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Friday, July 01, 2011

LV Poverty & High Taxes Go Hand in Hand

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission routinely collects data about the demographics in this area. Its most recent study was released to members at a meeting last night, and contains some interesting findings.

What areas in the Lehigh Valley have the highest tax rates?

If you guessed Allentown and Easton, you'd be right.

Now, what areas in the Lehigh Valley have the highest poverty rates?

Once again, it's Easton and Allentown, according to a member who tells me one out of every five Easton residents lives below the poverty rate.

Now, is there a correlation between those high taxes and poverty rates?  It seems they go hand in hand. When I get the nitty gritty details, I'll post them.

If this is what happens on a local level, what happens nationally?  A massive tax hike was set to go into effect last January, but LV Congressman Charlie Dent voted with a majority to prevent that from happening.

83 comments:

RS said...

You'll also find that areas with a high density of churches have high crime rates. Be very careful about cause and effect.

Anonymous said...

Liberals take over cities. Conservatives, who comprise the majority of "contributors" flee (they've likely been told by Sal Panto or Ed Rendell that they must no longer keep guns in the city). Most of the good guys leave. The bad guys stay. Those good folks who are either too stupid, or too poor to leave, stay behind and face increasingly higher tax burdens to live in increasingly more dangerous areas. The city, meanwhile, has initiated every point of the liberal agenda and increasingly resembles a cross between Calcutta and Beirut. Then liberals complain about the boring, lily white suburbs and the uppity attitudes held there and how nobody cares about the vitality of cities.

Patrick McHenry said...

RS -

Yes, who would ever think that increasing taxes might cause people to move elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Yes thank God Charlie helped preserve the low tax rates for the top 2%. I was about to say wage earners, but they don't work,they live off the backs of those who do. You know, the Bush tax break that was supposed to expire. The tax break that was supposed to create 10s of thousands of jobs over the last 10 years.

Your gullibility is astounding. Mitch McConnell. Man of the people and the tax credits for wealthy race horse owners. Michelle Bachmann and hubby getting 1000s of dollars of Medicare funds for their personal gain.

Examples of hypocrisy are too pervasive to identify specifically.

Question for Cantor and Boehner - All we heard about was jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Every bill had to have the word job in it. What have you done other than stifle reasonable efforts to help the small business man.

TOTAL PATHETIC JOKE. THATS WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE. OH DID I LEAVE OUT VICIOUS.

Don't worry, Michelle will produce jobs overnight.

Jon Geeting said...

No, you're screwing up the lines of causation. We had much higher taxes during the Clinton years and made a big dent in poverty levels. The real problem is white flight to the suburbs and job sprawl. I don't know how you don't know all this. You were at the same municipal finance brown bag I was.

Plus, what would lower the poverty rate? Lowering taxes and cutting public services? Ha!

Patrick McHenry said...

Geeting -

People who are able to are fleeing the liberal paradises that you progressives have created.

It doesn't matter if they are white, black, hispanic, or some other demographic group.

And yes, stop subsidizing poverty and enslaving people to a lifetime of dependence. You'd be surprised what people are capable of doing on their own.

Anonymous said...

class warfare is a tool of all socialist regimes. You hit Bachmann becasue her husband makes money off of Medicaid ..He's a damned doctor. Oh I forgot , he should not be paid be cause he is rich; but wait how will he pay his nurses and office staff and rent and malpractice insrancee. Oh I forgot , he is rich, no wait he is working for free so he is no longer rich, so he cannot afford those things. Well maybe he will just stop working. Hmmm who will pay his stff then?

IDIOTS Capitalism is not perfect but it sure has been proven t be the plan that works.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought that Liberals hate and unions hate even more - work in return for unemployment benefits.

Allentown is a filthy, dirty city. You want unemployment benefits? Grab a broom and start sweeping, or grab a bucket and start washing. Go to the park and cut grass or weed a flower bed.

Mobilize the damn workforce!

Anonymous said...

Jon what we also had during the Clinton years (after he got bitch-slapped in the 1994 elections and dove for the middle) was a moderate government that worked together.

That is why we made progress in those years.

Anonymous said...

Come on Bernie, Anon 7:35 nailed it. Dent has done nothing to help the poor, nor the middle class. He follows party lines 90% of the time and protects their interests and donors. If he was a real leader he would be focusing on subsidies for large oil and the like. Most recently he even had the gall to vote for the Ryan plan which would end Medicare and hurt the elderly by pulling over 500 trillion out of Medicare (and note the CBO said it would cost more than Obama’s plan). His vote helps the insurance companies even more by creating a voucher system that some elderly people will have to navigate in the future. Much like his vote to on electric deregulation in the state, how many of us can figure out the best deal? Why not focus on the delivery of the care and efficiencies instead of hurting so many. It would also be nice to be able to negotiate drug costs too.

Seamus

Rising Sun said...

Patrick McHenry,

Look again. Most Americans live in urban density. Where is this fleeing you speak of? It seems that America's younger workers, as well as it's wealthiest people, are going back to cities. You're living in a 1981 world.

