THE IMPACT OF POLITICAL IDEOLOGY ON
SOCIOECONOMIC AND BUDGETARY DYNAMICS
STEVEN G. KOVEN
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Steven G. Koven
Many people have contributed to my intellectual development as a
political scientist, and a debt of gratitude is owed each of them.
The person who looms largest in my intellectual maturation is the
chairman of my supervisory committee, Dr. Bert E. Swanson. He provided
the patience, guidance, and encouragement necessary for the completion
of this research. He also allowed me to draw upon his years of accumu-
lated expertise in the area of urban politics. Other members of my
supervisory committee, Dr. William A. Kelso, Dr. Alfred B. Clubok,
Dr. James W. Button, and Dr. John M. Nickens, also contributed to this
research. Special appreciation is given to Dr. John M. Nickens for his
assistance in answering questions dealing with statistical techniques.
I would also like to thank Dr. William A. Kelso for his honesty and in-
sight into bureaucratic procedures.
Dr. Manning J. Dauer and Dr. Richard Scher have helped in the
development of my research and teaching capabilities. I would like to
thank both of them for their kindness and consideration.
I also wish to thank my parents for instilling the values that
made completion of this task possible. My wife, Andrea, deserves
special commendation for her understanding and encouragement through-
out my doctoral studies.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . .
LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . .
LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . .
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . .
The Setting . . . . . . . . . . .
Influence on Local Policy Making . . . . .
Influence of Ideology at the Local Level . . .
Philosophical Differences Between Ideologies . .
Ideological Transition . . . . . . . .
Empirical Differences Between Ideologies . . .
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 CONSERVATIVE PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . . . . . . .
Major Themes of Conservative Political Ideology . .
The New Right . . . . . . . . . .
Influence of Conservative Values on Local Government
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . .
3 LIBERAL PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . . . . . . .
Liberal Thinkers . . . . . . . . .
Social Welfare Legislation . . . . . . .
Radical Perspectives . . . . . . . .
Neoliberal Positions . . . . . . . .
Implications of Ideology to Local Government . .
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . .
4 NEXUS BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND SOCIOECONOMIC VARIABLES . .
Introduction . . . . . . . .
Development of Concept of Ideology . . . . .
Dialectical View of Ideology . . .........
Empirically Characterizing Cities by Ideology . .
Ideological Versus Regional Salience . . . . .
Bond Ratings, 1981 . . . . . . . . .
Changes in Bond Ratings Over Time . . . . .
Socioeconomic Indicators . . . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . .
5 NEXUS BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND BUDGET VARIABLES . . . .
Introduction . . . . . . . .
Problems of Comparability . . . . .
Decision Rules . . . . . . .
General Expenditures . . . . .
Revenues . . . . . . . .
Comparison of per Capitized Budget Variables
Comparison of Changes in Budget Variables by
(20 Years) . . . . . . .
Municipal Budgeting Strategies . . . .
Growth of Budget Variables . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . .
6 CASE STUDY OF NEW YORK CITY . . . . . . . .
History of Social Consciousness in
Budget Trends in New York City .
Causes of Fiscal Crisis . . .
Implications of Crisis . . .
Summary . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . .
7 CASE STUDY OF DALLAS . . . . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . . .
Image of the City . . . .
Economic Growth . . . . .
Budget Trends . . . . .
Relative Importance of Budget Varia
Index of Relative Success . .
General Comparison of Both Cities
Tax Revolt Issue . . . .
Summary . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . .
8 CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . .
Basic Concerns of Study . . . . . . . .
Findings of Research . . . . . . . . .
Underlying Themes . . . . . . .
Dynamic vs. Static View of Budgeting . .
Ideological Influence on Budgeting .. ...
Decline of Saliency of Liberal Ideology .
Restatement of the Problem . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . .
A AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION SCORES, BY
CITIES . . . . . . . . .
B CHI-SQUARE VALUES . . . . . .
C PERFORMANCE OF SOCIOECONOMIC VARIABLES .
D STANDARD ERROR OF DIFFERENCE . . . .
E NUMBERSOF SERVICES ASSUMED BY CITIES . .
F PER CAPITAL REVENUES, FY1978-79 . . .
