Dems may become more competitive in local elections and in state houses. If you look down the road using the expected demographic trends, southern states may begin to resemble long time battlegrounds such as Missouri, where on a local and state level the two parties are much more evenly matched, with power shifting back and forth every few years. So Mead’s assertion of a clear GOP gain is not quite so clear.

  • John

    >>>>> The answer to many of the problems of our poor people is not “less government.” Often, what is needed is smarter government…

    Oh, brother. By definition, government cannot be “smart”, that’s why it fails so spectacularly. Government cannot be “smart” enough to make the decisions for hundreds of millions of people.

    This sounds like the usual idiotic mindset that gave us fifty years of Big Government Republicans like Bob Dole.

    Thanks but no thanks. If government could work, you wouldn’t be writing 10,000 words about its collosal failure.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Actually I probably wouldn’t be writing so many words if government didn’t work at some things. The fact that my person and property are reasonably safe from foreign attack and domestic crime, that my water is safe, that I enjoy the right of free expression all tell the story of, in part, government success. There can be too much government and the wrong kind of government, and government is too blunt an instrument to accomplish everything that state-besotted liberals would like to see it do. Nevertheless, as the Book of Common Prayer tells us, “the abuse of a thing taketh not away its use.” There is a proper sphere for government and within its sphere it can be made more or less competent. More competent is better — within those limits.

  • Nan231

    And thus we have stumbled upon the reason for the great desire of the left to totally destroy the US. If there is one conservative bastion left standing it will forever provide the example of how a better life can be enjoyed. That’s why the left’s yearning for equality really means we want everyone to equally suffer.

  • Astro

    “…Dumb cracker racists…”

    It annoys me when I see the term ‘Cracker’ used as a synonym, or as emphasis, for the word racist. A ‘Cracker’ is a term used for anyone born in Florida or Georgia, and derives from the cattle industry many years ago. No different than ‘Hoosier’ for someone born in Indiana or ‘Buckeye’ for someone born in Ohio. There are as many racists in Indiana and Ohio as in Ga-Fla, but you don’t see ‘Hoosier’ or ‘Buckeye’ used to imply ‘racist’.

    So stop it.

  • Jim.

    Cities — in theory — seem to be for the mobile. You get your degree and you go to the city for a job, that will pay you well enough to afford a house in a decent neighborhood, both ameliorating (for you) and causing (for everyone else) the scarcity-premium problem inevitably afflicting real estate in densely-populated areas.

    What happens to that “everyone else”, who either grew up in a city and didn’t get a degree, or dropped out of the workforce for one reason or another, yet still have to pay the scarcity premium on the roof over their heads? The Blue Social Model says, “Subsidize!” but that simply pumps more money into the system, which can’t possibly move the underlying price point *downward* when land is scarce.

    If cities really want to reinvent themselves, they’d probably have to subsidize the *outflow* of the portions of the population that aren’t hacking it in the high-end workforce. Ah, but “gentrification” has such a nasty odor to it. What to do?

    Well, commuting works. Road infrastructure is a good thing for government to be supporting.

    Better yet — abandon our nation’s foolish prioritizing of the Urbanist model altogether. Only a small minority of Americans actually want to live in a dense urban area — 20% or so. Most of us want to live in the suburbs. Government funding for top-down strategies that put a priority on Urban areas are not just wrong, but wrongheaded… you’re planning to do something that most people don’t want, instead of just not planning at all, and letting peoples’ aggregate decisions determine the course of events.

    If Government wants to help with this, they could find ways to put lower-paying jobs into lower-population-density regions. Freight rail infrastructure is a good thing for government to be supporting.

    Note: please do not publicly fund a game of beggar-thy-neighbor. Sure, spending millions to lure a factory, retail outlet, or ball team to your town puts jobs in your town — but it takes jobs away from the town you lured it from, and it gives the private sector the idea that Government will heavily subsidize their new facilities, which is a corrupt practice.

    Hm. We were supposed to be talking about Race, weren’t we. Well, let me throw this out there then: It was a good thing that WEB DuBois and his supporters won their victories for legal equality. But why did Booker T. Washington’s philosophy — pursuit of economic equality — have to fade so far back in the public discourse? DuBois’ philosophy can’t get you all the way to prosperity; all it can do is remove (some) obstacles. The struggle for economic equality through time-tested, self-reliant means still remains, and remains colorblind.

  • WigWag

    “Apparently WigWag knows nothing about those inner city schools – they are very bad and getting worse. People are FLEEING the ghetto, not rising out of it….WigWag if it works so well, why aren’t people of means flocking to these states? After all, those people have the freedom and means to live anywhere.” (BigT)

    Actually I do know just a little about “inner-city” schools. My son lives less than a mile from the “notorious” housing project known as “Queesnbridge” that Professor Mead castigates in his post. One of his children, my, grandson, goes to a junior high school that is attended by many of the children who live in Queensbridge.

    There is no question that these children have a multitude of issues that tend to stifle their educational achievement. There is also no question that children who live in the more middle class neighborhood adjacent to Queensbridge usually have fewer of these issues holding them back.

    Nevertheless, the public school my grandson attends is reasonably good. The teachers are mostly highly competent and dedicated and there’s nothing about the fact that they are reasonably paid (primarily because of the United Federation of Teachers) that prevents them from doing a good job. The fact that they receive tenure after teaching for three years hasn’t hindered their ability or willingness to work hard to provide all the kids at JHS 204 with a fine education.

    Is this school in the worst of the worst of the “inner-city?” No, it’s not the worst of the worst, but it is in the neighborhood of the housing project that Mead chose to use to exemplify the failures of urban schools and the Blue state model. Blaming teacher unions for the troubles of inner city schools is alot like blaming the Israelis for the attacks of 9/11. The attacks were awful but many of those hostile to Western values define the culprit based on a political agenda that has very little if anything to do with the actual attack itself.

    In my opinion, BigT, your comment, like Mead’s post is filled with other flaws. It’s not only urban school districts in Blue States that are failing; it’s urban and rural districts in Red States as well. Union protections are far less generous in places like Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina than they are in New York, Massachusetts or California; yet the schools are, if anything, worse. Inner city schools in the reddest of red states compare poorly to urban districts that operate in a highly unionized environment. Before talking to me about schools in inner city Detroit or Newark, why don’t you look at achievement in urban schools in Jackson, Memphis or Mead’s native Columbia, SC?

    If inner city schools in places where teachers unions are weak (as they are in much of Red State America) are even worse than they are in places where teachers unions are strong (Blue state America) what does this say about Mead’s argument? And why is it that the Red states trail the Blue states in almost every educational parameter you can think of? Why are literacy rates, high school graduation rates, number of graduates from four year colleges, the number of students reading at grade level, etc. worse in Red states collectively than in Blue states?

    If you read the New York Times article that Professor Mead cites, BigT, you will see that the article documents upwardly mobile African Americans fleeing the city for more prosperous suburbs and it highlights how middle class and upper middle class African Americans are migrating from the North to the South. The New York Times article is not about impoverished inner city residents moving elsewhere, it’s about increasingly successful African Americans moving elsewhere. They move for the same reasons everyone else does; certainly the desire to escape higher taxes is part of it.

    But the question needs to be asked, where did the success of the African American middle class germinate? The answer is self-evident; it was in the Blue States that provided ample educational and social programs that were unavailable elsewhere.

    Perhaps Professor Mead can tell us where he thinks these upwardly mobile African Americans acquired the skills and education needed to seek a better life in the suburbs or lower tax states. It seems to me that most of these newly upwardly mobile people were educated by tenured public school teachers who were paid a salary that places them solidly in the middle of the middle class.

    Why Mead or anyone else thinks school children will be better off when the demise of teachers unions causes teachers’ salaries to fall or their working conditions to deteriorate is truly mysterious. Worse than that, it’s sloppy analysis.

  • FalloutBoy

    “Most Blacks of course still vote blue at the ballot box, but more and more of them are voting red with their feet.”

    Put the second part of this sentence first and you sum up the problem completely. California wasn’t always in dire financial trouble – before the influx of Easterners attracted by the tech boom, California was the land of Reagan and Prop 13.

    Liberals moving to red states will continue to vote for the policies which have made states like California and New York what they are today. Experience seems to count for nothing. Red states begin to turn blue and the symbiosis between public employee unions and the Democratic Party does the rest.

  • Tom Holsinger

    There is a very long-standing relationship between political corruption and over-regulation of private business. This is arguably best seen in New Jersey where Governor Christie made his political fame prosecuting people for such offenses. Corrupt public employee and political machines demand graft for expediting government permit applications, or getting waivers from regulatory requirements.

    This same issue pretty much paralyzes economic growth in urban Latin America.

    The problem is not so much corruption as that over-regulation invites it. The regulations tend to be unnecessary, and are often created in the first place to provide graft opportunities.

    But outright criminal graft is not necessary for over-regulation to inhibit economic activity. Here in California environmental regulations achieve the same effect, though there is often somewhat more round-about graft via regulatory requirements that private businesses donate money to “non-profit” environmental organizations, nominally for environmental mitigation purposes, but officers and employees of those “non-profits” contribute generously to deserving elected officials.

    This is a very widespread scam. As an example, California hospital employees are often de facto required to donate a portion of their salaries to a hospital’s “in-house” charity which just happens to employ retired senior hospital officials and former board members.

  • Pam

    You lost me with your wish for smarter, not smaller, government. The former is a fantasy. Maybe it’s the reason that liberals seem so obtuse, insisting on a Santa Claus when childhood has long passed. Not to play Santa for someone, mind you, but to see Santa come down the chimney with a sack of gifts for them.

    Smaller government is to be desired simply because government is the beast It blunders about, gorging itself. Look at DC, at your own state, at your own town. Only by keeping it small can it be managed at all. If there’s an effective and efficient unit of government, it will be fleeting at best.

    When liberals learn that, maybe there will be hope for them. Until then, they make any chance of a happy Christmas for anyone an impossibility.

  • Sardondi

    “When whites leave failing blue cities and states, the pundits call this racism: all those white Californians fleeing Nancy Pelosi’s utopia for less ambitious jurisdictions where ordinary people can do things like get jobs and buy homes are clearly pathetic trailer trash hicks too dumb, too selfish and above all too racist to understand the gloriously multicultural blue beauty of California today.”

    Gloriously pithy. Lip-smacking, rib-sticking, calorie-dense, power-forward, brain-muscle writing.

    Oh, and Astro: I understand what you’re saying and am aware of the indigenous (well, after the Spaniards brought ’em) cattle of the wiregrass and scrub-land areas of Southeast Alabama, North Florida and South Georgia that go by the name of “cracker cattle”. They were impressively horned and somewhat smaller than other breeds but well adapted to the regions inasmuch as they are quite tolerant of the heat, disease-resistant and hardy. But I don’t think all that many people were aware if them outside the South.

    However, I know since at least the ’40’s “cracker” has been used in the South as a mild racial perjorative* by blacks when referring to whites. I always thought it was a shortening of “soda cracker”, and in fact heard blacks use the full “formal style” of the word on occasion.

    As a boy I had thought the old “Atlanta Crackers” minor-league baseball team was so named because it was an all-white team, as were all teams in the old Southern Association, such as the Birmingham Barons, Memphis Chicks and Chattanooga Lookouts. But I’m not so sure now, since there also existed for much of the life of the Atlanta Crackers its counterpart in the Negro League, the Atlanta Black Crackers. It seems an oxymoron, but the players didn’t name the teams, which were owned by white men, and the name might have been just an attempt to tie in to the enormously popular white team.

