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Who’s leaving whom? D.C. political class plans to paint the town white

10 Oct
Published last week at Breitbart .

This week newly elected D.C. city council members, David Grosso and Elissa Silverman, proposed what they take to be a model of progressive legislation, a mandatory 16 week paid leave for maternity, paternity, transexual surgery,  death of a parent, returning from military service, and other major life events believed to make returning to work difficult.  The program would be paid for by a new tax on employment, a new local FICA-like tax, which proponents claim will be under 1%.  As Silverman notes, extensive government imposed paid leave is on President Obama’s wish list for a transformed and government controlled America.


In it’s favorable coverage The Washington Post quotes Silverman as arguing that the law will strengthen D.C.’s local economy: “D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman said paid family leave would make the District more competitive regionally by making it easier for women to reenter the workforce. ‘There is a big problem with keeping women in the workplace and making it feel like you can come back.’”

Silverman lacks a grasp of economics of course.  When companies want to retain specific employees, including new moms, they offer these benefits already.

Or perhaps Silverman’s statements aren’t as straight forward as they appear.

Grosso and Silverman, both white, were technically elected to the city council as Independents, kind of the D.C. equivalents of Senator Bernie Sanders, particularly in Silverman’s case.  Each found it convenient to run as Independents rather than as Democrats because of D.C.’s local idiosyncratic election laws, where at least one city council seat must be held by someone not in whatever party (i.e., in D.C., the Democrats) is in the majority.

David Grosso

Grosso is obviously a Democrat, having served for years as a staffer to D.C.’s Democratic Delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, simply using the election law loophole to more easily be elected.


While the hippie-ish Grosso, with a mane of long wavy brown hair, rode the popular movement to decriminalize marijuana in the District to his electoral victory, Silverman is more of an old line socialist, who will adopt any guise that will get her into power.

In 2013 she ran as a Democrat in a crowded field, with her surrogates challenging the petition signatures of other left-leaning candidates to eliminate them from the ballot.  But Silverman lost, with 28% of the vote, to a more establishment Democrat, Anita Bonds, who was part of the city’s older African American establishment, dating back to when Bonds ran Marion Barry’s first campaign in 1971, the city’s African American population having peaked, at 71%, in 1970. 

In 2014 Silverman switched registrations to run as an Independent (the then current holder of the set-aside, non-Democrat, seat, David Catania, was leaving the city council to make a failed bid for mayor).  Silverman was elected – with only 12% of the vote, all she needed in a crowded field in the special, set aside, race.

So D.C. is about to become the first city in the country to enact European-style welfare state labor policies, because of candidates elected with 12% of the vote.

Elissa Silverman

Supporters of the law, like Silverman, are already discussing how the new paid family leave policy will be a model that can be copied by other cities.  This is unlikely.  Like Silverman’s (and to a lesser degree Grosso’s) shifting political masks and guises, the paid family leave policy is not what it seems.


This is because D.C. is a deeply weird city, very unlike most American cities, with an almost apartheid like economy.

On the one hand, west of the Anacostia River, are mainly non-black, law and graduate school educated bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists, who for over two decades have been moving into D.C. at a rate of 1,000 new residents a month.  These people have almost no unemployment – indeed they move here only after accepting jobs with government agencies or law firms.  Their neighborhoods have almost no foreclosures.  Their property values, and rents, have never fallen, even during the real estate crash back in 2008.

And then there are the two of the city’s eight wards, wards 7 and 8,  east of the Anacostia River, where incomes are much lower and unemployment rates much higher.  Black unemployment for those between 16 and 24 in D.C. is 38%, while for whites it is 5%.

But it’s actually people 24 and up who will be hurt by paid family leave.  D.C.’s new residents, who elected Silverman and Grosso, are mainly white (or non-black) lawyers and other graduate degree holders, who work for governments – federal, District, or even many international government agencies or state government offices that maintain a presence in D.C.  According to Gallup, 38% of D.C. workers are employed by governments, the highest percentage in the nation.

Additional sections of D.C.’s urban elite are employed by government contractors.  It’s hard to find the number of D.C. residents who work for a government contractors or the number of people (including people from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs) employed at a location inside D.C. by a government contractor.    But that it’s another huge section of D.C.’s workforce is obvious.  D.C. comes in at 5th place with $18 billion in revenue from government contracts (behind first place Virginia with $51 billion and 4th place Maryland at $27 billion).  That’s about $29,000 for each of D.C.’s 650,000 residents, though of course the point is, for those in Anacostia, it isn’t creating employment opportunities for everyone.  People born in D.C. whose education consisted of graduating from D.C.’s failed public school system rarely end up with the law degrees or the master’s degrees in cybersecurity, urban planning, economics, or environmental science, that are needed for lucrative federal jobs.


