2014 January 20 Monday
Promise Zones: Avoid Or Gentrify?
My first reaction to Barack Obama's Promise Zones initiative was that it would draw attention to place you should want to avoid (mainly for personal safety). However, the Los Angeles Times reports that if the Promise Zone in a part of LA succeeds then the poor will be forced out by higher rents. Makes sense.
Therefore we have to divide Promise Zones into at least two types:
- Locations where success is possible and success will drive out the poor.
- Locations where success is not possible and so the poor will get to stay.
Maybe some place can have success without driving out the poor. But it would have to be a more rural promise zone for that to work. Or the new industry will have to pollute enough that the well paid cognitive elite will opt to pass on it.
Let us be real: Few areas can be successful for blue collar workers because blue collar workers are getting displaced by immigrants, robots, and Asian factories.
By Randall Parker at 2014 January 20 09:51 PM
I read the White House press release and thought it was just another crock of the usual liberal BS - more government spending on education and job training, infrastructure, mass transit, public-private partnerships, blah, blah, blah. This just translates into lots of money handed out to favorite constituencies such as politicians, unions, well-connected contractors, public employees, and, of course, "community activist" groups. This will just be another War on Poverty or Head Start boondoggle that will consume large amounts of resources and produce nothing. The only interesting part is the last sentence, proposing tax breaks for firms that locate in these zones. This might actually work. I wonder what would happen if the city of Detroit were declared a tax-free zone and, instead of having the highest taxes in Michigan, had the lowest. Of course, if this program were to be a success, the poor people would have to move out.
Ghettos are containment zones. That is their purpose. If you drive the poor out by making a ghetto a prosperous neighborhood, you will need a new ghetto.
For decades before the economic crisis, local communities were transformed as jobs were sent overseas
They know the cause but instead of rescinding free trade agreements and limiting immigration they give you this malarkey. Nothing more than more payoffs to minorities (with Kentucky thrown in as token whites). Does Koreatown in LA really need this program? If they really cared about these people they would severely limit immigration, the chief method of shifting wealth downward. But it's One-Worldism and the destruction of Western civilization and man uber alles.
Your post hints at something lefties simply can't grasp. Namely, that everything has secondary effects. Lefties think simply passing legislation will cure poverty. But the primary benefit that will accrue to the original inhabitants of those zones is rising property values. Which many will squander on rims, weed and lotto scratchers.
Randall seems to think that replacing blue collar and now white collar workers with immigrants, robots, or Asian workers is a state of nature. Actually it the express policy of the US government (trade, immigration, and tax policy). If we just changed the rules we could change the results. Read Ralph Gomory. Sir James Goldsmith. Eamonn Fingleton, Alan Tonelson, Pat Choate, Paul Craig Roberts.
Why not drive away poverty altogether instead of just the poor?
I am firmly opposed to the import of millions of low skilled laborers. I'd put a floor on immigrants at about 125 or 130 IQ. But I do not think my policy preferences have a snowball's chance in hell.
Robots: an inevitable consequence of Moore's Law. Unless you can stop advances in computer technology there isn't much you can do about it. I'm very keen on seeing robots and a much higher minimum wage radically cut the demand for immigrant labor.
Yes, I'm aware of what Sir James Goldsmith predicted in a book back in the 1990s.
I really want the secondary effects of the leftie desire for a much higher minimum wage. Won't produce their desired outcome. The secondary effects would actually be great for us.
Check it out,
The poor make choices that mess up their lives. They've got short attention spans, high preference for immediate gratification, and low ability to learn valuable skills. I do not think I owe them anything.
Vektor: More young professionals want to live in cities now. Maybe the new ghettos will pop up far outside of urban areas where they won't be so troublesome to valuable people.
ASPIRANT: perhaps they will
The liberal types may believe they are doing a good deed and helping the poor, but all people at that level of government are pragmatists. They understand what Randall has been saying for a while now: that the middle is shrinking and most people will go (are going) down, not up. They see the trends. They know the 'situation' must be contained and controlled.
Promise zones is just another wealth transfer. There will be some success stories, but it will not impact the overall income inequality trends. Yes, that is cynical and I hope to be wrong.
''I wonder what would happen if the city of Detroit were declared a tax-free zone and, instead of having the highest taxes in Michigan, had the lowest. Of course, if this program were to be a success, the poor people would have to move out.''
The second sentence nails it. The problem in Detroit is not really the tax structure (though it doesn't help matters) it's the danger. This is the old ''enterprise zones'' from the late Jack Kemp with a fresh coat of paint. Even if ALL taxes were 'zeroed out' permanently the need for increased security/reinforced buildings and buildings designed for customer/employee safety would negate the tax advantages.
A ''Kwiky Mart''/fast food outlet in such areas literally has to be built like a bank vault. It also raises staff costs (even with increased automation) due to having to offer higher wages to attract people outside the dangerous area to commute to your location (in military speak; ''combat pay''). If you try hiring locally you will likely get dangerous/untrustworthy staff. Why do the libs call those areas ''food deserts''? Because it's too costly and dangerous to operate a supermarket there.
Randall wrote: "The poor make choices that mess up their lives. They've got short attention spans, high preference for immediate gratification, and low ability to learn valuable skills. I do not think I owe them anything."
You mean that the poor are poor because they choose to be poor? You mean that intelligence is directly linked with the ability to make money? Would you like me to quote geniuses that were very poor? Does Prince Charles have a longer attention span than that of Stephen Hawking? Has rich George Bush a higher ability to learn valuable skills than Srinivasa Ramanujan? Are all rich corporation owners smarter than writers, scientists, journalists, because they are better at making money or staying rich?
Ever heard of Faraday, Herschel, Donald G. Harden, Gregor Mendel, Carl Sagan? No? Fuck! I suppose Madonna, Arnold Swartzenegger, Justin Bieber and Ice Cube have learned some "valuable skills" hey.
I'm sorry Randall, but sometimes your overgeneralizations get to the height of those formulated by a child.