    Bottom line: I do think “cracker” was used in the past primarily as a synonym for “southern rural white”. By the 70’s Northerners had narrowed the definition by tagging “racist” onto it.

    *As a kid I always felt much less uncomfortable if I found myself alone in a group of blacks if I overheard myself referred to as a “cracker”, as in “What’s that cracker boy doing here?” It was not nearly as threatening as, for example, “ofay”. And I only heard heard “blue-eyed devil” once, but it was enough that I knew to start running.


    “The focus of activism to help the poor should be a movement to persuade politicians to pass laws (and raise taxes) to hire more bureaucrats and write and enforce more regulations.” I hope you meant “shouldn’t be”, otherwise you are just touting the blue model.

  • Peter

    So, the blacks who have done so much to mess up nothern cities are heading to green pastures. Oh goodie.

    And what, are the blacks are going to work there wonders on the south now?

    Don’t bet on it.

  • Amos

    Luke: yes, Booker T Washington was correct.

    This is an opportunity for Republicans to do some outreach and make their case that they almost certainly won’t be bothered with.

    If they don’t – and they won’t – what you will end up with are more people voting like leftists wrecking the very centrist places they are fleeing to in order to escape the policies they themselves had some (even if small) hand in producing.

  • WigWag

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 10 states with the highest high school graduation rates (listed from best to worst) are: Wisconsin, Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Missouri and Massachusetts. Of these, 7 are reliably blue states with a strong background of teacher unionism; 2 are reliably red states and 1 (New Hampshire) goes both ways.

    The ten states with the worst high school graduation rates (from worst to best) are: Nevada, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and Alaska. Of these 7 are reliably red states; 2 are blue states and 1 (Nevada) swings back and forth.

    If the blue state model and strong teacher unions are to blame for poor education, why do states with strong teacher unions that practice the blue state model outperform (on average) their red state colleagues?

    Another interesting statistic to look at is how many of a state’s students who begin the quest for a bachelors degree actually obtain it. My source is the American Community Survey from 2006. The states that do best in this ranking are (from best to worst): Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Colorado, New Jersey, Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington and New York. Of these, all but three are reliably blue states and those three are New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia which are mixtures of red and blue.

    As might be expected, the failed states are mostly red states: ranked from bad to worst, the states with the lowest number of students who achieve their desire to obtain a bachelors degree are: Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Indiana, Nevada, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia.

    There are few red states which can outperform the blue states on educational achievement even taking into account the poor status of inner city schools. Obviously correlation is not the same as causation but it is uncanny how states with a strong history of teacher union activity perform so much better than states with little or no history of teacher unionism.

    It could be a coincidence, but it could also be that Professor Mead’s reasoning is flawed.

  • Tom Holsinger

    Wig Wag, that was a very entertaining rejoinder. There must have been some fascinating dinner-table conversations.

    BTW, public employee unions do make many urban problems more intractable though, as you and Mr. Mead together point out, possibly unintentionally, the overall dearth of human skills in poor urban areas makes public schools there disasters even in the absence of obstructive public employee unions.

    This was established when the California Department of Public instruction has tried to create urban charter schools to replace totally failed public schools here. It has been very difficult to find adequate school board members for charter schools the state government tries to create in poor urban areas, and this was true even with the California Teachers Association actively trying to help.

    This is why I pointed out, in an earlier thread, how centralization of public school funding at the state level has reduced the instructional value of local school board service, and thereby the dissemination of public administrative skills such service used to impart.


    Wigwag –

    Is your argument that at one of the better inner city schools the teachers are “mostly highly competent?” That doesn’t make much of a case for the Blue educational model. How many mildly competent or incompetent teachers should an inner city unionized school system tolerate? The anecdotes of union protection for incompetence and downright criminal behavior of tenured teachers cannot be ignored and I am sure you would not excuse them.

    The fact that the government can only compel students to attend and not compel parents to be parents is specifically why (Blue) education is failing. After all, who are we to judge? So we will continue to see cohesive, smaller communities outperform the “mostly highly competent” faculties in the inner cities. A small community ready to heap on private shame for bad conduct is wholly better suited for raising competent families (and students) than any cosmopolitan city with its legions of community organizers, social workers and multicultural ethic.

    As one commenter posted above – these better performing school systems that are drawing middle class blacks away from mega cities are not better because they are wealthier, they are wealthier because they are better. And of course the Red states have their share of educational problems, but the fact is – even so – those states are where people are moving.

    In short – I am a proponent of giving every child an opportunity for a public education. I am also a proponent of expelling wilfully underperforming children so that every child – not just the bad apples – has an opportunity for a public education free from thuggery, apathy and nihilism. Where does the unionized Blue model stand on the policy of expulsion for purposeful failure and criminal conduct?

  • NotPropagandized

    Wouldn’t it be great if the black electorate showed a bit more diversity and moved its DemVote% out of the 90’s and joined the American mainstream. All this time, however, the mainstream Black thought process is that whites hold blacks in contempt, when in fact, nearly all whites are cheering for their success and friendship. Funny, the mullahs are telling all the Muslims that the US is hellbent on destroying Islam and they’re believing it. Sounds a lot like Dems and Jackson and Sharpton et al telling Black Americans that conservative whites are against them. Wake up to the lie, America.

  • Jerome Barry

    The editorial board of the WSJ much choose a voice to replace Herbert. I predict they will choose someone proposed by CAIR.

  • commentname

    While I tend to agree with WRM, I think what you are seeing is only the very rich can live in cities like Ny. Its not about race, its about the massive gap in income. So places like NYC will end up very rich and white and everyone else who is not rich will leave for other places where there are jobs

  • Craig

    In a country where people are freely mobile they will be freely mobile is the moral.

    My question is why people ever thought that african americans would behave differently than other minorities. In my suburban neighborhood african american families have been moving in in great number lately, following aisians and jews before that. The mistake in the democratic party is that you can hold on to these traditional urban coalitions. Always a big mistake in a country that encouraged people to be mobile.

  • section9

    Wig Wag-
    The point remains that you have yet to answer: if the Blue Model that Mead describes is so efficient and produces such a great product, why are California, New York and Illionois not only losing black citizens, but white citizens as well?

    Why aren’t people flocking to these states, but moving to low-tax, less-Nanny State places such as Texas and Tennessee?

    You can make all the rationalizations you want. Mead’s general assertion is correct: people vote with their feet.

  • alan

    It’s nice that you want to discuss the problem. It’s unfortunate that you don’t want to look at the root of the problem. The root of the problem is single parent families. Without two parents, the family struggles for survival, the children don’t have a role model to see what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father, and they don’t have a coach to help them learn. This is how welfare is destroying and punishing families. This is why so much of a teacher’s time is wasted on babysitting. Focus on this single issue, and you will make a huge improvement in kids’ lives.

  • Brother

    That’s great to hear. Leaving public housing and the blue states that want to keep them there. Now, here’s a word of advise – when you go to red states, please check your liberalism in at the border! Don’t go into red states with the intent of spreading your liberal idealogies that you’ve been used to. These statements apply not only to Blacks but to every race of people moving from blue to red states.

  • Falcon78

    Two points: I’m in the Washington DC area and the DC city government and Mayor Gray are being rightfully criticized and scrutinized for his early missteps with cronyism, nepotism, incompetence and the like. It doesn’t appear anything–anything–in DC city government can be done just normally and regularly like everyone just doing thier job. DC is never going to change unless they see it can be done differently–and is. Visit any number of large and small town communities in the Midwest. Perfect and free of corruption–no, but many times better than DC.

    Bob Herbert’s column was, as you explained, pretty predictable. He always could explain what’s wrong, but never had any solutions. He never spent any times laying out how to do it different. And, heaven forbid, critique how the black community is just broken. Broken.

  • Ed

    Thanks for a well-informed article describing the failure of Progressive policies, including redistribution of wealth, welfare, favoritism to public service unions, and reverse discrimination. Now if we can only change our nation’s course after the 2012 elections by making Obama a one-term President.

  • Laurent

    NYC’s public housing (like the Queensbridge Houses that Wigwag refers to)has succeded, and other cities’ (like Chicago) have failed and often had to be demolished, because NYC routinely cheated on and disregarded Federal rules concerning income eligibility. NYC allowed people with incomes well above Federal limits to live in public housing. Other cities that obeyed Federal income limits saw their public housing become uninhabitable. Meanwhile, original African-Americans continue to move out of NYC and to the sunbelt for jobs, safety and lower living costs. The only reason the black population of NYC hasn’t collapsed is continued immigration from Haiti, the West Indies and Africa itself. Blacks are starting record numbers of new businesses across the country, but not in the business-hostile environments of the “blue” cities.

  • Goodmongo

    The bigest problem is the blacks move to the red state, vote blue and then in 20 to 30 years the dems there will wreck those states.

  • Iska Waran

    To #8. The “achievement gap” can be shrunk one of two ways: raise black achievement or lower white achievement. States like MN & WI that high a high “achievement gap” have that gap in large part because the white kids score so high. We should focus less on supposed “gaps” than on absolute scores.
    Your point about liberal policies being, at best, irrelevant to blacks’ social improvement is, of course, correct.

    Ellis Cose has written convincingly that a major impediment to black Americans’ economic progress is the continuing desire to cluster together rather than integrate. That’s understandable given historical white animosity, but, to be blunt, it’s not 1950 or even 1970 anymore. No other ethnic group – Asians, African immigrants, East Indians, etc. – has chosen to self-segregate in the manner than black Americans continue to (Although Latinos come close – to their detriment). The story of ethic groups’ rise in economic power is the story of their integration into the wider (yes, whiter) society.

    Politically liberal social policies can’t influence economic success nearly as much as intact families and avoiding the social pathologies of the inner-city poor. It’s no wonder blacks are deserting bastions of liberalism. The only wonder is what took them so long.

  • Bob Thompson

    Compound sentences are set off with a conjunction AND a comma.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      As usual in such situations, we will follow best corporate practice: the interns will be flogged, health care co-pays for regular employees will be increased, and senior management will get a bonus for responding so quickly to the problem.

  • Henry Miller

    Excellent article–up until Professor Mead starts making comments concerning “smarter government,” “massive investment,” and other things that betray his naive trust in big government.

    The factor that defines extensive government involvement in society–Big Government–is wealth. Huge bucketfuls of taxpayer money intended to be “invested” (the modern euphemism for “spent”) in “improving infrastructure,” “improving education,” “making medical care more available,” or whatever. Unfortunately, huge bucketfuls of money invariably attract those who would steal it–never in history has a government been able to protect taxpayer money from fraud or theft by corruption. Never in history has government been able to protect the citizens it governs from the abuses of the power of government. Government, on any large scale, cannot work, not in the long run.

    If we must have government–and, sadly we must–it must be kept as small, as weak, and as inoffensive as possible. Governments always, always, always wind up economically, politically, and socially abusing their own citizens, and thus always, eventually, fail.

    The bigger they are, the harder, and faster, they fall, and the more damage the do when they ultimately, inevitably, collapse.

  • larry

    Herbert was … and continues to be … a complete fool … totally divorced from reality.

  • WWD

    The census says it all. The core blue states are collapsing, and will completely implode as the property tax revenues roll in the property collapse.

    It is not a race thing. It is a class thing. Any one who has the “opportunity” to move is leaving. What happens when 70% of your population is on welfare assistance?

    The once proud urban centers are an anachronism. Cities evolved to co-locate mass labor near industry. Today that industry is gone, as are the mass work forces. Spending any more funds on urban renewal does not make much sense now.

