So one of the areas I try to focus my chakras upon is which white neighborhoods Indians say blacks should be moved into. Fortunately a subcon by the name of Raj Chetty has deployed some trivial amount of my tax money to more effectively address that topic. Writing for the Center for Stereotype Validation, Jacob Goldstein cheerfully explains that…
In two new studies, Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues found that where poor kids grow up has a huge effect on how much money they earn as adults.
In one study, families living in public housing were randomly selected to be eligible for housing vouchers that required them to move to low poverty neighborhoods. Kids whose families received the vouchers grew up to earn significantly more than those whose families remained in public housing.
The NYT adds:
Across the country, the researchers found five factors associated with strong upward mobility: less segregation by income and race, lower levels of income inequality, better schools, lower rates of violent crime, and a larger share of two-parent households. In general, the effects of place are sharper for boys than for girls, and for lower-income children than for rich.
We’re looking for Good Schools, low crime, and two parent households. I’ll go ahead and write-off Kinshasa. But overall I’m tempted to embrace these findings as Mr. Chetty, a native of New Delhi, offers a formidable example of his own theory. Having been randomly selected for eligibility to move from the public housing of India (nominal per capita income of $1,570) to the low poverty neighborhood of America, he is now a tenured professor at Harvard earning at least hundreds more than as a performing street urchin in the world’s most polluted city. That city, and country as a whole, are filthy, teeming, fecal-flavored ant-heaps because–owing to certain geographical salients–less income falls from the sky upon it. And so prosperity may be found where this occurs in greater abundance.
Though, just as a tangential anecdote, children raised in the low poverty neighborhood of America also reported (statistically relevant) less engagement with the Monkey God Hanuman than peers in India. This also highly correlated to disparities in income precipitation between the two locales. Yet the conclusion upon which Professor Chetty is encouraging us to alight is that poor children may be aided by transplantation into less poor areas…such as Detroit, for instance.
Because, as even perhaps Harvard faculty realize, Detroit is now (circa 1945) the wealthiest per capita city in America. Though we always lend a receptive ear to noble theories bolstered by the rigors of science. As such, we understand that future Ivy League scholarship assures positive outcomes from relocating poor people into our pleasant neighborhoods. Here, let me just cite Mr. Chetty’s conclusion for you:
The results of this study demonstrate that offering low-income families housing vouchers and assistance in moving to lower poverty neighborhoods has substantial benefits for the families themselves and for taxpayers. It appears important to target such housing vouchers to families with young children–perhaps even at birth–to maximize the benefits…More broadly, our findings suggest that efforts to integrate disadvantaged families into mixed-income communities are likely to reduce the persistence of poverty across generations.
So there it is. Complete with equations and citations from Nadarajan Chetty. If we in Detroit open our residential areas to euphemistic “low income families” then not only will the newcomers benefit, but the taxpayer as well. And a 90% white city can surely absorb some piquant spice. Especially as it will likely lower poverty here for generations. Truly prosperity in our time.
It’s a tantalizing proposition, but not so much that we eschew caution entirely. So I read the narrative of Mr. Chetty’s future study searching for any concessions in his program. Here’s a few of the questions I was hoping to see addressed.
What impact did the “low income families” have on the wealth and social capital of the neighborhoods where they were integrated? Was there a resulting increase in crime? Deterioration in trust or community involvement? Proliferation of blight? Diminution of the Good Schools? How did this affect the children already living in those formerly low-poverty neighborhoods? Did their life outcomes flourish or wither as a result of environmental upheaval? Finally, how much cumulative wealth was obliterated in lost home equity? And how did such revenue hemorrhaging impact the ability of municipalities to provide public services?
Obviously a Harvard economist isn’t just going to ignore these highly germane questions. To suggest public policy by extolling benefits, one is obliged to acknowledge attendant costs. This isn’t some charlatan.
Well you’re going to be elated fellow Detroiters, because there apparently aren’t any costs. Without a great deal of looking, I could find no indication of an associated risk profile for communities that embrace his prescriptions. It seems to be serendipity really. They come live in our neighborhoods and we pay lower taxes. There are no losers.
And while we await Detroit’s resplendent future, I was wondering if Nadarajan had any thoughts of extrapolating his now well-proved scientific thesis. If perhaps he had considered the mutual benefits of moving more Indians to America? Or at the very least a significant increase in H1Bs? If one Raj is good, then another 400 million must be quite a bit better.
Think how much we could save on taxes!