Republicans, Democrats and Income Inequality

Washington, D.C., has the greatest extremes of wealth and poverty of almost any place in the United States. Yet, ironically, both extremes — the rich and the poor — vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, observes David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

The same pattern applies across the country: Places with greater income inequality vote for the Dems, places with more egalitarian incomes prefer Republicans. The danger for the GOP is that the nation is becoming more unequal, Frum argues in “The Vanishing Republican Voter,” an article published Sunday in the New York Times Magazine.” As America becomes more unequal, it also becomes less Republican,”

To advance his argument, Frum hones in on Fairfax County, a once solidly Republican stronghold that now leans Democratic, and Prince William County, where the GOP lock is loosening.

The million residents of Fairfax County have an economy larger than Vietnam’s. Incomes average more than $100,000. But that high average conceals wide variations between those with great educations and high incomes, and the arrivals “speaking 40 different tongues.” Inequality has created new social problems, contends Frum: “The schools are stressed. The roads are choked. Land use is more contentious.” And the county is shifting steadily into the Democratic column.

Why? Frum doesn’t really explain why. He just notes that super-affluent Americans generally trend Democratic. Says Frum: “Al Gore beat George Bush 56-39, among the 4 percent of voters who identified themselves as ‘upper class.’ America’s wealthiest ZIP codes are a roll call of Democratic strongholds.” It goes without saying that poor people prefer Democrats, who look more favorably upon the redistribution of wealth.

Moving on to Prince William County, Frum says, “There are no more egalitarian and no more Republican places in the United States than these exurbs. The rich shun them, and the poor can find no easy foothold.” But even here, the Republican dominance is slipping. Democrats Gov. Tim Kaine and Sen. Jim Webb both won majorities here.

Frum argues that Republican policies under the Bush administration have yielded few benefits to middle-income Americans. He then focuses on Prince William as “ground zero” for the illegal immigration debate. Illegal immigration is bad for the poor because it drives down wages, and it helps the rich because it lowers the price of personal services like landscaping and restraurant meals. In other words, it fosters inequality. Making matters worse, middle-class communities like Prince William are paying the cost of maintaining social services for the illegals.

Frum points to one other crisis: the rising cost of health care. What the middle class needs even more than tax breaks, he suggests, is for someone to tame the soaring inflation in health care that has bitten deeply into wages and salaries. “If health-insurance costs had risen 50 percent rather than 100 percent over the Bush years,” he writes, “middle-income voters would have enjoyed a pay raise instead of enduring wage stagnation.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Frum’s article is a good read, and parts of it are quite perceptive. But he fails to close the loops of logic in a number of his arguments. For instance, I agree with Frum’s economic analysis about the disparate impact of illegal immigration, but he never explains how that issue would induce the stressed-out middle-class residents of Prince William County to vote for Tim Kaine or Jim Webb, neither of whom have championed the anti-illegal immigration cause.

On health care, Frum may be on firmer ground. If middle-class Americans are worried about the impact of health care costs, they may be drawn to the Democratic pitch for a national health care system. Even then, though, he doesn’t take his argument quite that far.

Finally, Frum omits what may be the most crucial cluster of issues of all: those relating to transportation, land use, energy and the environment. Middle-class NoVa residents fall into the demographic that Ed Risse refers to as the “Running As Hard As They Cans” (RHTCs) whose lives are impacted by dysfunctional land use patterns — unaffordable and inaccessible housing, traffic congestion, fiscal stress at the municipal level, rising energy costs — in ways they do not fully understand. It’s possible that they’re losing faith in the old Republican mantra: Just keep keep taxes low.

Without question, taxes matter to the middle class, but so do wage levels, and health care costs, and mortgage costs, and housing values, and gasoline/energy costs, and traffic congestion, and the quality of the schools… What those problems have to do with income inequality, I’m still not certain. I would think they would matter to everyone. If Republicans want to hold on to middle class voters, they’d better find a bigger bag of tricks — regardless of what happens to income inequality.

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27 responses to “Republicans, Democrats and Income Inequality”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I knew about projections for a ‘squeeze’ on the Middle Class with more wealthy folks and more skin of the teeth lower working (not poor) class – in 1991. Its cause has nothing to do with Presidents. Its cure isn’t on anyone’s radar – or what they candidates’ report now.

    There are important things to do – but they don’t ‘fix’ the problem by recreating a middle class bulge on the normal curve.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    As far as Fairfax & PW County are concerned, perhaps it has more to do with things going on at the State & Local level, i.e., dysfunctional land use patterns — unaffordable and inaccessible housing, traffic congestion, fiscal stress at the municipal level, rising energy costs, etc., as opposed to things happening at the National level…..