G PER CAPITAL EXPENDITURES, FY1978-79 .
H REVENUE GROWTH 1959-79 . . . . .
I EXPENDITURE GROWTH, 1959-79 . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . .
LIST OF TABLES
1-1. Ideological Differences Between Conservative and Liberal
Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2-1. New Right Candidates Supported . . . . . .... .33
4-1. Ideological Ranking of Cities by ADA Scores . . ... 74
4-2. Municipal Bond Ratings, 1961 and 1981 . . . .... .78
4-3. Bond Ratings, 1981: Speculative and Upper Grade .... 79
4.4. Changes in Bond Ratings: 1961-81 . . . . . . 79
4-5. Differences in Socioeconomic Variables Between Liberal and
Conservative Cities . . . . . . . .... .82
4-6. Differences in Socioeconomic Variables Between Liberal and
Conservative Cities (New Orleans and San Jose Omitted) 84
4-7. Differences in Growth of Socioeconomic Variables Between
Liberal and Conservative Cities, 1950-70 . . . ... 86
4-8. Differences in Growth of Socioeconomic Variables Between
Liberal and Conservative Cities, 1950-70 (New Orleans
and San Jose Omitted) . . . . . . . .... .87
5-1. Per Capita Revenues in Liberal and Conservative Cities,
FY1978-79 . . . . . . . . ... . .. .99
5-2. Per Capita Expenditures in Liberal and Conservative Cities,
FY1978-79 . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
5-3. Growth of per Capita Revenues in Liberal and Conservative
Cities, 1959 to FY1978-79 . . . . . . . . 104
5-4. Growth of per Capita Expenditures in Liberal and Conserva-
tive Cities, 1959 to FY1978-79 . . . . . . .. 109
5-5. Growth of per Capita Expenditures in Liberal and Conserva-
tive Cities, FY1977-78 to FY1978-79 . . . . .. 110
5-6. Absolute Growth of Budget Variables in All Cities, 1959 to
FY1978-79 . . . . . . . .... .. .. .. 113
5-7. Relative Growth of Budget Variables in All Cities, 1959
to FY1978-79 . . . . . . . ... . . 114
5-8. Growth of Spending in Dependent and Independent School
Districts . . . . . . . . ... . . . 117
5-9. Growth of Public Welfare Spending in Cities and Counties 119
6-1. Per Capita Expenditures, 1971 . . . . . .... 127
6-2. Changes in Expenditures in New York City from FY1975-76 to
FY1976-77 . . . . . . . . ... .... .. .143
6-3. Changes in Expenditures in New York City from FY1975-76 to
FY1978-79 . . . . . . . ... ... .144
6-4. Percent Change in Weight of Revenue Sources,.1959-79 . .145
6-5. Change in Weight of Expenditure Categories: New York City,
1959-79 . ..... .... ..... .... . . 146
6-6. Relative Success of Individual Governmental Agencies, 1959-
79 . . . ... .. . . . . . . .. .. .147
7-1. Estimated State and Local Tax Burden for a Family of Four,
1977 . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
7-2. Change in Weight of Revenue Sources: Dallas and New York
City, 1959-79 . . . . . . . . ... ... 183
7-3. Change in Weight of Expenditure Categories: Dallas and New
York City, 1959-79 . . . . . . . .... 185
7-4. Growth of per Capita Expenditures: Dallas and New York
City, 1959-79 . . . . . . . .... .. .. 187
7-5. Index of Relative Success: Dallas and New York City, 1959-
79 . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . .189
7-6. Growth in Budget Variables: New York City and Dallas,
1975 to 1978-79 . . . . . . . ... .. 194
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1. The Laffer Curve . . . . . . . . ... .. 26
6-1. New York City: Revenue Sources . . . . . .. 129
6-2. New York City: Total Taxes . . . . . .... .130
6-3. New York City: Intergovernmental Revenue . . ... 131
6-4. New York City: Property Taxes. . . . . . 132
6-5. New York City: Charges and Miscellaneous Revenue . 133
6-6. New York City: Expenditures. . . . . . . 135
6-7. New York City: Total Expenditures . . . . .... .136
6-8. New York City: Social Welfare Expenditures, Public Welfare,
Education, Health,and Hospital . . . . .... .137
6-9. New York City: Urban Service Expenditures (Police, Fire,
Sanitation) . . . . . . . . . . . 138
6-10. New York City: Amenity Expenditures (Library, Parks and
Recreation) . . . . . . . . . . . 139
6-11. New York City: Infrastructure Expenditures (Highway,
Sewage, Housing) . . . . . . . . . . 140
6-12. New York City: Overhead Expenditures (Financial Adminis--
tration, General Public Buildings, General Control) . 141
7-1. Dallas: Revenue Sources . . . . . . .. .171
7-2. Dallas: Intergovernmental Revenue . . . . .... .172
7-3. Dallas: Total Taxes . . . . . . . . . 173
7-4. Dallas: Property Taxes . . . . . . .... .174
