Skip to comments.How Liberals Live
Posted on 03/02/2013 5:09:15 AM PST by Kaslin
The Democratic Party has two reliable groups of adherents: the rich and the poor.
Not all of the rich, of course. Not all of the poor, either.
But a large swath of wealthy people, especially those whose wealth was inherited rather than earned, wouldnt dream of voting for a Republican. Ditto for a large number of poor people who have discovered how to sign up for various welfare programs and intend to remain on the dole for the rest of their lives.
What do these groups have in common? Nothing. They rarely meet. And if they did they wouldn't like each other.
You might be inclined to think that the political union of these two groups is an accident of modern electoral politics. But there may be something else involved. Both groups have little use for the middle class ? the poor envy them and the wealthy distain them.
To test the idea the there might be some sort of weird sociology involved, I decided to look in on some communities where limousine liberals are firmly in control and have no fear of being ousted in the next election by middle class voters with middle class values.
Welcome to the People's Republic of Boulder, Colorado.
When you ask the residents what they like about Boulder, they are quick to respond. "You won't find any large billboards telling you where the nearest Target is," I was told. And, "Where you might find a McDonald's or a Taco Bell in some other city, in Boulder you are more likely to find Starbucks or Whole Foods."
To make sure that things stay that way, Boulder has virtually destroyed any possibility of new housing that people who shop at Target and eat at McDonald's would find affordable. Through tight zoning restrictions, the city has virtually legislated new, middle class housing out of existence. The city has even purchased large tracts of land to make sure development doesn't occur.
As a result, the average price of a home in Boulder is $375,000, in contrast to an average price of $220,000 in Colorado Springs.
Boulder has its own global warming policy. In fact, it is one of the few cities in the country that is about to jettison a private electric utility company for a publicly owned one. The reason: the private electric company isn't "green" enough. This would be comical until you stop to realize that Boulder has a lot to atone for on the climate change front. Two thirds of all the people who work in Boulder must drive to work from outside the city because they cannot afford to live there.
That's 60,000 automobiles spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every morning and every evening of every congested business day, thanks to Boulder's land use planning.
While Boulder forces its middle class workforce to live in neighboring communities, it is surprisingly generous to the poor. A multimillion dollar homeless shelter is so luxurious, it actually attracts vagabonds from other Colorado cities. As one local writer explains:
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is a multimillion dollar facility of recent construction. It has a spacious day room, a TV room, washing machines ($1 per load) and dryers (free) available, showers, a few dozen small storage lockers, and a large kitchen/dining room It has a 160 person occupancy limit, and the nightly "overflow" is accommodated by a network of local churches and a synagogue managed by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow.
There is also an active program to provide subsidized housing to low-income families. One development on prime real estate with a mountain view is estimated to have a market value of $500,000 per unit. In other words, low-income families are living in housing units that are worth considerably more than the average home in Boulder! Unfortunately, poor families cannot sell their homes to the highest bidders, however. Were they able to, they would immediately become non-poor and the property would go to its highest valued use.
Maximizing the value of property, however, is not the goal of the citizens of Boulder. If you have a house built, say, before 1950, there's a good chance the Landmark's Board will designate it a historic preservation site and not allow you to modify it. For new houses and renovations, the city virtually dictates how big the house can be. It also tells you what kind of fireplace you can have and what you can or can't burn in it. If you want to tear down an existing structure, you can't just bulldoze it. You have to disassemble it and recycle all the pieces.
When the owners of a trailer park decided to use the property to build condominiums instead, the trailer owners appealed to the city leaders, who rezoned the property so that it could only be used as a trailer park.
Then, of course, there is the nanny state desire to tell everyone what to do with their personal lives. Smoking in Boulder is banned in almost all indoor facilities and also outside on the sidewalk.
What's my own view on all this? If Ted Turner buys a ranch at the foot of the Tetons and he buys up so much property that no one else lives within miles of him, more power to him. But if he buys a small ranch and then tries to get the government to keep everyone else out, that is the crass and illegitimate pursuit of self-interest.
If he does the latter, he should feel guilty. Very guilty.
