DMI Blog

Elana Levin

Watch NY1’s Inside City Hall tonight!

OK I promise this is the last post like this. DMI's Andrea Batista Schlesinger will be appearing on cable news channel New York 1's show "Inside City Hall" tonight. It airs at 7pm and is re-run at 10:30pm. She will be debating Manhattan Institute Fellow Nicole Gelinas, author of The New York Sun's op-ed today. The topic is our survey on NYC's middle class squeeze and solutions to the problem.

Speaking of which Gelinas' op-ed got an excellent rebutal from one of her readers. He wrote:

Submitted by Gary Brubaker, Apr 5, 2007 11:31

Ms. Gelinas is a bit deluded. There are too many breaks for the upper class and whether these i-bankers feel ripped off by the higher taxes they do rely upon the middle class to watch their children, feed them, do their laundry, be their concierge and get them to and from work.

The well to do can afford to keep up with the costs of living in NYC, which is far more than the CPI estimate, but for the rest of this city the weight is forcing them out in droves or into a state of perpetual poverty. This sense of divine entitlement must end.

Speaking of feelings of entitlement, DMI's letter to the editor about the Estate Tax ran in today's Wall Street Journal.

Success Itself, Not Money, Is a Begetter of Happiness

I couldn't agree more with Arthur Brooks ("What's Wrong With Billionaires?" March 19) that money, by itself, doesn't bring happiness. Indeed, it is success that brings happiness, and money is simply an indicator of success. We have been too hard on our misunderstood billionaires, who are actually driven by a burning desire to successfully create value, not to accumulate more money. His exhibit A: the fact that most of the billionaires on the Forbes Magazine top 949 earned their own fortunes.

This is one of the primary reasons that I support a healthy estate tax. I do not want to begrudge any American the opportunity to create his or her own wealth. If that were to happen -- if most billionaires were to simply be handed their wealth -- they would not have the opportunity to create value and to, therefore, attain happiness.

And the added bonus of keeping a healthy estate tax is that we allow today's billionaires to do precisely what Mr. Brooks maintains they have the willingness to do -- give it away. In this case, they can fund the public systems, such as schools and police and public colleges, that will enable future generations of Americans to attain the kind of success that "spills opportunity and economic abundance onto all of us, directly or indirectly." And that, of course, makes them happy.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Executive Director
Drum Major Institute for Public Policy
New York

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 5:17 PM, Apr 05, 2007 in Cities | Economic Opportunity | Economy | Middle-class squeeze | New York
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