7-5. Dallas: Charges and Miscellaneous Revenue . . ... 175
7-6. Dallas: Expenditures (Urban Services, Infrastructure,
Overhead) . . . . . . . . .. .. . . .177
7-7. Dallas: Total Expenditures . . . . . . .... .178
7-8. Dallas: Urban Service Expenditures (Police, Fire, Sanita-
tion) . . . . . . . .. .. .. . .179
7-9. Dallas: Infrastructure Expenditures (Highway, Sewage) . 180
7-10. Dallas: Amenity Expenditures (Library, Parks and Recrea-
tion) . . . . . . . . ... . . . .181
7-11. Dallas: Overhead Expenditures (Financial Administration,
General Public Buildings, General Control) . . ... 182
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE IMPACT OF POLITICAL IDEOLOGY ON
SOCIOECONOMIC AND BUDGETARY DYNAMICS
Steven G. Koven
Chairman: Bert E. Swanson
Major Department: Political Science
The salience of political ideology in determining public policy
has long been an issue discussed in the field of political science. In
the past, some authors have discounted the importance of political vari-
ables and extolled the virtues of economic variables as a determinant of
public policy. Other authors continued to support the importance of
political variables and discounted the relevance of economic variables.
This dissertation investigates the impact of political ideologies on
outputs and outcomes in large American cities.
Cities are excellent laboratories in which to study the impact of
phenomena. Impacts of political ideologies are compared between groups
of cities differentiated on the basis of political perspectives. It
was assumed that, if ideologies do in fact matter, differences between
these groups of cities would emerge. Distinctions in regard to socio-
economic variables and budget outputs were explored and found to exist.
In general, conservative cities were associated with more positive
trends in variables measuring economic development, population growth,
and ethnic composition. Conservative cities also differed in regard to
budget outputs in the areas of intergovernmental revenue, general revenue,
and general expenditures. These cities were less dependent upon inter-
governmental transfers and more likely to have a public sector of
The budgetary distinctions that were discovered between the differ-
ent ideological groups of cities appear to have been shrinking over the
past twenty years. A convergence of outputs was discovered in these
cities. A convergence of political philosophies was also noted in the
case studies of New York City and Dallas, with New York City adopting
conservative policies of economic stimulation and Dallas displaying a
willingness to accept present or higher levels of taxation.
The salience of political ideology is also evident on the national
level. Distinct shifts in priorities can be attributed to the change in
philosophies of our leadership and the need to implement policies which
reflect the change in ideology. An understanding of the policy implica-
tions of changes in ideologies is pursued in this dissertation. Sensi-
tivity to the implications of political ideology appears to be especially
While some cities beautify a few square blocks and some downtown
areas are experiencing real estate booms, the outlook for large American
cities is not promising. Projects such as the Renaissance Center in
Detroit, Harborplace in Baltimore, and Fanueil Hall Marketplace in Boston
have received a great deal of attention, and at a casual glance may
provide evidence to some that cities are on the way back to prosperity.
Careful analysis, however, reveals this is not the case. A more accurate
perception is offered by Anthony Downs, who termed such projects as
"islands of prosperity in a sea of decline."1
Many catchy phrases have been utilized to describe the plight
of cities. Norton Long termed cities reservations. Like an Indian
reservation, the poor, the unwanted, and the helpless live visited by
those who make a career out of helping.2 According to George Sternlieb,
cities have turned into sandboxes. Inner city residents are like
children who play in the sandbox while adults (government bureaucrats)
have complete control over the activities in the sandbox. They may
choose to provide carrots (benefits) in order to make the children happy
or the stick (repressive police measures) in order to control unruly
behavior.3 The consequences of reservations or sandboxes are in
Sternlieb's words both cruel and disagreeable.