The rich by inheritance support the Dems because all of their measures prevent the great unwashed from becoming rich enough to join the country clubs and yacht clubs.
Inherited wealth is secreted in trusts, where it cannot be taxed. There is no “inheritance” tax, because a trust never “dies”.
That’s why the truly wealthy don’t mind income taxes. They don’t care if income taxes go to 100%, because they don’t really have any income. They have “capital gains”, and they must pay taxes on that, but compared to the vast preponderance of their wealth, it constitutes chump change.
The increase in payroll taxes and health insurance this year has whacked me for over $400 per month. The super rich and the poor are completely unaffected by it.
Once the have total control, then the poor will be jettisoned as well.
Currently, you see this in the DNC with private sector unions. Liberals despise private sector unions because they are in manufacturing that pollutes and looks ugly.
Private sector unions have become so small, that you are starting to see the DNC abandon them in favor of wealthy environmentalists. As gov’t grows, so do public sector unions that faithfully channel funds to the DNC.....more faithfully than those nasty private sector unions.
We will see the same with Hispanics in our lifetimes. Once the DNC has loyal support from Hispanics, expect blacks to be ignored. Their vote will no longer be crucial to holding power.
For liberals, it is all about who will keep them in power.
Sounds like a repeat/microcosm of the scenario in many California cities as described by Thomas Sowell.
Rich liberals’ other coup is convincing the poor that living in squalor and deliberately eschewing modern conveniences like the flush toilet is a sign of virtue.
Collectivism benefits only the poor and the rich in America with Dems and Pubbies more than happy to cater to those two groups.
All the conservatives can do is say,
If there is so much preservation going on and Boulderites want to keep things as they are, is that not considered conservatism?
That said, I also recognize that suburban communities have also practiced restrictive zoning, in part (sometimes primarily) to keep lower income residents out. The suburban idea is that the city should be the dumping ground for all of the metro area's problem cases, and don't bother me in my cul-de-sac. I've railed about this for years. As a matter of sound welfare policy, we need to break up large concentrations of the underclass, so the burden needs to be spread. It also makes for more liveable cities if people can afford to live in reasonable proximity to their jobs. On the Hill, driving to work is the exception rather than the rule; a substantial majority take public transportation, walk, or bike. (And this is a very affluent area, so this includes six-figure folks on metro or in the bike lanes.)
I am aware of the tension between these two views. In my time, the mitigating factor has been that the Hill has been a transitional neighborhood, with plenty of poor folks, public housing, and social service institutions around. That is dwindling as gentrification continues, but to this point at least, I cannot be accused of living in a rarified elite oasis.
So: I am not unsympathetic to places like Boulder that want to prevent ticky-tacky sprawl and the invasion of the illegal aliens in low income districts. But at some point, the "pull up the drawbridge" syndrome becomes objectionable. These are tough questions, best settled by the communities themselves.
Except that federal and state authorities are involved with low income housing, and must set policy to site facilities.
And except that federal and state authorities do transportation planning, and must decide whether to subsidize the commuting lifestyle. (I'm generally opposed to degrading functioning neighborhoods to slice a few minutes off commutes, my neighborhood being the kind of place that would be destroyed if the automobile-uber-alles crowd had its way.)
These again are tough questions. To any here who want to dump on Boulder, I'll just say that I'll be more sympathetic to your argument if you are willing to let me put Section 8 housing next door to you.
Minnesota’s Governor Dayton is heir to the Dayton retail fortune that spawned Target. He has sold (we’re told) his Target interests and removed his money from off-shore banks (we’re told). He was married to a Rockefeller (who dumped his goofy butt) and was in the gaggle of radicalized scions from wealthy Minnesota families that all summer-camped together and went to the Ivy League schools.
The right communist professor in the right place can have enormous effect well beyond his/her studies of lesbian poetry or the Marxist analysis of popcorn economics.
Well-considered statement. I would say that landlocked Eastern cities are a) older and b) landlocked (again) so preservation districts control the worst excesses of the slicked-hair-n-cell-phone developers who trot out ‘mixed use’ and other euphemisms in an attempt to dress up their activities and who would knock down Independence Hall if they thought they could get an Outback Steakhouse built.
