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In New York, a different kind of tax protest

On Thursday, an estimated crowd of 50,000 marched through the streets of lower Manhattan to protest New York governor David Patterson's proposed state budget cuts.

"Governor Paterson, I wish you could have an open heart that we are going to suffer if this budget cut goes through," said China Lankford of Jamaica.

Paterson has proposed closing a $15 billion state budget gap by making cuts across the board, including $2.5 billion in education, $3.2 billion in health care and billions more in cuts to vital programs such as senior services, disability services, housing assistance and crisis intervention programs.

Protestors insisted Thursday that there's a better way. They're asking for what they call "fair tax reform" -- raising state taxes for New Yorkers making $250,000 or more on top of the president's proposed hikes.

"For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need," United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

"A little more." It's always just a little more. We could make such a big difference with just a little more. Problem is, the Federal government takes a little more of your income, then the state wants a little more, then the city wants a little more, then Social Security takes a little more, then property taxes are raised a little more, then sales taxes are raised a little more, then taxes on dividends and capital gains are raised a little more ... and pretty soon we are all paying a lot more.

It's hard not to feel sorry for the people of New York City. They will certainly suffer because of these budget cuts. But at the same time, it's not difficult to understand that their government is responsible for much of the suffering of its own people. Urban renewal programs packed the poor into run-down tenement houses in the 1950's and 1960's; rent controls made it impossible for landlords to earn enough money in rent to pay for maintenance and upkeep of their properties; over-regulation made the cost of government needlessly expensive, and when the cost of government continually rose, new fees and higher taxes were imposed on residents; as more people slipped into poverty, the government simply offered handouts instead of undoing policies that damaged commerce and personal income; and when neighborhoods began to decay, public services declined and police were ordered to keep away. (If you are interested in reading a harrowing and heart-rending account of life in the South Bronx during the early 1990's - the nadir of New York's big government liberalism - Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol is strongly recommended.)

Economically, New York City has been walking a tightrope for the last several decades as it depended on a relatively small number of individuals who created and earned an enormous amount of money to foot most of the bill for its operations and social services. Now that the bottom has fallen out of the financial industry and a significant number of its power players, mid-level managers, and workers are themselves jobless and struggling to stay afloat financially, both the city and the state are going to suffer.

And sadly, because both the city and state of New York are run by do-gooder liberals, they are once again poised to offer "fixes" based on more confiscation and redistribution of private income rather than easing taxes and regulations and letting the economy at large - not just a handful of specialty sectors like Wall Street - expand so that fewer services and programs from the government will be required. But economic expansion takes discipline and effort and time; none of which, say the do-gooders, will put food in the mouth of a child who is hungry today.

So it seems that New York is stuck in a downward spiral, as its working class "continue(s) to fight for their part of the economic pie," yet has unfortunately become dependent upon government programs funded by stifling taxes and regulations that discourage entrepreneurship, encourage successful residents to leave, and ensure that the "pie" gets smaller with each passing decade.


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Comments (33)

Gee whiz, where did that sc... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Gee whiz, where did that script come from...can we impeach him now?

"A little bit mo... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

"A little bit more?"

No thank you.You've wasted quite enough.

" China Lankford of Jamaica... (Below threshold)
retired military:

" China Lankford of Jamaica. "

Let him go back to Jamaica if he doesnt like NY city.

I listened to a radio piece that said basically the top 40k wageearners in NY CIty were paying about 60% of the income tax revenue for the entire city. Not suprising since the bottom 50% of wagearners in the US only pay about 3% of the personal income tax revenue for the govt in the US.

If I was one of those 40K I would be looking to relocate especially if they raised my taxes any more.

retired military,N... (Below threshold)
Rance:

retired military,

Nice rant, but that's Jamaica, part of Queens, NY.

Looks like everything is wo... (Below threshold)
joh:

Looks like everything is working out as the Democrats have planned. In order for their new socialist state to succeed, they must first destroy the middle class, forcing them downward into perpetual dependence on the Government.

From each according to thei... (Below threshold)

From each according to their ability. To each according to their need.

Socialism Sucks

"If I was one of those 4... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"If I was one of those 40K I would be looking to relocate especially if they raised my taxes any more."

The reason to stay in New York, at one time, was so you could be connected. The city was the hub of the financial world - you HAD to be there, or you couldn't get anything done.