    I think you made the point in your bottom line…..all politics is local.

  3. E M Risse Avatar

    As we point out in the revised Backgrounder “Need for a New Metric for Citizen Well Being” (PART FIVE of FOUNDATIONS), the idea that one political party can create an umbrella large enough to cover nation-state, state (provdence / Region)and Community scale policies, programs and controls is an early 19th century idea that has long been a core cause of dysfunction.

    Did some one say we needed a Fundamental Change in governance structure and a thus a Fundamental Change of political parties.

    How many more 50.5 percent “victories” are citizens going to tolerate?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Tim Kaine won an awful lot of votes when he ran his TV commercial that took a shot at out-of-control development. He said we cannot pave our way out from the mess that is NoVA traffic without changing the law to postpone more development when the roads cannot handle it.

    IMO, this was the most sensible thing I've ever heard from a candidate for statewide office in Virginia. But, as we all know, Kaine did not follow through as aggressively as he could have. His natural liberal instincts led him, after conferring with the landowners, their agents and the road-building groups, to ask for higher taxes. What might have happened had he said, First come land use law changes; then, we'll talk revenues?

    Traffic is the number one issue in NoVA. And virtually everyone would agree that part of the solution is to stop it from becoming worse.

    To Kaine's credit, VDOT appears to be doing a good job with the 527 review process. So good, that rumor has it Connolly, Tyler & Lecos tried to lobby Pierce Homer and Governor Kaine to exempt Tysons Corner from the 527 process altogether. I can almost picture the argument going something like: "Our vision for Tysons is a transit-oriented, walkable community not dependent on autos. But if you make use account for the additional traffic that an expanded Tysons will generate, the rezoning will never get approved and Tysons will remain an auto-centric place."

    I still think that anyone willing to take a hardline against the insane level of development without infrastructure and mean it would win big-time in Fairfax County, regardless of the other issues. Of course, that person's opponent would likely have a campaign war chest the size of Fort Knox courtesy of the development crowd.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    “And virtually everyone would agree that part of the solution is to stop it from becoming worse.”

    In other words, send it someplace else.


  6. Anonymous Avatar

    “In other words, send it someplace else.”

    A perfect example of what Dr. Risse calls “Geographic Iliteracy.”

    Within the parameters of “growth” in a finite economic, social and physical environment, it is not how much that is important, it is Where (location, location, location) and, even more important, How (functional settlement patterns).

  7. Anonymous Avatar


    I read the Furm piece in Sunday’s magazine and note that he is a conservative or calls him such.

    He makes many interesting points about the changing nature of NOVA politics, but he tends to miss some important issues.

    I believe that one reason the GOP is in decline is specific to Virginia — that the state’s GOP ran out of ideas. Constantly riffing on the Allen/Gilmore themes of little government, no taxes, and more prisons just doesn’t resonate when you are stuck constantly in Beltway traffic. As NOVA becomes more diverse with more newcomers, the Confederate flag stuff sounds as foreign as the inside baseball of politics in Bangkok.
    Even playing on the fears of dark-skinned Latinos as the BOS chairman in Prince William has done has its limits. According to this morning’s Wash Post, that racist little initiative seems to be running out of steam. Once again, you can’t blame the Mexicans or Dominicans for Richmond’s inability to figure out road solutions. That is largely the fault of the states disorganized and dysfunctional GOP.

    Peter Galuszka

  8. The article is typical of Republican hubris. The author blithely saunters from Anaheim to Charlotte to Fairfax County to Washington, DC. As with most Republican leaders he assumes that his is brilliant and everyone else is stupid. He makes a lot of sweeping statements but provides little analytical evidence. Most of all, he seems to be screaming, “It’s not our fault!”.

    Income inequality, immigration, rising health care costs, globalization. The only profound statement in the entire article was his sentence:

    “But since 2000, something has changed.”.

    Yes, indeed. The country elected a red blooded, tried and true scion of Republican nobility. And his eight years in office have been a Keystone Cops rerun of hapless disorder. Now, the Republicans put forth a 72 year old guy who seems like more of the same and try to spice it up with a relatively clever woman from Alaska who nobody knows.

    And the beat goes on …

    George Allen can’t prevent himself from tossing out racially inspired insults at a guy who is clearly filming him.

    Jerry Kilgore pretends Northern Virginia doesn’t exist and loses to Tim Kaine.