As for taxes, Bernie et al, you have it very wrong. In the 1980's Reagan ended up raising taxes at the start of the boom, and in 1991, Bush senior did the same. In 1993, Clinton also raised taxes, so the top rate was 39%. We had the best decade in American history. In 2001, Bush II cut taxes, with the help of our own Pat Toomey (who wanted a bigger cut). Your friend Charlie and his friends voted to keep that top rate at 35%. We had a decade with a net loss of jobs after the 2001 tax cut. Was it all because of tax rates? No. The point is that lower tax rates don't create growth, it's a false association, especially when the lower tax rates are in the upper brackets.

Patrick McHenry said...

Seamus -

So many lies in your post and so little time to reply.

Let's focus on Medicare, since that's what the DNC seems to be harping on these days.

The Ryan plan is there to save Medicare. It is unsustainable and you know it. It would not touch Medicare for ANYONE CURRENTLY ON it.

In fact, the Ryan plan would keep everything the same for anyone 55 and older. It would make changes for people younger than that because, guess what, it won't be there for them at all if it isn't changed.

The only plan that has reduced Medicare for those currently receiving it would be ObamaCare, which did ACTUALLY cut $500 BILLION (or half a TRILLION) from Medicare.

Anonymous said...

Tell Charlie I said hello, I can assume your at the town hall.

Seamus

Patrick McHenry said...

Sun -

My statement was to Geeting in response to his remark about "white flight".

Again, those who are financially able have left the cities in droves - whether, white, black, hispanic, etc. Looking for something better than what our local elected officials have allowed our cities to become does not know racial lines.

Yes, many people live in urban areas. Unfortunately, in many cases that is because liberal politicians have made our cities a magnet for those who want to depend on government.

If you think that urban areas are gaining in young professionals and the wealthy, think again. I think if you examine the census numbers you'll find a different answer.

Your outlook makes me wonder where you live. If you lived in Allentown, your eyes would prove you wrong without having to look at the census figures.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again Patrick....

The Ryan plan starts with the 500 trillion that was listed in the Obama plan (saved through process improvements and standardization of tests required, etc...)and builds on it.

As far as not effecting anyone currently over the age of 55, look to the people there now and project yourself there. I am more than capable of figuring things out now (though electric rates are difficult) but who knows once our faculties start to go on us. I don't care when it starts, the fact is you will be asking people to make tough decisions that they more than likely won't have the capacity to handle. So what then? Do you increase social services to help them or just day F you I'm young so who cares about you elderly unproductive person. It's just wrong!!

The elderly should be revered and our promise to them upheld. We pay into the system and the system should be there for us when we need it. lest us forget that the plan will also cost us younger people (I'm in my 40's) to pay nearly $6000 more a year.

The truth is the current system is solvent through 2029 and the Obama plan will make it so for much longer and at a reduced cost.

But you are correct in one thing, it's 500 Billion

Seamus

Anonymous said...

I didn't even get into throwing people out of retirement communities....things will go back to the depression era where people either have a relative to move in with or move to the poor house. How can we have such disregard for human beings. The ones who fought our wars and built our nation.

Seamus

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem facing the American tax structure, and the PA tax structure is that Americans want everything , however, few are willing to pay for it.

There is only so much money to go around. When the sh*t hits the fan, and programs/entitlements such as medicare, medicaid, pension and Social security are bankrupt, there are 3 choices. Rob Peter to pay Paul, cut back on expenses, or raise taxes to cover expenses.

But no one likes any of these choices, so those who participate in reform are lynched by the mob.

Trish

Anonymous said...

I'd ask any liberal to please share with me the deductive logic that starts with "raise taxes" and ends with "increased employment". It can't be done unless the employment increase happens in the government

Anonymous said...

Geeting said "The real problem is white flight to the suburbs and job sprawl."

This is the typical liberal elitist mindset. Only people that live in the cities are worthy people. People who made an informed decision to create a better life for their family by moving to the suburbs are bad people and caused the chaos in the urban cores.

In America, land of the free, we get to decide where we live, whether or not we want a gas guzzling SUV with a 30 minute commute, and can choose NOT to support the failing urban cores because of their government's terrible policy decisions.

If you want to stay in Allentown or another failing urban core because it makes you "feel good" to maintain your elitist image, be my guest.

Lighthouse said...
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Lighthouse said...
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Rising Sun said...

Anon 9:02, it's not class warfare unless liberals do it, right? It's not class warfare from conservatives, as they gut out funding for the poor in state budgets and protect tax cuts for the rich. Got it.

By the way, I'm just wondering where people are getting this idea that cities in America are so awful? It would seem to me that Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA, Philly, Houston, etc. are doing just fine, and are getting more residents and tourists. Our mid-level and small cities may be suffering in some places, but it doesn't appear that places like NYC lost any real population in this census.

Lighthouse said...

Repost to correct typo...

B: "Now, is there a correlation between those high taxes and poverty rates? It seems they go hand in hand."

