Manhattan – the blunt force trauma of wealth inequality

Separate entrance, separate elevator, separate maintenance company for the poor folks.

Why include affordable housing in the building? “Together, the buildings paid just $567,337 in annual taxes. Without the 421a program, they would have paid the city $22 million, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc.”

In the low income units the 2 bedroom apartments will go for $400 more per month than I pay – and I wouldn’t qualify, based on my income. I’m fairly sure I have a lot more square footage than they do, anyway (not to mention a totally unexpected but very handy extra half bath). But, of course, I don’t live on the Upper West Side.

One wonders, based on voting patterns in Manhattan, if any of the folks on the river-facing side will vote anything but Democrat.

via Professor Cowen.

Symptoms of Stardom

There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is omnicompetent, and people who question him and laugh at his outlandish ideas will invariably fail and end up working for him. If he cares about something, it’s important; if he says something can be done, it can. The people who are already doing the same thing are peons and their opinions are to be discounted, since they are biased and he never is. He doesn’t need to provide references or evidence – even supposedly scientific science fiction falls into this trope, in which the hero gets ideas from his gut, is always right, and never needs to do experiments.

This is from an interesting essay on why Elon Musk’s Hyperloop won’t work. I don’t care at all about the technical details of exotic high speed transport on the west coast, but the first part and the last part of the essay, on why the culture of unquestioned superstar entrepreneurs, is well-worth reading!

via Prof. Cowen

What’s with Obamacare and the deficit now?

Have a Democratic friend who insists that the Ds are the party of real fiscal responsibility? I know a bunch – many of them are economics professors. Ms McArdle says:

I said at the time that I didn’t think that Democrats actually cared about deficit reduction as much as they cared about saying that their cherished health care bill reduced the deficit.  A bill that the CBO scored as increasing the deficit was politically deadly.  But a bill which actually increased the deficit, but scored as if it didn’t because it was stuffed to the gills with wildly improbable payfors . . .

Current events seem to bear this out.  Has anyone changed their mind about the wisdom of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as the “deficit reducing” components have been steadily . . . er . . . reduced?  Hardly.  Is anyone wondering whether we should scotch the thing now that the employer mandate is looking shaky?  Of course not.  If it turns out that the law costs $100 billion or so extra a year, what percentage of its supporters will declare it wasn’t worth it?  Would zero percent be too high?

Of course I’m not accusing the Democrats of anything special.  Republicans had of course already proven that they cared about the deficit only when they were out of power; when they held the reins of government, it was time for the nonstop all-night tax cutting party. Last one into the pooled income deduction is a rotten egg! [my emphases]

The Culture of Death

To the extent that this story is true, Japan is crossing over into Culture of Death territory.

“As society has fewer and fewer children, people get less used to hearing them.

“It’s a vicious circle: fewer children makes people less accustomed to hearing the noise they naturally make, which spawns complaints about them and contributes to the growing feeling among younger parents that they don’t want to have more children.”

Maeda said when she was involved in a project to build day care centers in Yokohama, a sprawling city that melds into Tokyo, she faced a lot of opposition from those living nearby.

Excerpt from the Impeachment Articles of Richard Nixon

Or, as George Will put it, how stupid do they think we are? It’s not just some functionary in Cincinnati. But then, President Obama has been cracking jokes about the IRS targeting his opponents for a long time.

Oh – I suppose I should say that I’m opposed to the IRS targeting ANY group on political grounds. Is that a Rightist position? Or do we all agree on that one? That is to say, all of us outside the bureaucracy?

And if not. Oh, dear.

Prof Althouse on the IRS and rightist organizations

What’s wrong about what the IRS has been doing? Here’s Professor Ann Althouse, in answer to an attempt to mitigate the scandal:

The unequal, politically skewed enforcement of a law is a far more serious problem than the level of harshness of a neutrally enforced law. We can disagree about what the tax laws should be and how strictly or harshly they should be enforced, but everyone knows it is fundamentally wrong to vary the degree of enforcement, selecting victims by their politics. If government cannot be trusted to avoid that fundamental wrong, it cannot be trusted with any power at all. It would be better to wipe the tax code clean and rebuild it without any complicated corners where government officials — great or small — have a place to do their dirty work.


Second Termism

Even NPR wonders about Obama.

The president undermines that chance when he struggles through a news conference with no apparent theme or overarching purpose other than to catalog his grievances and complain about the lack of cooperation from the other side.

This may well have been the opposite impression from what the president and his people hoped to convey this week. But it happened anyway. Well into his fifth year in the White House, this president still seems ill at ease in the news conference format. He is driven by the energy and conflict of the encounter, rather than the other way around.

This lack of mastery stands in striking contrast to his renown for holding throngs in thrall, at home and abroad. Even in the informality of a Washington dinner (such as the White House Correspondents’ Association gala last weekend), Obama is a gifted presenter, holding forth with the timing and wit of a professional comedian and then turning reflective and serious. Addressing an audience, he is nearly always on.

But in the unscripted free fall of an on-camera news conference, that mastery is notably missing. Early in his first term, the president gave long, professorial answers to every question. When he and his inner circle were dismayed by the distractions and tangential stories that came from these sessions, they came to rely more on one-on-one interviews. Those were more productive from the president’s point of view, but they did not address the underlying fault.


via Instapundit.