The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Too Bad to be True

In a recent op-ed in the WSJ, entitled "You Can't Throw the Bums Out if You Voted with your Feet," Allysia Finley derides the out-migration from blue cities with particular emphasis on Chicago and its recently elected hard-left Mayor Brandon Johnson.  She writes:

Chicago is functionally bankrupt. Its high crime and taxes are driving away businesses like Citadel, Boeing and Tyson Foods. Despite some of the highest property taxes in the country, its pension funds are in a death spiral. Scads of people are moving out. A net 175,000 people left Cook County between 2020 and 2022.

Mr. Johnson’s margin of victory was about 20,000 votes. How many of the city’s expats would have voted for moderate reformer Paul Vallas? Therein lies an enormous problem for Chicago and other big cities: Left-wing policies are driving away the types of voters and businesses needed for a course correction.

Between 2020 and 2022, about 71,000 people on net left San Francisco—nearly 10% of its population. During the same period some 503,000 moved out of New York City—about four times the population of Topeka, Kan. High levels of out-migration amount to a political as well as economic brain drain. Cities are losing the voters who keep their leaders from going off the rails.

All of that is true, but any suggestion that there's a way to "throw the bums out" is wishful thinking. In the comments section, I wrote:

In blue cities across the country, the Democrats have ruled for decades. [Chicago hasn't had a GOP mayor in 70 years!] Sure, there might be an occasional GOP mayor in some cities, but the city council, along with public sector unions and (today) NGOs insist on more taxes and greater spending. Ironically, as spending goes up, the quality of public services along with the quality of life, goes down. Hundreds of millions are spent on programs that don't work, except to enrich the parasitic class that acts as middle men in big cities.

"Throwing the bums out" is a reasonable abstraction, but it can no longer work. The political infrastructure in big cities has skewed so far left that a return to moderation is unlikely. Even worse, urban leftists who now run things know that there is no longer moral hazard for poor governance—Washington will bail them out when things get really bad.

Sadly, voting with our feet is the ONLY solution for those us us who see our tax money squandered by incompetent ideologues who do absolutely nothing to make the lives of city dwellers better.