And then there are lobbyists, who may not be paid directly by a government but are paid because of government to influence government policies.  They are paid more than the highly paid government employees.  From 2000-2010, the D.C. metropolitan area added 21,000 families in the top 1% of income, reportedly more than any other metropolitan area in the country.

So when these people’s employers – government agencies, contractors billing the government, and lawyers and lobbyists billing people who receive the government contracts and other benefits – pay a new tax to give D.C. yuppies expanded paid leave, the American taxpayer will be paying for it.  Most other cities wouldn’t be able to shift the cost of paid leave off onto American taxpayers generally.

It’s essentially a pay raise (an increase in benefits) for government employees in D.C. that will be covered by the American taxpayer, much as their collapsing subway system, Metro, is paid for in part by funds diverted from the gas tax that is supposed to maintain American highways.

Some purely private sector companies will leave D.C., or choose not to locate there.  It’s easy enough to locate one or two subway stops outside D.C. in Maryland or Virginia, and make your employees come to you.  That’s been happening for years because of crime, traffic, and other problems.  It doesn’t hurt D.C. yuppies much, who can easily shop in Bethesda, Maryland or McLean, Virginia.  And it won’t hurt Grosso or Silverman with their base.  In 2014 Silverman voters were as white as…the people at a Bernie Sanders rally.  Anacostia Wards 7 and 8 gave her 3% and 2% of their votes respectively.

Anita Bonds

It mainly just means that once again businesses will not be offering jobs in Anacostia and other poorer parts of D.C., to the chronically unemployed long-term residents who don’t have law degrees.  If they have to pay extra taxes to operate in D.C. they’ll just operate in Maryland or Virginia.  And poor black residents in D.C. will eventually move to neighboring Prince George’s County, or to North or South Carolina or some state where they have family.  And they won’t be voting for Anita Bonds or other holdovers from the old Marion Barry machine.  Many will never be eligible for paid family leave because they won’t have a job to take leave from.


Decades ago Lillian Wiggins, a columnist at the Washington Afro American, proposed that there was a conspiracy to wrest political control of D.C. away from its African American majority, and install a white dominated government and make the Capitol City a white city.  She called it The Plan.

Today in D.C. failed public schools and minimum wage laws conspire to make it so many D.C. yuppies don’t have to meet many black people in a city that is 50% African American.  Most of the jobs someone with a high school education could get are being replaced by self-check out kiosks.  D.C. “progressives” no longer have to see those whose lives and futures were stolen by the regulatory state’s eradication of opportunities or the government sector teacher’s unions elimination of quality education.  They don’t have to experience any guilt or be pricked by thoughts about why trillions of dollars of welfare statism haven’t made things much better.

“Paid family leave” amounts to paying black people to leave.

The Democrats have enacted The Plan.



Wednesday’s recommended reading – is socialism racism?

8 Jul

Regulators war on Hispanic entrepreuners (reason)

Vanita Gupta loves her some black folk

20 May

Vanita Gupta, the Eric Holder hire charged with investigating racism in Ferguson, Missouri, became a bête noir of the conservative blogosphere this week for blaming all criminality and anti-social behavior on slavery.

As a Democratic Party minion, this is much more convenient for her than blaming the problems of black America on the dependency created by the welfare state, the unemployment created by the regulatory state, or by the erosion of human capital created by Ms. Gupta’s party’s ongoing tribute to its slavery-loving past, the kidnapping of poor black and brown children to be sold to the educrat cartels in exchange for donations to Democratic Party campaigns.


Ms. Gupta may actually have more sympathy for African Americans than her former boss, Eric Holder.  He actually worked for the DC based law firm back in 2004 that spun the story for the city government when it was discovered that DC had been supplying its (mainly black) children and pregnant women with high lead content water (along with poisoning the rest of the city).  In contrast Gupta around the same time was defending poor black people in Texas against the drug war.






But how much Gupta will achieve in “working across the aisle” on criminal justice reform with libertarian leaning Congresspeople remains to be seen.  Her biographies seem to make her the walking stereotype of the West Side socialist gal played by Carol Kane in a Woody Allen movie.  She may not write her own bios but they are heavy on how she was a women’s studies major in college and how “racists” (or perhaps just unemployed and disenfranchised) lower class British whites threw french fries at her and called her a Paki as a child.