    Tom Davis can’t be talked into running again. So, the Republicans find a guy nobody has ever heard of. Their only saving grace is that unknown Mr. Fimian is running against the poster boy for out of control development. Yet I still don’t hear Keith Fimian pounding that very resonant drum.

    Mark Warner’s “say one thing, do another” tenure as governor is well known to the people on this blog. However, he’s getting all but a free pass in NoVA from Jim Gilmore (who, based on his actions as governor, should be dragging Mark-y Misdirection through the mud in NoVA).

    The Republicans are losing for a reason.

    They are incompetent.

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    well.. they used to be the party of ideas rather than taxes…

    Here’s a rare modern-day example:

    Wittman pushes for effective bay clean up
    The Congressman wants stricter accountability for programs targeting pollution.

    By PATRICK LYNCH | 247-4534
    September 4, 2008
    GLOUCESTER – U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman wants to require stricter accountability for the Chesapeake Bay clean up effort and implement measures that would direct federal money to those activities that are creating the most benefit.

    Wittman’s first legislation regarding the bay follows his 16 years as scientist for the Virginia Department of Health, where he worked on shellfish sanitation issues. Wittman, R-Westmoreland, was elected to Congress last year to replace the late Jo Ann Davis.

    His Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act would target a couple of problems, Wittman said Wednesday. First, with all the various federal and state agencies, individual cities and counties and nonprofit groups involved in Chesapeake restoration, it’s nearly impossible to tally how much money is spent each year on the effort. And largely because of that, it’s hard to measure which tactics work best, Wittman said.

    Wittman’s bill, which was introduced in late July but will likely come before a committee for the first time later this month, would first require the Office of Management and Budget to make comprehensive accounting of all the dollars spent on restoring the bay. Second, the Environmental Protection Agency would be required to adopt a flexible clean-up program that Wittman calls adaptive management.
    The key component, Wittman said, would be the agency’s ability to measure the effectiveness of different clean-up tactics and then choose a course of future action based on that cost-benefit analysis.

    Wittman cast the legislation as a first step toward correcting some of the weaknesses of the Chesapeake clean-up.

    “It needs to be outcome-based,” Wittman said. “It needs to be results-based.”,0,5293765.story

    People will buy this kind of approach to government – even NoVirginians!

    In fact, One could apply Whitmans core principles – that efforts must be “outcome based” as the baseline accountability for transportation and education.

  10. Well Larry … as it turns out I know a thing or two about Maryland’s laws regarding the Chesapeake Bay. So, before we coronate Rob Wittman for suggesting another “performance audit” – let’s compare.


    1. Any area within 1,000 ft of mean low tide is considered within the “critical area”.

    2. No subdivision of land where any part is within the critical area into less that 20 acre parcels.

    3. No part of any home may be built within 200′ of mean low tide.

    4. No boathouses.

    5. All shoreline to be rip rapped. No pilings.

    6. A buffer zone along the shoreline is required. It must be a 3 tier planting of natural plants and shrubs. No grass to the bayline.

    7. Only one habitable builing in addition to the main residence allowed on lots with any land in the critical area. The maximum square footage of the habitable out building to be restricted to 900 sq ft.

    There are a lot more regs. I don’t know the Virginia regulations at all. So, maybe these are even federal regulations.

    Please enlighten me.

    Because the good people of Maryland have apparently decided that they should forgo big jumps in property value in order to help save the bay.

    And that’s something that everybody should endorse – even Virginians of the Northern Neck.

  11. Oh – and I believe there is a very restricted allowance for the harvest of female crabs with a 5″ point-to-point minimum.

    How’s Virginia on these crab regs?

  12. Sorry – there’s also a $500 tax rebate for anybody willing to plant oyster beds under their dock – what with the oysters being such a big value in filtering bay water.

    What’s the Virginia tax break ceiling?

  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Groveton.. I don’t honestly know how they compare but Virginia does have more restrictions east of I-95 than west but I suspect that Maryland has more restrictions.

    Whitman is looking at the entire approach – not in terms of what is done… but rather in terms of whether the monies being spent to clean up the Bay.

    The Bay’s problems will not be fixed by restricting development to some distance from the shores of the Bay – if we don’t also deal with stormwater, sewage treatment and farms – along the rivers that feed the Bay.

    The numbers/kinds of restrictions that we have and the amount of resources expended – both human and dollars don’t really mean much if they are not focused on things that do work.

    Right now – we don’t know what works.

    We think we know. We make rules and spend money – but the rivers and the Bay are not improving.

