City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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Nicole Gelinas
Gotham to D.C.: Drop Dead « Back to Story

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The trouble with mitt romney is that he wants to increase defense spending, and who
is going to pay for it, its probably to please virginia and maryland.
Isn't it amazing how democrats won't run on the platform of giving away new york's money?

Stew, as talented and intelligent as this author is, she could have chosen to argue a different complaint, which is why I didn’t agree with her. The federal govt. providing exorbitant welfare checks to cities could lead to two mutually exclusive complaints: (1) the practice is inherently wrong and should stop, or (2) the practice is inherently correct but administered unfairly. The author chose the latter argument, see the paragraph where she analyzes the number of millionaires living in New York City and the yearly financial handouts from the feds. But the practice she describes must be unfair by its very nature. It’s unnecessary and solely intended to be self-serving, to curry favor with local politicians, to create reciprocal favors and must unfailingly lead to municipal corruption. It’s also absurdly inefficient requiring large bureaucracies at both the local and federal level to administer the paperwork, the disbursements and the follow-up audits. In effect, federal welfare checks to cities are inherently wrong, except in rare cases like natural disaster relief. But arguing theoretical politics doesn’t create the drama an “unfair” argument brews up, particularly among those readers living in NYC.

Nor is her argument anything new. The Detroit Free Press has posed the same argument for years when begging for more federal handouts for Detroit. Although, in that newspaper’s case, the complaint is even more misleading as the Free Press argues that Michigan doesn’t receive its fair share of federal handouts based on income tax receipts. There are no multi-millionaire or billionaire taxpayers residing in Detroit so their argument becomes even more devious and self-serving. Our country’s problem isn’t procedural fairness, rather it’s the slow slide into accepting political chicanery as normal and then arguing fairness in application.

We need constitutional checks and balances updated for the computer age, which in practice would mean about 50 additional constitutional amendments sharply reducing the powers of government. But Americans are convinced we have the best form of government on the planet. The Founding Fathers never assumed the government they created was the final word. And our politicians took that wisdom to heart and have been refashioning our system to serve their own personal interests ever since.
According to Governor Romney New York's billionaires wouldn't keep more of their money under his proposal. He would offset lower rates with reduced deductions. The rich would pay more, not less. But then Romney is lying, right?

I think you are rather violently agreeing with the premise of the author of this piece - not sure why you're being so snarky.

"Let us keep more of our money; we’ll use it to build big ourselves."

The author's point is that sending tax dollars to DC and having to toe a party line to get them back is absurd.
Always amusing to read these “we get back a mere 85 cents on every dollar we send to Washington” sermons. If only that inscrutable logic worked for us individual taxpayers. Warren Buffet would probably be entitled to his very own international airport, fully staffed and just beyond his back yard fence. Us little guys who can only send thousands to Washington each year might get, at the very least, a heavily armed Special Forces soldier to keep our home safe from those “undocumented workers”, doing the jobs Americans won’t do, while we’re off at work each day. But logic never trumps the Common Wisdom, especially when it comes to election year politics.

And no one finds anything slightly bizarre in the concept of sending tax dollars to Washington and then expecting to get it all back? What’s the point in sending the money or what’s the point in having a Washington if only to turn the money around? And who would then pay for all those massive federal bureaucracies, pensions, salaries, GSA morale building convention expenses, not to mention the maintenance on Air Force One? Oh, I forgot, the Chinese would. And it’s a shame that Potomac Mom always loved California more than New York, but some things just have to be born. Perhaps it’s another sign of our march toward collective dementia that our cities are the new Welfare Queens and the federal government is the new Sugar Daddy, a concept the Founding Fathers should have seriously considered while they were fiddling around with the Constitution.