Manuel Castells claims that urban problems are the result of funda-
mental structural contradictions inherent in the pattern of capitalist
accumulation in the United States. The results of these contradictions
is a breakdown in the social order which perils the management of the
urban system and leads to a fiscal crisis in central cities. This
breakdown in social order may have led to the rioting and looting
experienced in large cities during the sixties and seventies as well as
the flight of middle-class white residents to the suburbs and other
In many large American cities, income suppliers or taxpayers are
leaving while income recipients or welfare cases remain. Ira Katzelson
explains that this trend in large cities is the result of new urban
growth patterns. Katzelson further explains that the cause of this
trend is due, in part, to the exodus of industry with unskilled jobs.
This exodus is attributed to a number of factors: high taxes, high
wages, high crime, and high real estate values. Today, only headquarters
for large corporations remain in the center cities, industrial functions
having long ago relocated. Large cities will have to come to grips
with this basic problem if they hope to recover and rebuild.
Influences on Local Policy Making
A number of authors have looked into the determinants of public
policy: investigating the linkage between public policy and a wide array
of political and environmental variables. Thomas Dye explored the
association between environmental factors such as wealth, urbanization,
economic system, education levels, inequalities, class structure, racial
composition, and religious make-up, with political systems such as
governmental form, constitutional type, bureaucracy, party system, power
structure, patterns of participation, and level of conflict. Dye dis-
covered that economic variables such as urbanization, industrialization,
wealth, and education had a greater effect on policy than political
variables such as degree of interparty competition, level of voter turn-
out, extent of malapportionment, and Democrat or Republican control of
state government. Hofferbert concurred with Dye's findings that
environmental or economic variables have an influence on public policy
independent of political variables such as malapportionment and party
Other authors focused upon political structure as a determinant
factor in public policy. Lineberry and Fowler maintained that unreformed
structures maximized a political system's responsiveness to groups
and interests in the population. Reformed governments such as the manager
or commission form of government were discovered to insulate decision
makers from potential conflicts and give professional managers more
This study will focus upon political ideology as a determinant of
public policy. Political ideology in this sense refers to perceptions,
goals, and ideals which are deeply held. It refers to a particular
frame of reference in regard to political views. This broad frame of
reference will be dichotomized into two groups (liberal and conserva-
tive) and empirically tested for differences in outputs (budget alloca-
tions) and outcomes (socioeconomic variables).
It is contended in this dissertation that while some political
variables may have negligible effects on determining public policy,
political ideology in the broad cultural sense does, in fact, affect
public policy. While political ideology has not received a great deal
of attention as an explanation of local public policy, some authors have
focused upon its policy effects. Paul Peterson and J. David Greenstone
maintain that the most familiar model to explain public policy at any
level is the "electoral organizational interest" model which views
policy as the product of exchange and compromise between interest groups
and politicians. The authors found, however, that this model did not
always explain behavior. When ideologies were perceived to be relevant
in community-action controversies, they took precedence over electoral
interests.0 Agger, Goldrich, and Swanson also stated that policy may
be influenced by political ideology. This is the case especially when
the policy-making processes become highly conflictual:
The maintenance of political hostility . would seem to contra-
dict the pluralist conception of American community politics as
being marked by consensual compromises on the part of hetero-
geneous political interest groups. Such hostility resulted,
for the most part, from aversion to one another's political
ideologies, and most decisional outcomes were a function of vic-
tories and defeats, not of compromises.11
If, as Agger, Goldrich, and Swanson maintain, policy is sometimes a
function of political ideology, then it is important to explore the policy
implications of ideology. This study will investigate the budgetary
distinctions attributed to ideology. It is hypothesized that budget
levels and budget priorities will differ on the basis of ideology. Each
locality must tax and provide services to its residents. Whether
differences in local budgetary policies can be linked to political ideol-
ogy is an important question.