    I support a JLARC-type approach to comprehensively identifying all the stovepipes that we have in the Bay effort and to start to figure out what things are working best and to focus resources rather than the current shotgun… “throw more money or the sky will fall” approach.

    Right now.. Save the Bay is little more than a bumper sticker… for most folks.

    You can cite what Maryland is doing.

    Can you show that the waters is Maryland are cleaner because of what Maryland is doing?

    Is Maryland having success at cleaning up the Bay that Virginia should model it’s efforts?

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    “Save the Bay is little more than a bumper sticker… for most folks.”

    Including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. As part of its environmental efforts, the BoS adopted “strong stream protection policies.”

    However, this being Fairfax County, when this stream protection policy with 100 foot buffers threatened the development plans for a project in Vienna, VA (Wedderburn Farms), the BoS closed its eyes and permitted the stream to be declassified and removed from protection.

    The County accepted photos from the developer’s agent that showed a dry stream bed in August, but did not follow the standard procedure and look for subsurface water, even though the County received seven letters from stream ecologists and biologists protesting the abandonment of scientific protocols.


  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Don’t ya’ll love it when they close the farm…. plant houses where there used to be crops.. and call it whachmacallit “farms”?


  16. I usually agree with TMT but question the strong force of his argument. Here, however, you will get no argument from me. Fairfax County is doing a terrible job of conservation in general and stormwater conservation in particular. The minimum ground coverage rules are a joke and rarely, if ever, enforced. I know of many people who have de-forested acre after acre of prime woodland. Did they do this to build a house? No. Did they do this to build a grandma cottage? No. They did it to build a barn and exercise areas for their horses. Acres of forest gone so that Buffy and Jodi don’t have to drive 3 miles to one of the many local stables to ride their horses. These dime store cowboys think that living on 6 acres in Great Falls makes them some sort of Texas ranchers. And the county does nothing, not a thing – despite the rules requiring tree preservation. I tried calling the county and got the infinite run around. TMT – What would you do? I am sick of these transplants ruining the forest.

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Groveton – you illustrate my point.

    Do we know that horse pasture, per se, is a water quality problem?

    Do we know… on a comparative basis – how “fixing”/”restricting” horse pastures verses parking lots or townhouse developments rank?

    I think this is the problem.

    The perception is that everything and everything is “bad” … in the eyes of someone…. without any of us really knowing how these things rank..

    and in turn.. which are really egregious practices that need to be stopped NOW and which are very harmful but very necessary such that we need to focus on solutions.. and which things.. while not the best… can rest a while …while we tend to the things that will yield significant beneficial results.

    Right now.. this is no proportionality.. no rational way to get our ducks in a row and start making meaningful progress.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton says the good people of Maryland have apparently decided that they should forgo big jumps in property value in order to help save the bay. I’d say that the good people of maryand have decided that SOME people should forego forgo acquisitionof new property (and associated property rights) in order to help save the Bay. Larry thinks the number of those people should be extended to everyone who lives on a rivershed. I say that includes everybody, and now what we need to do is figure out what the relative costs and benefits are. We can describe these as property rights and allow them to be traded, and THEN we will know what the rankings are.
    As usual, Larry has fouled an otherwise perceptive observation by making the claim that some bad things are really egregious and need to be stopped regardless. Some property rights are worth much more than others.
    “All bad precedents began as justifiable measures.” Julius Caesar.
    “A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.” Daniel Webster
    Pearsons Law: “That which is measured, improves.” Today we might change that to read “That which is measured and exposed impartally, improves”

    Maybe Dr. Risse can add that to his self proclaimed “natural laws”, so that we can actually learn what is worth how much, and where.

    If you tax something, you get less of it. If we tax the insane level of development without infrastructure we will get less of it, but then we had better be prepared to actually provide infrastructure.

    I assume that TMT is referring tot he insane level of NEW development without infrastructure, otherwise he would be suggesting new retroactive taxes against those who already suffer from lack of infrastructure. But a tax against only NEW development without “adequate” infrastructure that would suggest that those who were once able to develop would be at an advantage over those who would be economically prohiibited under the new regulations.

    Once the “haves” compensate the “can’t haves” for their new losses, then where is the gain? The answer is that there isn’t one, unless poorly disguised stealing is involved. If you are going to penalize those who destroy your quality of life, then you must be prepare to incentivise thosw who work (and spend) to protect it. That would imply that in order to tax those that engage in an insane level of development then we should incentivize those that don’t.