But with the internet, teleconferencing, virtually instant communications - there's no real reason to stay, aside from 'prestige'. And some folks will stay for that, but if a critical mass leaves - so will the rest.

The 40k dwindles down to 20k, or 10k... and all of a sudden, there goes your tax base.

Wonder how long it would be until NY looks like Detroit?

So now we're going to pay a... (Below threshold)
Rance:

So now we're going to pay an extra $20 per $1000 we make over $250,000. What a hardship! The world is coming to a end.

Won't be enough, Rance. Do... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Won't be enough, Rance. Do the numbers. Other people are, and they're not liking what they see.

National Journal Magazine - Obama's Left Turn

"Obama can take credit for keeping campaign promises (which he might have been wiser to defer) on health care, energy, and more, and for ending some of George W. Bush's budget gimmickry. But he has been deceptive in basing his deficit projections on phantom expenditure cuts and wildly optimistic revenue estimates, and in proclaiming "a new era of responsibility" to be paid for by raising taxes only on "the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans."

The numbers don't add up -- and still won't if and when, as seems almost certain, Obama ratchets up his so-far-fairly-modest new taxes on the top 2 percent. "A tax policy that confiscated 100 percent of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue," according to a February 27 editorial in The Wall Street Journal. "That's less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable 'dime' of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion."

As for the budget's $2 trillion in projected net "savings," Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, admitted in testimony on Tuesday under questioning by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that $1.6 trillion comes from phantom cuts of the money that would be needed to sustain the troop surge in Iraq for another decade -- money that nobody ever intended to spend.

Other supposed savings -- especially from Medicare -- seem unlikely to materialize absent benefit cuts, which Obama has not proposed. And the cost of any health care legislation -- to be drafted largely by a Congress that is allergic to the kind of cost-cutting necessary to make universal care sustainable -- is likely to be two or three times the $634 billion over 10 years that Obama has budgeted."
You can shear a sheep year after year. You can only skin him once.
For those of you who pro... (Below threshold)
Trump:

For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need," United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

Actually, you're not ASKING them to do a damn thing. You're DEMANDING that they be made to pay more to subsidize your jobs.

You know, Bloomberg made the point that the overwhelming majority of NYC tax revenues comes from a tiny % of families - maybe 40,000 or so. Suppose 10% of them decided not to "go Galt" but to simply go elsewhere?

Then what?

When taxing the rich isn't enough, you gotta tax everyone else.

So I'd at least like to THANK those evil rich people for doing way more than their fair share.

It sickens me that leeches like Weingarten and the large majority that don't pay any taxes at all don't even have basic courtesy. If I was a rich guy in NYC I'd demand these people kiss my a** royally for all I'm being made to do. Weingarten should be made to lie down in a puddle so I could step across her and keep my shoes dry.

Don't forget, Democrats don... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Don't forget, Democrats don't have a problem raising taxes, judging by Team Obama's record, they don't pay them anyway. Wonder if Rangel would be willing to give up 2 of the 3 rent-subsidized apartments he's living in?

We have Congress telling us that 'nobody minds the pork'. Hey, start saving a couple billion here and a couple billion there, and soon enough you'll be talking real money.

The Feds are going to screw us on new taxes, hidden taxes, and fees. The states are doing the same. When are the sheep going to wake up and realize that they have a finite amount of money in their wallet?

I have no difficulty whatso... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I have no difficulty whatsoever NOT feeling sorry for the people of New York. Stop living there and/or voting for the idiots that run the place if you don't like it.

Rance"Nice rant, b... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Rance

"Nice rant, but that's Jamaica, part of Queens, NY.

"

Thanks. I learned something today. I am from Texas and have never been to NY State much less NYC.

But the same goes true. Hey if he doesnt like what is happening in NY then let him move to another state. You can bet that at least some of those 40k paying the lion's share of the taxes will consider doing it.

When you consider that the ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

When you consider that the internet allows you to decentralize operations like banking and such - what incentive IS there to stay in NY, aside from nostalgia? Prices are high, it's crowded as hell - why stay?

It's a great place to live.... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

It's a great place to live. Give Giuliani credit for reducing crime and making the city one of the most desirable urban centers. You could spend ten years there and every day find a great new restaurant, watering hole, art gallery, park, etc., and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg: NYC does not equal Lower Manhattan. If owning property is a life-long dream of yours, then NYC probably isn't for you; but if you don't mind renting--no property taxes, more mobility, no responsibility for maintaining the building--then I can't think of a better place to live within the United States. It's like being in an old Tom Waits record.