I think a better question would be is there a correlation between receipts and outlays, in other words deficit spending? To argue ad nauseam about whether the top 2% should go back to the pre-Bush 39.6% somewhat misses the bigger problem that presidents have faced before: how to pay for the "butter", how to pay for the "guns", and how to pay if you want BOTH "guns and butter"? The impact of tax rates on human behavior (investment vs avoidance) is a healthy discussion in "normal" times. But when we try to pay for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while expanding perscription drug benefits, TARP, QE 1 and 2, healthcare reform, and otherwise trying to keep butter on the table...all while refusing to raise revenue to pay for it all is simply illogical, and BOTH Republican and Democratic presidents (Bush and Obama) and Congresses (they both had turns in the majority) are at fault. It is time for both parties to start governing for NOW rather than for talking points in the next election, but bi-partisanship is a dirty word anymore....and that is not a slam on Dent, whom I recall nurturing a reputation for for it early in his tenure. But such talk brings out the RINO hunters. Almost makes one pine for the days of Reagan and Tip O'Neill (but even then, we bemoaned the deficit!!). Interestingly I recently read Gov. Christie commening that his success has come about through COMPROMISE. You CAN have guiding principles and govern at the same time.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:14 I guess it's better to borrow from China, start unfunded wars (3.7 trillion), steal money from schools, not help the very people who need it (poor, sick and elderly) right?

The logic is the upper 2% of our society has 48% of the nation’s wealth. Million and Billionaires do not need more money nor can they consume a large amount of products. It takes the average person middle and working class people to spend in order to increase production needs and hence more factories and workers. The plan is to give tax breaks to small business (since most jobs are created there) end subsidies for big business who are sending the jobs overseas (make your good s here and we will help), and look out for our nation for a change. Trickle down does not work, it's been proven over and over again.

Seamus

Rising Sun said...

Patrick, I split my time between Easton and DC if you're wondering. When I get free time, I spend it in NYC and Philly. I think you should go outside the bubble and go check them out. They're doing just fine. If Allentown, which has long been mismanaged, is your bar for cities, you're going to think that cities are a magnet for the "lower classes," but that's just not correct in most cases. I almost wonder if you've ever been to these cities. They're all over the east coast, and seem to be doing very well. There are even mid-level sized cities doing well. Check out Bethlehem, although I know that's taboo on here, but it's the jewel of the Lehigh Valley, and probably the whole coast.

You're also way, way off on Medicare. The RyanCare plan is the end of Medicare. He gives you a flat rate voucher for life, and does nothing about the cost of care, essentially meaning the costs will rise at the rate they are now, and your voucher will cover less and less. There's no other way to slice it. As for this "Obama cut Medicare too," that's bull. Obama cut a ridiculous corporate welfare subsidy from it. We were paying companies under Bush's Medicare Part D to provide prescription drugs to their employees, then letting them write-off the subsidy in their taxes, to the tune of $500 billion. Please, oh please, someone defend that.

Rising Sun said...

Anon 10:14,

I'm not a PhD economist, but it would appear that Reagan, Bush Senior, and Clinton all raised taxes, and saw job growth on their watch, after the tax cut. It would appear that Bush II cut taxes, and Obama has maintained those cuts, and neither have seen real job growth. So I'll save you the theory talk, and just leave the record to stand for itself.

Patrick McHenry said...

Sun -

I get "outside the bubble" quite a bit, you stinking elitist. I suspect that you must spend much of your time in DC, as it expains your detachment from reality.

Cities like NY and Philly are failing and are increasingly dependent on outside funding (i.e. the federal and state government, also known as the people who don't want to live there) to plug the holes in their budget.

You might enjoy going to those cities to hit a few fun spots or take in a ball game, but the LV has an abundance of examples of people who have chosen to leave those places and live elsewhere.

Rising Sun said...

Patrick,

"You stinking elitist." Mmhhmm, I'm debating a smart one here. From what I can tell on an afternoon drive in Palmer and Forks Townships, many of the houses are empty, and the people are gone. In truth, much of that is the housing bubble, but actually home sales had slowed in those areas before the bubble burst, because people had grown pretty jaded of the suburbanization you seem to believe people preferred. Hey though, i'm detached from reality and a stinking elitist. Nice. I'll save the debate about whether people who like and live in cities are elitists, or people who don't want to live amongst the masses in the cities are elitists, except to say that charging your opponent in a political skirmish with being an elitist is the last refuge of a complete and total moron. I really don't know when it became fashionable, but it'd be a good political practice to stop.

This is funny- in 2008, Rudy Giuliani "saved" New York according to conservatives. In 2011, NYC is now failing. I see. Great logic. Budget shortfalls for cities currently are conveniently being passed off as proof of the failure of urban environments. Or could it be with all levels of government, that an economic crash the size of 2008's, especially in real estate (where state and local governments often get their revenues), put a hole in city finances, state finances, and county finances everywhere. I know though, cities are awful and failing. This is why New York has grown by nearly a million people in the last twenty years, because people are fleeing it in droves for the beacons of all that is good in the suburbs.

By the way here, I am certainly not charging that some didn't leave the cities for the suburbs, and that some don't prefer it. The pendulum continues to swing between the two, and in general, the young seem to be moving back towards urban areas. As I said, go walk around Philly or New York, they're not that far away. Go to South Street, go walk around the nice parts of Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

In a country where it costs 90 cents to administer each dollar of federal spending, is it any wonder voters despise government and resent the call for higher taxes?

Higher taxes usually follow the call for some social engineering scheme. Social engineering is remarkably effective in delivering increased poverty. Then, a "crisis" is determined to exist and more taxes are required - immediately! - to fix the fix.