    One way to do that would be to give them development credits for every year they do not develop. These credits could be used to offset the new taxes against “insane levels of development”.

    And they could be sold in the open market. I expect I’d have a lot of credits by now.


    The law says that no one would be disadvantaged because of the application (or lack of application) of environmental regulations. Regulations on development have become nearly indistinguishable and inseperable from environmental regulations. (What is a dry streambed? What is quality of life?)

    Right now we cannot agree or measure what works and what doesn’t, what is good and what is bad, who is getting screwed and who isn’t.

    The best thing to do is to create offsetting property rights. Define and protect them carefully, and then let them be bought and sold.

    I suspect we all (Even Dr. Risse) would learn a lot about the value and functionality of various kinds of geography.


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    “Global poverty is actually decreasing, and the average GDP per capita is increasing, it’s not decreasing at a rate that we are satisfied with.

    However, Africa is the only major area of the world that is suffering from increasing poverty rates. …..

    The other problem is that the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. Some people may be tempted to believe that the rich get richer by somehow exploiting the poor, and thus if we want to make the poor richer, we have to make the rich poorer. False.

    If the world had a constant level of wealth and production, then this would be a matter of give and take and the above premise would be valid. As long as GDP growth is greater than population growth (which it is), then we don’t have to worry about rich people becoming worse off–you poor darlings.

    Xavier points out that in today’s world, as income increases, people have fewer children which according to him, makes children an inferior good. This was not the case before the Industrial Revolution of 1760–I guess they needed more physical labor. This may well be a factor in explaining increasing GDP rates since income per person would increase when there is more money-making, but less baby-making.”

    Well, yes, but in a sustainable world, isn’t the total level of SUSTAINABLE wealth and production fixed?

    If it is, then the Republicans will have an increasingly difficult time increasing the wealth gap. The only way to continue to increase the wealth gap under that scenario is to side with those that think we need fewer people consuming fewer resources. That is a decidedlty un-Republican position to take.

    If it isn’t true, then we will continue to get wealthier and consume more without end. Democrats and Greenies are going to have a problem with that.


  20. Anonymous Avatar

    Ray, state law says that it is the policy of the Commonwealth for new development (changes in land use) to be matched with additional public facilities. If this is done correctly, there will be a match and we should all be able to grow without drowning in congestion or receiving huge increases in tax bills.

    If the process works correctly, I should not be worried about owners building to right – because the decision to set the existing density level also included a plan to increase necessary infrastructure facilities to meet the increased density levels, along with a financial plan that does not rely on increasing my real estate taxes. In other words, the sum of proffers, fees and additional taxes from the value of the new property and, even existing properties, created by the new development will fund the added costs to government to support the added population without a tax increase.

    But going further, there is no property right to have future densities increased.

    I’ve played this old record too many times. But here goes. The Tysons landowners should be able to build to the existing Comp Plan and to existing zoning laws. They need to find a way to get the rail line built and a number of highways and roads improved. But within those parameters, I’d support the development.

    But this is not the case in Tysons. The landowners have rejected building to right. They want more — substantially more density — or many have said they simply won’t build. And they haven’t even analyzed the impacts on public facilities, much less come up with a plan to finance them. If they don’t build under these circumstances, that’s just fine with me if they don’t build more. What is in it for the average person to see even higher densities granted? Absolutely nothing.

    The Tysons Task Force process is a sham designed only to enrich a few at the expense of everyone else.


  21. ….it is the policy of the Commonwealth for new development (changes in land use) to be matched with additional public facilities”

    correct. which means proposals – are proposals – not “rights”.

    …”there is no property right to have future densities increased.”


    Ray bases his beliefs on the facts that if some property owners land can be designated for higher densities then it is discriminatory to other property owners land – not so designated….

    and that the “remedy” is that ALL property owners are entitled to whatever level of density they desire….

    it ignores completely the fact that there is no way physically nor fiscally to extend water/sewer everywhere – geographically….. even if the existing taxpayers would agree to it (to have their taxes raised to whatever levels needed to build infrastructure for whatever level of growth that would occur with no restrictions on density.

  22. Bill Garnett Avatar
    Bill Garnett

    On an island with a population of 10, one individual owns most of the coconut palms. The other nine democratically vote to share in his good fortune. Is it any surprise that those in poverty or low income would, as they increase their suffrage, vote in their self-interest?

    As to northern Virginia, this region has a large influx of both educated individuals and individuals not marinated in Virginia conservatism. They bring a new set of values.