Influence of Ideology at the Local Level
It is assumed that two philosophical perspectives dominate
politics in America today: liberalism and conservatism. It is believed
that each of these political philosophies ascribes to distinct sets of
values and that these values will be transformed into differing public
policies. The influence of political ideology on budgetary policy and
the performance of certain socioeconomic variables will be determined
through empirical analysis. It is assumed that liberals and conserva-
tives will differ in terms of the type and magnitude of taxes advocated.
Differences that we would expect to exist between liberal and conserva-
tive perspective are summarized in Table 1-1. Table 1-1 also describes
value differences between liberal and conservative philosophies. A major
distinction which emerges in Table 1-1 is the difference in the desired
role of government from each perspective. A desire for an expansive
government is held by liberals and a desire for a restrictive government
is held by conservatives. In terms of budgetary policy, one assumes that
liberal philosophies will be more receptive to high rates of taxation and
spending than conservative philosophies.
Philosophical Differences Between Ideologies
A review of political philosophies will help to explain policy
differences between cities. For example, it is clear from a review of
the normative literature that conservative cities are more likely to
depend upon the free marketplace and less likely to use government activ-
ism as a means of maximizing benefits and social control. The "indi-
visible hand" of Adam Smith is invoked in order to assure us that the
majority will benefit from the actions of free individuals. Individual
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freedom and efficiency will be optimized by policies responding to these
Conservative philosophies, particularly supply-side economic
philosophies, incorporate the hope to stimulate economic activity by pro-
viding incentives. It is argued that people will work and produce more if
they are guaranteed a larger proportion of their earnings, or, in other
words, if taxes are reduced. The government would in turn receive greater
amounts of revenue since the size of the pie would be increased. In this
scenario, low tax rates would prevent money from flowing to nonproductive
tax shelters, such as art and race horses; money would instead flow to
profitable job-producing activities.
Conservative philosophies are associated with a constricted, limited
public sector. It is believed that government activity should be
limited to caretaker activities such as police and fire protection.
Other activities such as the provision of housing are better left to
the private sector. Regulations are viewed as illegitimate intrusions
into the private sector and restrictions on individual freedom. Values
such as individualism, freedom, and competition are extolled in this
Conservative values are criticized by those who claim that it
justifies a cruel and unjust system of production. Frederick Engels
described the consequences of conservative philosophies in nineteenth-
century England. Engels stated that the City of Manchester reflected the
The brutal indifference, the unfeeling isolation of each in his
private interest becomes the more repellent and offensive the
more these individuals are crowded together within limited
space. . .The dissolution of making into monods, of which
each one has a separate principle, the world of atoms, is here
carried out of its utmost extreme. . Hence it comes too
that the social war, the war of each against all, is that the
stronger treads the weaker under foot and that the powerful few,
the capitalists, seize everything for themselves while the weak
many, the poor, scarcely a base existence remains.12
Engels presents the basic point of view that individualism left unchecked
by the larger community will create the type of situation where the few
control the many. The electoral process, however, has had the effect of
forcing conservative polities to be more responsive to the plight of the
many who were being crushed by working conditions in an industrial
society. At the turn of the century, Great Britain's social legislation
blunted some of the disruptive forces of industrial development. Legis-
lation such as unemployment insurance and old age benefits assuaged the
ravages of nineteenth-century capitalism. Much of this legislation
originally enacted in Britain was implemented by the United States
Congress at a later date.
The welfare state represents government efforts to reduce the hard-
ship of citizens in need. The cycle of boom and bust in capitalist
society described by Marx and Kondratief was not eliminated by the welfare
state, but the suffering which resulted from the cycle was reduced.
This dissertation focuses upon the linkage between political
ideology and changes in both budgetary behavior and socioeconomic
variables. Some authors claim that over the past years political philos-
ophies of the majority of Americans have moved to the right. In order to
understand the reasons behind changes in political philosophy, some of
the criticisms of liberal philosophies are explored. Conservative writers
such as George Gilder and Milton Friedman claim that the welfare state
and the liberal philosophies that provide the foundation for it inhibit
creativity, innovation, and incentive.13 The public sector is said to
be deadening because of high taxes which inhibit innovation and risk.
