[December 26, 2018] Like me, many of my close friends over the recent past moved out of New York City. The exodus of middle-class citizens was once taken as a myth perpetrated by those who were viewed as the “less sophisticated and the dull” that couldn’t or wouldn’t appreciate what the city was all about.
With a city government that was more interested in pushing out anyone not in synch with the new hip crowd, the middle-class was also getting squeezed by high taxes, poor municipal services, loss of ordinary jobs, etc. The New York Post calls us the “endangered middle class” and laments our departure.1
“The rich in New York City are getting richer; the poor are actually getting richer, but not rich enough to be middle class,” – Peter C. Earle, economist at the American Institute for Economic Research
While many have seen this coming, the exodus increased since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s poor leadership has driven an ideological wedge between a diverse citizenry. If you are politically conservative, he has said that he doesn’t want you here. If you fear for your life on the streets and maybe want a gun to protect yourself, then he wants you out.
Furthermore, it is no longer an open secret that he uses political party politics to exempt himself and his friends from the basic rules the he establishes for others to follow. From his first day in office, his friends and cronies get what they want. His buddies and the upper rich in Manhattan get their streets cleaned of snow first. The further from Manhattan you get, the poorer the services get.
But this is not really all about poor political leadership. The trend of an out-migration of the middle class is a decades-long problem that the senior city leaders have been unable, and often unwilling, to address. They would rather create more city-government make-work jobs that pay minimum wage than recruit better employers that could pay a middle-class wage.
One sector doing a booming “business” is food pantries. Despite a city official unemployment rate of 4 percent, NYC food pantries report elevated levels of demand, especially now during the holiday season.