Places to grow up
Okay, so I haven’t read through the methodology yet, but the data from this visualization and article in the NYT sure do look interesting. Basically, I should either stay in Bergen County or move to Westchester.
Here are the meaty questions:
-Why do some counties improve income as baseline income goes up, and why do some decrease future income as baseline income goes up? If I were peddling a social theory, I’d say one was fixed in favor of the house and one was redistributive. But I expect that’s simplistic.
Then, of course, the basic question here — what makes some counties really good for poor people and others not?
And here’s the magic question: what’s the relationship between those two sets of answers? Are they mutually exclusive, or do they overlap? What happens in the places that have the overlap factors optimized and the other factors neutral? Is that a good place to live? Is that a model to follow?
This last question, and others like it, are part of my real political philosophy. The federal system gives us 50+ experiments about how to make tradeoffs between priorities. The county system within states gives us more experiments. Of course, no one thinks of them as experiments except federalists; most people think of them as either bastions of freedom or as holdouts and anachronisms. (It’s no secret that the label often follows the value judgment about the tradeoff at issue.) There will be more on this topic.