What Will De Blasio’s New York Look Like?-Some Links

Predictions are hard, especially about the future:

Kevin Williamson, at the National Review, suggests a good amount of Manhattan’s income is mobile enough for De Blasio to scare away through the inevitable taxation and wealth-transfer that’s going to occur:

‘And as Mike Bloomberg was lambasted for pointing out, you can’t ignore the super-rich, either, given that fewer than 100,000 New Yorkers pay half the city’s taxes, and 500 of them pay 15 percent of the city’s taxes. That is problematic in and of itself, but it’s not like everybody else gets off the hook — de Blasio’s tax hike on those who make $500,000 or more will have real consequences for people in less rarefied income brackets’

Dan Mitchell suggests this wealth-transfer from private to public will happen, but that some of de Blasio’s ambitions may be thwarted by Cuomo and the state government in Albany:

‘If you put a gun to my head, I suspect de Blasio will get some sort of tax hike, but probably not what he wants.

So what will that mean? It’s hard to answer that question without also know[ing] what will happen on the spending side of the budget. If he pays off his union supporters by augmenting the already excessive pay and benefits of city workers, then New York City will be on the fast track to fiscal trouble.’

Of course, some are speculating that the Big Apple is headed back to 70’s-style crime rates, fear and seediness (amusing but highly speculative rant at Sultan Knish: It’s De Blasio Time).  Myron Magnet, at the City Journal, recalls what it was like during those days, and hopes De Blasio stays strong on crime so that NYC won’t need  broken windows-style policing:

Home, when you got there, was a mini-fortress.  We had triple locks on our doors, and we were expert in the competing merits of the different varieties–the deadbolt, the Segal (though debates raged on the most pick-proof cylinder), and the top-of-the-line Fox Police Lock, with its four-foot steel bar wedging the door shut from a steel-lined hole in the floor.

Josh Barro argues that De Blasio will work hand-in-hand with real estate developers to fund his plans and keep his coalitions together:

‘Inclusionary zoning is not my preferred approach to affordable housing. Directing developers to build luxury apartments and rent them at a discount to people with low incomes is an inefficient way of housing the poor and the middle class. But the land under New York City is so valuable that upzoning it will create tremendous economic and fiscal benefits, even if some of those benefits are allocated inefficiently.’

Someone’s going to be paying for all of this.

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Related On This SiteRichard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’...The Irish were a mess:  William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’

A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

Politicians and politics likely won’t deliver you from human nature, nor fulfill your dreams in the way you want: anarchy probably won’t either: Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Josh Barro At Business Insider: ‘Dear New Yorkers: Here’s Why Your Rent Is So Ridiculously High’

Richard Epstein At Hoover: ‘Obamacare’s Moral Blindness’

Full piece here.

Epstein’s position:

The best way to deal with the risk of catastrophe is for people to buy their coverage early, when they are young, so that premiums are low. In any well-functioning market, they can acquire a renewable policy with guaranteed rates. At that point, does it become morally reprehensible to deny additional coverage to those individuals who passed on this possibility? No. Sadly, the abysmal performance of the American healthcare system lies not in the market economy that Kristof deplores, but in the elaborate network of regulation that shrinks the domain of voluntary choices, and leaves consumers with fewer choices than they would have had if the government had just stood by.’

As of now, if you’re young & healthy, you are going to be forced by tax or ‘penalty’ into buying standardized policies in a government-run health-insurance exchange, perhaps against many of your interests, in order to pay for others who need health-care now, for a promise of future coverage.  This is how the moral question is being framed:  We’re all in this together, and we’re not letting anyone die anyways, so let’s get everyone on the same page and build a shiny, efficient health-care system.  The matter will not be left to individuals alone, nor individuals acting in the market alone, but rather many more decisions will be made and choices limited by the people running the government.

In this way, the ACA aims to keep much of the private delivery system we have now as a political compromise (functioning unsustainably, driving-up costs in certain areas), while attaching much of this old private system to its new government-run exchanges which it has promised would be working by now, and if not by now, certainly by November 30th, 2013.

In order to get these exchanges working, you, someone in your family, your neighbor, or maybe a co-worker is being sent a letter that says your current insurance plan will be dropped by such-and-such a date, and that you’ll need to buy one of the plans the government-run exchanges will make available.

Epstein finishes with where the moral blindness is as he sees it:

Mark these words: the breakdown in the individual insurance market is only a small foretaste of the total chaos from mass insurance cancellations that will come when and if the employer mandates go into effect.’

The American people sure are happy with their government, these days, and the government with the people, no?

Addition:  Avik Roy sums it up nicely:

‘Any serious health reform program—left, right, or center—would involve some disruption of our existing health-coverage arrangements. What makes Obamacare such a deeply flawed piece of work is not that it disrupts our existing arrangements, but that it disrupts those arrangements by forcing people to buy costlier coverage.’