In New York City, a very blue city in a very blue state, the employment situation is dire and becoming dangerous.
The New York Post reports:
They’ve fallen through the cracks: millions of jobless or underemployed New Yorkers whose daily struggle is to find work and food.
They certainly don’t show up in the 9.1 percent unemployment rate for the city, since they have exhausted those benefits.
But the number of city residents on food stamps is on pace to jump this year from just above 1 million in 2007 to a breathtaking 2 million sometime this summer. That’s equals almost 50 percent of the city’s labor force today, which, according to the latest government calculations, shrank by nearly 200,000 people since 2011. There’s also 176,000 New Yorkers collecting Social Security disability insurance, which is up 30,000 in last 4 years.
Think about it: close to half the city’s work force is on food stamps. 2 million people are either unemployed or seriously underemployed. Without food stamps there would be mass starvation in New York.
The longer people remain unemployed, the more unlikely it is that they will ever find their way back into the workforce.
The Obama recovery seems to have bypassed New York.
One is tempted to feel some sympathy, but, as the old saying goes: they voted for it; they own it.
New York voters are among the most reliable supporters of the Democratic Party. With very few exceptions they have voted for the policies that have immiserated them.
Obviously, it’s not just the federal government. State and local governments ensure that people do not get jobs. After all it’s the New York City Council that has successfully kept Walmart out of the city. The council members who voted down Walmart were elected by the people who are out of work and on food stamps.
That being said, other sectors in New York are doing very well indeed. Despite downturns in financial services and the legal profession the real estate market is doing just fine, thank you.
Blue state policies have driven out the middle class and left the city in the hands of the very rich and the very poor. It’s a volatile mix.
Combine that with a mayor who projects unseriousness by preoccupying himself with trendy liberal causes and you start seeing the crime rate go up.
The Post reports:
Some of Manhattan’s wealthiest neighborhoods are exploding in a wave of violent crime that hearkens back to the bad old days when people feared going out at night, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post.
Chelsea, Gramercy Park, TriBeCa, SoHo and Midtown South all posted a frightening rise in rapes in the first three months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012. Felony assaults in the usually peaceful West Village nearly tripled, the new crime statistics show.
Greenwich Village’s 6th Precinct tied the Rockaways’ grimy 100th Precinct for the city’s biggest year-to-date overall crime spike.
As is its wont, the Post is dramatizing the problem. Percentage increases are deceiving when they begin at a very low level. If a neighborhood suffers 5 rapes this year, compared with 2 last year, the percentage has increased by 150%. If a neighborhood had no rapes last year and one rape this year, the percentage increase is infinite.
Crime is getting worse in New York, but it has not yet reached the levels enjoyed by that other great blue city in that other great blue state: Chicago.
No one is surprised that the crime rate is on the rise. In part, it’s what happens when there is a gross disparity between the rich and the poor, when the poor have no chance of entering the work force.
But, more social programs are certainly not the answer.
The chronically jobless don’t sit around all day watching soap operas and game shows. They go into business. If there are no opportunities to get real jobs they go into the business of crime.
It’s risky; it can be lucrative; it keeps the mind active; you don’t have to deal with government regulations, and you don’t have to buy health insurance for your employees.