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New York City as the New Detroit

Is the greatest city in the world going to go the way of the worst city in the country? The government of my current home state seems to want that to happen. With financial sector jobs fleeing the city in droves, taking their tax payments with them, the state and city government has responded by, you guessed it, hiking taxes and spending and doubling down on regulations. Brilliant.

And why would these jobs ever return? With markets increasingly decentralized, financial companies have no incentive to come back to NYC, and instead will turn up elsewhere around the country, or even overseas, in Dubai, or Frankfurt, or Shanghai. When your government is treating you like the source of all evil in the world, when they’re encouraging citizens to go to your homes, when elected representatives are calling for you to (quite literally) fall on your sword, that’s small encouragement to hang around.

Meanwhile, in Albany, guv-by-default Paterson has been a disaster since taking over for disgraced Eliot Spitzer, who is looking great in comparison at this point. He is almost guaranteed to get trounced in the Democratic primary, if he even runs. At this point it looks like the Dems would be better off saving themselves the trouble and having him just step down when his term ends.

Meanwhile, in the city itself, Mayor Mike just keeps on enacting regulation after regulation, tax after tax, all in the name of the greater good. Smoking? Nope. Trans fats? Nope. Soda? Tax it. Grocery bags? Tax ’em. Bottled water? Tax it. When in doubt, slap a tax on it. And all of this to prop up a system that cannot possibly continue. The city is being strangled by welfare payments, by housing handouts and medical costs for an ever-increasing lower class that is content to live off the work of everyone else for as long as they can.

The cost of living in NYC, already exorbitantly high, is going to rise even higher in the coming months and years, as budget shortfalls on the local and state level prompt Dems to respond the only way they know how, with more taxes. The cost of riding the subway and buses has increased substantially in the past couple years, canceling out any positive effect the much-heralded $13/week payroll tax break that Obama enacted might have had (scoff).

However, as the rest of the city’s middle class scrimps and saves, sacrifices and gets by, as usual, the unions and the public sector are doing just fine. Today’s NY Post runs an editorial laying out the big winners from today’s $132 Billion budget.

The spending plan picks the pockets of the private sector to the tune of $8 billion in new taxes and fees — while the unions barely get a haircut.

That is to say, New York’s private-sector economy — which has shed a staggering 146,000 jobs since last August — will pay billions more for the privilege of attempting to produce sufficient wealth to sustain the state’s tax-mad ethic.

That is to say, while the private sector gets kicked while it’s down, the public sector and the unions are going along like nothing’s wrong. Recession? What recession? Hey, Yankees, – need a new ballpark? No problem, build one on the taxpayer’s dime. They can afford it.

Unless things take a dramatic change for the better, in five or ten years (if not much much sooner), New York is going to become largely unrecognizable, at least for those of us who know it post-Rudy. And unlike in the past, when at least the financial sector was still there to rescue the city under strong leadership, this time around there’s going to be nothing but the theater industry to save Gotham.

Crime will skyrocket, basic services (medical care, public transportation, fire, police, education) will be overwhelmed and begin to collapse, and the city will begin to erode from the inside out. Outer boroughs will become slums and ghettos as wealth becomes increasingly concentrated in Manhattan, plummeting property values will wipe out investments and “retirement plans,” and wealth producers will flee like rats from a sinking ship.

All that will be left will be the lower class, those too poor to even leave, dependent on the government for food and housing and care, a government itself dependent on the federal government, thereby leeching off the rest of the country to keep the remaining dregs on life support. As Detroit has collapsed around the dying American auto industry, so will New York City die in the wake of the departing financial industry.

I suppose, the silver lining here is that if our country is able to turn itself around, if we turn our backs on the Messiah and his plan, if we regain our sanity and tear down the socialist walls that he’s building before it’s too late, it’s possible that New York can be saved. Hell, even Detroit can be saved. Elect a mayor and a governor who will make the tough decisions, who will slash taxes and encourage rather than demonize business, who will drastically cut spending, who will take on the unions and tell them to sacrifice or die. Our cities are not beyond saving. We simply need to cut the fat.

Like the rest of our country, New York has grown too big, too quickly for it’s own good. We need to return to reality, but it’s going to hurt. Some of us more than others, but that’s life. But as long as our government keeps trying to shield us from that reality, as long as Bloomberg and Paterson and Obama insist on propping up that artificial veneer of well-being, insisting that everything’s going to be okay, that we’ll soon be able to go back to enormous TVs and expensive meals and giant cars, that’s just going to make it hurt more. The band-aid needs to get ripped off, now, so the festering wound can heal of its own accord. Slapping a new bandage on top of the old filthy one is only going to make things worse.

Sorry, had to let off some steam. I guess that’s the point of this blog, more than anything. I could use an editor…


03/31/2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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