  • JCtoronto

    If the study was based on education instead of race, you’re more likely to get a true representation of what is happening.

    Blacks, minorities, whites move to where job opportunities are. And the jobs are still with well run states friendly to flourishing and growing businesses.

    States with governments that treat their small businesses like cash cows are more likely to see entrepreneurs, professionals move to seek better prospects.

    People are not necesssarily voting for red states, next election, they might even vote democrat, without thinking.

    The ones who do understand that the race politics of the democratic party are holding back them back are the ones more likely to turn their backs on this and become successful individuals and build families and become a part of successful communities. More and more will cease to look at each other’s color and more at what they can contribute.

  • Eli Katz

    Walter, you suggest that whites and blacks have left northeastern cities for the same reason: high taxes and poor government services.

    You may be right. But I would like to see some evidence that backs up this point. The story of white flight of the ’70s and ’80s, as far as I know, had little to do with public-sector inefficiencies and much to do with an out-of-control crime rate. The crime rate has now returned to reasonable levels and, thus, is no longer influencing people’s choices to the same degree.

    More important, are we sure that blacks are leaving Illinois, New York, and Michigan for all the same reasons? People leaving Detroit are likely doing so because the city is a ruined wasteland, devoid of economic opportunities. But it doesn’t seem likely that the black exodus from New York is driven by the same factors. More probably, the high cost of living in New York is encouraging more and more people to move. So it may be the case that different causes (Detroit’s failure and New York’s increasing success) are leading to the same outcome (black migration).

    So I’m not convinced that your causal story is complete or even focused on the major causal mechanisms.

  • Jacob

    A few points.
    1. Even after the 2008 financial collapse the urban cost of living has remained extraordinarily high. This is not due to some social democratic “blue social model.” This is due to the policies of the last 30 years which have deregulating markets and created the subprime mortgage fiasco which hit the assets of the black middle class particularly hard. Affording a decent apartment in New York City on $35k a year is hard to do. My hypothesis is that most of these people have been priced out of the city, yet I have no proof. Correlation is not causation. Although Blow’s police brutality assertion is questionable, I sincerely doubt that these people are overly excited to work in nonunionized shops for lower wages and scarce benefits in those “right to work states” like Alabama.

    2.LBJs “war on poverty” was only halting applied and never really pursued to its fullest potential. This argument is like one about the 2009 stimulus package. Many advocates said that the program was too modest to make a substantial difference from the outset. The opponents of such programs used the mixed results as evidence of such programs ineffectiveness. Republican politicians have successfully exploited the perception that social welfare programs benefit minorities more than whites ever since the 1960s for electoral gain. Reagan’s “welfare queens” being a prime example.

    3.Talking about poverty is not sexy. That Herbert is seen as boring old scold (when the level of inequality in the US is higher than it has been at any in the post war era) says something sad about the state of our public discourse on this issue.

  • Rick Vaughn

    WigWag said: “There are few red states which can outperform the blue states on educational achievement even taking into account the poor status of inner city schools. Obviously correlation is not the same as causation but it is uncanny how states with a strong history of teacher union activity perform so much better than states with little or no history of teacher unionism.”

    For your consideration:

    On test scores, virtually every subgroup (4th and 8th graders, by race/ethnicity and subject) in Texas outperformed the same subgroup in Wisconsin. The overall numbers in Texas are lower because the minority share of the Texas schoolchild population is so much higher than the share in Wisconsin and scores for minority children (in both states) still lag those of white children.

  • delmar jackson

    The writer leaves out the massive immigration that has driven down black wages and eroded job opportunities, all the while teaching the new immigrants how to game the system with affirmative action, ethnic advocacy groups and minority set asides that are cutting into the social justice pie once reserved for blacks but now offered everyone on the planet that is not white.

  • Carlos Encarnacion

    Texans welcome all people of race and color so long as they are here legally. What Texans don’t want are people who are stronger than mules sticking out their hands for a handout. My 70 year old mother still works at McDonald’s to make ends meet. Get my drift?

  • coniglio

    Race does not enter into this. As we have seen in other parts of the country, what is happening here is the movement of the perpetrators and victims from Liberal policy states that have suffered the consequences of those policies, the bankruptcy, the wonderful schools, the degeneracy, the crime and vandalism, the projects etc. The problem is that they bring really bad voting habits that will only recreate the gory scene. Then,again,they will sit and wonder what happened. Liberal statist, unionist, public education, financial and political policies, the whole world view are nothing but a wrecking ball.

  • Metadata

    A truly brilliant, and almost comprehensive, critique of what I call “leftyism” — that collection of feel-good pathologies that find their fullest expression in the self-parodying idiocy and hypocrisy of NYTimes editorials. But if I send this to any of my lefty friends — the ones who actually read and believe in Times editorials, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich, Kruggles — they won’t get it, more’s the pity. The need to suspend disbelief is too strong.
    BTW, someone up near the top of the comments said that blacks are “reflexively liberal.” No, they’re reflexive supporters of the Democratic Party because they perceived — rightly, to some extent — that the Republican Party became the repository of Jim Crowism after the ’60s (at least in the southern and some other states). So although they might be much more conservative than the Democratic Party generally is (as indicated in their referenda votes), they’re still a reliable bloc vote for the left. Especially when a man “of color” is at the head of the party.

  • Carl

    “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 10 states with the highest high school graduation rates (listed from best to worst) are: Wisconsin, Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Missouri and Massachusetts. Of these, 7 are reliably blue states with a strong background of teacher unionism; 2 are reliably red states and 1 (New Hampshire) goes both ways.

    The ten states with the worst high school graduation rates (from worst to best) are: Nevada, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and Alaska. Of these 7 are reliably red states; 2 are blue states and 1 (Nevada) swings back and forth.”

    Besides, politics, what is the other and more significant difference in the two lists? Minnesota, Vermont, Nebraska vs. South Carolina, Mississippi, DC.

    Go to the NAEP website. Look at any overall scoring, and all you get is a rough proxy for state racial composition. Look at results by race/ethnicity and you’ll get a better idea of who’s truly educating?

  • David Reich

    “Most Blacks of course still vote blue at the ballot box, but more and more of them are voting red with their feet. They are betting in massive numbers that southern Republicans will do a better job of helping their kids get good educations, police their communities more fairly (see this article, where NYT columnist Charles Blow blames the Black flight from New York on the racist police), offer more affordable housing and create a better business climate. Over time, this is going to affect the balance of power in Black politics and pull the Democratic Party (and the national consensus) to the right.”

    Affordable housing is the key. Houses in the South are very cheap–as in an underdeveloped country. As for the idea that these changes will move the Democratic Party to the right, it’s equally possible that it will move southern politics to the left, by making it possible for Democrats to win in states where the GOP has had a lock ever since Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

  • NoDogMa

    I guess when Black’s start making money and become “rich” they enjoy the Tax the Rich mantra of the leftists just like everyone else. They vote with their feet and go to lower tax states where labor unions have not inflated the cost of state government beyond supportable limits.

  • Ghost Luggage

    Equality is not equivalence. Unless and until blue politics understands this, the leftist model is merely modernized racism.

  • WigWag

    “Is your argument that at one of the better inner city schools the teachers are “mostly highly competent?” That doesn’t make much of a case for the Blue educational model. How many mildly competent or incompetent teachers should an inner city unionized school system tolerate?” (

    Yes, that’s my argument; I think a school where most of the teachers are highly competent is pretty good. Do you think that most schools in the red states employ a staff that is universally highly competent? If so, how do you account for the fact that red states do no better than blue states at educating children and by many measurements actually do worse? Do you think every single doctor or nurse at your average hospital is highly competent or do you think that most hospitals might just have a few doctors or nurses who are average or even below average? What about athletes on the New York Yankees or New England Patriots; are every one of them superstars?

    Blaming teachers unions for the inadequacies of public schools is like blaming the meteorologist for the weather. The evidence clearly demonstrates that school systems where teachers are unionized do as well or better than schools systems where teachers have weak unions or no unions. Those who castigate teachers unions for the problems of public schools really don’t care about the academic performance of school children; they care about advancing an ideology that they believe in regardless of what the data actually shows.

    One can only marvel at the sheer illogic of the suggestion that denying teachers the protections afforded by unions will insure a better educational experience for children. The idea that the way to attract higher qualified people to the teaching profession is to reduce their compensation, remove their job protection and increase the class size they have to work with is simply preposterous.

    “Wig Wag-The point remains that you have yet to answer: if the Blue Model that Mead describes is so efficient and produces such a great product, why are California, New York and Illinois not only losing black citizens, but white citizens as well?” (Section9-#38)

    Respectfully, I think it’s you who have missed the point. I have explained why middle class and upper middle class African Americans are leaving the Blue states. I’ve said that they are leaving the Blue states for the same reason other Americans are.

    Here is precisely what I said in an earlier comment,

    “As the schools that Mead decries have provided more and more African Americans with an education that is good enough for them to escape poverty and move into the middle and upper middle classes, they want the same things most Americans want-more space, two cars and an easier commute to work. If Mead thinks that suggests a failure of the Blue State model, he has it backwards; it represents the success of the Blue State model. As African Americans increasingly move into the mainstream of American economic life, largely because of the benefits offered by the Blue State model, economically they are behaving like everyone else including the Jews, Irish and Italians who also became upwardly mobile because of the Blue State model.” And like Jews, Irish, Italians and other ethnic minority groups, as their upward mobility provides them with increasing spending power, African Americans are leaving the cities and moving to the suburbs and to red states where taxes are lower. This is entirely predictable.

    To be more precise, very few of the Blue states are actually experiencing a reduction in population; mostly it’s that the blue state population is growing significantly more slowly than the population of many red states.

    What accounts for this? I’m no demographer but my guess is that it’s many things. The better weather in the red states in the south is certainly a part of it. The aging of the population which results in people desiring a warmer climate to retire in is certainly a part of it. The desire to escape the higher taxes of the blue states certainly plays a role. The lower cost of real estate in many red states is undoubtedly an element. The desire to open businesses in a more relaxed regulatory environment may play a minor role. The fact that the major source of immigrants is no longer from the East or the West but is instead from the South has played a major role in population growth in the red states.

    The fastest growing states (in rank order) in the United States in 2010 were Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado and South Carolina. (Source: CNN)

    In a significant number of these states the rapid population growth can be explained in large part by the fact that they have become retirement Meccas. New residents of these states don’t spend alot of time thinking about the quality of the schools (their kids have left the nest) or the nature of business regulations (they don’t work-they’re retired). In many of these states, immigration from Mexico and Central and South America has swelled the populations. In addition, Hispanic Americans, who disproportionately live in southern states, exceed most other population subgroups in terms of fecundity.

    Professor Mead’s suggestion in this essay that Americans are fleeing the blue states in favor of the red states because the red states have better schools, fewer public housing projects and a less hostile regulatory environment is simply belied by the facts. Much of the shift can be explained by the fact that the Hispanic population is growing faster than any other population and by the fact that the American population is aging and that tens of millions of baby boomers are reaching retirement age. I’m not suggesting that this accounts for everything under discussion here, but it certainly accounts for a lot.

    I want to be respectful because I think Mead is one of the smartest and most insightful analysts that can be found anywhere, but this particular post of his isn’t thoughtful analysis, it’s little more than a rant.

