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NYC’s Billionaires Are Tired of Giving Their Money Away to Help Solve NYC’s Problems

Why do extra resources to combat major crises rest on the delicate sensibilities of the filthy rich?

9:28 AM EST on January 9, 2024

A woman walks her dogs along South Street with a view towards the Brooklyn waterfront.

(Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

As the saying goes, you gotta give. But apparently the richest New Yorkers aren't feeling that way about their own city.

According to a story in the New York Times, the city's "influential philanthropic class," as the paper puts it, "is newly wary of giving to causes aimed at addressing the city’s biggest problems, according to conversations with more than 20 donors, philanthropic advisers and fund-raisers."

For instance, The Mayor's Fund, the charity run by the City, has received just $3 million to help care for asylum seekers, compared with the $77 million it got during the first wave of the pandemic.

The story gives a few reasons for this—the rich have moved on to other causes (like donating to Israel), or they're upset that the public has curbed their crusade of endlessly expanding charter schools, or they'd rather have their name on a concert hall than anonymously fund a policy initiative—but the biggest explanation appears to be vibe-based.

"There’s no hopeful message here that people want to invest in," the head of the United Way of New York City told the Times. "It's a hard conversation to have with donors when your mayor is saying, not only do we not have good solutions for a problem that should be solved by the federal government, and I agree with that, but we’re also cutting the budget." 

New York is facing multiple crises that include housing and healthcare and childcare and, well, literally, you name it. Why should our ability to have more resources to fight these problems hinge on the delicate sensibilities of hundreds of people who harbor more wealth than anyone can spend in a lifetime? To put it bluntly, these motherfuckers and their private spaghetti clubs are crying out to be taxed.

Governor Kathy Hochul, who is laying out her legislative agenda for the year at 1:00 p.m. today in her annual State of the State address, has said she won't raise income taxes this year. The state legislature's wish list is still in the works, though passing meaningful legislation to do something about the housing crisis appears to be at the top of the list

How about coming up with some creative ways to chip off a few billion dollars from the people who can't make up their minds on how to spend it?

Here are some links to give your attention to:

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