Monthly Archives: January 2015

How Burdened Are We By Taxes?

One answer to the question of how burdened we are by taxes is: “Ask people how they feel, and if they feel burdened, they are.”   Period!  To heck with the facts. That would be the Dick Clark, American Bandstand,  approach, which is what we use a lot these days to make big decisions. Another answer is to look at some facts….if they can be found. You may be surprised that finding good data on tax trends is difficult.  (Perhaps deliberately so).

Laborious data gathering and imputations by Picketty and Saez notwithstanding, we don’t really have the full picture. But what we do have is helpful, if not conclusive.  Much to its credit, a little over two years ago, the New York Times (NYT), using data from several non partisan sources, came close to answering the question on the table.   But because it was the NYT, and thus deeply mistrusted by half the population, perhaps everyone West of the Hudson, the work got lots of attention in the NYT, but not much elsewhere. And it wasn’t pithy or edgy.

Here is a paraphrase of what the NYT researchers found:  The total effective tax rate for ALL income groups is about the same today as in 1980; actually a bit lower for eight of nine income groups across the spectrum; materially lower for the highest income category. (Effective tax rates” are all taxes paid, after deductions and exemptions, as a percent of income.

Yet tax rage is still widespread.

Alas, we really don’t have enough clear, complete, and trustworthy data on the subject. You really need to start a couple of decades earlier to understand a tax revolt in the U.S. that was already mature by the 1970s.  But a 30+ year view isn’t bad.  Here is the main table from the NYT report.

TAX BURDEN2

Source: New York Times Report based on Census Bureau, Office of Management and Budget, and Congressional Budget Office Data

For low and middle income groups, the overall drop is small, probably less noticeable to the families than to the statisticians. It is more noticeable and consequential for the two or three highest income categories. The NYT lumps all households earning $350K or higher into one group, so we can’t tell how the effective tax rate has changed for the top 1% of earners.

There is not much help in these data for politicians who claim there’s a lot of room to raise taxes, unless, perhaps, if we could break down the rates for the highest income bracket into a lot finer detail.

The really interesting story here is the stark contrast between the widespread belief that taxes have been soaring for decades, and the ho hum truth that the effective tax rate for all income groups is about the same or less than in 1980.

It would be nice to have, good “effective tax rate” data going back to 1960. I suspect you would see a rise in rates across the board if that year was the starting point. Back then, federal payroll taxes were low; and state and local governments weren’t medicating, incarcerating, and educating nearly as much as today.

We have a clue from one source of good data going back to the Eisenhower and JFK years.   In 1960, payroll taxes accounted for about 15% of total federal revenue. That was pre Medicare, and before we realized Social Security wouldn’t be able to meet its obligations forever without some tinkering (or more).  By 2013, payroll taxes accounted for about 35% of federal revenue; rivaling the federal income tax (which is 45% of the pie).  I’ll bet few Americans know that payroll tax revenues are not much lower than the take from the federal income tax.  You can read more about it here,

Even if the best explanation for tax rage rests on a look back to 1960 (if not 1860), it’s still puzzling that Americans are (by and large) furious about taxes, even though “effective tax rates” have hardly budged in more than 30 years.

What accounts for the wide gap between fact and belief?

First, stories, like the NYT report, are buried, while daily blasts, blaring with phony charts showing taxes going through the roof, with inflammatory captions, like this one, from the fiercely partisan, pseudo think tank, Heritage Foundation (HF), ultimately reach millions on propagandist media. People who don’t know about the HF “study” or listen to radio, hear about it second and and third hand from Uncle Harry. Uncle Harry hasn’t heard about the NYT report; and if did, he wouldn’t believe it.

Meanwhile, political leaders, some beholden to the same monied interests that captured the radio “public” airways, or bullied by Howard Jarvis and Grover Norquist, have for decades been cowed into silence. Not malicious censorship; but “benign silence” about declining tax burdens (especially for higher income groups) and the related vanishing of the middle class.