But perhaps the most interesting thing about Gupta, is that like almost every single “progressive” in the news (including those who work in the media), who almost all live in Chevy Chase (Chris Matthews) or Bethesda (Cokie Roberts) in suburban Maryland, or in DC neighborhoods like Kent or Berkeley (Andrea Mitchell, Jay Carney) that are so wealthy most long term DC residents have never heard of them, Gupta has demonstrated preferences in her residential real estate choices.  She didn’t buy a house in up-and-coming LeDroit Park, Bloomingdale, Trinidad, or Anacostia, and send her child to a charter school with an African American majority or large minority.  She bought a $1.4 million home on Clarendon‘s Highland Street in zip code 22201, where her neighbors include Chuck Todd (in the minimally more diverse zipcode adjacent, 22203), and, as virtually her only black neighbors, MSNBC regular/Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s family.

Today in "progressive" racism – Jezebel editor bashes dangerous D.C.

3 Mar

The snark rag Jezebel, talented sometimes at the only thing it is competent to do (snark), like so many pubs and sites (Wonkette comes to mind), has a very white editor with a very white name, Ms. Erin Gloria Ryan.

She recounts her experiences at this weekend’s CPAC, where she was invited to the invite-only Breitbart party.  It was a harrowing experience:

“[We] gingerly made our way from our Uber to the steps of a place I heard referred to as “The Embassy,” “The Breitbart Mansion,” and “that place where they have that big party,” unsure of what kind of murder situation we were willingly entering. We’d been invited by a man we’d never met before who spotted us and told us to come to a party in a strange city, miles from our hotel, something no self-respecting urbanite would do unless they were interested in having a kidney stolen.

It’s hard to imagine if a non-“liberal” had written about going to a party for Ready for Hillary, or Mother Jones, or Organizing for America, and then worried that he or she might be murdered, and then said the majority black city, zip code, or neighborhood it was held in was “strange,” that MSNBC would not trot out the “Reverends” Al and Jesse, as well as Charles Page and Eugene Robinson, to decry the racism.  (They’d have to use all four since only Page can speak intelligible, grammatically correct, non-mushed mouth English.)


The Breitbart house this tourist is discussing is a block or so behind the Supreme Court, in the posh zone that Senators and Congresspeople like Steve Israel and Mary Landrieu have owned homes in, where the Capitol Hill police sit on every corner in cars providing security, in addition to the regular DC Metropolitan police force.  It’s tax assessed value is over $1.5 million.  I’m sure she was in terror the whole time, clutching her purse.

Libertarians on Ferguson, Eric Garner’ms death (etc.), updated daily/assorted opinion

6 Dec
It’s a diverse and contradictory range of views.  As usual, take a dozen libertarians and get a hundred opinions.

****************************************************************************************************************************************
Sean Malone (Virginia)

I don’t know what cops these people have encountered, but I have never had an experience like this. 
Now, granted, I have never driven drunk or stolen anything or dined and dashed or whatever; yet every time in my life I have been pulled over on the road the experience has resulted in a fine or a ticket at minimum and an unnecessarily aggressive interaction at worst (see also: my recent NYC experience). I am extremely glad not to generally have to feel like I am going to get shot or killed by police, which I am sure I would were I not white, but I have never had cops actually be “nice” to me outside of the occasional instance where I have approached them to ask a question or something. Mostly my experience is that the cops use people as pinatas with all the goodies inside going to the state. They’ll take your money, or your property through asset forfeiture, and treat you like an obviously dangerous criminal even on the most routine stops.
We keep trying to make this issue a purely racial problem because it fits the narrative a lot in entertainment and media want to push… And race is obviously an important factor… But it all really comes down to accountability and a system that makes cops immune from any consequences for their actions. For this we can thank everyone from police unions to “tough on crime” people from the 1970s on.
Twitter anecdotes aside, don’t believe for a second that being white means never having to worry about police. Just talk to Kelly Thomas about that.
Oh… Right… You can’t.
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Thaddeus Russell (California)
If Mike Brown attacked the cop he should be viewed as an even greater hero. After all, he was born under a military occupation.

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Robby Soave (reason magazine)

“You know what’s also a cause? Overcriminalization. And that one is on you, supporters of the regulatory super state. When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal—from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)—the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals readily admit the latter; why is the former any different?
If you want all these things to be illegal, you must want—by the very definition of the word illegal—the police to force people not to have them. Government is a gang of thugs who are paid to push us around. It’s their job.
A well-meaning liberal who doesn’t want people to smoke but also doesn’t want the government to kill them for doing so has plenty of other options, by the way. There are countless organizations and products dedicated to helping people quit cigarettes voluntarily.
But anybody who wants it to be a matter of law must accept that resistance will be met with fines, prison, and death. As Bloomberg View columnist and law professor Stephen L. Carter put it:
It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law. Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right.
There are many painful lessons to be drawn from the Garner tragedy, but one of them, sadly, is the same as the advice I give my students on the first day of classes: Don’t ever fight to make something illegal unless you’re willing to risk the lives of your fellow citizens to get your way.”

