Having lobbied hard for the stimulus bill with the expectation they could get some extra local spending without the political cost of having to tax the locals more to pay for it, Americas mayors find they in turn got played:

President Barack Obama is facing complaints from big-city mayors and county politicians that parts of the economic stimulus package are shortchanging their constituents.

Vice President Joe Biden has been holding private conference calls on the stimulus with elected officials from around the country, some of whom have been telling him that metropolitan regions are losing out to rural areas in the competition for stimulus money.

That argument tracks a report released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors that concluded that cities have gotten a disproportionately small share of stimulus money set aside for road and other transportation improvements.

I thought the following was particularly hilarious.  It appears that the mayors have abandoned progressive tax policy in favor of a more classical notion of fairness:

The mayors commissioned a report looking at a pot of $18 billion set aside for transportation. When the report was released this month, the 85 most populous metropolitan areas had received $8.8 billion - or 48 percent of the total. Yet those same areas account for 63 percent of the U.S. population and 73 percent of the gross domestic product, the report said.

Chicago would need to get another $250 million in stimulus transportation funds to reach a level that reflects its contribution to the Illinois economy, the report calculated. In Ohio, Cleveland and Cincinnati account for 40 percent of the total economy yet received less than 5 percent of the transportation stimulus funds earmarked for the state.

I am sure the richest 10% who pay the vast majority of the taxes will be happy to know that the mayors are now advocating that stimulus money be spent in proportion to how people contribute to the economy.  Yeah, you can hold your breath for that.  It turns out that progressive redistribution is only a good thing if you are on the recieving end.


  1. Ed Flinn:

    I bet they haven't gotten their pony either!

  2. Dr. T:

    The cities may hold a large proportion of the population, but they contain only a small percentage of our interstate highways. I live in Tennessee. If we got federal monies for repaving I40 between Memphis and Knoxville, I wouldn't consider that to be rural spending. Rural folks rarely get hired: the paving company that gets the contract may be from another state.

  3. nom de guerre:

    "but....but....but the dear leader said they were *magic* beans!! he told us they would sprout gigantic *money trees*!! we traded our best cow for them; they just HAVE to work!"

  4. Les:

    Not to mention, the infrastructure within a city isn't quite as important to the overall economy as the infrastructure Between the cities. It doesn't matter if Chicago has the best roads and utilities and transit if nothing can get in or out of the city. Not to mention the cost multiplyers of repairing the vastly more spread-out nature of the highway system. If you wanna work on both lanes of a block of main-street you can just block it off and let people grumble while they use side-streets for the duration. If you block both lanes off of a 1/10th mile stretch of the Only two-lane highway between two towns 20 miles apart then folks are just SOL.