Tuesday, March 23, 2010

West Side Sorry Story

Daily Politics has a great post on the observations of our own congressman Jerry Nadler on why taxing the stuffing out of New Yorkers for universal health coverage is, well, a good thing: "As for the tax on high-income residents that will impact a lot of New Yorkers, Nadler said: "We have to get tax revenue to pay for the things that we're doing, and I think that for people with over $250,000 income, which is what we're talking about, that there be a tax on capital gains income as well as upon personal income...is perfectly fair. If we have more rich people in New York, then that's fine."

What a clear statement of both entitlement and cluelessness-from someone who hasn't worked at a real job since he got out of Stuyvesant High School in 1964! No idea just how these taxes will continue to cripple the entrepreneurs in NYC: and, by the way, a duel income of $250,000 in this town is far from great wealth by any means.

But as far as the entitlement goes, Nadler elides the fact that these exorbitant new levies-and they will have to continue to rise as the cost of all of this continues to escalate-will be used to grow the IRS and the HHS so that all of our new minted federal workers can earn the money that they never could in the private sector. In sum, bigger and more expensive government, less entrepreneurship and wealth building, and the inevitable replication-on a national scale-of what NYC experienced in the 1970s and what California is going through today. A recipe for decline.

And at least as far as this goes, Mike Bloomberg has a greater sense than Nadler. As Daily Politics reports: "Right now there's something like 1.45 percent that the city, that the employer pays 1.45 percent, the employee pays. That's going up by .9. That's a couple of billion dollars," Bloomberg said during his Q&A with reporters, including DN City Hall Bureau Chief Adam Lisberg...And we have, we estimate, roughly $93 billion in unearned income generated by the people who live here. A lot of those are retirees. Those are seniors. And the tax of the 3.8% on them is another three, four, $5 billion. We're just working on the numbers. To the extent that more people live here and generate more wealth, then it's a disparate impact."

But just when you think good old Mike is finally getting it, he goes on to opine: "You can argue that that's good or bad." Well esteemed great leader, what do you think, or are you too busy trying to triangulate with Wolfson over the prospects of 2012?

Bloomberg goes on to suggest -goading perhaps in expectation of a hoped for total meltdown of support-that Obama turn his attention now to immigration: "I've thought this country's committing what I've described as national suicide with the most meshugganeh - if you'll pardon the expression, since we're in Brooklyn - immigration policies than any country has ever picked," Bloomberg said. We are deliberately hurting ourselves in a ways it will be very difficult to recover."

It is often said that people get the elected leaders that they deserve-and with Nadler and Bloomberg we must have been really bad girls and boys. Tax and spenders and nannies beset us at every turn in this town with an ever increasing public sector suffocating the possibility of economic growth

As one commenter yesterday in the NY Daily News highlights, it is the tax payer who gets trampled: "Things look much brighter in the public sector. Mayor Bloomberg negotiated 4% annual raises with most of the city’s unions, and he has not managed to get Gotham’s 600 "rubber room" teachers off the payroll (though not for lack of trying). Over the last year, Gov. Paterson avoided laying off virtually any of the state’s 228,595 full-time government employees; in fact, he made a pledge not to lay anyone off despite a massive budget deficit. None of this should be surprising, since the workforces of the state and the city are among the most highly unionized in America. Unions’ power has helped create one of the heaviest tax burdens in the nation."

And the impact is considerable: "If we continue to ignore the growing public-private gap, the implications will be dire. Already, it has led to massive budget deficits in many states and cities around the country. Many governments have raised taxes and fees. Future generations are on the hook for enormous pension commitments. In addition, restrictive work rules imposed by the unions create barriers to the effective and efficient delivery of public services. Taxpayers are paying more and getting less. "At some point," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it in a recent speech to his state’s mayors, "there has to be parity between what is happening in the real world and what is happening in the public-sector world." What our tax dollars buy us depends, in part, on the number of public servants and how much they are paid. Naturally, we want to be fair to them. But they also need to be fair to us. It’s time to start evening the score."

But ObamaCare will only exacerbate this trend-and it's little wonder that neither Nadler nor Bloomberg see this implication since it is a wave that they are both comfortable surfing on. Greg David underscores this point-with the emphasis on the tax consequences of the president's plan: "This is the triple whammy for the wealthy in New York. Last year, New York sharply increased income taxes with the so-called millionaire's tax, which starts well below $1 million. Second, the Obama administration will sharply increases taxes on the wealthy (families making more than $250,000) when it allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, raising income tax rates and the tax on capital gains. The health plan is the third whammy since it applies a 3.8% Medicare tax to capital gains and dividends on families earning more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000."

But it will be New York and the other high taxed states that will be first to feel the bill's impact-since the only option for many of the wealthiest New Yorkers is to exit to lower taxed climes; a trend that is already, unbeknown to the ideologically driven Nadler, already fully underway.

There are plenty of high wage earners in Nadler's district on the Upper West Side who are gonna get socked. The question that remains is whether the predominately Jewish Upper West Siders will continue to live up to Milton Himmelfarb's observation: "As the late Jewish scholar Milton Himmelfarb said in the 1950s: "Jews earn like Episcopalians"—then the most prosperous minority group in America—"and vote like Puerto Ricans," who were then the poorest."