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.
I take your point about DC; it is the Land of Oz because of the federales. Wealthiest major city, seven of the country's ten richest counties in the suburban fringe, and all that.
That said, however, I think there are more cities with workable core neighborhoods than many think. I lived in New York for several years before coming to DC; it is full of neighborhoods. I have spent time in Philadelphia; I DON'T much like Philly), but it has interesting/salvageable/workable neighborhoods all over. In general, I think such areas are rather common in most cities that experienced most of their growth before WWII and the utter dominance of the automobile. These are less common in the West, where most of the growth is more recent, but even in the West there are "old town" districts that provide a nugget with which to work.
In general, my preference is cities that provide the widest possible range of options. I understand that many people will prefer the suburbs under any circumstances, even at the cost of being married to their automobiles, but on the other hand, it is desirable that cities be places where one can, without undue hassle, live, work, shop, and play without a car if that is one's preference. That means safe, decent, affordable housing in close proximity to major job centers; reasonably good urban school options; and a reliable public transportation system. Sidewalks and bike lanes are good as well. All this takes some attention in the planning process, or we are apt to end up with scattered commuter destinations linked by arterial highways, and no other way to get around.
I'm not anti-car (I have a daughter who needs to get to soccer games anywhere in the metro area ....), but I do think we are overbalanced in favor of the car. Preserving extant city neighborhoods is a place to start. Once cities reach a certain size threshold, the commuter system begins to become onerous and more and more people want to simplify. It's not coincidental that so many far-flung suburban sprawl jurisdictions out in strip mall and cul-de-sac land are now trying to develop coherent town centers and small neighborhood shopping districts. We find ourselves reinventing the past. If we planned for this from the front end, and tried not to destroy such areas where they already exist, adjusting over time would be much easier and cheaper.
That’s only how they live in public. Behind the scenes it is infinitely worse.
When they return home they treat their family members, especially the children, like cattle. Love does not exist in their lives. Only a liberal can spend a million dollars on a homeless shelter for ex-felons and spend a thousand dollars to kill an infant or refuse to pay for a child dying from leukemia (that Obama’s job and not theirs!).
The left is evil incarnate and will pay their dues someday.
Unfortunately, their evil is spreading wildly everywhere. It is spreading so fast that even many conservatives are adopting their traits and attitudes.
Pretty soon, the entire world will burn.
This would be comical...
It is comical when you consider Boulder will be paying higher electric bills.
Yes, I understand that doesn't matter to a wealthy liberal/socialist/marxist/democRAT (sorry for being redundant). That's one of the reasons they call for higher taxes, so that the middle class cannot attain the same wealth they inherited.
You mean like Rodney Dangerfield's character in Caddyshack. Who wants to be around those snot-nosed brats anyway?
Having been a member of a private sector union, I can say I observed this close up. The problem is while I saw this, most of the die hard members were blind to this and voted in lockstep for "The Won". All I ever heard was "We have to elect pro-labor Democrats." They'd spout this nonsense while about 30% of the total membership was out of work collecting unemployment.
The thing I learned really quickly after joining was that although you have a "right" to withhold that portion of your dues that goes to political campaigns, and you can refuse to have $2.00/paycheck "donated" to the unions political action fund, if you want to work at all you don't dare exercise those "rights".
I would think that what then follows is war, in the form of hand-to-hand combat.
Honestly, TSA/DHS, federal, state and local LEO forces won’t have the time to ‘forage’. They literally will be beseiged by the urban zombie outbreak trying to protect those coddled elitist liberals that thought they could live amongst the tigers in tranquility....
Around DC, we have a plethora of suburban towns whose teachers and policemen, not to mention the mechanics and store clerks, can't afford to live there. That's crazy. Sounds like Boulder has the same problem.
Those who are wealthy due to inherited wealth are different from those who earned wealth. One major difference is that they have had time (often over generations) to become intimately connected with members of the political class and media. Their biggest asset is their set of connections. The regulations that burden you and me, they can get waivers for. The purpose of stifling regulation is to eliminate competition that might displace them from their positions.
Thank you! I find it difficult to read further into an article when such a simple word is not spelled correctly! The other day I read ‘sub post’ that was intended for ‘supposed to’. GAH!
Pretty soon, the entire world will burn.Our Lady of Akita (on October 13, 1973):
"As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests." http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/akita.htm http://rosaryforpeace.com
I am in general agreement with your optimistic outlook for preservation and/or mix of neighborhoods but fear that the weak (or unreliable) links in the chain, as always, are the people who live in those neighborhoods. As the old saying goes: if it’s free then it’s not worth anything. And too many living in any neighborhood, region or city comprise Mitt Romney’s infamous-but-accurate 47%. Not only do they lack incentive to maintain their own surroundings but they have been conditioned to leave concern for and involvement in the larger community to someone else, usually a bureaucrat.
Finally, I admit that wherever I roam I pick up a copy of the local alternative newsweekly. These rags are full of wet-behind-the-ears raging lefties who want entire cities pedestrianized and suburbanites ear-tagged, branded and taxed merely for existing. They are quick to praise any building, block, or neighborhood in their city that has been revitalized by private capital and a lack of taxes/zoning restrictions. Of course, their praise undermines their own devotion to pedantic central planning and usury.
