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Commentary By Stephen Eide

The Disastrous New Urban Agenda

Cities, Cities Tax & Budget, Regulatory Policy

Unable to spend their way into a progressive future, Democratic mayors have turned to regulation as a panacea

Democrats currently govern most major American cities and face no serious Republican challenges in any of them. Of the 50 largest cities in the United States, only 13 have Republican mayors. Surprisingly, while urban areas have been turning deep blue, Democratic city governments have not been increasing their spending as much as most people think. Massive debt and poor revenue growth have forced urban Democrats to find a more austere pathway to satisfying their progressive ambitions. They have found it in regulation. By legislating how businesses can conduct themselves, whom they can hire, what they must provide, and much else, Democrats in local governments are transforming the new urban progressive agenda into a regulatory agenda.

“Democrats in local governments are transforming the new urban progressive agenda into a regulatory agenda.”

Because of this, even as these politicians tout their imposed correctives for sluggish growth and inequality, we should expect increased stagnation and growing inequality in the coming years. If Democrats continue to expand regulations, the urban economy will be even less accommodating to small businesses and entrepreneurs than it is already. And as these economic engines stall, opportunities for the poor and immigrant classes will dry up. The liberal appetite for the imposition of local regulation, like the appetite for spending it has supplanted, will usher in a new chapter in the history of unintended policy consequences. And, once again, the worst-off among us will pay the highest price.

Read the entire piece here at Commentary, featured in the February 2016 Issue

This piece originally appeared in Commentary