City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Edward L. Glaeser
Growth Engines « Back to Story

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After checking the NYC budget on a hunch, I was amazed to find that while the city takes in $50B in taxes, it spends $70B, the balance being made up in state and federal aid. With that size deficit, one wonders its economic reason for existing.
Wise suggestions all, especially to tax land and not improvements to land. Why should someone sitting on a parking lot that could be a building be rewarded with lower taxes? They call it "socially created value," and it should be taxed equally for those who take advantage of it by building, and for those who don't. Thank you, Mr. Glaeser.
Given that the Quinn thing is a lock , identity politics being the mothers milk of the D party , you should change the tense of the article to be retrospective , as in what killed Start up Alley .
Interesting and sensible suggestions. But politically, what's in any of it for the majority party in New York City? It's traditionally been short sighted, focusing only on pleasing public employee unions, Since turnout in City elections is usually low, a relatively small group like public employees can make a huge difference. Plus, in some bizarre twist, unions are allowed to make political donations of what is essentially taxpayer derived funds to the candidates or party of their choice, making those candidates dance to their tune.

From what I've seen thus far, maintaining and creating prosperity is not on the agenda of any Democrat running for election - the majority party has shown little or no regard in the past for the businesses that pay the taxes that fund public employees. That's why, prior to Giuliani's election the city lurched from financial crisis to financial crisis. I just don't see that changing once a Democrat is elected again.

What I do see is more taxes, more regulations, a return of high crime, and the overal deterioration of what has been built the last 20 or so years. For obvious reasons Giuliani never got the credit he deserved for saving the city from a Detroit like fate - the best example of that is a recent New York Magazine article discussing the "old days" i.e. 1990 when New Yorkers could expect to be burglerized regularly, mugged if they went to Central Park at night, etc. Nowhere in the article was it discussed why the crime rates went down or who was responsible - it was like crime had magically disappeared.

If the last 20 years have shown anything it is that good government matters, and matters a great deal. Bad government makes a real difference in quality of life, but so does good government. There should be a sinking feeling that the short era of good government is coming to an end in New York City. But because the New York media remains blind to why we have had an era of relative prosperity, low crime and high quality of life, the message never gets out and those responsible for it don't seem to be able to articlate it either. Heck, even Koch, the Democrat's darling, couldn't even approach what Rudy was able to do - not even close.

Everything mentioned in this article makes sense, but I fear that prosperity is not on the agenda of those who are to be in charge in New York City.

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QUOTE: ...or employment will wither.

You have fallen into the Prog trap that "labor problems" are or should be a concern of government. This is false. The concern of government is to govern.