Quick Takes: Homicides and City Partisan Control, Querying WONDER by Gender, and SALT stuff
An amuse-bouche to start the weekend
Three quick hits
Homicide records in 12 cities (so far)
At least 12 major U.S. cities have broken annual homicide records in 2021 — and there’s still three weeks to go in the year.
Of the dozen cities that have already surpassed the grim milestones for killings, five topped records that were set or tied just last year.
Philadelphia, a city of roughly 1.5 million people, has had more homicides this year (521 as of Dec. 6) than the nation’s two largest cities, New York (443 as of Dec. 5) and Los Angeles (352 as of Nov. 27). That’s an increase of 13% from 2020, a year that nearly broke the 1990 record.
Okay, so the records they’re talking about are total numbers, not rates, but let’s just ignore that for this post. This is a quick take, after all.
Here’s their infographic:
So, these records are being made across the country, correct? We have stuff going on in the midwest, northwest, southwest, north, etc. So various people on the right made this observation:
I’ll be getting back to some actual comparisons of homicide rates (for example, these may be homicide records for certain cities, but this may not rank very high in the lists once you throw in cities like Chicago, etc.)
But how remarkable is it that all 12 of these cities have Democrats for mayors?
Let’s check Ballotpedia: Party affiliation of the mayors of the 100 largest cities
If you can’t see the graph very well, that’s a break-out of the partisan affiliation of the mayors of the top 100 cities by population, and in 2021, it was 64 Democrats, 25 Republicans, and 11 Independents.
Now that’s for the 100 largest cities, and of these 12 with the homicide records, only 11 are in these top 100 … and most of the 11 are in the top 50. Close enough, though.
So let’s just pretend we’re picking randomly, with 12 cities out of 100, with 64% chance each independently has a Dem mayor. This is an approximation. (Because it’s really without replacement, and I’m pretending you could select the same city multiple times. I said it was a quick take.)
Okay, that’s a 0.5% chance. (= 64% to the 12th power)
Hmm, maybe they have a point.
We’ll come back to this point later when I do a standalone post on the homicide explosion (as it were) in both 2020 and 2021.
(also, I just learned that Miami has a Republican mayor, which I didn’t know before.)
Querying CDC’s WONDER database on two variables: year and gender
Here’s the video showing how to get death rate data so you can compare male vs. female death rates:
I’ll be demonstrating aggregating by age groups next.
SALT (state and local taxes) brou-ha-ha
Let me throw in a bit of light relief.
I haven’t been blogging about public finance as much, because, well, I do find mortality a lot more relaxing.
Also, I want the Build Back Better bill to fail, and they keep changing what’s in it, so I’m not all that interested in starting a blog post that might have to get scrapped before I can get it up on the site.
That said, it is cracking me up that it looks like BBB is getting more and more pathetic, and that the only big thing left, as far as I can see, is removing that SALT cap for people like me. I mean, if you keep the Trump tax cuts in and keep the SALT cap, I’m no worse for wear. If you remove the SALT cap and increase the taxes, it also may be a wash for me. I have no idea.
[November 23] After House Democrats last week passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill with provisions raising the SALT caps to $80,000, the Vermont senator joined with New Jersey Democratic senator Bob Menendez to propose a more limited version. Though their proposal is not finalized, it is intended to phase out the new tax breaks for those making more than $400,000 a year. The proposal broadly mimics a plan released by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).
A new study from the Tax Policy Center (TPC) shows how the plan stacks up.
Me breaking in — I’m in the top 20%, but not in the top 5%. If you want to see what share “my” group gets, you take the bars for the 20% group and subtract out the 5% group. It’s not very big.
As the TPC graph illustrates, one of these proposals is clearly better from a policy and messaging standpoint — while all of them would deliver most of their benefits to the wealthiest quintile of the country, the Sanders-Menendez compromise (represented by the yellow bars) would specifically reduce the amount of tax breaks given to the richest of the rich.
Yeah, the SALT cap repeal/reform is not a good look.
Democratic concerns are mounting that a tax provision in President Biden’s social spending package that is prized by suburban lawmakers from New York and New Jersey could come back to haunt the party in the midterm elections.
Republicans are increasingly attacking Democrats for rolling back the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, arguing it will largely benefit the rich. A number of Democrats are fearful that the GOP criticisms could resonate with voters in areas outside of large coastal metropolitan areas.
But the thing is — it’s not just Republicans who are pounding this. As you can see from David Sirota above (most definitely not a Republican), you’ve got lefties like Bernie Sanders who are also complaining. So it’s getting attacked from both right and left… on the same grounds!
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said the SALT deduction provision isn’t “helpful” to her, though she said lawmakers advocating for the changes were acting on the desires of their constituents.
“I certainly don’t think it was helpful from my perspective as someone who represents Floridians,” she said. “As a party, we have done so much talking about how this is about making sure people pay their fair share and taxing the upper-income people as well as [the] largest corporations. … Clearly SALT falls in the category that is not consistent with those goals and those values.”
Okay, so the author of this piece didn’t point out the hugely obvious: Florida has no state income taxes. Yes, Floridians do have some SALT deductions they take (property taxes, for instance), but it’s nothing in amount like somebody like me, living in Westchester County, New York where I’m hit by high state income taxes and high local property taxes.
Several analyses have found that the House provision is one of the largest items in the bill and would largely benefit high-income households. As a result, Republicans have gone on a messaging blitz to paint the bill as a boon for the rich.
Well, it certainly isn’t a boon for those who have less than $10K in SALT.
Democrats are annoyed with the GOP attacks, saying Republicans are hypocrites because their 2017 tax law cut taxes for the rich. Still, some Democrats think that Republicans’ messaging could work.
I’m pretty sure the Republicans tend to be out-and-proud about cutting taxes for rich folks, and incidentally cut taxes for the not-as-rich as well. They’re not the ones trying to market a “let’s just tax the richest more!” message. That’s the Dems.
And then they roll out this. Kind of undermines the message, eh?
I want BBB to fail. If it can just keep limping along with everybody bickering at each other and it not passing, I’m just fine with that. I am not interested in writing much about BBB if that will be the dynamic.
If it does pass…. just…
I won’t be happy.