Having visited the UK many times I am also aware of the uber-restrictive zoning/planning there, with Grade I/II/III etc. historical listings that preserve historical structures but also produce the kind of crazy-quilt environment found throughout London but especially within the Square Mile where medieval sits next to 21st century. Nice for one of the world’s most important cities, probably not a good idea in general.
In the spirit of cordial debate, I would submit that housing, and by extension entire neighborhoods, have been destroyed and/or divided by governments claiming eminent domain and rights-of-way in order to establish rail corridors. Governments and regional transportation boards (who are chock-full of militant greenies) keep pushing pie-in-the-sky projects like light rail (which picks up nowhere useful and drops off nowhere useful) as well as the mother of all urban boondoggles the streetcar (see: Cincinnati, Charlotte et al). These same groups are also cowed by community organizer types (there are a million Obamas out there) who cry racism whenever a slum that deserves to be razed and built into something useful is threatened. And so routes through middle-class neighborhoods are chosen with the usual harangues and payoffs.
Back to Colorado. the Eastern half of the nation is frequently oblivious to the Western half, and the Western half is frequently hamstrung by Eastern thinking in terms of zoning and land use borne of small, old cities and states when the West has a surfeit of wide open spaces.
Obviously Boulder is the home of CU even though it’s not mentioned in the article and, as we are too aware, CU’s liberalism rivals that of any Bay Area or Ivy League institution. As such the surrounding area is viewed as a Petri dish for unyielding allegiance to crackpot ideas and collective denial of economic reality. I will gladly dump on Boulder or any other liberal hothouse for this and other reasons. I don’t accept that Section 8 housing automatically follows freedom in land use but suffice it to say that it happens frequently in many places. Allowing government to become large and restrictive in order to preserve also means allowing government to destroy in drip-drip-drip fashion when they start up with their blather about ‘affordable housing’ and move in the prototypical never-married mattress-back with her four feral kids by four different fathers.
With the greatest respect, if you are in DC then you are by definition in an elitist oasis. I know that DC has its distinct neighborhoods, often defined block-by-block, street-by-street, but on the whole it is not reflective of or similar to any other region or city, whether in a nearby state like PA or an expansive western one like CO.
At its core, yes.
Which would mean that there are no such things as Liberalism or Conservatism.
There is only rational, reasoned thought and mental illness.
I leave it to you to figure out on which side lies which.
Target is one of the most leftist establishments there is. I would not step foot in target.
Well, if they had cases of Busch Light beer buy-one-get-one-free, maybe. But otherwise Target is run by a bunch of moonbats.
Not applicable. Boulder forces its workers into cars to commute into the city.
They are conserving their lifestyle.
Yes, but one must also consider that in liberal enclaves like Boulder, Austin, Albuquerque, and large urban cities where these privileged elite cluck together and complain about rednecks and conservatives, their time is coming.
There time is coming when the cities cannot support the largess or fill their EBT/SNAP/WICs stores because the country has gone officially bankrupt (e.g., the world has accepted the fact and won’t look the other way).
They live in proximity to their killers. When the zoo attendant runs out of meat, they’ll jump the fence and feast on the feet of the liberals that stomp on their hands the next rung down.
Smart Conservatives and those rednecks they like to denigrate will be long gone.
When I got to 2/3s of the people of the people who work in Boulder, I had to think back to early 1968 in Dayton Ohio, the GEM City. We had 1.4M tax payers (NCR had round the clock shifts of 10-11K workers, GE, GM, Delco Marine, Kimberly Clarke and lots of cottage industry manufacturing. Then the Race Riots of 68-69, the Summers of Discontent and WHITE Flight. Today, Dayton is a city of 400K taxpayers and the slums of the West side have developed into the entire city.... Liberals at lower end of the food chain destroyed the Golden Goose, or rather the GEM City.
When that time comes the city sends its armed forces (FEMA,TSA,SIEU,DHS,etc.) to ravage the countryside to feed the cities. What then follows is famine.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.