The Anti-Economist — From the February 2014 issue

Change in the Air

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

When Bill de Blasio won the New York City mayoral election with 73 percent of the vote, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was the start of something big. For more than two decades it has been taken as an article of faith that New York City voters prefer social liberals who will nonetheless protect the interests of wealthy Manhattanites. But throughout the campaign, de Blasio focused relentlessly on the city’s problems with economic inequality. He proposed raising taxes on high earners to pay for universal pre-K education. He promised to force luxury real estate developers to build affordable housing. He called for an immediate end to the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy. And he won in a landslide, with the largest margin of victory of any non-incumbent in the city’s history.*

* Election Day in New York was also a victory for the left-wing Working Families Party, which helped elect many of the twenty new Democrats on the city council.

Voters in New York rejected the supreme pragmatism of Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and his insensitivity to how most people live. Manhattan, much of Brooklyn, and, increasingly, sections of Queens are now places for the relatively rich, and to Bloomberg that is good news. On his way out of office, he made the remarkable statement that the more Russian billionaires moved to New York the better, because they provide the tax base necessary for city services. But property taxes, not income taxes, are the main revenue generator in New York. Sales-tax revenue is also critical. Far better to have more jobs — allowing more people to buy homes and spend on goods and services — than to attract a handful of new billionaires, who spend proportionally less of their income than do the middle-class, and who are less likely to spend it locally.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page
Share

More from Jeff Madrick:

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

  • DHFabian

    The “inequality discussion” has been about the gap between the middle class and rich, and not between the middle and the rest of us.

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

Stop Hillary!

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

How the Islamic State was Won

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cage Wars

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Everyday Grace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content