  • Peter

    The Left just doesn’t get it. Half are just well-intentioned dotes who simply can’t grasp or accept the evidence of how liberal policies have failed. We see this around the world in almost all developed nations. The liberal response is: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes. Whenever the evidence it too overwhelming they contend either that not enough money or resources were devoted to whatever failing program they are addressing to make it successful, or that conservatives did something that hampered or destroyed the chances for its success.

    The other half are those who derive power from maintaining liberal programs, from politicians to bureaucrats. Without establishing and maintaining the dependency of the various groups who come to rely on these programs these people lose their power and status directly derived from allocating funds, overseeing departments or just working within one taxpayer supported system or another.

    The unfortunate thing about the trend analyzed in the article is that blacks leaving one failed state to pursue better opportunties still tend to maintain their political views, at least for some considerable period of time, and through their voting help reestablish similar policies that brought about the situation from which they were escaping.

  • Mike M.

    On the subject of education and blue state governance, USA Today has just reported evidence of a potential major scandal in the Washington D.C. public school system.

    It appears that many of the standardized tests there show a significantly higher amount of erasures than normal. The suspicion is that teachers and administrators took it upon themselves to correct their own students in order to make the performance appear better than it really was.

  • Nathan Jarrett

    I thought this was a good article. Some of the counterpoints raised in the posts are good too. It seems that when the money runs out to pay for the social safety net loved by liberals everyone begins pointing fingers at the other and blaming red or blue or purple for the outcome.

    I have lived all over the Western United States and while many political arguments over blue states and red tates follows a north-south divide I would not want to raise a family and send my children to school in New York, or in Mississippi. I have lived in Red Texas and Arizona, Blue Washington and Oregon, and Purple Colorado. I think these ‘younger’ states with less rigid systems and fewer entrenched failures have a much more positive future.
    I share some of Mead’s disdain for the Blue Social model, but some of the more conservative states back East still have a lot of corruption engrained into the structure of their government and society.

    I have driven around Nashville, Littlerock, Atlanta and see a lot of run-down areas dominated by liquor stores, and run down store fronts.

    I grew up thinking of myself as a Southerner in Texas, but I am more and more identifying myself as a Westerner. I want no part in propping up the old worn-out systems and cities of the East whether they are Blue Red or Green.

    Maybe this is how Davy Crockett felt when he said ‘Y’all can go to Hell, I’m going to Texas’

    Yes we have some problems out here with illegal immigration, but if our biggest problem is that there are hard working Mexicans who want to come up here to earn a better life, than things should be pretty bright for the Western states.

  • Tina

    I didn’t see any responsibility taken by those who “flee” the place that they ruined. They continue to vote year after year for the same kind of politicians, they don’t take an interest in their kid’s education, they look the other way at crime and blight. Then, when they finally wake up and look around and are disgusted with the mess THEY created, they move to a new area and proceed to ruin it as well. How you live your life doesn’t change just because you have a new house. Until you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions, to vote for people who may actually want to help you instead of allowing you to blame the other political party for your fate, and you make sure your kids are actually getting an education, you’ll never improve your lot in life.

  • Who cares!!!! When will we stop obsessing about black people? They make up 12-14% of the population yet take up over 50% of our domestic discourse and time. Basta!

    As a decade-long resident of the Big Bagel, I find it very hard to believe there are fewer blacks here today than ten or twenty years ago. Perhaps as a percentage, but the overall population explosion in the tri-state area is suffocating. And don’t forget to count the Haitians, Dominicans, East Indians, West Africans and all the other gifts our open immigration policy has bestowed! There may be fewer African-Americans but there are a hell of a lot more blacks.

  • bill

    Interesting numbers for graduation rates…no mention of how many can actually read and write though….

  • My comment to Raymond, I love your dog!!! I really got a chuckle out of it. On the lighter side I wonder what the world would be like if there were no racism, and an abundance of common sense?

  • Markos1120

    Wig Wag
    Most students white or black, rich or poor, urban or country, who succeed in schools are supported not only by a Tenured Union Teacher but by a strong and loving Parents or Family who is involved on a daily basis in the child’s life and education. No Blue State legislation or bureaucracy can mandate being an involved Parent.
    Your post smacks of a paid poster or a Union official as you point only to the Success of the Tenured Union Teachers as a reason for any success of the upwardly mobile. A motivated student with the proper Adult spurring them on at home can thrive with or without a good teacher. Teaching is a noble profession, being a responsible parent is a declining priority in society.
    Any contention that the first priority of the Unions is the non dues paying Students is fantasy.
    We need stronger families more than we need stronger Unions.

  • George

    No American city is a social welfare paradise. The U.S. has the weakest and least funded social programs of any modern industrial nation. And by far the most income disparity. American conservatives can hate on Europe and Canada all they like. But, governments there know American style income inequality would create revolution. Partly because poor people in those countries can’t be dismissed as being from another ethnic group the way they are in the US.
    Why are blacks leaving the North? If you have to work in a crappy job because underfunded schools don’t give you the skills to do anything else for a wage that would be about 50% under the poverty level anywhere else in the civilized world — you may as well do it where’s it warm. The only American social success in the last 50 years has been reducing overt racism in your South.

  • Tom Holsinger


    I take it you are unfamiliar with urban radio stations marketed to black audiences, and in particular the political advertising aired on them during campaign season. American urban blacks as a market are very credulous concerning certain messages, and as prone to “magical thinking” as Arabs and Asians.

    Wig Wag,

    You can get any data to confess if you torture it enough. American whites are comparable Europeans and Asians in educational attainment. American educational statistics overall are dragged down by the educational deficiencies of Hispanics and blacks.

    The educational deficiencies of Hispanics and blacks relative to whites are far, far more due to self-defeating cultural patterns of very long standing than to any other factor or group of factors. The self-defeating cultural patterns are in fact dominant in these disparities in educational achievement.

  • Michael M Beard

    This just great that Blacks are leaving these states. I happen to live in Atlanta Georgia and there are a lot of Blacks from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles that live here. But you let them tell it these cities don’t have any problems of race. They are always talking bad about Atlanta. They have nothing positive to say about Morehouse College or the late Maynard Jackson. I wish the all will go back where they come from. They seeem to know everything and most of them have nothing going for them.

  • Bobblehead

    Immigration and changes to government housing are most likely the reasons. Even the most affluent suburbs are now forced by the Federal Government to provide land for public housing.

  • Uncle Thomas

    I’m fairly certain the article related that educated blacks were leaving in droves – so the liberal policies are retaining what they’ve created.
    Believe it or not, there ARE blacks who wish to succeed – these are the folks who will be welcomed to the South. And, from the discussions I’ve had, they tend to “separate” themselves as far as possible from their welfare class “brethren”.
    So the liberal policies have succeeded. The purpose seems to be to create a perpetual voting bloc for policies that continue to destroy the very people they were intended to “help”.
    It’s nice to see that the few people who actually took advantage of that help are waking up and getting the hell out.
    Welcome to the South. Where you’re from, they taught you that we were all backwards bigots. Hopefully our actions will speak louder than their hollow, bigoted words.

  • Basil Manos

    Kind of like locusts leaving the infested area. This is the future of the Obama philosophy of bringing the Third World right to our front door. The party of Schumer and Weiner and Pelosi ……ugh.

  • Old School

    Wow, Mead covered a lot of ground on this one. I guess that after all that race consciousness and emphasis on cultural differences, our citizens are a lot less diverse than many would believe. Once you grow up, observe life and maybe have some kids to care for, your goals (for all demographic groups) converge. Responsible government, quality education and job opportunities get us pointed in the same direction. And thank you, Mead, for the comments making kids the priority over the unions and bureaucrats – the statistical evidence is that despite increases in education expenditures, no more money is making it too the classroom. Common sense is way overdue.

  • Noddy

    If the Blacks departing the hopeless northern cities bring their attitudes, behavior and politics with them the spread of this contagion will sicken the country in general. Let’s hope not.

  • Steve Jenks

    Markets work, or to put it another way, individuals respond to incentives both positive and negative. Educated middle income people looking for an environment that will reward their work and allow them to raise a family are moving away from high tax, high regulation, liberal states. The trend is irrefutable. Markets always work.

    As the Blue Model has broken down, the job market has become more fluid allowing more knowledge based industries to move and create jobs in lower cost/higher quality environments. However, as WRM has illustrated, government and education have not evolved away from the Blue Model resulting in stagnating and sclerotic organizations that exist to serve themselves and not their constituents.

    My question for WRM is; how can the same market forces that have reshaped business into a highly efficient, constantly evolving global network be brought to bear on these centrally planned, rigid government and education organizations?

  • Wendy

    As a former teacher (20 years) and administrator for 8 1/2 years, I believe I know first-hand what goes on in the schools.

    1. America is not #1 any longer; why?
    2. Our schools are teaching crap. They certainly do not get the great education their parents (some) and grandparents (my age) received.
    3. The red and blue state argument is statistics. Anyone can twist statistics to their own agenda. Our kids cannot keep pace with China and Japan and we may never bridge the gap.
    4. Teachers are not allowed to hold children back even if they can’t read at their grade level.
    5. Children who come from certain ‘backgrounds’ are at a distinct disadvantage when they first come to school. Teachers cannot make up for cultural challenges…not their jobs. They cannot teach two or three groups with different curricula.
    6. Many children don’t speak English. Duh.
    7. Some teachers who speak only English, have to learn Spanish in our State and they pay for it themselves. Really?
    8. Teachers no longer teach the three R’s. They have to teach multicultural crap when the children need to learn to read. They have to teach health, music, art, P.E. and sex ed, etc.
    9. Good teachers in my district were loaded up with twice as many children as the State dictated. Have you ever seen a 4th grade teacher teach 32 kids at a time…in a portable classroom?
    10. Oh, and the $$ doesn’t always go to children. Most districts are top-heavy with admin they don’t need.
    11. Administrators often tie the hands of teacherz who are excellent. Case in point, a superintendent once told me that if I ever taught the teachers how to teach phonics, I’d be fired.
    12. Teachers are ordered to teach to all the state an federal guidelines, which often are absolutely stupid, unnecessary and, do not help educate our students.
    13. There are over 300 New York teachers who are incompetent and still get paid. They spend their days in “rubber rooms”. I don’t know about you, but New Yorkers should be screaming bloody murder. Ah, unions won’t allow it.

    I could go on forever after spending 30 years in public and charter schools, but I’m sure I’ve said enough.

    Dr. Wendy Tuch, Ph.D.

  • Virginia

    Oh no. This has been happening in the South for decades – the northerners left their North because they didn’t like it, transplanted to the South, then complained that it wasn’t like “home” and did everything they could to make it what they’d left (and then mess that up). If the blacks want to leave the mess they voted for, fine – provided that they’ve learned a lesson or two and won’t inflict the same pain on the rest of us by continuing to be Democrat zombies.

  • JP

    What a biased, poorly reasoned crock this article was.

    The red states are all net recipients of federal funds, and the blue states are all net contributors to the treasury. Therefore, the blue states are subsidizing the red states, and have been for years. Make the “low tax” red states pay their own way, for once, and see how great things are there.

  • JP

    What black person in their right mind would EVER vote for a Republican??

    If blacks, and others, are moving away from net contributors in the North, to net recipients, in the South, fine, but under no circumstances should they ever vote for the unreconstructed racists of the Republican party.

  • john werneken

    Excellent piece. You sir TG are NOT predictble, nor boring.

    I don’t happen to be Black but all my closest friends are. I doubt many of them would agree with you, perhaps because they are in their 60’s, as am I. There is a tendency to be reflexive not reflective about who is your ally and who is the opposite, and I would imagine that’s probably so accross the political rainbow.

