Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities by Stanley Kurtz
provides a series of arguments which indicate that the government is attempting to reduce suburban influence in favor of a migration back to the cities. The main thesis of the argument is marginalized due to the effects of the Great Recession.
The Great Recession wrought havoc on the budgets of cities, states and the federal government. The effects of this recession are still lingering with unemployment at about 8% together with underemployment.
The author suggests that suburbanites should pay taxes into the coffers of inner cities. To some extent, this has been in effect for years through the prism of local payroll taxes, tolls and the municipal sales taxes for suburban shoppers who make purchases in municipal stores.
The author stresses that federal monies have been targeted to the inner cities for various things like education, transportation and land use. These federal expenditures or allocations are needed because the interstate and regional commerce is considerable. In addition, suburbanites attend public collegiate institutions in the inner city, and they work and shop in cities. so that everyone benefits.
The author decries the fact that capital is concentrating in the inner cities. Nonetheless, places like Wall Street, the Chicago Exchanges, Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Boston and others have existed long before the Obama Administration.
The author’s premise that suburbia will be overtaken by the inner cities is erroneous. The population in the United States has nearly doubled since 1960 and the Census stands at approximately 315 million people. By mid-century, the population will approach a half billion people in the United States alone.
The containment of people to the inner cities will be an impossibility due to the demographic trends. Simply put, the suburbs will continue to grow, as well as the cities. Arguments can be made as to the expected rate of growth in the suburbs.
Today, there are inner suburbs, mature suburbs, and trendy new suburbs. In addition, large corporations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs also reside in suburbia. These constituencies have been there for decades. In some cases, the estates of the World War II generation have passed down to heirs who will continue to live in suburbia, as well as major metropolitan cities.
The definition of a city goes beyond the confines of large skyscrapers and numerous apartment houses. Cities like New York host pockets of suburbia in the confines of the inner city. New York City has pockets of suburban-like affluence in places like Forest Hills, Country Club, and Riverdale to mention just a few. In these communities, there are rows of small private houses and limited commercialization.
Kurtz is concerned about imposing a national curricula on the states and localities. The United States has had a federal Department of Education for decades. To some extent, standardization of the curricula is needed to make certain that everyone achieves a basic competence in language skills, math, computer literacy, and social studies.
The main concern in curricula formulation is that students achieve a high level of technical competence in the core areas. In New York State, the primary schools have had statewide testing of language and math skills for years.
In addition, the New York State high school regents exams test competence in English, math, science, foreign language, and social studies. Again, this testing has been in place for decades.
The SAT exam is the ultimate test for college entry along with other standardized tests like ACT. Professional licensing authorities have had standardized tests in place for decades in areas like accounting, engineering, medicine, actuarial sciences, and many other areas. These licensing exams are administered by the individual professions and not the federal government.
Spreading The Wealth presents some controversial arguments for ongoing debate; however, the recessionary climate in recent years has deprived governments at every level of the funding necessary to fully implement some of the ideas critiqued by the author. In addition, the current demographics in the United States suggest that people will continue to live in the suburbs.