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Understanding Arlington County's Political Economy

A recent book, The New New Left: How American Politics Works Today, by Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute may help Arlington taxpayers understand why since 2000, per capita income has risen 19.1%, but the tax payment on the average residence has increased 94%. The consequence is that Arlington's bloated government has been provided with a substantial windfall from the run-up in the value of Arlington homes. Malanga was interviewed earlier this week by FrontPageMagazine.com. His response to several question was quite informative. For example, he notes that unlike what is happening at the national level where politics is moving rightward, America's cities and states are seeing "the rise of a political party that's neither right nor left, strictly speaking, but rather a coalition of those who benefit from an ever-expanding government . . . in ways that impose steep costs on taxpayers, ways which are not easily unravelled." But Malanga has hope, saying, "I think we are on the verge of seeing a new taxpayers' revolt in the U.S. at the state and local level, as the price of the expanding public economy becomes very difficult to bear. We see all sorts of spending cap initiatives and taxpayer bills of rights emerging in states, as well as legislation to rein in the power of public sector unions." The revolt can't start too soon for us.