In Washington State, where I had the privilege to mange a well respected research shop, all but one of six Governor’s we helped staff (five of them Democrats) discouraged the circulation of good data showing tax burdens were at historic lows (by 2010), and, that oh yes, the middle class is disappearing.    “Uh, well, let’s keep it in-house, maybe post it (inconspicuously) on the website, but let’s not go out of our way to talk about it, OK?”  (That’s pretty close to a quote from one of my bosses). Not censorship, but “benign” silence and neglect.  They were afraid talking about the real tax situation would signal an intent to raise taxes; and that mentioning the woes of the middle class would elicit cries of class warfare.  They were cowed,

It may be unfair to blame the gap between fact and belief about taxes entirely on propagandist media and pusillanimous politicians. We all know the U.S. and state tax codes are maddeningly complex; and way too hard for average people (or small businesses) to “game,” the way General Electric does with its army of 900 accountants.

So even if Uncle Harry is paying the same or less to Uncle Sam today as 30+ years ago, we are burdened by a horribly opaque and unfair tax code. For households that haven’t seen their real income (or wages) increase for a few decades, paying 30% today to Uncle Sam feels a lot more taxing than 33% in 1980.   If they feel burdened, they are.

OK, So We All Agree Inequality Has Gotten Out of Hand: What Next?

No one said anything last night about black smith wages

No one said anything last night about black smith wages

Almost everybody now agrees we have an acute problem (in the U.S. and in most advanced economies) around income inequality, wage stagnation, and the disappearance of the middle class.  President Obama made these issues the centerpiece of yesterday’s State of the Union message. The other day, the President’s 2008 opponent, Mitt Romney, said he may run for President again because he wants to help the poor, the disadvantaged, workers, and the beleaguered middle class.  Mitt was a “severe conservative” before he became a severe liberal.  Go Mitt!

Here is the best single chart — heretofore called, “The Chart” —  I’ve seen depicting the inequality and wage stagnation problem.  (Thank you to my friend and colleague Kurt Lightfoot for sharing  this).

Workers’ Hourly Compensation Versus Productivity

The upper line tracks “productivity” in the U.S. economy since 1948.  Productivity represents the combined effects of technology and harder/better work to (potentially) raise prosperity and the standard of living.  The lower line shows the trend in the compensation of workers. The two lines tracked perfectly from the end of World War II to the mid 1970s. Since then, workers haven’t shared in the prosperity.  You can see full analysis and discussion here.

So, what might Mitt do if he becomes President?  Am afraid the things which need to be done are anathema to Mr. Romney’s party and even to many (a majority?) of Americans, at this point in time.  Mitt and his party will support their usual remedies for greater prosperity (and for any other ailment):  lower taxes on the rich and corporations, less regulation, and more “freedom” for all. Of course, not all of that is bad. But is there any evidence it works?  Maybe giving lip service to wage stagnation is a step forward; but it can just as easily be a bait and switch.

Obama’s State of the Union address proposed other remedies, which could help move the lower line on The Chart a little higher, like a raise in the minimum wage and better access to education, but those won’t (and really can’t) by themselves get us back to the trend of shared prosperity.

If we want compensation to track closely again with productivity, It will take reviving organized labor (with reforms), tempering the effects of “free trade,” genuinely repairing an unfair tax system, and seriously containing health care costs (so that some of employers’ premium costs can move to the wage column).

Regarding “free trade,” the President last night championed the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (some call it NAFTA on steroids). Those agreements, which Democrats supported as heartily as Republicans, have contributed greatly to the dismal trend in wages.

As this blog has voiced many times, we need a new paradigm and intellectual basis for “free trade” agreements,  which doesn’t make them bobsled vehicles for race to the bottom.  That said, this blog doesn’t champion “protectionism,” nor yearn for Smoot-Hawley II.

Is Russell Wilson an Elite Quarterback?

seattle03

A Seattle Landmark

Most of this blog post was written a day before Seattle’s amazing victory over the Green Bay Packers, featuring a truly schizophrenic performance by Russell Wilson (RW). Except for a few style edits, not a (substantive) word of this essay was changed by that game, though I refer to it in a couple of places.   Both before and after that game, I believe Russell Wilson deserves to be on any reasonable list of Elite Quarterbacks (E-List), even if it contains no more (as it shouldn’t) than three or four names.

Russell Wilson doesn’t make too many of the E-Lists.  On the other hand, except maybe for three quarters of yesterday’s game, he’s never had a Rodney Dangerfield problem either.  He often gets honorable mention on some of the E-Lists. Because Wilson was both awful and brilliant in yesterday’s improbable playoff game, his position in the rankings probably hasn’t changed much in a day.

