From the New York Times opinion section:
‘The Era of Urban Supremacy Is Over’
March 15, 2023
By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.
On the last day of February, Glen Lee, the chief financial officer of Washington, D.C., issued a warning to the mayor and members of the District of Columbia Council, who are undertaking such costly ventures as free bus service and expanded affordable housing.
“The Covid-19 pandemic,” Lee wrote, “has brought about significant changes in the District’s population and economy, with potential long-term implications.” Revenue estimates, he said, have “been lowered due to 1) a more pessimistic economic outlook and 2) a deteriorating real property market.”
In Lee’s view, there are still more danger signals:
Recently completed preliminary real property tax assessments, which is the basis for FY 2024 real property tax revenue, are lower than anticipated, and year-to-date revenue collections through January for deed and unincorporated business taxes, both of which are gauges of strength of the real estate market, are drastically lower than last year.
Washington is not alone. Most of the nation’s major cities face a daunting future as middle-class taxpayers join an exodus to the suburbs, opting to work remotely as they exit downtowns marred by empty offices, vacant retail space and a deteriorating tax base.
It’s common to theorize that somebody somewhere really smart and powerful (Klaus Schwab? Bill Gates? The CIA?) must have The Plan behind what is going on, but this is a good example of how that’s the opposite of the truth.
Just at the moment, May 25, 2020, when evidence was piling up that Work-From-Home really did work well enough that the traditional model of having huge downtown business centers was obsolete, with dire implications for big city economies, urban elites then encouraged the Mostly Peaceful Protests and the subsequent rise in street crime.
Great move, guys!