And then you have those who won't support the Allentown Rescue Mission because their indigent might hear a prayer or sermon while getting a sandwich.

Most cities represent the full manifestation of the liberal agenda. How's that working for you?

Anonymous said...

Patrick Mchenry,

You are such a fool and a tool for the rich and privileged..I hope you are wealthy then at least i can understand why you espouse this right wing crap..If you aren't wealthy then they wrote a book about you and your kind..It's called "What's the matter with kansas?" Talks about how these ignorant low and middle class voters continue to vote against their own economic interests. They get all their drivel from Fox News and Rushbo and they are like pathetic little tools for the repukelican party who are just too ignorant to know better..Sad..The Teabaggers are getting it the butt from the Repukelicans also and they don't even know it..They just continue to scream, Wooeeeeeee!!!!!

Anonymous said...

all of this blather and no one can make a logical case that goes from "higher taxes" to "increased employment".
It just seems that there is considerable resentment of successful people

Rising Sun said...

Yeah.... except for the results.... they don't matter though, right? Kind of like, lower taxes creates jobs/growth/prosperity, but the record doesn't bare that out... that doesn't matter either.

Anonymous said...

I think the original intent of this article has been lost.

You cannot get blood from a stone.

If you have a high level of poverty in a community, new taxes and/or tax increases don't get you anything. You have to have something in order to pay a tax.

In turn, the remaining population of working stiffs gets hammered much more beyond their capacity to pay. That taxpayer flees. He goes to the neighboring community and pays much less.

Who replaces the lost taxpayer? Probably someone else who is jobless and homeless and does not pay taxes. The vicious cycle begins. Taxes must go up. More leave. Taxes must go up. More leave.

In Easton we pay 1.75% for earned income tax. That rate has driven many wage earners out of town. Who replaces them? I don't know.
Our taxes remain high. Our population is constant. Our immigrant population has increased significantly.

Patrick McHenry said...

Sun -

I've read your posts and can tell you know all about being a "complete and total moron".

I called you a "stinking elitist" not because you live in the city, but because you assume that those who don't feel the same way about cities must not "get out of the bubble".

I could care less where you live, as that is an individual choice to be made by any person. But others should not be forced to subsidize that choice.

Whether you want to admit it or not, that is what is happening more and more in our cities - where higher taxes have driven many higher wage earners out and there is increasing dependence on other levels of government.

By the way, who is in the picture that pops up when I click on your name? The photo is a little small and I'm having trouble making it out.

Patrick McHenry said...

Anon 11:34 said -

"...Talks about how these ignorant low and middle class voters continue to vote against their own economic interests."

--------------------------------

Anon -

Maybe it's because they - like myself - were brought up right and told that stealing is wrong.

And it doesn't matter if the theft is done under government- sponsored policies of redistribution.

P.S - I also grew up in an era where Americans fought the Communists and Socialists - and didn't elect them President.

Rising Sun said...

Patrick,

As I said, the "elitist" argument is reserved for morons. I don't know if it's more elite to live in Manhattan or the boondocks, but I know it's stupid to call someone else an elitist, and is generally a statement used by those with weak arguments. I'm not telling anyone to subsidize anything, you're claiming you do that now. You do need to get out of your bubble. New York City and Philadelphia are not filled with people crying out for your subsidization. Your belief set is based on stereotypes and not a bit of fact, figure, or truth. You exhibit cluelessness on a gross level. Go walk around Manhattan, and please, please tell me about all the people living off the government that you see. I'll be waiting to hear about that. Your logic is ridiculous, go try and rent in New York, or even around New York. Go try and rent in Boston. Go try and rent in DC. It's expensive as can be. I can bet you those are some good earning, productive people. So are the people that live in those cities. Are there poor people? Sure are, just as there are out in the country sides. As I said, you just are clueless, there's nothing "elitist" about saying that.

As for your argument that the cities are sucking us all dry- the biggest "free riding" states last year in the United States were the largely rural, "red" states, the states without New York, Chicago, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, LA, San Francisco, etc. They were taking back upwards of $.40 additionally onto every dollar they put into the government. Facts be damned though, right, the cities are bleeding us dry.

Since you asked for an obvious reason, the picture is perfectly clear, and I'm sure you can tell who I'm with in that picture, you just want to rant and rave about how awful he is. The picture is from an event at the Library of Congress last year, and is of me and former Senator Chris Dodd. You can now start your diatribe about Fannie and Freddie, the supposed "sweetheart" deal he got (and the Senate ethics committee cleared him on), and how awful "Dodd/Frank" is. I'll just happen to refer you to Mitch McConnell calling him "one of the most productive Senators of our time" on the Senate floor after his farewell speech, Sam Brownback calling him a "good man," and the countless bills the guy passed with Republicans back before the extremists took over your party.

Rising Sun said...