Gilder claims that through welfare policies, which reduce incentive
to work, the government is unintentionally creating a permanent under-
class. Friedman argues that waste and inefficiency run rampant in
government programs. Examples of government programs intended to assist
cities may even have caused more harm than good. Jane Jacobs maintained
that urban renewal hastened the decline of inner cities by destroying the
integrity of those cities.14
Robert Cassidy explained how federal housing policy accelerated
the decline of neighborhoods. Cassidy described in detail how the
Section 235 program of federally guaranteed loans resulted in high
numbers of foreclosures and housing abandonment. Shady mortgage bankers
found it more profitable to lend to marginal clients who had a high like-
lihood of defaulting. In the event of default, the federal government
paid off the loans, creating tremendous profits for lenders. Cassidy
documented that, between April 1972 and March 1977, the foreclosure rate
for FHA insured mortgages was 4.56 percent, a phenomenally high rate. A
foreclosure rate higher than 1 percent is normally considered unthinkable
in the lending business.5 A high percentage of foreclosures could have
been predicted because of the profit a mortgage company secured when a
default occurred. Cassidy claimed that the mortgage bankers would set
up field offices in racially changing neighborhoods. They would often
falsify information about family income and credit ratings. In addition,
once a family was evicted,there was no incentive to keep the house in
good condition. Mortgage bankers would then often only do cosmetic work
and bill HUD for more extensive repairs. Profits of over 30 percent
received by mortgage investors were not uncommon when the federal govern-
ment was forced to make good on guaranteed loans after recipients
The mortgage investor ripoff is but one example of federal funds
being diverted away from the poor by clever businessmen. Certainly there
are administrative costs which accompany any program; yet the amount of
money siphoned off from social welfare programs appears excessive. M.
Stanton Evans observed that if the government had taken the increase in
government expenditures for social programs and allocated it to the 23
million people who were poor, a family of four would have received
Federal health policy enhanced the incomes of many highly paid
doctors as well as the incomes of an army of administrators. Federal
price support programs enhanced the incomes of wealthy persons in agri-
business. Federal tariff policy enhanced the incomes of industrialists
in declining industries. Robert Eisner of Northwestern University
described some of the consequences of federal price support programs.
These programs often limit competition, provide benefits to those who
do not need them, and raise the price to the consumer. Among the pro-
grams are the following:
price supports for milk as dairy prices skyrocket; trigger prices
to protect our steel industry from foreign competition as profits
of our steel industry soar; licensing agreements and route
restrictions that dramatically curtail competition in the trucking
industry, laying the ground for repeated increases in prices
and wages while trucks suffer from idle capacity and small truck-
ing firms go out of business; sugar quotas and price supports to
maintain and raise sugar prices; acreage restrictions that reduce
agricultural supply; import quotas, tarifs, and orderly marketing
agreements that limit the import of cheaper and frequently better
foreign automobiles, television sets, and textiles; and federal,
state, and local restrictions in countless occupations and
industries that reduce competition and raise prices.17
From Eisner's analysis we discover that the public sector does not function
only to benefit the weak and downtrodden. Agribusiness, protected
industry, and providers of medical services all gain substantially from
Abuses of the liberal state have resulted in somewhat of a backlash
in many large cities. Tax and spending policies of liberal governments
may have a negative impact on the health of cities. Businesses may seek
to avoid paying high rates of taxes by moving from the liberal cities
with expansive governments to conservative cities with more limited
governments. The flight of business may lead to other phenomena which
are associated with decline, such as negative population growth and
increases in elderly and minority populations. Therefore, political
ideology has an effect on the well-being of cities.
In order to demonstrate the salience of ideology, distinctions
between liberal and conservative cities will be empirically delineated
by comparing budget outputs and changes in socioeconomic variables. The
following section outlines the methodology employed in exploring these
Empirical Differences Between Ideologies
Differences between liberal and conservative cities will be
empirically identified. Cities will be typologized as liberal or
conservative on the basis of scores assigned from the liberal organiza-
tion, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). The following assumptions
have been made in typologizing cities:
1. Congressmen and congresswomen of a particular municipality
are representative of the political ideology of that
2. Americans for Democratic Action can accurately identify the
ideological postures of legislators.
