An August 26 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters explains the “Curley Effect” and how it is damaging the economy of Baltimore city.
The problem is what Harvard economists Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer have called the “Curley effect.” In Boston during the first half of the 20th century, Mayor James Michael Curley built a political machine by strategically shaping the electorate—taxing well-heeled “Brahmins” heavily and redistributing the proceeds to poor Irish immigrants. This not only bought Irish votes but chased the old Yankees out to the suburbs, further tilting the political playing field in Curley’s favor.
In modern Baltimore, the machine has exploited class divisions, not ethnic ones. Officials raised property taxes 21 times between 1950 and 1985, channeling the proceeds to favored voting blocs and causing many homeowners and entrepreneurs—disproportionately Republicans—to flee. It was brilliant politics, as Democrats now enjoy an eight-to-one voter registration advantage and no Republican has been elected mayor in 48 years.
If you’re a purely partisan Democrat, this is a wonderful thing, right? The problem is that the residents of the city are being sacrificed for the sake of Democrat political power. U.S. Senate candidate from Maryland Daniel Bongino seized upon this point today via Facebook and Twitter.
In 1950, [Baltimore's] median family income was 7% above the national average. Today it is 22% below it.
It’s a seemingly intractable political problem and a devastating moral and human problem about which Bongino says:
When reporters ask me how we plan on getting votes in Baltimore City, I respond “by looking the residents of Baltimore City in the eye and telling them the truth.”
The truth is long overdue in parts of Maryland. Let’s hope it’s not too late.
Phillip Klein in the Examiner shares this video in his article, Playing the “crazy card” on Perry won’t save Obama. It’s simply stunning to watch through the lens of history.