New York has become the poster child for wealth inequality and racial segregation.
The Bloomberg years and the financial crisis worked wonders for the 1%, but the rest of the city’s citizens suffered. The middle class has been hollowed out and the city is increasingly the domain of the very rich and the rest.
Now, we have a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the prospects are not very much better.
Joel Kotkin uses statistics to paint the picture.
Gotham has become the American capital of a national and even international trend toward greater income inequality and declining social mobility….
Manhattan is now the most unequal county in America (it was 17th in 1980), with a Gini coefficient — which measures the disparity between the richest and poorest residents — higher than that of Apartheid-era South Africa.
Something liberal New Yorkers—that includes just about everyone—should not be proud of.
New Yorkers are great believers in racial integration. And yet, the city remains racially segregated, especially when it comes to the school system.
And as the city becomes more economically unequal, it’s also become more racially segregated. Demographer Daniel Herz’ census analysis shows New York is now America’s second most racially divided city, behind only Milwaukee.African-American incomes in New York are barely half those of whites, as compared to nearly 70% in Phoenix and Houston.
And New York City now has the nation’s single most segregated public school system, according to a devastating report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.
Will the de Blasio program, designed to solve these problems, be more effective than twelve years of Michael Bloomberg?
Kotkin does not think so:
But de Blasio’s press to bring in more tax revenue to pay for ambitious new programs, more generous social services and new contracts for city workers have the perverse effect of doubling down on Bloomberg’s bet on the wealthy.
His ambitious ramping up of green-energy policy could be the straw that breaks the back of what remains of the logistics and manufacturing industries in New York, something that has already occurred in California.
And his kowtowing to the teachers union and attempted assaults on charter schools threaten to further undermine the effectiveness of public education, something vital to middle and working class residents.
Surely, New Yorkers hold all the right beliefs. They vote for politicians who hold the same liberal and progressive beliefs.
Unfortunately, when their policies are put into practice their dreams of a multicultural utopia are seen to have produced a racially segregated, grossly unequal dystopia.
You would think that true pragmatists would look at the results and conclude that perhaps the policies are defective.
Tragically, New Yorkers are more likely to double down on failure than to change course.