Patrick,

It's not worth discussing this with you anymore. Taxation is in our constitution, it's about as American as it can get. You're calling it theft, which is flat out extremism. You have every right to believe something like that, but people of decent wisdom have the right to not take you seriously then. I would ask you to enlighten us with how "socialist" President Obama is, but I really don't think I want to hear you spew any more extremism on the subject. The guy who expanded health care through the private sector and continued the Bush tax cuts last December, to name a few things, must be a huge, huge socialist. Of course you think any taxation is theft, so maybe he is to you.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun,

He's nuts..and blind...Don't waste your breath

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:16 is right. The original intent of this post has been lost. It serves no purpose to talk about bubbles or elitism. The fact are that the LV's two poorest cities have the highest tax rate. Why is that?getting typically blames "white flight," and that might be part of the answer. But were people fleeing from minorities or increasing taxes? I suspect that the higher tax base in our urban cores is responsible for much of the misery we see. Businesses start to leave, or go belly up.

Now is it fair to take our local microcosm and compare it to the national situation? I suspect that it is different, but anlogous. Higher taxes tend to discourage business. Instead of fleeing the cities, they flee the country, and them, our poverty rate begins to climb everywhere.

Now do not get me wrong. I think we need to make cuts, but I also think tax hikes are inevitable. It seems foolish to impose more taxes on the businesses that employ everyone. It is certainly unfair to impose more radars n struggling families. So how do we generate revenue? I think we might actually have to get out of NAFTA and start taxing imports heavily and encourage people to buy prodwucts made here. That will discourage business from leaving and create jobs.

On a local level, we have to stop the tax breaks (KOZ) to artificially prop up some businesses at the expense of others.

Rising Sun said...

I actually generally agree with you Bernie, on local taxes. Local government can't try to do everything. It also is pretty hard for them to keep taxes down when the state/federal government cuts their aid. Someone has to pay to keep cops on the street, collect the trash, put out the fires, etc.

Anonymous said...

if you take my property and use it for your personal needs, its robbery, whether you do it with a gun or a fountain pen. That is not taxation in the sense intended by the founders. That is simply maintaining dependency to buy votes.
The government is chartered to tax for the benefit of the commons, and I gladly pay my taxes for those purposes.
And still, no one has been able to draw the line between "raise taxes" and "more jobs".
Because there isn't one.

Rising Sun said...

Again I say, but for the results, you might have a point....

Anonymous said...

The taxation problem will never be fixed anywhere unless something is done about the $14 trillion federal debt. The trickle down effect is that the debt gets higher, and the US dollar weakens globally. When the dollar is weak, so is our national economy, because the dollar is not trading well in foreign currencies.

We are all effected by a weak US dollar whether we live in a poor city, a rich city, earn alot of money or no money. The dollar is practically worthless, which is why everyone needs more money. Paying off the debt would solve the problem, but would require a huge tax increase and send us back into a depression.

Not paying it off will cause the US dollar to weaken even more, and digging a bigger hole later. We need to set up barter agreements with the foreign countries who hold our debt. We give them our goods and services, in exchange, they cancel our debt in scheduled phases.

Trish

Anonymous said...

Bernie just agreed that Bethlehem has it right. Mark that on a board somewhere. The keep taxes low invest in your infrastructure and future works. Jewel of the valley for a reason. All you bethlehem administration haters out there take note.

Seamus

Anonymous said...

The United States of America has an incarceration rate of 743 per 100,000 of national population (as of 2009), the highest in the world.[2] In comparison, Russia has the second highest 577 per 100,000, Canada has 117 per 100,000, and China has 120 per 100,000.[2] While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world's population, one-quarter of the entire world's inmates are incarcerated in the United States.[3]

Here is a fine example of exchanging services for debt cancellation. Our US prison population can be the call center for Sprint, T-mobile, RCN, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Verizon, and the list goes on

Trish

Anonymous said...

Lower populations of contributors and higher percentages of poor require those remaining contributors to pay a larger share of the tax burden. It's easy to understand a correlation between higher taxes and poverty. A direct causality from one to another is more tricky to establish. But it would seem that those with more means have consistently demonstrated their ability and motivation to flee higher taxes and diminishing quality of life. Which one comes first is a chicken vs. egg proposition. Either way your poultry tends, however, higher taxes are a bad thing for all income levels in all areas.

Zorn said...

dolan, callahan, belinski, wee willy, 16 year donchez are driving bethlum into poverty get rid of all of them and any other worthless union teachers

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Sorry I'm late to this party but, seriously, your causation is both overly simplistic and just plain wrong, built on the assumption that people only leave an area because of "higher taxes." As Rising Sun has noted, NYC has probably the highest tax burden in the USA, yet has increased in population over the past 2 decades, AND is home to some of the wealthiest Americans.

You also don't look at the services provided. Bethlehem, for example, provides many more services than the suburbs (Hanover/ Beth. Twnshp.). In fact, Hanover "lowered" taxes a few years ago by removing trash collection from tax bills and homeowners paying directly to JP Mascaro ... with no choice of provider, crappy service, and a $300/yr. bill.

Something else you fail to mention is the effect of the building boom on the suburbs. From 1996-2007 suburban areas were adding to the tax base without substantial immediate increase in expenses. There is no maintenance on the newly installed roads, paid for by developers.

Here's something else to ponder: why was there a vibrant downtown in Allentown in the 1970s that no longer exists? Maybe it was "taxes," or maybe it had something to do with the Lehigh Valley Mall (circa 1974 I believe). More people shop at the mall, less go downtown, downtown businesses go out of business or move to where people are going to shop.

One more thing: Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest level of taxes that go for education, and are ranked 49th and 50th nationally for the level of education provided students. Maybe there is a causal relationship to be found in those statistics.

