EconView 09/11: Never forget to Vote

Classy Voting

Classy Voting

As a New Yorker, I paid attention to the results of the mayoral primaries showing public advocate Bill DeBlasio representing Democrats and MTA-head Joe Lhota representing the Republicans in the Nov. 5 election. I, like a lot of residents of New York, cannot vote but I strongly believe in the process.  That’s why I was a little annoyed at piece written by a current student of my alma mater (well, kind of) who wrote that she would “turn [her] attention away ” from the election because “modern American politics has become an absolute bore”.

I wrote a slightly overkill response:

Dear Ms. Lerner,

I appreciate you writing an article about your thoughts on New York and American politics but I have to heartily disagree with your thesis that “modern American politics has become an absolute bore” even at the mayoral level.

Never mind the fact that the president has asked Congress, something that hasn’t been done since WWII, to vote on entering another conflict in the Middle East. Syria was also a sticking point for the past presidential election which, as you suggested, was overshadowed my Donald Trump by some voters. But, let’s focus this on NYC.

You wrote about how there should be more efficient subways and a MetroCard discount, great ideas. The Republican primary winner, Joe Lhota, used to be the head of the MTA and has given controversial pay raises to MTA employees resulting in 8,000 employees of the MTA earning more than 6 figures. Mr. Lhota’s past experience certainly be a factor for his candidacy. But you declared yourself a Democrat so let’s talk about the Democrats especially since New York’s Democrats outnumber Republicans 6:1.

The major sticking point of the Democratic primary debates was the policy of stop-and-frisk which, according to Mayor Bloomberg, has made the city safer but may not be unconstitutional. Mr. DeBlasio, seemingly the Democratic candidate, calls to stop the policy but that’s very different than what Mr. Weiner or Ms. Quinn, who were both front runners of the Race before Mr. DeBlasio rose to the lead one month ago, believe. You also called for investing in underprivileged students and infrastructure but should New York tax its citizens more or allocate resources from other departments? Each candidate, Democrat or not, has widely different views and policies.

I share your frustration with the tabloidization of politics but there definitely is meaningful discussion to be had after listening and analyzing what each candidate has to say. Being the mayor of the biggest city in America has consequences for each student of Columbia and citizen of New York City. Instead of, turning away from the discussion, I really encourage you to go out and be informed about the differences in policy and rhetoric between the now two candidates for the office.

I do live in the city but don’t have the privilege of voting for its mayor so I really hope voters like yourself are making the best possible decision for the future of New York.


Paul Hsiao

Takeaway: Elections have consequences. Know why.


Never Forget.


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