    You are RIGHT about what’s wrong and about what does not work, as well as about what seems to be working. That’s pretty darn good. Whether more of the Hayek thesis will do more good, or whether instead we need to focus next on fixing publically funded safety net and educational, research, and infrastructure programs, i don’t know.

    You have put forward a good yardstick for our moral economic and political choices: how they affect those less fortunate than most of us are or see ourselves as becoming.

  • Uncle Thomas

    @JP: Thanks for continuing the bigotry – but the sad truth of the matter is that people who sadly call themselves “liberals” have done nothing but trap poor blacks into a vicious cycle of dependency on the government.
    Jesus Christ was a true “progressive” and a true “liberal”. So if I’m a racist, then you’re just an idiot who can do nothing more than repeat your party line. Wake up – both parties are evil, corporate scum.
    But given the choice, I’ll vote for the one that at least “pretends” to wish to limit its own power 🙂 Laughable, I know. I don’t think I’ve voted FOR anyone in so long, it’s disgusting.
    But continue on with your bigoted reasoning that everyone who doesn’t agree with you is a racist. If you look up the term, you’d realize that you can’t really call someone else a bigot without practicing bigotry. It’s ridiculous, as is this game we’re all caught up in.
    Spend your free time researching who to vote for in American Idol. Time better spent than becoming “enraged” over some fiction someone has sold you.

  • Raul Sanchez

    Both Bob Herbert and Prof. Mead, like Pres. Obama, have milked Black victim-hood and affirmative action to build their respective careers.

    Their time has pasted.

  • Tom Holsinger

    Uncle Thomas,

    I suspect the migration patterns Mr. Mead describes are principally motivated by family concerns (i.e., families with children) about crime and housing prices. It would be very interesting to see some data and analysis here. Even Wig Wag might go “hmmmm” if the proportion of 2-parent families in such North-to-South black is several times the proportion of 2-parent black families in the areas the immigrants are leaving.


    You’re new here. I can tell. It’s called tax “expenditures” aka tax subsidies. The dollar value of federal tax deductions for state & local taxes plus mortgage interest acting as subsidies of blue states by red states far, far outweighs differences in appropriated federal expenditures between states.

  • Tom O

    What black person in their right mind would EVER vote for a Republican?

    The ones who are sick and embarrased from the race baitings of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The ones who recognize that the creation by the Democratic Party of a permanent underclass of American citizens has served to deprive us all of true diversity adn at the same time keep us dependent on hand outs and a generally terrible quality of life for generations! The ones who are sick and tired of their children not being able to compete educationally because the Democratic party is beholden to Teachers Unions who set low expectations. Time for the masses to grow up and see through the race baiting provided for years by the un-Democratic Party

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    The comments about how upwardly mobile Blacks will take their Democratic Party voting to other states is partly true — but what about their children? Will Blacks cognitively infiltrate the South or will the South cognitively infiltrate Blacks? As Shakespeare and Max Weber might say: “That is the question!”

  • JPM77


    You’re missing the point, and you are basing your conclusions on some rather false premises. I don’t disagree that there are places in generally non-unionized areas which fare as poorly or sometimes worse than in heavily unionized places, education-wise. But the alternative to union run urban schools is not just doing nothing and approaching education like a poorly run low resource rural area either.

    Unions don’t want people to be aware of it, but there is actually another option, real reform. We’ve seen the experiements and experience of different Charter schools, and there have been some extraordinarily impressive results there. They work because they remove the anti-competitive nature of the unions, and instill the competitive nature that works wonders for efficiency in the rest of economy and markets. Union leadership fears this because it decisively proves they aren’t necessary, it’s possible to have good schools at a decent price with teachers making a decent wage when you properly align all the incentives and have things working competitively.

    This is a threat to Union domination and hegemony though, so they throw out spurious arguments and make a stink, because even though it’s often better for the teachers themselves, and the students especially the two stakeholders that matter most, Union leadership takes a hit and that they can not abide. That’s why they focus on inserting onerous work rules and gumming things up as much as possible, it’s how they try to maintain control, no matter the cost to the teachers or the students.

    It’s a myth that Union leadership always works on the behalf of the Union membership. Sometimes they do, and they usually need to square with a democratic election, but much like regular politics, it’s easy to delude and disguise your actions with the electorate enough to get support for bad policies. So, a lot of times you get the Union leadership doing things like stubbornly refusing to take small pay cut concessions to save jobs, and would rather see people put out of work so they can instead try to gin up support and demonize their employers as being callous. But, some people fall for it.

    Circling back around though, Union leadership can be cut out, unions can be cut out, and teachers and students can still thrive, and in fact given the improvements in education delivery discovered over the years can do much better when the Unions roadblock rules are removed from the process. That’s the core issue, Unions are now the primary impediment to reform and making schools better.

    And, your argument on behalf of tenure is entirely off base. You talk as though teacher experience is the only relevant factor. It isn’t. Teacher experience is only one relevant factor. The profession also has a relatively high degree of burn out associated with it, and that matters too. When you have tenure protecting teachers who may have a lot of experience and may have once been good, but have burned out and aren’t really working competitively to continue delivering high quality education, it’s time to replace them with better and more economically efficient alternatives. Lower cost isn’t the only issue, and performance itself needs to be the real determining factor. But Unions get in the way of that too. They’d rather see a great new teacher who may have some of the best most up to date techniques learned out of school get laid off, than an older teacher who may have more experience but that hasn’t translated that to better results. That’s wrong on so many levels. It’s why you always see Union leadership fight against higher standards of accountability on teachers too. It’s perverse, and it’s failing the ultimate stakeholder in the entire process, the students themselves.

    Look, no one intelligent wants to see teachers get a raw deal, if you don’t compensate well you will not attract quality candidates and you won’t be able to hire discriminately and competitively.

    But the Union generated inefficiency needs to go. It’s holding us back, as a nation, and terribly failing many of our most vulnerable citizens. That’s unconscionable, and utterly intolerable going forward. And it doesn’t matter how many straw men you throw out to dance around it, it’s not going to make reality any different.


    You can’t talk about spending more money on pet projects such as rebuilding inner cities, without talking about restoring fiscal responsibility. The emphasis should be placed on reducing taxes and regulations that stifle job growth.
    For the municipal, state, and federal budgets, consider fiscal responsibility such as eliminating government programs, and funding remaining programs through fees instead of taxes.

  • Ayomi Bayo

    When I read all the racist remarks by these Anglo writers I feel sorry for them. They forget that employers would not hire Black, hence Affirmative Action. They believe that Black are lazy and do not want to work. Under this pretest, they bring in migrant workers. Oh also ship jobs initially from urban areas to the south, then from the south to Mexico and from Mexico to China. All what business wants is cheap labor

    Now we have China’s industry killing American manufacturers and immigrant; legal and illegal all over the country (I am an immigrant from West Africa).Very soon, the Hispanic will be the majority group in the nation. Texas is gone and so is New Mexico and California.

    Very soon, you, Anglos will be in the minority, simply because big business want cheap labor and you buy into the lies that Blacks do not want to work. I pity you

    And Red states are right at the bottom of the heap by all standards. Please make the governor of Mississippi the next president and he can drag the country down to the level Mississippi is

  • Ayomi Bayo

    Red states are welfare states; period. They take more than they put in the national treasury.

    It was money from the northeast and midwest that enable the Hoover Dam to be built and allow Arizona to thrive.

    I wish Democrats will stop fighting and let these programs be cut. As an immigrant,I was always puzzled while the north east liberals vote for social programs that sustain southern states and the poor southern states always vote for the military.
    Cut defense, close bases in the south, cut food stamp and let see what Iowa farmers and other corn producing states will fare

  • howardfrombroward

    JP, you are obviously so full of your blatantly erroneous marxist misperceptions that you need [intemperate language deleted — ed]. We honest hard-working taxpayers in red states pay a significantly higher percentage of our earned income to the federal government because the grabby taxes paid to blue state governing entities at the city, county and state levels are deducted on irs form schedule a before april 15th liability is determined. California wage earner makes $50,000 in 2011. After local, state and county taxes are deducted, he/she pays federal taxes on $40,000. Texas wage earner makes $50,000 in 2011. He/she pays federal taxes on $50,000. Now please think really hard: is the blue state Californian or the red state Texan paying more into the federal treasury? [Irrelevant and uncomplimentary description of JP’s presumed mental state deleted –ed].

  • Tom Holsinger

    # 37 – I left out a critical word, which here is capitalized:

    “… I suspect the migration patterns Mr. Mead describes are principally motivated by family concerns (i.e., families with children) about crime and housing prices. It would be very interesting to see some data and analysis here. Even Wig Wag might go “hmmmm” if the proportion of 2-parent families in such North-to-South black MIGRATION is several times the proportion of 2-parent black families in the areas the immigrants are leaving.”

    On the subject of which states get the most from the federal government, the people who focus on expenditures do so by including transfer payments of any sort. This ignores the “snow” and “warm” issues in migrations of retired folk who receive Social Security, and move to places like Florida and Arizona because the winters there are not as uncomfortable as winters in New York and Minnesota. It’s about WARM, not taxes.

    Note also that cold vs. warm winters are migration motivations even for youngsters like the 20-ish Arnold Schwarzenegger, who told a friend how wonderfully warm southern California winters were, “not like in Graz” (Austria, where he grew up).

    Per capita Social Security income (for the entire state population) is much higher in red states overall than in blue states, overall, because red states tend to be further south than blue states, and so have warmer winters.

    California is the big exception here, and it is an exception due far more to higher real estate prices than to taxes.

  • howardfrombroward

    Now let’s see, durty donks and their slinky supporters:how many Obama appointees to fed positions were ultimately exposed as sleazy shameless national tax dodging cheats during the senate and house confirmation processes? What is it with all these slimy democratic party leftist sleezes who don’t do april 15th with the same honesty as us republicans but shrilly demand that the rest of us (honest folks) must pay higher taxes? Maybe I should become a donk, cheat flagrantly, similarly fail to pay my fair share of taxes until caught by a congressional audit then lamely lyingly claim it was all an “unfortunate misunderstanding”.

  • MrUniteUs

    Dating back to the 1800’s the Northern states were the center of manufacturing.

    During the last 10 years millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs are being sent overseas. i.e. Catapillar hired 23,000 Americans and 104,000 foreigners last years.

    The exporting of U.S. jobs accelerated after the Bush and a Republican congress voted to reward companies that outsource jobs with tax incentives. Democrats tried to reverse the tax incentives in order to create nore jobs in the U.S. but the Republicans blocked it.

  • Tom Holsinger

    Expanding a bit:

    People as adults are most likely to migrate between states at two points in life: family formation and post-retirement. This is why I would so much like to know the age cohort demographics of the shift in black migration patterns Mr. Mead notes. I suspect it disproportionately consists of families with young children, which would show up most in 2-parent families.

    It does not necessarily do so, however. In-state migrations in the really big states can show revealing patterns, and this is definitely true in California, which is 770 miles long north to south.

    Private employment is disproportionately small per capita in rural mountain California, particularly in its northeastern quarter, but welfare payments, particularly to mothers with young children, are disproportionately large, especially to total county incomes. The reason is the flight of single mothers with young children to get their kids away from urban crime.

    These welfare mothers in rural mountain California used to be disproportionately white, but that has changed in the last few years as much greater numbers of Hispanic and even black mothers have followed them. Housing rental prices have much to do with this true, but anecdotal evidence is that flight from urban crime is the major motivation.