Invariably, an affluent crowd and the bright lights of an entertainment district attract the wrong sort of hangers-on: petty criminals, panhandlers and gangbangers. At this point the city has two options: pervasive East German style policing that stems the flow of riff raff but also alienates the paying customers or a lack of adequate policing due to a fear of Obama Jrs crying racism. It’s a tricky balancing act that few cities get right. When, as in the case of Cincinnati/Over The Rhine, both the city and the thugs get it very wrong all the best-laid plans are ruined.
What I learned from the article is that Boulder has no affordable housing. Sure, they have some units that they call affordable housing but it is clearly just a scam. Affordable housing is created by developers making the best use of the land. Regulations about preservation, walkability, or other such niceties get in way of development. The bottom line is you can take your pick, either affordable housing or the parts of DC that you like.
The sole reason for the expensive DC suburbs is federal pork, and that will go away as federal bankruptcy is slowly acknowledged. Developers have done what they can, but the proximity to billions of dollars has overwhelmed their ability to build. OTOH Fairfax has some barrios with very affordable rents. Those will spread when the local economy inevitably contracts.
They do, because they are hypocrites
Fighting over land and water is an old Western tradition. Read SHANE......look up the Johnson County Range Wars in Wyoming. Many of our ancestors were run out of Europe just ahead of starvation. The West provided land and opportunity to starving people who were ready to fight for it. Now, it’s not about starvation, it’s about somebody who thinks they are smarter than you and knows better what to do with your property. Marx felt that way, too.
Thanks. I was about to comment on that myself.
Funny how one little spelling error can distract one from an otherwise excellent article.
***... the trailer owners appealed to the city leaders, who rezoned the property so that it could only be used as a trailer park. ****
I can understand this. The trailers are private owned and the lots are rented. Often the trailer owners will cut off the axles so the trailer will set lower to the ground.
If the owner sold the lot to a developer, the trailer owner would have to move the trailer which would cost a very high amount as the trailers now have no axles.
I remember when TARGET sold rifles and pistols. One of the most enjoyable times I had there was back in 1971 talking to a man behind the gun counter.
He was telling me of his youth at a Texas Ranger encampment in which he got to shoot all sorts of pistols at their handgun range.
It's this way in much of Colorado. Largely because of the influx of Californians. They come in cash rich, selling their overpriced Cali homes. They drive up property values and then immediately begin the process of voting to halt development.
I have a house outside of Durango. Same situation. Now they have started building eye sore "condominiums" along the rivers and mountains for more affordable housing. Meanwhile, they live in beautiful houses in the tony areas north of Durango.
Californians are like locusts.
It is a disability with me. I look at a page and before I read anything my eye goes straight to whatever errors are on the page. I can’t read it until I mentally correct them.
You probably learned to read during the same era I did. You know, back when the schools actually taught the language as it's fundamentally constructed.
I have the same affliction as you do. Simple errors in spelling and punctuation have stuck out like a sore thumb to me since I was a kid in elementary school.
The liberalism here is a bit different from California's. I think it is more utilitarian. Liberals here mostly voted for Obama for affirmative action and the myth that he wants to help women and the middle class. Liberal Californians that I have the misfortune of working are more utopian They believe in the dictatorship by the scientific / technological elite. I think that's why they are so obsessed with central planning.
I suspect so. My grammar school years(the 50s) were passed in a Calvert System private school for Americans in Istanbul. I was an average student. After I got home I was so far ahead of everyone else that when I hit Algebra in high school it almost got me because I had not had to study for my straight As for three years and the tools were rusty. I got more history and everything else in what was known in the States as "social Studies" than I got in the rest of my public school career. As I look back on the schools in Florida and Virginia that I attended to 1964 I know that they were much better than anything now.
My wife is a primary teacher here in NW Florida where the schools have always been 10 years behind those in the northern part of the country. That used to be a liability. Now it is a relative blessing.
C'mon. That is the (upper middle class) American way. If these people voted for conservative Republicans tomorrow they'd still behave the same way.
There it is. My experience is similar. I started kindergarten in 1958 in the US Army school system, and continued until late 1966 when my parents divorced.
Like you, I found myself far ahead of my peers when I first attended the public schools. Their curriculum was so far behind the comparable grade levels in the military schools, that I coasted in neutral for a couple of years before having to seriously apply myself again.
I never did lose the lead I had on my public school peers. When I left high school, I was testing at a second year college level.
Limousine liberals who live off daddy's trust fund absolutely hate and loathe anybody who has worked their way up from the lower classes. Yes, there are quite a few limousine liberals who went to a nice college and never really had to work a day in their lives. They will spend the rest of their lives lounging at Starbucks sipping a caramel macchiato in their stylish loafers while pecking around the internet on their MacBook Pros, with no particular place to go.
People in the lower classes who have failed to move up do indeed resent those who have escaped the life of housing projects and watching mindless sitcoms in darkened rooms with bowls of cheese doodles while waiting for their EBT cards to get refreshed.
We are doomed. But some of us are beautiful.
I hear ya in not wanting all the poor in your neighborhood, but the ‘burbs are really very poor places for the poor and the handicapped. Far better to have public transportation and walkable access to jobs, stores, schools, doctors appointments, parole officers, and so forth.
The author seems to avoid the elephant of commonality between the two groups.
Both disdain the work necessary to build wealth.
IE, they’re both LAZY.
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