“The Big Apple is headed for a failed state”

That’s the conclusion of Peter van Buren, who writes:

The wealthy and the companies they work for pay most of the taxes [in New York City]. The poor consume most of the taxes through social programs. COVID is driving the wealthy and their offices out of the city. No one will be left to pay for the poor, who are stuck here, and the city will collapse in the transition. A classic failed state scenario.

. . .

The top one percent of NYC taxpayers pay nearly 50 percent of all personal income taxes collected in New York. Personal income tax in the New York area accounts for 59 percent of all revenues. Property taxes add in more than a billion dollars a year in revenue, about half of that generated by office space.

Now for how the other half lives. Below those wealthy people in every sense of the word the city has the largest homeless population of any American metropolis, which includes 114,000 children. The number of New Yorkers living below the poverty line is larger than the population of Philadelphia, and would be the country’s 7th largest city. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in public housing. Another 235,000 receive rent assistance.

. . .

The budget for a city as complex as New York is a mess of federal, state, and local funding sources. It can be sliced and diced many ways, but the one that matters is the starkest: the people and companies who pay for New York’s poor are leaving even as the city is already facing a $7.4 billion tax revenue hit from the initial effects of the coronavirus. The money is there; New York’s wealthiest individuals have increased their net worth by $44.9 billion during the pandemic. It’s just not here.

. . .

“They don’t want to come back to the city,” Partnership for NYC President Kathryn Wylde warned. “It’s hard to move a company… but it’s much easier for individuals to move,” she said, noting that most offices plan to allow remote work indefinitely. “It’s a big concern that we’re going to lose more of our tax base then we’ve already lost.”

While overall only five percent of residents left as of May, in the city’s very wealthiest blocks residential population decreased by 40 percent or more. The higher-earning a neighborhood is, the more likely it is to have emptied out.

. . .

New York pre-COVID had the highest projected GDP growth of any city. Now we’re left with the question if COVID continues to hollow out the city, who will be left to pay for New York? As one commentator said, NYC risks leading America into becoming “Brazil with Nukes,” a future of constant political and social chaos, with a ruling class content to wall itself off from the greater society’s problems.

There’s more at the link.

It’s not just COVID, of course.  It’s also the poisonous social and political climate towards anyone with wealth and/or even moderate prosperity, seeking to drag them down to the lowest common denominator (see my earlier article this morning about that).  Antifa and Black Lives Matter have at least as much to do with New York City’s decline, IMHO, as the COVID-19 pandemic.  The stores in New York’s shopping district aren’t boarded up against a virus, but against rioters and looters.  See for yourself.

NYC’s local government has decided to pander to the politically correct mobs, and allow law and order to slide.  That’s at least partly to blame (and, IMHO, is at least as much to blame as COVID) for the exodus of the city’s wealthier taxpayers.  Unless and until that changes, I doubt they’ll be back.  Why should they return to a city that seems determined to throw them to the politically correct wolves?  They’ll continue to vote with their feet, and with (the absence of) their wallets.



  1. I know someone in Alabama (a liberal, surprisingly) who says house sales there have taken off as people flee Atlanta due to Covid.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell her they weren’t fleeing Covid…

  2. I am not aiming this about the mentally ill the city leaves to suffer in the streets.
    It is for the healthy, never want to work again welfare bums.
    When NYC goes down and the freebies dry up these "homless" will swiftly find other
    sources to keep them fed and drugged and quickly decamp to their new big rock candy
    mountain. As long as there are greener pastures, the parasites will move on to them.

  3. We need a new term to replace "Politically Correct". While it may be political , it certainly isn't correct. And time is certainly proving that out.

  4. It's an interesting article, but I have some questions on it concerning which I intend to comment on TAC's discussion board momentarily. I appreciate the fact that the author of that article put in some links to data sources, though it looked as if maybe not all of them are primary sources.

  5. Okay, I put in my questions over there, the last of which was some off-the-cuff brainstorming about second-order effects in the suburbs of all these trends. I posited the idea that a whole trend of decentralized satellite office space might develop, except that to call them satellite offices wouldn't be quite right because the satellites would be more collectively substantial than the company's central core location in this model. Should such a trend take hold, what consequences for suburbs' zoning laws, appearance of new low-rise office architecture in said suburbs, generation potentially of new localized mini-urban hubs perhaps. Kind of like central city breaking down in the core and the productive components migrating to the extremities. There would be a relatively moribund legacy termite mound in the middle and a bunch of new, more vibrant colonies in the environs. (Peter, I figured you might like to hear about termite mounds from the bush, so I threw that analogy in for you…. 🙂 )

  6. Mayer de Blasio doesn't see the homeless as a long term problem for he has already been dealing with this problem. He simply exports the homeless to other cities with travel to there and one year of support, before "they have to support themselves". From his perspective, it's a win-win. They are removed from NYC's welfare rolls, and added to the welfare rolls of the city where they relocate. They also become a part of turning the relocation city "blue" as they will vote Democrat, demanding 'their' benefits.

    It's simply Obama's Section 8 housing program executed in a smaller scale.

  7. NYC is a prime example, but his is happening across the country in all the large Democrat controlled cities. On the left coast. Zillow Exposes Dramatic Exodus Out Of San Francisco Real Estate.

  8. This. Is. Intentional.

    Some of those fleeing will still vote "D" – thus continuing the transition of redder areas towards purple and eventually blue.

    But there's a deeper issue. As crime rises, people will become more desperate. And long will come the Left who will promise a solution if given power.

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