While Wilson gets considerable respect, he was snubbed for the Pro Bowl roster (which is really a blessing for him and the Hawks).  And, famed election forecaster Nate Silver’s “538” blog, now affiliated with ESPN and doing sports metrics,  rates Wilson in the middle of QBs, in the 4th Tier of a 10 Tier scheme. Wilson is in the same group with QB Nick Foles, and below a tier containing Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Schaub. Do you think Pete Carroll would trade RW for any of those guys?

Except for Brady and Manning, the names on the E-lists change so often, calling them Elite lists seems almost silly. By my count, there are twelve current starting QB’s in the NFL who have been on and off the E-lists over the past few years. That’s more than a third of the starting QB’s in the NFL. You’re Elite one year, and a bum the next.  Check out QB Phillip Rivers in San Diego. The gents who have graced E- Lists, off and on, for the last several years are: Romo, Rogers, Roethlisberger, P. Manning, Brady, Brees, Luck, Palmer, Rivers, E. Manning, Flacco, and Kapernik.  Of course Brady and Manning have been mainstays; and Rogers and Brees close to that.

This list reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average. In the NFL, almost 40% of the QB’s are Elite, at least for awhile.

So, why doesn’t Russell Wilson get on more E-Lists or on the Pro Bowl roster, or reside in a higher tier in the Nate Silver 538 rankings?  A stab at some reasons:

The standard QB stats used by the E-listmakers — passing attempts, completions, yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns and interceptions — are all greatly influenced (tainted?) by the quality of the QB’s offensive line and receiving corp,  and whether the team has a running back that can overcome an ordinary offensive line. All of that is elementary, and often mentioned; but is never translated into a metric that affects the QB rating. At least I haven’t been able to find an E-List that does that.

Team defense is also a major influence on QB performance, again, sometimes mentioned, but not embedded in any QB measure.  If a QB’s team has a great defense, he’s not playing catch up all the time, trying to score as fast as possible. Playing on a team with ordinary or poor defense can make for gaudy and garish QB stats, which the E-listmakers then use for the E-Lists.

There are no accessible metrics in football, comparable to baseball’s Sabermertics, which get to the bottom of things. (See Bill James and Money Ball).  A main purpose of Bill James’ Stats was to create measures that isolate a baseball player’s production, apart from the influence of the teammates surrounding him. Babe Ruth hitting in the middle of the 1962 Mets line-up would not have had a 170 RBIs. The commonly used QB stats don’t even bother to control for a player’s environment.

The Seahawks offensive line has been at best ordinary for RW’s entire three year career. The same goes for the Hawks receiving corp, which was only a notch above ordinary before Golden Tate left and tight end Zach Miller missed the entire 2014 season with a serious ankle injury. Percy Harvin was going to be the new,  big impact, home run ball receiver RW has never had, but that venture crashed and burned after a few games.

Pete Carroll’s Seahawks are obviously built around defense. Even if the Hawks had a consistently great offensive line and an elite set of receivers, Carroll wouldn’t want, and doesn’t need, RW to be throwing the ball 30 or 40+ times a game.  An equally important reason for that is the presence of Marshawn Lynch, one of the two or three top running backs in the game, if not the best. With a lead, or even a one or two possession deficit early in a game, why throw on every down when Lynch might bust one for 40 yards at any time, or regularly carry five defenders down the field for ten yards?

All of this means, RW can’t possibly post the garish yardage and touch down numbers that guys on the current E lists have compiled. Hey, in today’s NFL game, with the rules favoring passers and receivers, even Jake Cutler puts up almost 4,000 yards and 30 TDs.  (Poor Jake probably does have a Rodney Dangerfield problem).

Not even the Total Quarterback Rating (QBR), which is an arbitrary composite of the ordinary passing stats, controls for a QB’s environment.  QBR is a “per passing attempt” stat, which helps RW’s cause, but it curiously ignores a QB’s rushing stats. RW ran for 849 yards this year, amazingly 16th best among ALL runners.  Many of those yards came from intentional runs, option plays, and RW extending a play, then deciding to run rather than throw into coverage.  The 849 yards are not mostly from helter-skelter plays. Many of them resulted in critical first downs.