Publius

Anonymous said...

Patrick McHenry,

You seem to be turning in the direction that Scott Armstrong did when he was active posting here. He would make his partisan statements, get rebuked, have no real defense of his point of view (i.e. produce legitimate source materials), and would revert to calling people names. You do yourself no justice and command no respect when you call people "elitists" or "liberals" and other nonsense.

If you want to command respect from me and others, man up with some facts and not talking points. Let me give you an example:

There are many states that are net beneficiaries of Federal tax dollars (get back more than they pay into the system), and they generally are states represented by some of the loudest proponents of "tax cuts." If you go to the link that follows and download the .pdf, you can read all about it. In fact, states like Alabama and Alaska as well as many other "red states" while "blue states" like NY, NJ, CT, and CA help support them by paying more than they receive. There's a pretty map on page 31 to give you a visual effect of what I am saying. Here's the link:

(http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1451268)

So, please, do yourself a favor ... and do everyone here a favor, cut the crap, keep your arguments based on facts and figures and show respect for the everyone, even if you don't agree with their point of view.

Publius

Anonymous said...

Patrick McHenry,

You seem to be turning in the direction that Scott Armstrong did when he was active posting here. He would make his partisan statements, get rebuked, have no real defense of his point of view (i.e. produce legitimate source materials), and would revert to calling people names. You do yourself no justice and command no respect when you call people "elitists" or "liberals" and other nonsense.

If you want to command respect from me and others, man up with some facts and not talking points. Let me give you an example:

There are many states that are net beneficiaries of Federal tax dollars (get back more than they pay into the system), and they generally are states represented by some of the loudest proponents of "tax cuts." If you go to the link that follows and download the .pdf, you can read all about it. In fact, states like Alabama and Alaska as well as many other "red states" while "blue states" like NY, NJ, CT, and CA help support them by paying more than they receive. There's a pretty map on page 31 to give you a visual effect of what I am saying. Here's the link:

(http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1451268)

So, please, do yourself a favor ... and do everyone here a favor, cut the crap, keep your arguments based on facts and figures and show respect for the everyone, even if you don't agree with their point of view.

Publius

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I just posted a reply to Patrick McHenry and it won't post as a comment. Please check your files to see if it got caught up in the system.

Thanks,
Publius

Bernie O'Hare said...

Public, your comment is up. Sorry about that. Donq't know why it happens.

Anonymous said...

We have been waiting for the Bush tax giveaway to create jobs for over ten years. So since it has shown itself not to be a direct cause and effect equation, lets just keep doing the same thing.

Buy that third vacation house with tax credits and throw granny out of the nursing home.

That's the American spirit.

Amazed how many suckers there are in this country. you must provide the country club set with loads of laughs.

Anonymous said...

I ain't ever met a poor man who ever gave another man a job.

Anonymous said...

I know plenty a rich man who never gave a poor man a job. Is there a point to this story or are we just gonna dance around with old folklore bullshit stories?
You can believe a bull will give milk until the cows come home but it ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

The point Bull Milker is that there are "rich people" who actually do give people jobs -- shitloads of jobs millions of jobs -- tens of millions of jobs, Bull Milker, but you ain't ever going to find a bum providing another man a living.

Is that clear enough for you, Bull Milker? Can you process that? Now go hug a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain New York City? High taxes yet everyone has money. I think demographics are tricy; but in general, ever since the Republican took over in 2000, the middle class has been squeezed out..no raises, increasing healthcare costs, and the wealthier and even wealthier. We're on the path to being Nicaragua with only rich and poor. I partly blame Dent and the REupblicans though. Their policies consistently help corporations and CEOS (Big Oil, Big Insurance) and not the middle class.

Anonymous said...

The 2% are forming self help groups at the yacht club this weekend. Strengthening the electric fences surrounding the gated communities to keep the unwashed away.

I see the lobbying efforts for the banks worked. Bank swap fees only partially reduced. Reduction delayed from July to Oct. Continued old rates will pump in an extra 1.65 billion for the banks.

If it wasnt so pathetic it would be humorous. Tea baggers with their signs - Save the Unborn and the Banks too!!!!

Anonymous said...

Evita Boehner - Don't cry for me shrinking middle class. We will save you even if it takes preserving EXXON MOBIL's tax credits! Think of the jobs to be created pumping gas for those who can still afford it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that you look at NYC. It's difficult to understand. Population growth due to immigration. Big wealth builder in creating new millionaires.

We should stick to Pa. Let's look at Reading, Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre and Scranton and Pittsburgh. Our cities are in trouble. They seem to be getting poorer and their taxes increase. On top of that they are in financial trouble.

I am not interested in causes as much as I am interested in local government structure and efficiency of services and delivery of services. Some of the posters are right. Bethlehem is an ideal city and it has nothing to do with political leadership. Bethlehem is the ideal size where the government structure works perfectly and efficiently. Remember Easton has the same structure with only a third of the population. At some point the size renders the structure inefficient as in Allentown, Harrisburg, etc and you have trouble.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:02 & 11:05 are moronic comments having nothing to do with the post, which asks whether there is a high poverty rate in out urban cores because of the high taxes or whether there is some other explanation. I have no problem with the partisan arguments, but you should at least try to make a point about the topic under discussion.