Implicit in assumption two is the understanding that Americans for Demo-
cratic Action explores key votes that reflect ideological positions.
Other indexes have been devised which rank congressmen and women on an
ideological dimension. These indexes correlate highly with the ADA
Once ADA scores for a municipality have been computed, the scores
will be arrayed. A cutoff point will be determined. Cities with high
ADA scores will be classified as liberal, while cities with low ADA
scores will be classified as conservative. These two groups will then be
empirically compared. Socioeconomic variables and budget variables will
be the focus of comparison between both ideological groups. The following
socioeconomic variables will be explored.
1. Bond ratings
2. Changes in bond ratings
3. Change in size
4. Ethnic composition
5. Age of residents
6. Changes in ethnic population, changes in age of residents,
changes in median income
7. Changes in total employment, changes in value added by manu-
facturing, changes in retail sales.
Analysis of these variables provides an indication of the economic condi-
tion of cities. Demographic changes also provide an indication of
desirability of cities to our mobile population. The socioeconomic
health of cities will be estimated from investigation of the variables
Differences in budgetary behavior between both groups of cities
will also be explored using the following variables:
1. Per capital revenue (fiscal year 1978-79)
2. Per capital expenditures (fiscal year 1978-79)
3. Changes in per capital revenues between fiscal year 1959
4. Changes in per capital expenditures between fiscal year 1959
5. Budgeting "strategy" of cities.
This investigation will determine whether differences exist between the
two groups of cities: liberal and conservative.
A fundamental concern of this study is the role of political
ideology on public policy. This dissertation will empirically explore
policy differences between municipalities that differ on the basis of
political ideology. It is believed that specific differences between
both ideological groups will be found. Identification of these policy
differences may prove to be a useful tool in predicting future policies
and explaining present policy.
The United States appears to be in a period of ideological transi-
tion. Dormant conservative philosophies have revived and are again being
discussed. Liberal political philosophies which provided the foundation
for the New Deal are being questioned. New agendas are being set and
established policies questioned. An understanding of the effect of
ideology on policy is especially important in this political climate. It
is the aim of this dissertation to assist in providing a greater under-
standing of policy through a perspective of political ideology. This
perceptive is particularly salient in view of the period of ideological
transition and debate that we are undergoing today.
Anthony Downs, "Urban Policy," in Joseph A. Pechman, ed., Setting
National Priorities: The 1979 Budget (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings
Institute, 1978), p. 168.
Norton Long, "The City as Reservation," The Public Interest, 25
(Fall 1971), p. 22.
George Sternlieb, "The City a Sandbox," The Public Interest, 25
(Fall 1971), p. 17.
Manuel Castells, The Economic Crisis and American Society
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), p. 200.
Ira Katzelson, "The Crisis of the Capitalist City Urban Politics
and Social Control," in William Hawley, ed., Theoretical Perspective on
Urban Politics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976),
6Thomas R. Dye, Politics, Economics, and the Public (Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1966).
7Richard Hofferbert, "The Relation between Public Policy and Some
Structural and Environmental Variables in the American States," American
Political Science Review, 60 (March 1966), pp. 73-82.
Robert Lineberry and Ira Sharkansky, Urban Politics and Public
Policy (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), p. 164.
Paul E. Peterson and J. David Greenstone, "Two Competing Models
of the Policy Making Process: The Community Action Controversy as an
Empirical Test," in Willis D. Hawley, ed., Theoretical Perspectives on
Urban Politics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976), p. 67.
1 Ibid., p. 75.
1Robert Agger, Daniel Goldrich, and Bert E. Swanson, The Rulers
and the Ruled (New York: Wiley, 1964), pp. 14-32.
1Frederick Engels, The Condition of the English Working Class in
1844 (London: International Publishers Company, Inc., 1962), pp. 46-47.
1George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty (New York: Basic Books, Inc.,
1981); Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (New York: Avon Books,
14Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New
York: Random House, 1961).
15Robert Cassidy, Livable Cities (New York: Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1980), p. 32.
16William Simon, A Time for Truth (New York: Readers Digest Press,
1978), p. 224.
17Michael Harrington, "Why the Welfare State Breaks Down," in
Irving Howe, ed., Beyond the Welfare State (New York: Schocken Books,
1982), p. 29.