BTW, all of this might help explain why in the world Tim Tebow could have received two Heisman trophies before anyone figured out he couldn’t throw a football, which may also turn out to be Johnny Manziel’s story. They are part of a long line of Heisman winning quarterbacks who flopped in the NFL. Aren’t the guardians of the Heisman embarrassed about that?  Why has this happened?  Not because, “the college game is different from the pro game” excuse, but because the Heisman intelligentsia have no idea how good a QB really is apart from his team.

If it’s not being done already, stats like hurries, sacks, and hits, which can help measure the quality of a QB’s offensive line; or, for receivers, stats on dropped balls, broken routes, and spacing between them and defenders, would shed much light on the performance of QBs. You can make these into composite measures and adjust QBRs, just like Bill James did for baseball forty years ago.  Or why not  track “quality catches” (or lack thereof), just like the NBA tabulates quality rebounds, and use the information to evaluate a receiving corp, and then adjust the QB rating?

The core data isn’t available to starving bloggers, but I bet “538” and other big players in Sports Analytics can do all of these things. They may have already, but, if so, it’s not in the mainstream.

I am sure RW cares about all this much less than I or his adoring fans do. But over this football weekend and with a third day to remember Martin Luther King, writing about bread and circuses beats watching cable news. Here are some popular, sortable QB passing stats from ESPN to pass the time as the long weekend draws to a close.

“Why Turn Health Care System Topsy Turvy and Raise Costs for All, Just to Help 15% of the People?”

critterThe question in the blog post title is now being asked even by Obamacare/ACA supporters, including some Democrats, like the erstwhile Senator Charles Schumer, from New York, who thinks health care reform distracted his party from taking care of the middle class.

But, the premises of the question are all wrong.

In the same vein, Republican Mike Huckabee was even more to the point than Schumer about the “irrelevance of health care reform” to average Americans. Here is what Huckabee, soon to be a presidential candidate, had to say in an interview:

Q: What about ObamaCare? Is reaching those 30 million uninsured people a priority?

HUCKABEE: It ought to be a priority. But the priority should have been to deal with the 15% of people who didn’t have insurance rather than disrupt the system for the 85% who did and who were largely satisfied with insurance…..

It still matters what the facts are, even if that’s become a quaint concept.  Let’s start with the “15% uninsured” fact-let that’s implanted in Huckabee’s and everyone else’s brain. It’s very misleading. It persists because the true picture is harder to explain.

The “15% percent uninsured”  figure is a snapshot, taken at a point in time.  Over a materially longer period – more than six months, to one, two, or ten years – anywhere from 25% to 50% of Americans experience a significant spell without individual or family coverage.  That’s very large.  It’s a lot more than just “the poor.”

An even higher number of people are in perpetual fear of losing health care coverage, which keeps them in dead end jobs and contributes to  the “dead wood” we complain about in the next cubicle.    None of that may be disturbing to Huckabee or Schumer, who probably have never had to think about going without health insurance for their families, even for a few months; and haven’t worked in a cubicle for decades.

The much better count of how many people have lacked health insurance in the U.S. is documented here and here, by the non partisan Congressional Budget Office and by career analysts at the U.S. Treasury Department.

What about Mr. Huckabee’s point that Obamacare turns the health care system upside down?   Many would say, “If only it were so.”  The ACA went way out of its way to preserve the main pillars of the old health care system – private insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other private providers in a $3 trillion dollar system,  which leads the world in cost per client, but with worse health outcomes.  Whether you like it or not, ACA falls well short of turning the health care system upside down.

As for recent U.S. health care costs, the ACA munificently provides an alibi for anyone who raises insurance premium or shifts higher costs onto workers. Insurance companies, hospitals, and employers have been doing that for decades at rates that far outstrip general inflation and growth in worker wages or middle class income.

So, yes, health care costs have been rising, but since the ACA passed, health care inflation has actually slowed down. That is more likely due to the great recession than to ACA; but it’s a lie that health care costs have soared since the passage of ACA.

Let’s close the loop regarding Schumer’s Monday morning quarter-backing about the ACA and the middle class,  Soaring premium costs over decades have been a big factor in wage stagnation and middle class economic woes.  It’s elementary that the more a business pays for worker health insurance, especially when premium costs outpace profits, the less it can pay in wages. At the time Democrats were in control of Congress in 2010, “health insurance for all,” at affordable prices, was the single most effective and practical way of helping American workers and the middle class.