It's worth visiting NYC just to shop at Century 21. You can find a pair of Chanel shoes for your wife for 75% off the normal retail price; or a Hugo Boss jacket for $200. I spoke with one of the managers there and he told me that people fly in from Moscow to shop there and then fly right back without staying the night. Look like a millionaire at TJ Max prices.

So - buying status-symbol g... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

So - buying status-symbol goods for discount prices is a reason to live in NY. Works for you, I guess. Never saw much point to buying 'label' clothing or shoes - aside from the name, is the quality better? Enough better to justify the extra cost?

Or are you just buying them to wow your friends - and if they're the type who would look down on you BECAUSE you don't wear the right clothes - how good a friend are they? LOL - who would think you'd be such a snob, Hyper?

New restaurants, new watering holes - follow the crowd, see where they're going, follow the trend and make sure you show up in the right clothes or they won't let you in - have I got that right?

Well, everyone's got to live somewhere. You're welcome to NY - I'll pass, thank you.

Hey #12-I live in ... (Below threshold)
Trump:

Hey #12-

I live in NYC. I vote republican for all the good it does. I'm very close to being trapped here. If I can't out soon, I won't have the money to do it ever

hyper - "I spoke with o... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "I spoke with one of the managers there and he told me that people fly in from Moscow to shop there and then fly right back without staying the night. Look like a millionaire at TJ Max prices."

Soooo, you're implying this guy, who flew in from Moscow for a SINGLE day, fits the TJ Max demographic?

You're so full of sh*t your theme song must be "Shew Fly."

NY and the city of NYC are headed down the same road as California.

As that state continually raised taxes on people and corporations all modes of transportation headed to eastern neighboring states were, and are jam packed with those fleeing the lunacy.

P.S. - hyper - I should hav... (Below threshold)
marc:

P.S. - hyper - I should have provided this example.

Look-up how much revenue has been gained by your own country (Vancover B.C. area is a good example) because the film industry has fled southern Kalifornia in droves escaping exorbitant taxation and in some cases idiotic environmental rules.

I don't wear clothing with ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I don't wear clothing with labels on the outside of it. I have to wear a suit to work, and I get them from a tailor in Bangkok. Just saying, if you like material goods, it's actually cheaper than one would expect--cheap enough, in fact, to pay for a flight from Moscow in order to fill up a couple of suitcases and then fly back. (Not so unrealistic when you consider that Moscow is actually the most expensive city in the world right now.) Suckers shop on Madison Avenue and pay full price for what you can get at ridiculously cheap department stores in the city.

And trying new restaurants and bars isn't about following the crowd, unless you want to be seen on the 'scene'. It's about having variety and options, and also supporting entrepreneurs. But if your idea of a nice meal in a restaurant is going to Outback or Montana's, then I can understand why this would have no appeal to you.

marc--no, not the TJ Max demographic. Boutique clothes at TJ Max prices. I'm just repeating what the shoe department manager told me while I was waiting for my friend to decide which pair of heels to buy herself. You obviously didn't make an effort to understand what I was saying, not that it matters, and not that I care one way or another.

I've seen a few movies shot here in Toronto lately but my friends who work in movie and television production are hurting. It's not that much cheaper to film here, and contrary to what some Torontonians would have the rest of the world believe, this city simply is not New York. But I agree that there is no reason to make movies in Los Angeles when you could do the same in Vancouver, which is a much nicer place to live and work and far more affordable. It's actually rated fourth best city in the world in which to live, after Zurich, Geneva, and Vienna, on this index: http://www.citymayors.com/features/quality_survey.html.

Trump, I encourage you to flee the city. When vacancy rates go up, prices go down, and transferring to the NYC office becomes more of a feasible idea for me. :)

Same in California, where S... (Below threshold)

Same in California, where Schwarzenegger and his pals can't get their own house in order so they raid the budgets of every county and city in the state.

"They will certainly suffer... (Below threshold)

"They will certainly suffer because of these budget cuts."

Define suffering
http://www.rightklik.net/

Not to be an a-hole, Jason,... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Not to be an a-hole, Jason, but there are a few online dictionaries you might want to avail yourself of.

