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A fascinating article by Francis Wilkinson appeared in Bloomberg View last week (h/t Instapundit). Wilkinson detailed the fact that income inequality between whites and blacks is worse in leftist cities:
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.
Now to someone like me — a former liberal who became a conservative, in part, because I saw the devastation wrought on poor black neighborhoods by leftist policies — this is no surprise, not even all that interesting. What I did find riveting though were the desperate attempts by presumably left-leaning social scientists to explain the discrepancy away.
In his article Bloomberg View, Wilkinson wrote:
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.”
Yeah, that must be it. You lefties are just so tolerant, you move right in next to poor black people and then they flock to be around you because of your vast generosity! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?
Here’s more — Wilkinson quoting John Logan, a Brown University demographer:
“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 whole article is worth reading for this sort of rationalization. Nowhere in it will you find what seem to me the simplest and most obvious answers: Progressive redistribution makes black people poorer. Government programs for blacks make black people poorer. Leftist social polices make black people poorer. Leftism is the quintessential good intention that paves the road to hell while making you feel oh-so-good about yourself.
See, leftists think when government gives money to people, it’s a form of charity. It’s not. Charity ennobles the willing giver and creates responsibility in the receiver. When government confiscates one man’s wealth to give it to another, that’s a subsidy. Subsidy increases the thing subsidized. Always. Every time. Everywhere. Subsidize poverty, you get more poverty. Subsidize illegitimacy, you get more illegitimacy. Subsidize black victimhood, guess what? More black victimhood.
Blacks are poorer in leftist cities because of leftism. End of story.