Perhaps Senator Schumer thinks Congress could have more easily attacked the other causes of middle class doldrums?  It would have been a snap to: (1) reverse NAFTA (and maybe block TPTA negotiations, while they were at it); (2) overturn “right to work” laws in about 25 states, (3) restore marginal tax rates to 90% for high income earners; and (4) put the brakes on technological advances which replace workers and lower their value. Maybe they could have done that in six days and rested on the seventh?

I will give Schumer this: The President and supporters of ACA did a horrible job explaining what they were trying to do; while conservatives have been spectacularly effective persuading a lot of middle Americans and small business folks that ACA is the bane of their existence.

Corrected Link to More Info on Dynamic Scoring

Wonder Where the Numbers Come From?

Wonder Where the Numbers Come From?

In a recent, brief blog post about Dynamic Scoring and “Voo Doo Economics,  I included a defective link to a prior article on the subject, with more detailed information. Thank  you to several readers who found the error. 

If you want to read the prior article, please continue.

 

Continue reading

If You’re Worried About “Dynamic Scoring,” Ditch the “Voo-Doo Economics” Argument

dbl pk sun set455a copyFor those of us who think Dynamic Scoring (DS) is a really irresponsible, fiscally dangerous way for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to estimate the impact of changes to the tax code, ditch the politically charged “Voo-Doo Economics” (VDE) argument.

Bi- and Non-Partisan, deep skepticism about DS was around long before “Voo-Doo Economics” became a charming epitaph used by liberals to attack conservative economics. Ditch that language. It’s not strictly applicable to DS and will shut down debate even before it starts.

Some recent coverage of the effort by Paul Ryan and House Congressional Republicans to enshrine the practice of DS,  is not especially helpful.  It slips into partisan sounding insult mode, though that may not be the Washington Post’s intent.

DS and VDE are (somewhat) related. Both presume that cutting taxes results in people and businesses spending more, creating more economic activity,  which, in turn, produces more (new) revenue.  There is of course some truth to that.  But with lots of caveats, cautions, and qualifications.

The difference between DS and VDE is that VDE refers to a world view, an all encompassing philosophy about macro economics, sometimes called “Supply Side Economics” or referenced (less kindly) as “Trickle Down.” It’s a mine field for partisan rancor. DS is a kissin’ cousin of VDE, SSE and TD, but its not a grand theory of how economies work.  Why get into an argument where one side is pushed into a corner to defend Ronald Regan and Jack Kemp?

On the other hand, DS just says: “When you ‘score’ a bill that proposes to change the tax code, (please) take into consideration that it will possibly stimulate the economy and produce some new revenue, so that the cost of the proposed policy is somewhat less than measured by the ‘static’ approach.”  The static approach says if you cut the capital gains tax by 10 percent it will result in 10% less capital gains revenue.  Static scoring admonishes the frisky economist to KISS, i.e., “keep it simple, stupid!?”

DS is fiscally dangerous, because it creates the most slippery of slopes and vast opportunities for abuse that can lead easily to bad forecasting, then large revenue shortfalls, budget deficits, program cuts, or even tax increases (to plug the holes).  See Kansas and Pennsylvania. That’s why the CBO and nearly all states stayed away from DS for so long.

Slick marketers, some with real PhDs in economics, working for leading econometrics and finance software giants (like the REMI modelers), started convincing some analysts and politicians a few years ago that econometric models which perform DS have improved greatly.  Yes, they’ve progressed some.  But I would no more bet the U.S. or state budgets on them, any more than I would the family farm (in Brooklyn).

If adopted, DS will inevitably be used as a (Letterman) “stupid pet trick”  that allows (tempts) politicians to say that tax cuts (or spending increases) magically pay for themselves.  Yes, the DS manuever is available to both the tax cutters and spenders.   We have enough stupid pet tricks.

If its not yet clear, the intended take away from this note is: If you want to persuade your legislator or governor to stay away from dynamic scoring, there is no need to challenge implacable,  ideological world views of the economy.  Just stick to basic fiscal prudence.

This post, alas,  lacks some nuance and documentation. An earlier post on this blog was better in that regard. Here it is.

NYC Police Union Activism Aggravates Race Divisions; Thwarts Needed Revival of Unions in Private Economy

The behavior of New York City (NYC) Police Union leader, Patrick Lynch, and some of his union members in the wake of recent citizen and police officer deaths is regrettable and deeply disappointing.   Lynch obviously enjoys playing the tough guy, loud mouth, “don’t give an inch,” NYC public sector union boss, right from central casting.  But he wasted a big teachable moment after the Garner choke-hold deaths and ensuing cold blooded murders of two Brooklyn police officers.