    It would be useful to find out what proprotion of the migrating blacks Mr. Mead’s study is based on consists of single mothers and/or grandparents with custody of minor children.

    The retirement issue is what skews statistics based on federal government expenditdures. Much of the transfer payments are properly considered in red state vs. blue state issues, and not merely in favor of the red states. Per capita federally mandated Medi-Cal expenses certainly count.

    The problem here is that transfer payments to retirees, including former federal employees (such as retired mlitary personnel, not merely former Post Office carrier George Wilson) as well as Social Security and MediCare recipients, should not be counted in any red state vs. blue state evaluation. Retirees are disproportionately likely to migrate between states relative to younger age groups, and they overwhelmining transfer from states with cold winters to states with warmer winters. That has nothing to do with politics, and everything to with warm.

  • Ellen K

    People go where jobs and opportunities abide. There are no jobs in Detroit and precious few in Chicago and New York that provide enough wages for a middle class, blue collar worker to be able to live in the cities where they work. It’s not a big mystery why people are returning to places like Houston and Atlanta-that’s where the jobs are. Until we stop politicians from being middle men in our economy, nothing is going to change in those blue states. It takes more than a grad school degree to change an economy.

  • Anthony

    WRM concludes asking for a national rethink and a national re-engagement on the U.S. problems of race, poverty, and class. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with blue model proposition, WRM’s call for responsiveness ought to generate serious concern and thought from engaged Americans while acknowledging corporate underpinnings and structural limits vis-a-vis class and poverty reforms; race is a convenient diversion (psychic balm for the anxious, the resentful, the pained, the uncertain, the exploiter, the demagogue, etc.) used to rationalize popular prejudices, feelings, claims, and points of view. Race (white and black) as practiced in America has a 392 year history and has been conveniently used by most who have come to these American shores.

  • Parker

    Professor Mead,

    Excellent insights, but you might have given a little more focus to the cascading social disaster caused by giving free housing to anyone who meets the criteria of being poor, unmarried, and with children.

    The unintended (but obvious) consequence of this has been to create a huge incentive for LOTS of women to become (or remain) – poor, unmarried and with children.

    80% of Black (and a high percentage of Hispanic) children are now born out of wedlock.

    Society gifts these poor single mothers with free lodging and food and special programs and benefits – and they (many of them) gift society with under-parented cast-offs (future gang bangers) who reject education and have made large parts of many cities dangerous and uninhabitable.

    That is a major reason why many people of all colors and ethnicities have been abandoning cities for decades. Personal safety is key to quality of life.

  • PACoug

    Who was it that decided Marxist proclivities should get the color blue while sentiments leaning toward individual liberty are to be colored red?

    Is it just me that thinks this is [very –ed] backwards?

    The reason blacks are fleeing the “blue states” is because they are red to the core.

  • Rick

    If they bring their ultra-socialist political ideology with them, they may ruin the healthy states they are migrating to. Illinois, Michigan and New York were inundated with southern blacks drawn to the generous welfare policies that socialist politicians provided. The results are obvious.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Rick, actually most of them — like so many poor southern whites in the same era — were drawn to the factory jobs. Most of the Great Migration had already happened by the time welfare was a big factor.

  • mkays

    Unfortunately they will bring their blue voting habits with them.

  • Scarecrow

    anyone still think a blind squirle couldn’t find a acorn? it would also be good to see the narcotic of Obama wearing off in the ballet box.

  • John

    Great so now those the people who advocated for the Blue model are fleeing to wreck destruction on their new homes. Liberals are like locusts.

  • Charles

    What Walter Russell Mead says is interesting. What is misleading is that Nancy Pelosi is from Baltimore, familied in the Baltimore political corruption. Nothing that she is promoted Black folks to migrate from Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana for the Golden West. When East Coast types like Pelosi arrived they destroyed the social fabric of California that had been build during the early 20th Century. Who were the founders of Los Angeles and San Francisco?

  • Phil

    I say good for all who see the writing on the wall. Giving freebies for social equally usually proves to be a bad idea. Once again for all those who have moved, hopefully for better pastures, good for you.

  • valerias

    It is about time the ‘Blacks’ wised up and went back to where they were most happy, prosperous and safe. MLK led them out of the refuge of their Southern homes and farms to the dangers of the Northern Big cities.. and many blacks see this as a big mistake..but will not say it out loud for fear or reprisals. It took all these years for the smarter and more savy blacks to listen up to grandma’s wisdom and stories of how much better and happier they were in the South where they as American Blacks have their real ROOTS. Most ‘Blacks’ in America are not pure African but have lots of ‘White’ blood and they should adhere to their elders’ wisdom and go back, be among themselves and develop their own prosperous communities just as the late MALCOM X SHABAZZ tried to lead them to do and was murdered because he spoke the TRUTH TO HIS PEOPLE WHOM HE SO DEARLY LOVED AND SERVED TO HIS DEATH. In MALCOM X’S own words, don’t take from the government because whatever it gives you the government can take away so BE INDEPENDENT AND DEVELOP YOURSELVES AS BLACKS. Be a productive part of the country you live in and you and your families will always be happy and prosper. KUDOS TO THE BLACKS IN THEIR WISDOM TO BACK TO THEIR SOUTHERN HOMES AND ROOTS !!!

  • Eyeball

    The blacks leave their blighted areas, but they still don’t know how their areas got that way. They will still stupidly vote Democrat. Until they learn to think for themselves and quit letting civil and church leaders tell them how to vote as a block, they will bring their blight with them.

  • Frank

    With the great society, we institutionalized Poverty, transferring the dysfunctional values of mostly white liberal politicians, born with political spoons in their mouths, to people who had less. Instead of ensuring their equal opportunity, liberals told them they were “less” because of their color, so a transference of wealth was the answer.

    So it turns out that the great society was nothing more than another great plantation. Let’s free people from the tyranny of Liberalism.

  • Gmason

    The bottom line is you must choose. You can have opportunity or you can have welfare, but you can’t have both. For all too many Americans, the “safety net” has become a hammock. What was supposed to be a stop gap measure of last resort for those in dire circumstances has become a way of life. The financial costs of creating a culture of dependancy and entitlement are high – job creators leave for greener pastures and more motivated employees. But the social costs are even higher, creating generations of people seemingly unable to break the cycle. Praise God young black Americans are getting out of the cities. I hope young working class white Americans are following suit. When they start seeing how opportunity works, own property, and pay taxes, they will naturally become more conservative. They will realize that the foundational principles that makes this country great still matter. Individual liberty and freedom involves risk, but it is risk worth taking.
    Education is key, but it needs to become a free-market education system. As in all free markets, when you add competition, quality goes up and price goes down. Set the people free, give them school choice!

  • Angel

    Just follow the “The Welfare Checks”. See how prosperous is Harlem and Detroit. Let’s all go on welfare.

  • truzak

    While it might be true that people are fleeing states with ruinous budget deficits, onerous taxes, and flat-out corruption that maintains the status quo and ensures lifetime power for elected pols, it is also true that these refugees from blue states are turning the red states to which they are migrating purple.

    In typical Leftist/Marxist self-destructive fashion, liberals escape the conditions created by their own “progressive” ideology and export the same suicidal behavior to their new states, turning once red states purple, then blue again. How else, for example, to explain Harry Reid’s reelection in Nevada but for the Leftist imports escaping California high taxes, high unemployment, strong public unions, and burdensome government regulations. You can’t.

  • CC Robinson

    mkays and Rick are right. My biggest worry is that these disaffected northern Blacks will bring their reflexive blue voting habits with them, and turn the Southern states they’re fleeing to into the same dysfunctional messes they fled.

  • For over fifty years the South has been the whipping boy for the black population and liberals in mid west and north, even in California. The Southern part of the US major cities are ruled by Democrats and not doing well. So explain to me again why Blue State blacks want to move their most hated part of the US.

  • loretta

    i came of age in the 60’s and remember LBJ and his “great socity”. i remember the big argument IN FAVOR of passing that and putting the feds in charge of all forms of welfare was the disparity of payments avaliable. california and new york whinned that poor blacks were moving to their cities because they offered much higher benefits than oh lets say Texas–or miss or alabama . clearly, many poor were moving to these states for the bigger welfare checks and other bennies

  • John Mancino

    If these figures are accurate, it indicates that finally the Black community is realizing that those Black community leaders who profess to be protecting their people are doing just the opposite. On so many fronts these Black leaders continue to prevent their people from advancing from poverty. Whether it be school choice, which has proven to be successful in every inner cithy it has been implemented, or with regard to gay marriage and abortion – which the Black community opposes in higher percentages than any other community, these Black leaders remain on the opposite side of the fence from their people. It is long past time that these so-called Black leaders are seen for what they really are – the enemy of those who want to pull themselves out of poverty and restoring dignity through “Faith, Freedom & Personal Responsibility”, as my friend Star Parker says.

  • Barry Omama

    So wait? High taxes and big government in typical liberal states like Michigan and New York *isn’t* working? Never saw that coming. Maybe Barry can go the way of LBJ in 1968 and not even get the nom.

  • Gary L. Thompson

    While I have to quibble with an occasional point here and there, I think Walter Russell Mead’s was a brillant and incisive analysis of what is happenning to the inner city.

    I have to respond to a few of the comments:

    7.coniglio says:
    “Race does not enter into this. As we have seen in other parts of the country, what is happening here is the movement of the perpetrators and victims from Liberal policy states that have suffered the consequences of those policies, the bankruptcy, the wonderful schools, the degeneracy, the crime and vandalism, the projects etc. The problem is that they bring really bad voting habits that will only recreate the gory scene. Then,again,they will sit and wonder what happened. Liberal statist, unionist, public education, financial and political policies, the whole world view are nothing but a wrecking ball.”

    17.Tina says:

    “I didn’t see any responsibility taken by those who “flee” the place that they ruined. They continue to vote year after year for the same kind of politicians, they don’t take an interest in their kid’s education, they look the other way at crime and blight. Then, when they finally wake up and look around and are disgusted with the mess THEY created, they move to a new area and proceed to ruin it as well. How you live your life doesn’t change just because you have a new house. Until you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions, to vote for people who may actually want to help you instead of allowing you to blame the other political party for your fate, and you make sure your kids are actually getting an education, you’ll never improve your lot in life.”

    32.Virginia says:

    “Oh no. This has been happening in the South for decades – the northerners left their North because they didn’t like it, transplanted to the South, then complained that it wasn’t like “home” and did everything they could to make it what they’d left (and then mess that up). If the blacks want to leave the mess they voted for, fine – provided that they’ve learned a lesson or two and won’t inflict the same pain on the rest of us by continuing to be Democrat zombies.”

    There was an anecdote running through my mind the whole time I was reading through the entire article:

    The Washington Senators were having another of their usual seasons, and the dispirited squad was riding the bus back to the hotel after still another loss. The players got to talking about what other teams they would like to play for if they were traded, and the eventual consensus ended up being that the first-place Yankees would be the best team to play for. The players turned to a coach and asked what he thought.

    “If you guys were all traded to the Yankees, they would be where we are now–in seventh place.”

    That story kind of sums up the futility of voting differently with one’s feet from what one votes at the ballot box. Whether New Hampshire or the People’s Republic of Vermont having their New England common sense engulfed by refugees from Taxachussetts, or ranchers on the western plains suddenly having to deal with movie stars from Hollywood moving in next door, it will only demonstrate in the end that it doesn’t matter if you run to the ends of the earth, no one can outrun themselves, and their destination eventually will be no better than the one they fled if they persist in being part of the problem.