(Okay, I admit it: entirely to be an a-hole.)

hyper - "marc--no, not ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "marc--no, not the TJ Max demographic. Boutique clothes at TJ Max prices. I'm just repeating what the shoe department manager told me"

Polly wanna cracker?

hyper - "I've seen a few movies shot here in Toronto lately but my friends who work in movie and television production are hurting. It's not that much cheaper to film here, and contrary to what some Torontonians would have the rest of the world believe,"


Well, everyone is hurting at some level. That's not the point.

This is:

Since the early 1990s, when the Seattle area drew productions such as the "Twin Peaks" television series and the film "Sleepless in Seattle," business worth as much as $1 billion annually has migrated to Canada, mainly because of lower costs and provincial and federal tax breaks.
And so is this:
The 10 states with the lowest taxes also attracted almost 10 percent more new residents during the last decade than their high-tax counterparts. Just last year (2008), 144,000 people fled from California's punishing taxes, the highest state-to-state migration in the U.S.

"I have to wear a suit to w... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"I have to wear a suit to work, and I get them from a tailor in Bangkok."

LOL - screw the Canadian tailors, right?

Hyper, you're hilarious!

NY is an expensive place to... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

NY is an expensive place to live. But I have visited it ofter over the last few decades. Love it. I have to agree with Hyper. The best restaurants and ambiance around. ww

For those of you w... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need...

First lets make a few things clear. Governor Paterson is taking about the STATE of New York, not the city. Obama's tax increase is said to be on households making over $250,000 per year. "Households" is a code word for married couples, which means individuals making over $125.000 per year are in that bracket.

If we assume that 2% of New York State's population is on the hook for the "Pay a little more" increase, that works out to about 386,123 people. If you divide $15 billion by 386,123 you get $38,847 per person. That's just the increase to just the state tax.

The protesters have it wrong on two points. First, it's not just a little more. Second, it's not now boom times.

New York State spends $7,846 per person as of 2007, which is the 5th highest in the nation. Massachusetts gets by on $6,838, which is a savings of $1,008 per person. If New York state spent what Massachusetts spends per capita it would save them 19.5 billion. I picked Massachusetts because it's in the same part of the country and has an equally liberal government. If they can get by spending $1008 less per person it seems plausible New York State could do the same. BTW, Texas spends just $3,831 per person.

The problems is that New York State got addicted to the money it collected in the boom times and let their spending get out of control. Now that those days are over, the only real option is to suck it up. However, I'll bet Obama prints up some more money to bailout the big liberal states. In the liberal mind it's just as easy to tax the unborn as it is to abort them.

JL: I'm a globalist, and do... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

JL: I'm a globalist, and don't think there's any reason why material goods like suits and shirts should be manufactured in a country where one-quarter of the population has a university degree and 49 out of 50 people can read.

For me to get a bespoke suit in Toronto, I'd have to pay about a thousand dollars; whereas last time I was in Bangkok, I got four suits and twelve shirts for $600--the difference in savings exceeded the cost of the trip to Thailand by a wide margin, as I was living in Seoul at the time.

Willie: dear me, we agree on something! Here's hoping the sun rises in the east in the morning. :)

Wu's dictum is :"Stu... (Below threshold)
corwin:

Wu's dictum is :
"Stupidity can be a Capital Crime."They sure are proving it in NY

Trump, I encourage... (Below threshold)
Trump, I encourage you to flee the city. When vacancy rates go up, prices go down, and transferring to the NYC office becomes more of a feasible idea for me. :)

Maybe not. You're forgetting that the housing market in NYC is mostly rent-controlled.

Hyper,If you decid... (Below threshold)
BPG:

Hyper,

If you decide to come, worry not. We have a jobs program for Canadian citizens here. It's a class of admission called Trade NAFTA (TN). If its a job an American would do, this classification allows Canadians to do it cheaper and for no health insurance.

Hyper -Man - you k... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Hyper -

Man - you know you've jumped the thread when you start bragging about your clothes... lol.

I'm not bragging. If I coul... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I'm not bragging. If I could wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every day, I would be much happier at my job. Unfortunately we have to dress at least "business casual", and since khakis + golf shirt = d-bag, I go one level up (as consistently going one level down is grounds for dismissal). On casual Fridays, I totally bounce out of bed and don my favourite hooded sweatshirt and sneakers with child-like glee. Usually the only day of the week that I show up on time.




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