Lynch’s inflammatory statements will go down in history as some of the most reckless and foolish behavior by a NYC public sector union chief. This, in a city that has had entirely too much municipal labor union melodrama and strife for decades.  How sad!

The tragedies in New York, the Union response,  and what it implies for race relations has been amply covered; but what all that means for the Democrats’ fragile coalition and the role of labor unions in advancing “progressive” ideas,  has not even been buried on page seven.

Lynch’s and his Union’s behavior is lamentable, not only for its lawlessness (not enforcing laws on the books as a protest) and  aggravation of racial conflict, but equally in its disregard for a core democratic principle, which says civilians in America, not police captains and generals, have ultimate control of armed services of all varieties (from U.S. Army on down). Civilian control has been a key plank of American exceptionalism, one that both liberals and conservatives have normally praised and respected as a core founding principle of the country.

Lynch, with body language and facial expressions to match, lashed out at NYC Mayor DeBlasio – his civilian boss — saying the Mayor “has blood on his hands” for the cold blooded murder of two police officers by a deranged gunman,  while the two public servants sat quietly in their patrol vehicle at the corner of Tompkins and Myrtle Avenues in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Department store clerks are routinely fired for ill considered remarks on facebook about their employers. But I suppose its OK to call your boss a murderer, and for police, during a solemn ceremony, to diss and turn their backs on the City’s top elected official. I guess belonging to a Police Union, or any public sector union, makes one immune from discipline.

The senseless murders of two police officers followed the (highly avoidable and equally senseless) death of citizen Eric Garner in a confrontation with police over the (under-taxed) sale of cigarettes on a street corner in Staten Island. None of these killings of course made any sense whatsoever. None are even remotely justifiable.    I mean, someone was killed here for something that started out as aiding and abetting tax evasion?   That’s what accountants do for a living,

Commentators, across the board, from Sharpton and Maddow at one end, to Krauthammer (“grand jury’s failure to indict was totally incomprehensible”) and Glen Beck (“how this cop didn’t go to jail is beyond me”), at the other – were appalled by the Garner killing.

Did Lynch ever apologize or admit there was something deeply wrong and disturbing about Garner’s death?  Or ask how such outcomes might be avoided in the future?  Of course not. Don’t tell me his only job is to “defend his members,  right or wrong,” not to be a social worker, or healer or, g-d forbid, an enlightened public sector union leader.

The militant and divisive actions of public sector unions, like the Police in New York, and Teachers in Los Angeles (and Teachers in NYC for decades), have created fissures and cross cutting pressures among Democrats that is making it a lot harder for them to unite around paramount issues, like worker wage stagnation and income inequality. The private economy desperately needs effective worker representation. For that to happen, Unions need to repair their image; learn to communicate less toxically with management and the public. Lynch’s rhetoric, or even the more refined Randi Weingarten feminine version, poison the atmosphere for a revival of effective labor unions,  with broad public support.

What really was the NYC Mayor’s sin that caused Lynch to lose it?  DiBlasio tried walking a fine line between keeping a lid on community rage and supporting his police department in the wake of the Eric Garner police choke-hold death. Apparently there was a small group of protesters who said some vile things about police, which Lynch says DeBlasio (in effect) condoned by his silence. I don’t know whether or not the Mayor denounced those protestors; but I didn’t hear about the offensive language till Lynch went out of his way to point it out. It was a very small part of a very large protest.

I do know that NYC has so far thankfully averted a civil meltdown, like ones that followed the Martin Luther King assassination and other racially incendiary situations. The police union leader has taken us back to the 1960s when the same PBA demolished another new NYC mayor, John Lindsay, trying to keep peace in his city after some questionable police behavior. Lindsay’s crime?  He proposed a civilian police review board to adjudicate complaints against police officers. Gasp!

Linsday’s career was ruined by the confrontation; the same will likely happen to DeBlasio. Lynch will be overwhelmingly re-elected as head of the PBA and likely advance to a national position of union leadership. And we’ll be back here again in another fifty years, or sooner, doing the same pathetic dance.  So, DeBlasio has blood on his hands for the murders of those two fine officers, but nobody even mentions Wayne LaPierre.