'Why are liberal cities bad for blacks'?

Rick Moran
That's the title of a Bloomberg op-ed by Francis Wilkinson, who examined statistics from a report by the National Urban League about income inequality between blacks and whites in America.

Minneapolis-St. Paul. San Francisco. Chicago. Even Madison, Wisconsin. If you are politically liberal and value relatively high levels of income equality, you might live in one of these quintessentially liberal U.S. cities. Yet all four lurk in the bottom half of the 2014 National Urban League's State of Black America report on income inequality between blacks and whites. Among the many places where black-white income is less skewed are Phoenix, Arizona, Nashville, Tennessee and Columbia, South Carolina.

Nationally, blacks and Hispanics earn less than whites and generally have higher rates of unemployment. But there are significant regional variations. And looking at the Urban League rankings, I couldn't help noticing how many northern liberal cities fared poorly on the racial equality index.

The inequality is sometimes intense. According to 2005-2009 data based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey, which was provided to me by John Logan, a demographer at Brown University, the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metropolitan area has an astonishing $56,000 white-black gap in household median income. The white-black gap in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area is about $40,000.

There is no definitive cause, and explanations vary. Mathew Kahn, an economist at UCLA, e-mailed, "Educated liberals are tolerant people who are willing to live in racially integrated areas even if the minority neighbors are poor. Such liberals are more willing to vote for redistributionist policies and this may attract poor people to collect such transfers."

For an extreme example of rich and poor living cheek-by-jowl, consider New York's 14th congressional district, on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One of the very wealthiest of the nation's 435 congressional districts, it is located 2 miles from New York's 16th congressional district in the Bronx, which is one of the nation's very poorest. As any New Yorker can tell you, however, the cheeks don't necessarily live on the same blocks as the jowls. That 2 miles could just as easily be 200.

Amazing. The explanation is sitting right in front of them and they fail to grasp it.

Could it be that liberal economic and social policies are a failure wherever they're tried? Gee - who woulda thunk it?

When government places more emphasis on taking from productive citizens in order to give benefits to non-productive citizens, than on creating a climate of economic growth and prosperity, what do these good liberals think is going to happen?

There's more:

Some of the greatest inequalities are in large Northeastern and Midwestern metro areas that grew very large black populations through the 1970s, often concentrated in inner city ghettos," wrote Logan in an e-mail. "This is certainly a factor. But some places somewhat like that (Allentown, Worcester, Camden, even Providence and Hartford) are at the other end of the distribution. I certainly don't think a city's 'progressive' image is very relevant here -- it is more a question of the history of black labor market incorporation, which varies a lot and keeps changing, especially in the South."

The ultimate reasons may be hard to pin down, but a lot of liberal northern cities have truly lousy track records of fostering black-white economic equality, as well as integrated neighborhoods and schools. "We noticed the same thing," said National Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Morial in a telephone interview. "That's why we thought the national index might shock and irritate some folks."

Liberals have been successful in demonizing Replicans with the African American community. This may mean they have a stranglehold on power, but as far as actually helping blacks get a decent education and a decent job, they have fallen miserably short. As long as they can paint the opposition as the second coming of the KKK, nothing will change - including the idea that liberals can't see how badly their policies and prescriptions actually work.

That's the title of a Bloomberg op-ed by Francis Wilkinson, who examined statistics from a report by the National Urban League about income inequality between blacks and whites in America.

Minneapolis-St. Paul. San Francisco. Chicago. Even Madison, Wisconsin. If you are politically liberal and value relatively high levels of income equality, you might live in one of these quintessentially liberal U.S. cities. Yet all four lurk in the bottom half of the 2014 National Urban League's State of Black America report on income inequality between blacks and whites. Among the many places where black-white income is less skewed are Phoenix, Arizona, Nashville, Tennessee and Columbia, South Carolina.

Nationally, blacks and Hispanics earn less than whites and generally have higher rates of unemployment. But there are significant regional variations. And looking at the Urban League rankings, I couldn't help noticing how many northern liberal cities fared poorly on the racial equality index.

The inequality is sometimes intense. According to 2005-2009 data based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey, which was provided to me by John Logan, a demographer at Brown University, the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metropolitan area has an astonishing $56,000 white-black gap in household median income. The white-black gap in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area is about $40,000.

There is no definitive cause, and explanations vary. Mathew Kahn, an economist at UCLA, e-mailed, "Educated liberals are tolerant people who are willing to live in racially integrated areas even if the minority neighbors are poor. Such liberals are more willing to vote for redistributionist policies and this may attract poor people to collect such transfers."

For an extreme example of rich and poor living cheek-by-jowl, consider New York's 14th congressional district, on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One of the very wealthiest of the nation's 435 congressional districts, it is located 2 miles from New York's 16th congressional district in the Bronx, which is one of the nation's very poorest. As any New Yorker can tell you, however, the cheeks don't necessarily live on the same blocks as the jowls. That 2 miles could just as easily be 200.

Amazing. The explanation is sitting right in front of them and they fail to grasp it.

Could it be that liberal economic and social policies are a failure wherever they're tried? Gee - who woulda thunk it?

When government places more emphasis on taking from productive citizens in order to give benefits to non-productive citizens, than on creating a climate of economic growth and prosperity, what do these good liberals think is going to happen?

There's more:

Some of the greatest inequalities are in large Northeastern and Midwestern metro areas that grew very large black populations through the 1970s, often concentrated in inner city ghettos," wrote Logan in an e-mail. "This is certainly a factor. But some places somewhat like that (Allentown, Worcester, Camden, even Providence and Hartford) are at the other end of the distribution. I certainly don't think a city's 'progressive' image is very relevant here -- it is more a question of the history of black labor market incorporation, which varies a lot and keeps changing, especially in the South."

The ultimate reasons may be hard to pin down, but a lot of liberal northern cities have truly lousy track records of fostering black-white economic equality, as well as integrated neighborhoods and schools. "We noticed the same thing," said National Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Morial in a telephone interview. "That's why we thought the national index might shock and irritate some folks."

Liberals have been successful in demonizing Replicans with the African American community. This may mean they have a stranglehold on power, but as far as actually helping blacks get a decent education and a decent job, they have fallen miserably short. As long as they can paint the opposition as the second coming of the KKK, nothing will change - including the idea that liberals can't see how badly their policies and prescriptions actually work.