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#Baltimore, a Great Society Failure

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Rich Lowry writes:

…President Obama doesn’t have the slightest idea how to fix Baltimore. His solutions fall back on liberal bromides going back 50 years. Dating back to the Kerner Commission after the riots of the 1960s, the Left’s go-to solution to urban problems has been more social programs. Since then, we’ve gotten more social programs — and just as many urban problems.

“Officials raised property taxes 21 times between 1950 and 1985, channeling the proceeds to favored voting blocs and causing many homeowners and entrepreneurs — disproportionately Republicans — to flee. It was brilliant politics, as Democrats now enjoy an eight-to-one voter registration advantage.”

— Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters of Johns Hopkins University, in the Wall Street Journal

Exhibit A is Baltimore itself. The city hasn’t been “neglected.” It has been misgoverned into the ground. It is a Great Society city that bought fully into the big-government vision of the 1960s, and the bitter fruit has been corruption, violence, and despair.

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“To counterbalance the taxes, they note, developers need to be lured to the city with subsidies, and the developers, in turn, contribute to politicians to stay in their good graces. This makes for fertile ground for the city’s traditional corruption.”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

We don’t know all the facts surrounding Freddie Gray’s tragic death. But as a general matter, it is easy to believe that the Baltimore police are corrupt, dysfunctional, and unaccountable — because most of the Baltimore government is that way.

[Also see – Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making]

This is a failure exclusively of Democrats, unless the root causes of Baltimore’s troubles are to be traced to its last Republican mayor, Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, who left office in 1967. And it is an indictment of a failed model of government.

The city has been shedding jobs and people for decades, including in the 1990s when the rest of the country was booming.

Baltimore is a high-tax city, with malice aforethought. “Officials raised property taxes 21 times between 1950 and 1985,” Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters of Johns Hopkins University write in the Wall Street Journal, “channeling the proceeds to favored voting blocs and causing many homeowners and entrepreneurs — disproportionately Republicans — to flee. It was brilliant politics, as Democrats now enjoy an eight-to-one voter registration advantage.”

To counterbalance the taxes, they note, developers need to be lured to the city with subsidies, and the developers, in turn, contribute to politicians to stay in their good graces. This makes for fertile ground for the city’s traditional corruption….(read more)

National Review Online

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