More New York Times deception


The New York Times published a deeply misleading article today on a very real and serious problem: the dearth of families with children in many of the nation's central cities. The chosen example was Portland, OR. The Times paints a glowing picture of Portland:

The Pearl District in the heart of this perpetually self—improving city seems to have everything in new urban design and comfort, from the Whole Foods store where fresh—buffed bell peppers are displayed like runway models to the converted lofts that face sidewalk gardens....

Crime is down. New homes and businesses are sprouting everywhere. But in what may be Portland's trendiest and fastest—growing neighborhood, the number of school—age children grew by only three between the census counts in 1990 and 2000, according to demographers at Portland State University.

The article points at high housing prices as the biggest culprit in cities with declining numbers of children. (It does not mention poor quality public svhools, by the way.) By implication, it is merely excess demand in these oh—so—desriable blue state havens which causes housing there to be more expensive.

This is a deeply dishonest impression to leave, at least in the case of Portland. The city is most decidedly not booming. It has among the highest unemployment rates of any major city in the country.  Portland may not a prosperity but it does have the Portland Urban Growth Boundary,  a drastic land use scheme which forces people to bid up a relatively small amount of land declared usable for housing, or else go very far out beyond the greenbelt, where the article acknowledges housing is cheaper.

Housing is expensive in Portland, as it is in many other cities like San Francisco  because of political decisions made in the name of environmentalism. That is what forces families out, or forces them to defer children or not have them at all. Once again, the supposed welfare of animals and plants is placed above that of parents and children.

Social engineering, in other words. Not that the New York Times would ever admit it, or even report necessary facts to explain the phenomenon it describes.

Thomas Lifson   3 24 05