Monday, July 31, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: The Good People Of Utica Do Need To Worry About Their Houses

http://www.citylab.com


Hello Everyone:

Welcome to a new week and fresh outrage.  Before we get to the cause of #BloggerCandidateForum's blood vessel popping anger, yours truly has breaking news.  Never a dull moment in the Trump White House.  Try to keep up here: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (he of bad suits and foot-in-mouth disease) resigns in protest of President Donald Trump's appointment of Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci, the head of SkyBridge Capital, and is replaced by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Following the spectacular collapse of the Senate Republicans "Skinny" repeal of the Affordable Care Act (more on that in minute), White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus privately submitted his resignation after being taken down by The Mooch.  He is replaced by the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security John Kelly, who in turn, fires The Mooch after a tenure capped off by a potty mouthed tirade during an interview with The New Yorker

Blogger would like to salute Anthony Scaramucci's selfless service, albeit brief, to his nation. Those eleven days were truly the most golden days this nation has experienced in a very long time.  Mr. Scaramucci leaves a legacy that will never be matched by anyone again.  No worries if you are confused, this ain't over yet.

Speaking of the spectacular collapse of the Senate Republicans's latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, yours truly would like to salute the Wonder Women of the Senate: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Maizie Hirano (D-HI).  Senator Hirano is dealing with Stage IV Kidney Cancer yet flew from her home in Hawai'i to Washington D.C. to cast her no vote.  Honorable mention to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for flying in from Arizona to cast his no vote, while recuperating from surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Major respect to Senators Collins and Murkowski for staying true to their values and voting no on this ridiculously lame attempt pushed through by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  Senators Murkowski, Collins, and McCain are heroes for putting country over party politics.  #BloggerCandidateForum salutes your heroism and patriotism.  Now on to today's outrage.

The upstate New York city of Utica, like The Mooch (wife with newborn child leaving him and losing his job), was not having a good week.  On Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Foxconn,manufacturers of flat screens for Apple, announced at a White House event that it was building a new factory in Wisconsin.  Utica aggressively pursued the $7 billion bid.  In what has to be "let'em eat cake" statement  from Foxconn CEO Terry Gould told the good people of Utica they could just simply follow the jobs to Wisconsin.

Never at a loss for words, when he is not tweeting, POTUS told the Wall Street Journal,

You're going to need people to work in these massive plants...I'm going to start explaining to people, when you have an area that just isn't working like upper New York State, where people are getting very badly hurt, and then you'll have another area 500 miles away where you can't get people, I'm going to explain, you can leave.  It's OK.  Don't worry about your house.  (http://www.timesunion.com; July 27, 2017; date accessed July 31, 2017)

The sheer chutzpah of this statement was enough to make Blogger's blood pressure skyrocket.  Once Blogger calmed down sufficiently, yours truly found the wise words of Kriston Capps's CityLab article "Trump to the Rust Belt: Move Somewhere Else," a true balm for the white hot emotions.  The irony of this situation is despite Oneida County (where Utica is located) going Red in the General Election, POTUS still saw fit to stomp on this Rust Belt community not once but twice.

Mr. Capps reports, "Over at least the decade, Utica has embraced a vision of itself second-chance city (http://www.nextcity.org; May 16, 2016; date accessed July 31, 2017) one that opens its arms to refugees."  In 2005, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued a 31-page promotional report on the city titled, The Town That Loves Refugees. (http://unhcr.org). This seems at odds with the fact that 59 percent of Oneida County voters cast their ballots for POTUS.  This has led to much introspection for Utica's immigrant and refugee population.

The sheer audacity of this president to tell the 62,000 citizens of Utica to (borrow a phrase from The Mooch) autofellate "...means that he's curbed the region's best strategy for growth-resettling refugees-an given them nothing in return."  How progressive Utica is, as the glowing UNHCR report claims, is open for question, as Kavith Rajagopalan elaborates in his Next City article (Ibid).  This seems pretty moot now.  "Utica must brace for worse than shade from Trump."

Losing Foxconn, will bring 13,000 job and $10 billion  in development to southeastern Wisconsin, is another blow to the region after an Australian semiconductor company abandoned plans to build a $2 billion in Utica late in 2016.  (http://www.timesunion.com; Dec. 16, 2016; date accessed July 31, 2017)

Kriston Capps concedes that there may be some kernel of truth to POTUS's comment about housing in Utica (Don't worry about your house).  Under the president's proposed budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Oneida County would lose millions in housing subsidies.  Affordable Houising Online estimates that Oneida County could lose $7,288,112 in housing aid.  These cuts could affect up to 922 households per year.  (http://www.affordablehousingonline.com date accessed July 31, 2017). It would eliminate Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) funds that support over 350 families. The cuts would be accutely felt in Oneida County's three urban centers: Rome, Sherrill, and Utica.

Over a third of the county reside in rural areas, the very same places that brought President Donald Trump to the White House.  They, too, will not be spared.  Department of Agriulture Secretary Sonny Perdue announce in May that he was eliminating the position of Undersecretary of Rural Development (http://www.dailyyonder.com; May 12, 2017; date accessed July 31, 2017) as part of his reorganization of the department and cutting funding by 21 percent.

Ben Lilliston, analyst for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, told Daily Yonder:

We are seeing an unfortunate trend with the Trump budget and the USDA reorganization to disinvest in rural communities-even at a time when rural communities are facing economic challenges beyond those in the rest of the country. (Ibid)

Mr. Capps speculates, "Perhaps Trump meant to allude to the negative equity rate in Oneida County where 9.4 percent of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, according to a first-quarter 2017 by Zillow.  (http://www.zillow.com; July 18, 2017; date accessed July 31, 2017) Another possibility, POTUS may be overestimating the opportunity mobility of Uticans.  The advocacy coalition Opportunity Nation (http://www.opportunityindex.org) generated a nationwide "Opportunity Index" (http://www.citylab.com; Oct. 21, 2013; date accessed July 31, 2017) to gauge economic mobility.  The Index gauges economic mobility based on a number of determinants: unemployment rate, education rates, rental affordability burden, and many more.  Oneida County received a C+. (Ibid)

President Donald Trump's callous comments are another example of just how out of touch with the realities of the American voter, including the counties that voted for him.  A typical working class family, whether in Utica or anywhere else, cannot just pack up and move to where the jobs are.  It is not so simple and yes, they do have to worry about their homes.  Are there places worse off than Utica?  Yes, there are, southeastern Wisconsin.  

According to The Washington Post, the deal made between Foxconn and the state of Wisconsin, to build a massive new factory, comes with $3 billion state tax breaks.  As long as the Taiwanese company continues to hire American workers, Wisconsin would provide incentives between $200 to $250 million a year for fifteen years.  This would cost the state approximately of $230,700 per employee, predicated on the factory actually generates 13,000 jobs.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com; July 27, 2017; date accessed July 31, 2017). President Trump does not understand that this is not a great opportunity of either the good people of Utica or Wisconsin.