*********************************************************************************
Ray Kessler (Texas)

Once the “race card” is played, any kind of rational assessment goes out the window.  On other hand, racism of all sorts (even anti-white, e.g.  “Nation of Islam”) is still a curse in the U.S.  Further,  there is much that could be done to lessen the possibility of unjustified police killings.  Officer helmet/body cameras, effective discipline against officers, tracking to locate and monitor “problem officers,” etc.   Another issue is the “presumption of guilt”  which many blacks and leftists apply to each and every case where a white officer kills an apparently unarmed black male.  It even extends to white civilians such as George Zimmerman.  In spite of Zimmerman’s acquittal in the face of a massive prejudicial media campaign, many still believe he is guilty.  On the other hand, many officers automatically view any young black male as dangerous. Yes, a few of these officers have abused their powers, but it is hypocritical for persons who complain about stereotyping minorities to stereotype white police officers.  Finally, even if the suspect is initially unarmed, he becomes potentially armed if he or she goes after the officer’s sidearm.  The law allows officers to use deadly force if immediately necessary to prevent the offender from getting control of the officer’s sidearm or other firearm.  We need real solutions to the problem of excessive use of force by police.  We don’t need to get


 

*********************************************************************************

David Morris (Texas)

Ray, I would zero in on body cameras as so far the most intriguing idea so far.


******************************************************************************************************
Gary Reed (Texas)

Here’s what I think is the best libertarian answer:

Abolish all victimless crimes. This will do away with all police department vice squads and narcotics units overnight. That means every cop shop can reduce its manpower by keeping only the best of their best cops. Police Academies would once again have to raise their qualifications to winnow out the dumb, bad, psychologically maladjusted applicants, keeping them out of law enforcement entirely. Make all Cop Watch type organizations absolutely legally sacrosanct and untouchable so they can video every cop in public doing the public’s work. Then strengthen laws to hold the chain of command’s feet to the fire. There’s likely more that could be done but that’s the first that comes to mind



Race, racism and rationing — the case of taxis

13 Sep
Here is a free market economics grad student project:


Some African Americans claim they cannot get a cab.

The supply of cabs in most cities is regulated and restricted below free market levels.

Does the number of complaints (per capita) that cabs won’t come to black neighborhoods or stop for black people correlate with the amount of regulation of cabs, by municipality?

Are taxi drivers simply skimming off the cream, by taking the customers in the safest neighborhoods, who they believe are the most likely to tip, because there is not an unregulated supply of taxi drivers that can match the total demand for taxis at a market clearing price?  Supply is restricted to below demand, so only the safest routes and best tippers get the supply.

In a free market would a racially discriminatory cab company lose business to an UrbanTaxi app that hired or affiliated drivers who (whatever precautions they take about safety etc. of neighborhoods) did not ignore customers of color?

National Moment of Silence for Mike Brown

15 Aug

Beauteous Meridian Hill Park (also popularly and locally known as Malcolm X Park, but not on maps and such) was the location for tonight’s DC protest of policy brutality, weaponized police forces, the killing of Mike Brown, and the attitude that black lives don’t matter.

Both reason magazine and various local TV news crews were there, and we are hoping to scoop them with our bad IPad-to-YouTube coverage (Hey Charles Koch Institute, since we do this every day, fund us!)


The protest organizers, who I believe were a group of fairly non-ideological Howard University grad students (Howard is only 7 blocks or so from Meridian Hill Park) had a bad sound system and a disorganized program of chant and response and a reading of names of victims of police killings.  (As to names, one odd fact for this protest in DC is that we actually have two elected politicians named Michael Brown – one white, a perpetual candidate for “shadow” offices (pretend Senator), and one black, the son of the deceased Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, now in prison for corruption.  I’ve actually been to the imprisoned Brown’s house for a fundraiser when he first ran for office.)



There were a sprinkling of libertarians at the event – me in a Vote Libertarian hat, Steve Silverman (founder of Flex Your Rights) with a “Film the Police” Sign, Todd Krainin of reasonTV (who lives within walking distance).  A young guy handing out flyers for the Socialist Party skipped me twice because of my Libertarian hat, so I stopped him when I realized the flyer was about Green Party candidate Eugene Puryear and made him give me one, as Puryear and I actually get along when we meet.

Some ruffians off camera were screaming at the group.  We couldn’t see them or make out what they were saying.  At first I was worried they were white supremacists and there might be trouble.