    26.Uncle Thomas says:

    I’m fairly certain the article related that educated blacks were leaving in droves – so the liberal policies are retaining what they’ve created.

    Believe it or not, there ARE blacks who wish to succeed – these are the folks who will be welcomed to the South. And, from the discussions I’ve had, they tend to ‘separate’ themselves as far as possible from their welfare class ‘brethren’.
    So the liberal policies have succeeded. The purpose seems to be to create a perpetual voting bloc for policies that continue to destroy the very people they were intended to ‘help’.”

    Reminds me of a recent editorial aired on the Edwards Notebook Radio Commentary, in which Ron Edwards observed the consternation of the Southfield (a Detroit suburb where many middle-class blacks moved to) city officials in dealing with some of the gangsta element moving in from Detroit, and threatening their tranquil leafy streets.

    If everything Mead is prescribing in this article was taken seriously as a blueprint by some distressed inner city, I beleive on balance it would genuinely turn the corner. However, the difficulty is that the blue states are (as a comment on this article where it was linked to from another website) “being left with the thug, gangsta’ rap idiots (who believe organized crime helped build America) and their punk antic, loud azz stereos with bass Bv-v-v, bv-v-v that penetrates walls and windows right down to your rib-cage.” Mix in the public unions, the social welfare bureaucracies, diversity counselors, ACORN and Planned Parenthood, illegals, corruption, many organizations and their political connections that have built large businesses at the poorly-regulated and often profoundly corrupt intersection of government funding and urban poverty, and professionals with postgraduate degrees and six figure incomes to sit in downtown offices and engineer policy solutions that Mead mentions; and there’s just far too many in or influencing the electorate that have a stake in things remaining the way they are. It may take more than synagogues and churches outside the inner cities partnering with inner city churches to make more than a dent, it may take a major social upheaval like that which accompanied the Great Awakenings in the 1700s and 1800s to shatter the walls imprisoning the inner cities. Unfortunatley, with occasional exceptions, it seems like the black church is playing more the role of enabler in the blue cities’ social pathologies; just like the Primative Baptists were too often part of the problem in keeping Appalachia in ensnared in ignorance, moonshine, violent feuds, child marriage and hopeless poverty (being raised a Primative Baptist kept Abraham Lincoln a skeptic for much of his life and a non-credal Christian until the day he died, enough said).

    One other thought:

    Southern migration (both black and white) were drawn north to the Midwest in the previous century generally because of the auto industry. Michigan likely took the lead in this because of its decades as a Grand Army of the Republic stronghold, and a Constitution tilted heavily toward free enterprise (due to memories of the state nearly coming to financial ruin at the time of its birth from Andrew Jackson-era Democrat government intervention with the economy). The trouble is that the immigrants brought with them the social and political attitudes that kept the South in economic malaise for generations (namely, Democratic rule), and ended up killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, hence Detroit has become an inner-city wasteland and the state as a whole has been in economic depression for years. The irony is that states like Mississippi and Alabama have apparently smartened up in recent years, and will leapfrog Michigan in the next few years if current trends continue.

  • John Mancino

    Finally some in the Black community are realizing that the so-called Black leaders, who profess to be protecting the interests of those in the Black community, are really doing the opposite. After more than $10 trillion spent since Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” began, the poverty rate hasn’t improved more than 2%. Yet, the worst part of this scenario is that the Black community continues to elect the same politicians that have provided no way out of their plight. Example: Public Education – While many public schools continue to fail those inner city students who are most vulnerable, the Black leaders across America continue to oppose education alternatives like school vouchers and scholarships. The high school dropout rate across America continues to hover at 50% while these Black leaders only offer a solution of more school spending. Another example: While the Black community attends its churches more regularly than any other in this country, they continue to elect politicians that support policies and programs they are diametrically opposed to, like gay marriage and abortion.

  • carol

    This message is for PACoug. You asked why the Repub are Red and the Dems are Blue. It was never that way until 2000. As they progressed in their ideology to be more Socialist which is just a small step to Communism (RED) it would be too identifing and obvious, so the colors were switched.
    “We refer to the red states and the blue states so regularly now that
    the association seems long established. But only the 2000 presidential
    election established the linkage of blue with Democrats and red with
    Republicans. In earlier years, the television networks and magazine
    maps had reversed the association. In 1984 rival networks associated
    red with Democrats and blue with Republicans. The Reagan sweep of that
    year was called ‘Lake Reagan’ in one context.

    In many ways the link goes against tradition. Red has long stood for
    the left and one has to suspect that the first usage of it to
    represent Republicans was inspired by an effort to seem non

    • Walter Russell Mead

      I give some credit to Nancy Reagan, who made red dresses her trademark.

  • Plainsknitter

    One would always hope that the lesson has been learned. But, as I have seen with whites that have dumped out of California, and spread across the country (and noted by how blacks continue to vote blue), they know that California has become an intolerable place to live, but they don’t know why. The first thing they do when they arrive in their new surroundings is to start complaining about all the things that make it different from what they are used to, and that makes it a better place to live. Then, of course, they take their liberal votes to the ballot box, and set about to change their new surroundings into the old. I hope I am wrong, but I hate to see liberals come my way.

  • New Orleans is a good example of what can go wrong with funding for educational services for inner city children. Following the aftermath of Katrina, New Orleans Inner City families were relocated in other states such as Texas. The children of these families then attended schools in Texas. A great number of these children at fifth grade level were found to have difficulty reading or preforming on level. A great deal of federal money appears to be wasted as these children preformed very poorly academically when enrolled in Texas schools.

  • Jon

    Heavens! Better let my bitter clinger friends know the neighborhood is goin’ to hell.

  • Bill Rudge

    Well done article. Wish everyone in leadership positions would read it and help the country to take corrective action to fix it. Peace.

  • It*s very difficult for most of us baby boomers, who are the grandchildren of European immigrants, to constantly hear how bad blacks, and Native American Indians have it. Although our European grandparents did not suffer as long, they still had a very rough time fitting into society. BUT, I must say that because of their superb work ethics, devout religious beliefs, family values, and respect for fellow man, it only really took one generation for these wonderful European immigrants to actually shape our country into the strongest nation in the world. One of the main reasons was because our government did not have free handouts to poor people, and that meant working 2 jobs to feed their families of 6-9 children. They worked very hard, and as a result, bought homes, and improved their lifestyles. Nowadays, too many people do not have these same values, and turn to our government for free handouts, resulting in generational dependency from Uncle Sam. They choose to live in poverty, as now more than ever, more opportunities, are before them, and they still opt for freebies, instead of hard work.

  • Bruce

    The knee jerk reaction is to agree with those who worried that blacks bring their bad voting habits with them when they migrate and turn red states blue or purple. But this migration that the census reflects had already occured and state after state after state went red in 2010. Even a small percentage change in the 90% allegiance to Dems from blacks can have a major impact. Will Obama get 95% of this vote again in 2012? Furthermore, even if these historical voting patterns persist, it’s possible that it is not enough people to offset those “moderates” who are disillusioned with the blue model and have converted from “compassionate, caring” Dem voters to free market, smaller government Repubs. Now the Repubs need to deliver, but that is a topic for another essay.

  • Anthony

    RED – WHITE – BLUE @30:

    As a fellow baby boomer whose grandparents did not emigrate from Eroupe, I calculate your American linage begins in what historically is modern industialism: “In the 1880s and 1890s, immigrants were pouring in from Europe at a faster rate than before. They all went through the harrowing ocean voyage of the poor. Now there were not so many Irish and German immigrants as Italians, Russians, Jews, Greeks…people even more alien to native-born American than earlier newcomers.” Your grandparents’ America RED-WHITE-BLUE, while certainly exacting a human cost on newly arrived European immigrants, entered a world in which black would be put back and the Indian contained. So, values, work ethic, religious faith, and devotion to country (which both had during period of review)) did not avail to these Americans the same generational opportunities successfully utilized by your forebears upon which you are able critically to assess the 21st century conditions of their descendants. RED-WHITE-BLUE, in America everything has context and I salute your history of hard work and success but the slightly privileged cannot buy the easy shibboleths used to justify the inequity and few “real” opportunities for a large majority of our society.

    How easy it is RED-WHITE-BLUE to turn resentment, anger, fear, etc. toward a class of Americans because economic inequity looms at so many more doorsteps in 2011. We are warring with each other while avoiding our own complicity in the continuing malaise. The enemy outside (Indians or blacks or foreigners or other whites too wretched) must not be responsible or have the right values thus the governmental problem. The American system is the most ingenious system…. One percent owns a third of the wealth. “The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another.”

  • I’m from Detroit, born and raised. I wondered where everybody went. Thanks.

  • atlanta

    Pretty impressive how far Walter Mead is willing to run with the data.

  • PTAMom

    The earth is flat and Democrats are for poor people, 2 once popular myths.

    The “affordable” housing that Democrats pushed onto poor people included interest only and variable rate loans that are easier to default on and wreck your credit; when conventional wisdom for the middle class, even those with college degrees, is “never take out an interest only or variable rate mortgage”.

    The schools that Democrats push onto poor people graduate only half of the kids in Chicago and in Baltimore only 66% of the Seniors who want to graduate can pass 10th grade level tests. I’ve heard that 75% of African American males drop out of school in Baltimore City. They compete with illegal immigrants for jobs in 1 of the 4 states that allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.

    No, Democrats don’t like poor people. They use poor people like a commodity to enrich their unions, enrich their buddies who bring “development” to the city, enrich their organizations who provide “services” to the poor, and enrich the businesses that save money and get around the Democrat’s excessive regulation of the work place by hiring illegal immigrants.

    In Chicago, the first Walmart opens in 2006 after intense union opposition, and 15,850 people apply for the 450 jobs.

    If poor people had any idea how much money is supposedly spent on their behalf and NEVER reaches them, I believe they wouldn’t vote for Democrats for a generation.

    1. unions — Maryland Spring 2006 – teachers unions get an increase in pensions from 30% of pay to 50% of pay (average of their pay for the last 3 years before retirement) — $100 million a year extra spending just sails through the state legislature.

    2. ACORN collects $750 million of a total of $2 billion? that was paid by the federal government to “community organizations” to go out and recruit/find more low income home buyers to “bless” with the outragious interest only and variable rate loans.

  • Naphtali

    (it’s impossible to sort these comments)

    …So I will just say:

    All you people emigrating from various BABKRUPT US States, who have ever once voted for [vulgarity deleted: ed]-clowns called libs, PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOU RETARDED POLITICAL BAGGAGE WITH YOU TO THE CONSERVATIVE STATE YOU OPT TO NOW ABIDE/SEEK ASYLUM..

    We used our boot strappes to may this a pleasant place. Throw off your mental entitlement Schtik.

    Get a life: You can live here !!!

    What me to bankroll your life…

    My only coin is made of lead.

