Fighting Over Scraps in Pittsburgh

This is what a once great city has been reduced to. Federal community block grant funds of $16.5 million are being fought over by city council members with one member arguing that most of the money should go to the poorest communities. Let’s review the situation. $16.5 million is about $53 per resident. Obviously, not enough money to make much of a difference in every Pittsburgher’s life.

But the real problem is that Pittsburgh’s government and school district are soaking up so many taxpayer dollars that there is little left for community improvement. What’s more, the economic development policies, high taxes and unfriendly business climate and terrible school performance smother the private sector growth necessary to produce real, lasting neighborhood improvements.

And haven’t we seen massive amounts of money from many programs poured into communities over the years? Have they gotten better as a result of that largesse? In the environment of a super expensive tax city with little or no net job growth, getting better is a virtual impossibility. Perhaps the councilman would like to reconsider what is really wrong with the city and its neighborhoods and then he might start to work for the kind of policies that will actually encourage and empower citizens to prosper rather than pandering to the mind set that discourages individual and community achievements. But in Pittsburgh where the free market, individual responsibility ethos is so foreign, that would require an epiphany of a magnitude rarely encountered.