NYT wonders: Say, why aren't deep-blue states progressive Utopias?

NYT wonders: Say, why aren't deep-blue states progressive Utopias?

“What do Democrats really do when they have all the power?” The New York Times asks that question in a video from earlier this month, and … Democrats and progressives will not enjoy the answer.

Of course, anyone in urban centers or California figured this out decades ago, but the Gray Lady’s belated realization is worth noting (via Matt Vespa):

The Blaze summed it up last week:

Harris teamed up with Times editorial board writer Binyamin Appelbaum to examine why famously liberal states — such as New York, California, and Washington — struggle to advance the progressive policies despite little to no Republican opposition.

They focused on three core initiatives of the Democratic Party platform: affordable housing, economic equality, and educational opportunity. And in the end, they discovered that “liberal hypocrisy,” not Republican opposition, “is fueling American inequality” and that things are actually much worse in blue states than they are in red.

“In key respects, many blue states are actually doing worse than red states,” the journalists noted in a written report accompanying the video. “It is in the blue states where affordable housing is often hardest to find, there are some of the most acute disparities in education funding and economic inequality is increasing most quickly.”

“Blue states are the problem,” Applebaum, who covers economics and business for the Times, exclaimed.

“Blue states are where the housing crisis is located. Blue states are where the disparities in education funding are the most dramatic. Blue states are the places where tens of thousands of homeless people are living on the streets. Blue states are the places where economic inequality is increasing most quickly in this country. This is not a problem of not doing well enough; it is a situation where blue states are the problem,” he added.

The most amusing aspect of this revelation isn’t that progressive policies don’t work — which they don’t, as we see in urban areas that haven’t elected a Republican to office in decades. It’s that progressives mostly don’t even bother to try those core policies at the state level. Affordable housing gets the NIMBY treatment, something I saw up close in the Twin Cities. Affordable housing is a policy best applied to other people’s neighborhoods, which is all the more infuriating given efforts by Democrats in Washington to eliminate suburban autonomy through HUD policy.

It’s on education, however, where progressive hypocrisy shines brightest in the bluest areas. Progressives fight hard against a truly progressive policy in school choice, which would allow parents to choose their own schools for their children, which the wealthy already do — in more ways than one. Johnny Harris looks to one of the bluest enclaves in the US, Cook County and Chicago, to see how the wealthy ensure that their tax dollars only go to the schools where their own children are being educated. It’s less egregious in other blue-state cities with larger municipal school districts, which run under the control of the hard-Left, but the outcome is essentially the same. Wealthier families send their children to private schools, while everyone else is consigned to failing urban school districts obsessed with social-justice indoctrination rather than focused on actual education.

As for economic equality, the problem is both hypocrisy and progressive policies. California has transformed into a deep-blue, high-tax, highly regulated state, forcing the costs of everything to skyrocket. It’s not just housing, but that’s certainly a large part of it, and the skyrocketing costs there aren’t just about the NIMBYism over affordable housing. It takes an act of God to get anything built in California now, especially commercial development that might support middle-class jobs. The environmental regulations alone have practically produced stasis in business expansion in California, except for the high-tech industries that married themselves to the Democratic Party over the last couple of decades. The energy shortages in the state make it an unreliable place to do business. The end result of all these progressive policies and hypocrisies is increased economic stratification as the middle class migrates out of the state for better economic opportunities.

“The blue states are the problem,” Binyamin Applebaum concludes at the end. Most Americans concluded that years ago. This may not qualify as “news,” but it’s certainly a worthwhile marker on the path to recovery from progressivism.

Update: Somehow I missed that John had already written about this a week ago. If you haven’t read his take on it, be sure to catch up to it now.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023