  • I am a Texan that has lived in the Northeast (specifically Connecticut) for the past 20+ years. I came from an area where hard work, self sacrifice and commitment to your neighbors and the community was the norm. I was shocked when I first moved to Ct. because of the “ME” factor, “What’s in it for ME?”. The majority People in the North are for the most part Liberal Democrats who are so caught up in their ideology that they can’t see the forest for the trees. The entitlement mentality is out of control. I tried to hire some full time employees in the past at a starting rate of $12.00/ hour. I was shocked, no amazed to hear the young African American, Hispanic and White girls, unmarried and with small chidren, tell me that they couldn’t work full time hours. I asked them why not, assuming that they may have daycare issues or something along those lines. The answer that i recieved was very revealing, “I can’t work over 16 hours a week because then i will lose the State welfare check i get because i would make too much”. I don’t understand this way of thinking at all. If they would have taken the full time job with healthcare benefits and the availability of overtime pay, they would have made significantly more than they would collecting welfare. Unfortunately i didn’t hire anyone that gave me that response even though some may have turned out to be good employees. My reasoning has nothing to do with Race but everything to do with the mentality of the person. Liberal or Conservative aside, Would you hire anyone with the entitlement mentality so engrained that they won’t take a decent job because they may have to work too many hours (40/week) or think that they are owed a living by the taxpayer? Now obviously they are not going to become rich working for $12.00/ hour but it is a decent, honest wage for an honest days work. This mentality is what the Liberal Blue Wave has created in the Urban areas of the United States. Whatever happened to the work hard and prosper mentality? All I hear from Liberals is how unfair the system is and that we should tax the rich more, tax the Evil corporations more, etc. One simple question comes to mind and I ask it of Liberals all the time, ” Have you ever been hired for a job by a poor person?” If anyone out there has ever been hired by a poor person please let me know because I never have.
    This way of Liberal thinking has escalated the deterioration of the inner cities. WRM is absolutely correct. The younger, educated Blacks, Hispanics and Whites are leaving the inner cities in droves. Mainly because you can’t go to certain areas in the city of Hartford (or any inner city area)without the worry of being Robbed or your car broken into or stolen. What is being left behind are the uneducated, entitlement minded, career welfare recipients and “gang bangers” that control the crime in the streets. Welfare was meant to be a temporary safety net for those that are having hard times. It was not meant to be a career for generations to become dependant on. Someone commented that 80% of Black children were born out of wedlock. This is a direct result of Liberal welfare policies. If you collect a welfare check in CT and recieve public housing then you cannot have your “baby daddy” living in the apartment. However, on the 1st and 15th of the month (when welfare checks are due) there will 10 names on every mailbox that weren’t there all month (according to my postal worker friend). These policies do nothing to help break the cycle of dependence but only promote the Welfare Fraud that is unsustainable and is bankrupting our cities all over the United States. The U.S. is the only country in the world in which our “poor” are overweight. Ask someone from India if they have any poor people that are fat! Some of our poor have 50″ flat screen TV’s, gold jewelry and drive BMW’s, Mercedes Benz or Cadillac Escalades. How does that happen? How can you afford to drive a $60,000 car when your “poor”. Anyone that disputes this statement only has to drive through one of the “Projects” in your city to be shown proof.
    Disposable income is more easily disposable when you don’t have to earn it! I drive a 2001 Dodge pickup truck, would i like to have a BMW, yes. However i cannot afford to own one because it is beyond my means. My wife and I have 2 middle class incomes and cant afford it because the property taxes, the state income tax, and every other tax that we pay will not allow us that opportunity. We have discussed moving and soon enough we will be moving back to the state of Texas where the is no state tax and alot fewer other taxes or “fees”(what the Liberals call it now because the word Tax is so negative). States where people are allowed to live free, prosper and pay their “fair” share are being inundated with people that are fleeing the taxation without representation that is rampant in the North and inner cities. If you are a conservative in the north or any big city and you think that you are being represented in Congress, then either you are blind to whats happening or you choose not to see it!

  • Don

    The liberal policy and the Jackson/Sharpton crowd which feeds it and it feeds on will not be missed.

    I pity the states who are inheriting this blue parasitic nightmare.

    I recommend that you [suggestion in poor taste deleted –ed].

  • RobbyS

    Culture matters. Southerners immigrating into the North, whether white or black, brought southern attitudes with them. Just as Irish peasants an d Jewish peddlers brought their ways. All settled in “ghettos,”they could to a degree retain their folkways. The first to leave, after WWII, were the Europeans and to a lesser extent, the southern whites.
    What flight was caused less by racism than by prosperity. How many Irish in South Boston, or Hell’s Kitchen left because of racism? I suspect, not as many as is ordinarily thought. Of course, as they left, the blacks and Puerto Ricans came in to take their old places. This had been the pattern of immigration for a hundred and fifty years or more.

  • G. H. Knutson

    This message addresses PACoug’s unfamiliarity and Carol’s confused “correction” on the Red/Blue state designation:

    I’m amazed everyone has such poor memories.

    Prior to 2004, the networks simply alternated the color designations of the challenger’s party with every presidential election.

    This was purely for clarity in electoral maps. Were they not our flag colors, they could just as well have used green and orange. Nobody even paid any attention once election night was over.

    And yes, from 2000 on, red became the de facto permanent Republican color. Since the GOP never had a member accused of being red (or “pink,” as they said in the fifties), nobody was bothered by it.


    In this country over all we like to respect a individual for their hard work and accept them as contributors, we accomplish a great deal in this nation because getting the job done is a lot more important than arguing about politics and ethnicity, that is argument left over for banter after the job is done.

    When Katrina struck it ruined one of the oldest and most hstorical cities in the country and displaced thousands, a lot of them were ethinically black folk and many good people but some odd things happened, La. was finally exposed for the graft and corruption that it harbored, some blacks left the area on invitation form towns like Huston Tx and some of the bad element went with it. THe crime rate in Huston went up dramatically. the bad element wore out the invitation in a hurry and hard feelings became evident. Now there is a exodus from the old time North, it is hapening because of poverty and ruination of the states industry that was so beneficial after the Civil War. The liberationist, the islamics, the unions, ignorant politicians allowed misery to replace self reliance and the work ethic and it was blamed on everyone and thing but political ineptness of the government and the preying upon the blacks racism for their support, the world of handout rather than the one of reality took hold and self reliance went away.

    Fleeing to the Conservative South is going to take a attitude change for many or the old problems of respect are going to reappear, something that is earned and not always bought.

  • Good grief!! A lot of hate in this comment section.

    Texas is bankrupt too, you [ad hominem attack removed –ed]!! Last I checked it hasn’t been run by Democrats since the early 90’s. So you are wrong as the day is long.

  • Displaced Texan:
    You are lying. Welfare doesn’t pay enough to live on, just like U/E doesn’t. Have you ever thought the suburbanization of the U.S. has anything to do with it?

  • Not-a-RINO

    This article is correct in pointing out the government is the blame for the conditions of America’s inner cities, but it goes a lot further than that.

    Back in the 1960s, LBJ started his “Great Society” which included his war on poverty. Through the perspective of hindsight, we can all see the war was not on poverty at all, but rather it was a means to create a permanent underclass hopelessly dependent on government generosity with taxpayer money.

    Back in the day, all anyone had to do to get the government to supply you with food stamps, housing, medical, utilities and more was to boot Dad out of the house and keep having children. Without a breadwinner and an “enforcer” to properly raise children, the results are predictable.

    What has all this government generosity given the people who have enslaved themselves to this? Shootings, drugs, crime, violence, illegitimacy, deplorable schools, high dropout rates, corruption, unemployment, imprisonment, blight and dispair. This cycle continues today as every election cycle the liberal Democrat machine promises more and more handouts and the local voters cast their ballots well over 90% for these reprobates.

    The bottom line is NOTHING will change in any major city until the day the locals realize they love their children more than a life of dependence and want a better future for their prosterity. The article above points out to a small glimmer of hope for the next generation of young people.

  • bc

    mead is wrong. the north is too expensive for lots of people, especially minorities. that’s a shame. however, it still has the best schools and living standards (lots of social services). sure, the unemployment rate is higher in lots of norther big cities, but that is a recent phenomenon. plus, lots of states in the south have huge unemployment rates (arizona, nevada, florida). texas has low taxes and unemployment, but the school and healthcare systems stink. plus, other quality of life indicators are poorer in the south and there are more racist people there.

  • steve

    Here is a pretty good primer about all the wonderful opportunities that await folks that move to the south. It is a bit old, but still revelvent.

    [obscene website title deleted — ed]

    From what I see in this comment section, you all should get along pretty well.

  • Mannie Onej

    Its interesting that Mr. Mead ran to political ideology rather than to social engineering in making his point regarding blacks moving to the south. His conclusion as to blacks voting right with their feet can’t be more wrong. The constant use of the word blue in his article is not subtle at all.

    Someone should tell Mr. Mead that the right should be very afraid because if minorities populate southern states at the current pace, many southern states would go purple and then blue but definitely not red no matter how rich minorites get.

  • DocAmazing

    Charles asked:

    Who were the founders of Los Angeles and San Francisco?


    You’re welcome.

  • frjm

    I would expect that if the case is correct, the south will soon become totally blue states of progressive socialist demoncrat ideas and government.

    I would not consider this movement something to celebrate, considering the cities they are leaving.


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  • jeff j

    Check out the rates of social problems in red versus blue states. Red states have higher rates of crime, child abuse, divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, poverty, high school dropouts, etc. Yeah, conservatism works great. Thank god I live in godless, immoral NYC.

  • Crystal

    We always blame the teachers unions for everything! I am a NYC public school teacher and with I can barely afford to live in this city. I pay taxes also as does every city worker. I have students whose parents live in the projects who drive shiny new cars while I am riding the bus! I who chose to finish school and go to college and busting my but to make ends meet. No one is giving me anything and yet instead of people realizing that giving out giant paychecks and not forcing people to work for their money is the problem they pick on the people who ask for living wage increases in the most expensive city in the world. And contrary to popular belief tenure does not mean you can’t be fired it just means that before a person is fired the administrator must prove that the person deserves to be terminated. And finally instead of screaming at the unions and talking about our overpaid salaries take a look at the NYC DOE which wastes millions every year on pet projects that have nothing to do with building schools and providing materials. Where is their oversight? Teachers are solidly middle class those $100,000 a year salaries show up only after obtaining a masters degree plus an additional 30 credits and 20 years of service on top of that and keep in mind that in order to keep my licensure I must participate in and pay for in many cases a significant number of hours of professional development every 5 years. It’s not a one shot deal I am constantly honing my craft, just like in any job there are some people who aren’t that great but should I be penalized for the few that are? Now after my teaching rant.. People are leaving because for what you pay for a bedbugs infested apartment in NYC you can buy a house. Period, cost of living plain and simple people want their children to grow up somewhere nice with space to run. The schools are not better in many areas of the south and I know many migrants who put their children in private school for that reason. So please can we stop with that particular fiction? People want more for their money if you ask a majority of the people that move it is just that simple. If it was possible to live decently in NYC on a middle class wage anymore many of those that left would never have gone.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      I guess I draw a distinction between union leadership, which is often out to lunch and which has connived with politicians to push pension packages on the city that ultimately will not be honored because they cannot be, and most NYC teachers who are hardworking and deserve more and not less respect. Middle class New York is in a deep crisis; you are 100 percent right about that, and some big changes will have to come before the city is working again.

  • fizbin

    By gum you’re right!

    Paying teachers a good middle class wage just destroys teaching and schools!

    Pay teachers as little as you can! Import immigrants if you have to–but keep those teaching wages down!

    But corporate and business guys who do nothing but go to meetings and rub shoulders? Oh, we have to pay them TOP DOLLAR to keep wonderful global capitalism functioning the the well oiled clusterf…um…machine it is for most of us.

    Too many Ed Biz leaders like Prof. Mead in this nation–tenured, rich, fat…and leading the charge to impoverish everyone else so they can pander to the pinstripes and talk for a living.

    See what H.L. Mencken had to say about talkers-for-a-living (which btw included teachers…but it’s pretty clear to me that the blue state model, which I loathe and abhor, has been more successful at civilizing the masses than anything we redsters have come up with).

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