City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Scott Winship
The “Two Cities” Myth « Back to Story

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"As for the glib equation of government transfers as income- welfare, SSI, SSDI, WIC, Earned Income Credits, Medicaid etc., people who say that should be forced to sit in a waiting room for hours and have to be interrogated by a hostile caseworker before they can withdraw their retirement benefits, or cash a bond."

How is this a bad thing Matt? If you receive benefits from the govt that cover all aspects of your existence then you absolutely should be cross examined by case workers to make sure you deserve it and to make sure that you are doing things to make your need for benefits a short term proposition.

All the benefits you cite are not earned but taken from tax payers who work and given to those who in many cases do not. A retirement plan one earned or a bond they afforded through their job / work is just that - earned.

Comparing the two as you do is akin to comparing apples to door knobs.
If De Blasio gets his way and starts abusing NY taxpayers, he will get "equality" all right: Anyone with half a brain and a little money will hightail it out of Gotham. The result will be more equality, as the average income (and consequently tax revenue) decline. Everyone will be poorer but more "equal" (and isn't that the only thing that matters). Then New Yorkers will wonder whether electing their own little Hugo Chavez is really the best way to go...
The return to David Dinkins days is amazing that NYC would want that, but stupidity runs deep in that city with its huge parasitic society.

Should be fun to watch.
Does the existence of rich people cause the existence of poor people? If Mr. Zuckerberg makes an extra 10 million this year, will more people fall into poverty as a result?

I don't think so. It's probably more complicated.
Explaining away the shocking and rapid increase in income inequality by use of phony accounting is a thriving industry among certain academics like Winship. One of the things he does is to take the value of health insurance and government transfers and add them back as income. Since there has been a lot of inflation in medical costs, part of this rise in prices shows up as more income. As for the glib equation of government transfers as income- welfare, SSI, SSDI, WIC, Earned Income Credits, Medicaid etc., people who say that should be forced to sit in a waiting room for hours and have to be interrogated by a hostile caseworker before they can withdraw their retirement benefits, or cash a bond.
"Two Cities" isn't a myth. We aren't correctly defining what the "Two Cities" are.

One city contains Americans, both low and high income, who are struggling to hold onto jobs, face stagnant wages and are paying more for commodities such as housing, health care and food.

The other city is one of international multimillionaires and billionaires who are utilizing the resources of this city - mainly real estate - to add as an investment on their wealth portfolios, taking advantage of low interest and tax rates.