Bum Rap on America's Cities

Bum Rap on America's Cities : The Real Cause of Urban Decay

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Welfare profiteers, Medicaid mercenaries, tight-listed banks, and, most critically, a federal bias towards the Sun Belt brought the cities of the Northeast to their knees - not spendthrift liberals or the grasping poor - maintains this plain-spoken, clearly organized, firmly documented fusillade. Morris, a onetime N.Y. Citizens Budget Commission aide who now preps candidates and officials on public issues, never makes a point only once; on the other hand, he's done his homework. He discovered that welfare tenants paid higher rents than others in the same building (the city footed the whole tab) and why landlords got away with it; he found out how "Ping-Ponging" (referring patients from one specialist to another) enabled Medicaid mills to drive up costs; he traced the banks' silent withdrawal from the market for local bonds and tells why, against previous experience, it became permanent: federal borrowing took up the slack. All of this, along with the intricacies of city finance, he explains with the skill of a practicing publicist. But his personal and particular target is federal discrimination against the Northeast and its cities - where, he contends, living costs are so much higher that allowances should be made for them, whether in collecting income taxes or in helping the elderly and poor. (More military spending in the region, and less aid to businesses moving out of it, would be of assistance too.) In short, the Northeast is bilked for the benefit of the Sun Belt, then blamed for insolvency. On this score Morris is something of a fanatic, with the result that he digs up evidence no one else would think to look for. But in the political arena the best defense may be a good offense, and everyone concerned - politicians, activists, student-apprentices - will find ammunition aplenty here. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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