Anonymous said...

There is no cause and effect to make the claim that continued artificially low taxes on the highest income levels has or will create more jobs.

The teabaggers are sarcastically attacking those with the common sense to realize that while a rich man "may" create a job there is no proof a "wealthier" millionaire will.

In difficult times all people hold onto their money. The fact that we have a major problem in this country with debt has a solution rooted in cutting spending responsibly and raising revenue responsibly.

The current tax rates are overly generous on the middle class. In fact the middle class is being dissolved as America moves into an empires middle age period. Soon we will have the more traditional wealthy and poor.

The baggers have been drinking the tea since the less than great Ronald Reagan became the vessel for the Corporate mindset that screwed this country, drove down real earnings and drove up prices. Yet even Ronald Reagan would be considered too liberal by these goofy Bilbo bagged's.

Reality Hurts

Anonymous said...

By the way Bernie I believe the Bull Milker post at 4:27 is off topic as well. It is childish and equates less than wealthy as being a bum.

Childish thinking that is off topic as well as being just plain sophomoric at best and stupid at its worst.

Lighthouse said...

Bernie, your original intent may have been on the impact of local tax rates on urban centers, but your plug for Rep. Dent opened the door for many posters talking national policy.

To your title that "poverty and high taxes go hand in hand", as you already know there is no simplistic answer, nor direct cause and effect, as there are many variables. If it were simple, the plight of urban communities, and decades of often failed attempts at urban renewal, would have been solved long ago.

Again there are many variables (heck, look at NorCo, Walnutport actually has the highest total millage rate). Specific to local "urban" centers like Easton and Allentown, one earlier poster mentioned the coming of suburban malls pulling shoppers out of downtowns. Add to that, the decline of actual industry that has heavily been replaced by "office/industrial park" businesses that located in the townships. Add, the push-pull of high NJ/NY taxes compared to lower PA taxes that created the 90s-2008LV housing boom in the land-available townships. Then the vicious cycle that with less tax base, but high service demands, cities have to raise taxes. This makes the townships even more appealing, as homeowners/shoppers and businesses further leave the city. And, as money leaves, higher concentrations of lower income leads to a higher demand on local govt and higher crime rates. Finally, the schools. Allentown in particular suffers...if one has children, are they going to move there with their reputation or the 'burbs? Bethlehem, which has been fairly successful transitioning from the days of Steel, had better becareful on this front. "Jewel" or not, if its school financial situation continues to worsen, programs/teachers/sports get slashed and the gradual increase of undesirable student behavior goes unchecked as they remove SROs, people may begin to avoid BASD and COB, as they do other "cities".

Final observation, as states can no longer keep looking to DC (as they did for years), and Harrisburg pushes costs to the local communities, and especially schools, all they accomplish is a shift of the tax burden downward....cities, townships, and schools can only downsize for so long and then there will be no choice but to raise taxes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse,

1) My comment about Dent was no plug. It was fact, and meant as a transition from our LV microcosm to the national scene, to ask the same question about what goes on there. A lot of the discussion veered from that into the usual "Dems suck" or "Rs suck" arguments.

2) If I understand my friend correctly, Easton now has the highest millage rate and highest taxes in NC. I am waiting for the hard copy. The online stuff is outdated.

Anonymous said...

Want to talk about higher taxes and failure -- look at Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Want to talk about higher taxes and failure -- look at Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the most conservative states in the union suck the most tax dollars. Things that make you go Hmmm!!!

Anonymous said...

"The 2% are forming self help groups at the yacht club this weekend. Strengthening the electric fences surrounding the gated communities to keep the unwashed away."

Which is just fine with people who a.) build yachts
b.) work at the "yacht club"
c.) manufacture electric fences
d.) produce electricity
e.) build the gated communities
f.) all of the above.

So I got a question for you, friend of the working man?

If you and your class warfare labor buddies have such a big problem with "gated communities" and "yacht clubs" why does the working man build them? Why don't they tell the rich to get stuffed and build their own yacht clubs and gated communities?

In fact, why don't you and your pals go all Hugo Chavez on America and appropriate those big houses and big boats for the good of the people?

Anonymous said...

"...and in general, the young seem to be moving back towards urban areas."

Until they want to start a family. Then they realize that the public school system in most if not all Cities sucks. Their choice then is private school with a heavy price tag presuming that they can even get their little city dweller child Jaden or Emma into that school!!

Anonymous said...

"You also don't look at the services provided. Bethlehem, for example, provides many more services than the suburbs"

Exactly, what the additional services that Bethlehem provides that are different from the suburbs you mention? Please do tell.

Anonymous said...

Taxing to poverty can be illustrated in the reverse where taxing is limited or non-existent. A CDL with tanker certification will get you $90 per hour and 70 hrs per week hauling frac water in Wyoming, Bradford, or Tioga Counties for those evil energy executives who are spending their weekend hitting golf balls off their yachts while the poor schlubs hauling frac water for them are working the weekend and being paid as much as $300,000 annually for having obtained his high school diploma.

Wait! At $300,000, those bastards are officially rich and evil themselves! WTF is going on here?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the future under Obama. This is the 'hope and change' that he intended: class warfare, playing Robin Hood and, destroying the US economy as a result.

