Affluent NYC Taxpayers Bear a Heavy Load


I was shocked to read a New York Times story on Saturday titled "Data Back Bloomberg On Disparity With Income." The Times is generally chock-full of reporting, op-ed pieces, and editorials that decry income inequality in New York City and throughout the nation. (To be fair, should be noted that the piece was buried in the "New York" section of the paper.)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City has been harshly criticized "as being tone-deaf to the struggles of the poor ..." He attributes New York City's rising income gap to an influx of rich residents into the city, "and called billionaires a 'godsend.'"

Studies have shown that New York City's income gap has in fact widened and is greater than the national gap. But the city has experienced many wealthy people moving into the five boroughs during Bloomberg's 12-year tenure as mayor. Additionally, many residents have become rich while living here.

In 2001, 11,700 city residents earned more than $1 million annually; a decade later, the figure increased to 20,416. Unfortunately, the number of poor people as defined by the federal government has grown to 1.7 million in 2012 from 1.6 million in 2000. Bloomberg says that more wealthy people have eased the pain "for those with fewer resources."

The growing affluent population "[is the group] that [pays] a lot of the taxes, they're the ones that spend a lot of money in the stores and restaurants and create a big chunk of our economy."

"... Many of these people also contribute in a very big way to libraries, museums and other things that make this city not only a nice place to visit but a nice place to live."

Approximately 1,200 New Yorkers who earned more than $10 million, accounted for nearly 18% of the city's personal income taxes. The population of the city is 8.3 million.

Affluent people in this country who are paying a huge percentage of personal taxes and subsidizing so many other Americans are not asking for adulation from the general population. However, it would be nice if the average American would eschew class warfare rhetoric of the president, columnists such as Paul Krugman, and liberal politicians.

Maybe "trickle down economics" is a reality in America.