Democrats have long been on record arguing they fight to end inequality. It was the hallmark of Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign in Massachusetts. Barack Obama paid it lip service in 2008 and 2012. Most recently, Democrats across the country have revitalized the issue as a way to mobilize their base in the runnup to the 2014 midterms. In reality however, Democrats are the party of inequality.
The proof can be found in an article from the Federalist that cites two studies. The first study conducted by Bloomberg finds that income inequality, when organized by Congressional district, is “lower in Republican districts than in Democratic ones” and is “highest in the New York City district of Representative Jerry Nadler, a liberal Democrat. Who has the congressional district with the least income inequality? That would be Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, who represents suburban Minneapolis.”
Another study conducted by the National Urban League finds that income inequality is concentrated in left-leaning cities. Particularly, ““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.” Sombody better not tell Nancy Pelosi her efforts to fight income inequality really, really, stink.
Yet another study, this time conducted by University of Chicago public policy graduate student Daniel Kay Hertz, presents a case study of what has happened in Chicago. Specifically, income inequality has increased in the city by neighborhood as middle class families have moved out of the city into the “collar suburbs” while the wealthy and upper middle class have created enclaves in the city. Follow-up analysis by Hertz finds that these nicer neighborhoods make it harder for income inequality to be addressed as these wealthy individuals work to suppress new construction and politically fight to keep city services geared primarily towards their interests. This means that primary city services such as public education, police services and public transportation do not benefit the majority but a specific minority. And this minority is not Republican.
So, in essence, Democrats are posing as the solution to a problem they have created. Republicans have not controlled the mayoral offices of a majority of the city;s largest cities since the 80’s. In fact, other than San Diego, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis, they do not control any other mayoral offices of the 25 largest cities in the country. Funding more government programs and services in urban areas only means they will get co-opted to serve a special few. The actual service the agency is meant to provide does not go towards those who need it but those with the means and power to get it. Thus Democrats have a vested interest in arguing the rich should pay more. If the rich are vilified and yet receive the majority of services both sides win. Democrats get the vote of the urban masses and the rich still get the majority of services. This works as long as the trade-off is to the benefit of the wealthy (incidentally, this is why the Left will never be able to tax enough to end inequality).
These studies show that the way most voters see the debate over the rich paying more between Republicans and Democrats is more complicated than first assumed. Savvy GOPpoliticians such as Rand Paul have noticed this and paid increasing attention to it. Hence, in the case of Paul, it means he has gone after big business and government and is not tied to defending to the rich as much as some of his more traditional GOP counterparts.
For urban residents, predominantly poor blacks in the South and Hispanics in the West and Northwest, a true party of reform is needed to reduce income inequality. Reform could take many shapes and work on various free-market policies that tie the interests of the wealthy to lifting the poor up. It likely would require candidates to thread the traditional left/right division and not be easily labelled. It also would require empowerment of local communities to fight for city services and demand accountability. Many modern day lefttist Mayors are more concerned with divvying groups up more than lifting them up. The one thing credible reform would ensure is that government is made smaller and more efficient to provide better services to all. Republicans should be on board with that. Democrats and the unions that dominate in numerous urban cities with high inequality, probably not so much.