In terms of cities attracting young people, cities always attract young people. Cities are still home to many employers including schools, colleges, hospitals and government. Not to mention the courts and legal system. As was noted elsewhere here, once these young people marry and their children are school age, they fly to the 'burbs where the schools are superior.

Taxes drive retired folks out and of course, unless there is tax abatement (do you think the Fegleys would have located a restaurant in Allentown without a lot of subsidy?) businesses are not locating in the cities. Small businesses are driven out by higher taxes and fees.

It is easy to see why Allentown suffered as it tried to compete with the Malls and Walmart. Bethlehem had a market niche (Christmas City, Musikfest, charming architecture). The new arena will do as much to revitalize Allentown as the casinos did to revitalize Atlantic City.

The population that has replaced the taxpaying residents in Allentown in large part don't pay taxes as they are on cash assistance. Since 40% of the 'new' population is Hispanic, that places a greater burden on the school system that has to duplicate its schools with Spanish language classes.

So taxed go up, and the capacity of the residents to pay goes down.

Perhaps Allentown's strategy to attract gay 'married' couples will work. High incomes, no children and a taste for upscale restaurants makes this segment attractive.

Anonymous said...

Why, as a person who worked all of my life and paid taxes, don't I feel sorry for the rich who worked all their life and found tax loophole after tax loophole so they dodn't have to pay taxes? If I pay 35% of my earnings to taxes, Income taxes, school taxes, social security, IRS, etc etc so should the person making millions a year. Whats fair for me should be fair for all.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion Bernie, clearly highlights the difference of opinion between R's & D's. Being a business man I can see both sides, but I just can't turn away from the needy. Those of you who can look down at people and not take care of the elderly will pay one way or another. because guess what, if there are only two classes upper and lower, the people who don't have enough to eat or feed their families are absolutely going to take yours. As would any of us. We are not now a third world country, but if we would follow the ignorance of I got mine, F you...we will be in big trouble and soon.

Seamus

Anonymous said...

"Why, as a person who worked all of my life and paid taxes, don't I feel sorry for the rich who worked all their life and found tax loophole after tax loophole so they dodn't have to pay taxes? If I pay 35% of my earnings to taxes, Income taxes, school taxes, social security, IRS, etc etc so should the person making millions a year. Whats fair for me should be fair for all."

Sounds like you support a Flat Tax with no exemptions. Sounds good to me.

If you pay 15% on your income and I make more than you -- and we both work hard -- tell me again why I should pay 35% on my income?

Let's both pay 17%, no accounting tricks, and we'll call it even. We'll all be part of one fair society.

Anonymous said...

I am a wealthy man in need of a new summer home. I will pay you to fix things around the place. first send me your money either directly or in the form of tax write offs so I can create the handyman jobs for you.

Thank you for your continued cooperation.

Scrooge McDuck

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've deleted a few comments posted by the weekend trolls. This post is not about sexual orientation, anti-Semitism, ant-Catholicism or "teabaggers." it is about the strange coincidence that municipalities with high taxes also have high poverty rates, and whether one causes the other.

Anonymous said...

From the Census, PA cities of similar size, with percentage below poverty rate and household per capita income figures:

Allentown- 19%, 32k
Bethlehem- 15%, 36k
Easton- 16%, 33k
Reading- 26%, 26k
Harrisburg-25%, 27k
Chester- 28%, 26k

Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/42/4213208.html

Familiar with any of these cities? If so, which would you choose to live in? Why? Why not? Is it all about taxes?

VOR

Bernie O'Hare said...

VOR, I'll be getting the updated figures this week.

Anonymous said...

Cause and effect?

Percentage who have a higher educational degree, plus percentage of caucasians, same towns:

Allentown- 15%, 70%
Bethlehem- 24%, 82%
Easton- 15%, 78%
Reading- 8%, 59%
Harrisburg-14%, 31%
Chester- 8%, 19%

These are not the very latest 2010 figures, but I would guess that things have not gotten better for Allentown, Chester, Reading.

The leaders of Allentown desperately hope that a large arena will turn that city around. The likelihood is that the arena will turn Allentown around like the casinos turned Atlantic City around. Bethlehem is not banking upon a casino to turn Bethlehem around. The casino is seen as a way to jump start the eventual development of a large parcel on the south side. It seems to be working, but Bethlehem is not nearly as desperate as some of these cities. Only the presence of the state government saves Harrisburg from becoming a ghost town, I believe. Chester is a forgotten, woebegone town, as is Scranton and Wilkes Barre. Interestingly, the last two are just as poor and uneducated, but are mostly white. I find that curious. So it's not all about race. Do wealthy, smart people gravitate to certain cities? I think you will find that Pittsburgh and Philly are considered "poor" cities Bernie.

The only thing I am certain of is that bethlehem is a rare city. I really think people are willing to pay higher taxes when the city "works", as it seems Bethlehem does.

VOR

Anonymous said...

The percentage of "Fox News" viewers in Bethlehem is the lowest of any Lehigh Valley municipality, that is why it works so well.

Anonymous said...

high taxes-force people to leave or find ways not to pay. I understand the desire for high taxes but it does not work when applied. the tipping point kicks in. producers leave.