    And just as Warren Buffet, George Soros, and Bill Gates opposes elimination of the so called death tax, so do many other new money individuals who recognize that their good fortune could only exist in our democracy and on the backs of so many who worked no less. Perhaps they can see the real inequity of the widening wealth gap.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    “Ray bases his beliefs on the facts that if some property owners land can be designated for higher densities then it is discriminatory to other property owners land – not so designated….”

    That is not my position at all. Why is this so hard for you to understand? As far as development rights go, my position is only that they should not be taken away without compensation and neither should new development rights be granted without a price being paid. Landowners are not (now) entitled to whatever level of growth they desire, and neither are adjoining landowners entitled to whatever level of conservation they desire.

    In fact, both of these have costs or a price, associated with them, but our system recognizes them in only one direction: when it is allegedly a cost to the community. I say allegedly, because we really do not know.

    As far as growth is concerned, we designate SOME land that belongs to SOME landowners for higher growth. We ostensibly do this for the public benefit. As TMT has pointed out, landowners in other parts of Tyson’s are concerned that they will be prevented from growth as growth is “directed” towards Tysons.

    My contention (and it is not mine alone) is that if the government maintains that this arrangement, (growth for some and conservation for others) is good for everyone, then that needs to be demonstrated through some kind of compensation.

    Othwerwise you have a situation where some landowners get huge benefits and valuations, even if they have to pay for the privilege. After all, they won’t do it if there isn’t enough it it for them at the end. And they are essentially being subsidized by other landowners who are getting “saved to death”.

    In other words, if the winners can’t compensate the losers and still come out ahead, then this pollicy has no winners. The subsidy to such density is greater than the benefits.

    But the fact is, we really do not know. We are all geographically illiterate as far as costs are concerned. So the answer is to carefully define property rights: ALL of them, not just real estate related ones, and then create a market where they can be bought and sold.

    People like Larry and EMR are afraid of such a plan becaus it is unlikely to uphold their vision that some rights are worth much more than others.


  24. Anonymous Avatar

    “If this is done correctly, there will be a match and we should all be able to grow without drowning in congestion or receiving huge increases in tax bills.”

    And how is that going to be done correctly? Even if we never built another new structure, home, or business, we would already need huge increases in tax bill, just to catch up on deferred maintenance, and better facilities for those of us already here.

    I read “done correctly” to mean that developers will pay for ALL the new facilities required – even those that will be used by everyone. This is completely unrealistic and it will lead to zero growth, which is the real anthem of those proposing such a policy.

    If it is really limited growth, then development rights should be granted at a limited rate, and then they can be bought sold or traded. That way, those that are prohibited from growth could see some benefit. Instead we have unlimted growth for some (Tyson’s) and no growth -ever – for others (Ashby Glen).


  25. Anonymous Avatar

    “then it is discriminatory to other property owners land – not so designated….”

    Now we are back to a question of when the designation was made. The original designation was discriminatory. To now use the designation as a shild for still more improper designations is wrong, as well.

    Whatever the rights to density are, or were, they should have been the same for all landowners. Then , even if they are not allowed to use their density where they are, the could sell it to others who can use it.


  26. Anonymous Avatar

    “even if the existing taxpayers would agree to it”

    The existing taxpayers have an obligation to recognize that their infrastructure has been subsidized, sometimes for decades, by the owners of vacant land. When development occurs, those owners should get credit for their previous contributions.


  27. Anonymous Avatar

    “Over the past three decades there has been a spectacular rise in income inequality as measured by official statistics. In this paper we revisit the distributional consequences of increased imports from China by looking at the compositional differences in the basket of goods consumed by the poor and the rich in America. Using household data on non-durable consumption between 1994 and 2005 we document that much of the rise of income inequality has been offset by a relative decline in the price index of the poor. By relaxing the standard assumptions underlying the representative agent framework we find that inflation for households in the lowest tenth percentile of income has been 6 percentage points smaller than inflation for the upper tenth percentile over this period.

    The lower inflation at low income levels can be explained by three factors: 1) The poor consume a higher share of non-durable goods —whose prices have fallen relative to services over this period; 2) the prices of the set of non-durable goods consumed by the poor has fallen relative to that of the rich; and 3) a higher proportion of the new goods are purchased by the poor. We examine the role played by Chinese exports in explaining the lower inflation of the poor. Since Chinese exports are concentrated in low-quality non-durable products that are heavily purchased by poorer Americans, we find that about one third of the relative price drops faced by the poor are associated with rising Chinese imports.”

    From University of Chicago economists Christian Broda and John Romalis:


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