New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described social inequality in his inaugural address as a “quiet crisis” on par with fiscal collapses, crime waves and terrorist attacks. He said income disparity was a struggle no less urgent to confront.
Unfortunately, it’s not being confronted, especially in cities where the “quiet crisis” is leading to bankruptcy. These cities have disproportionate levels of poverty, minorities, crime and deteriorating tax bases. With each attempt to balance their budgets, they are forced to reduce essential public services. That, in turn, leads those who can afford it, to leave—further exacerbating an eroding tax base and forcing even more cuts in essential public safety services. Each round of departures results in a smaller and poorer population and tax base.