The election of 1980 provides some indication that ideology is
indeed relevant to American politics and American policy today. Whereas
in 1964 and 1972 candidates who diverted from the broad center of politi-
cal discourse were soundly defeated, Ronald Reagan won a resounding
victory with an appeal aimed right of center. The appeal of a strong
national defense, lower taxes, and lower levels of government intrusion
proved to be very popular in 1980. Reagan's appeal was firmly rooted in
conservative ideals. Values of freedom, liberty, and initiative were
extolled by the Reagan camp. These values are completely consistent
with conservative ideological philosophies. Conservative philosophies
have been transformed into conservative policies. The agenda of American
legislation has shifted to the right. These policy shifts are reflected
in the budgets. Growth of federal spending is likely to slow while ex-
penditure priorities shift. Social welfare expenditures are likely to
be viewed with increased skepticism, along with high levels of spending
in general. It is the contention of this study that budgetary behavior
reflects the ideology of decision makers as much as it reflects any
rational response to needs.
The Reagan administration budget provides evidence that ideologies
can indeed redirect priorities. Ideologies can also reverse long-
running trends. The Reagan administration appears firmly committed to
reducing public expenditures, reversing a long-term trend toward larger
and larger levels of government spending.
Given the political realities of today, the Reagan administration
has attacked spending through the strategy of cutting taxes and re-
ducing government revenue. As Reagan claimed during the campaign, not
allowing the public sector to have increased funds in the first place is
a reasonable strategy to take in trying to reduce spending. Allocation
priorities of what revenue is collected also seems to have radically
changed. Between 1960 and 1975, a period when the nation was at war,
the proportion of money spent on defense in comparison to the nation's
gross national product declined from 9.9 percent to 6.3 percent. Domes-
tic spending as a proportion of gross national product increased from
20.2 percent to 26.6 percent.
Although a fairly conservative Republican administration was in
office during a good portion of those years, Congress was dominated by
liberal legislators who advocated large increases in social spending
and decreases in military spending. Liberal legislators today have not
called for decreases in military spending but, given the mood of voters,
only call for a slower rate of increase in the massive military ex-
penditures projected by Reagan.
In order to make room for slower growth of government spending,
social welfare programs aimed at helping the poor have been reduced.
Richard Nathan estimates that over the next five years, military spend-
ing will rise by more than 40 percent, while domestic outlays are pro-
jected to decline by 15 percent.2
Conservative ideologues are likely to target public assistance
expenditures for reduction. This is true because of their attitude
that welfare or the dole reduces initiative and desire for work in the
"productive" private sector. As George Gilder has explained, if the
dollar value of benefits (AFDC, food stamps, medicaid, etc.) received
when not working is greater than the dollar value of benefits received
from working, then a rational actor could maximize his or her benefits
and material well-being by not working. Gilder claimed that any wel-
fare system will eventually extend and perpetuate poverty if its bene-
fits exceed the prevailing wages of the community. As long as welfare
is preferable (as a combination of money, leisure, and services) to
working, the system will deter work and undermine families, according to
Studies conducted by the Department of Health, Education and
Welfare in the cities of Denver and Seattle concluded that income guaran-
tees were dismal failures, reducing work effort by between one-third and
one-half and increasing marital breakdown by about 60 percent. These
findings are often cited by conservatives critical of federal programs
aimed at assisting the poor.
Gilder claimed that the object of welfare should be to help people
out from temporary problems, not to treat temporary problems as perma-
nent ones, and thus make them so. Welfare instead acts to erode work
and family and therefore keeps people poor.
Problems surrounding relief are not new. In the depression of the
1930s, it was recognized that relief created an unstable environment in
contrast to the discipline created by work. Piven and Cloward stated
that relief could not restore pride to recipients. It was merely a
device for keeping the populace from discontent and disorder.6
Conservatives of the depression era enunciated many of the themes
restated by Gilder. Members of the Federal Emergency Relief Act
(FERA) staff bemoaned in the mid-1930s that
a gimme syndrome was spreading. People were beginning to feel
that the government actually owes [relief] to them. And they want
more. Many civic leaders expressed concern that relief payments
alone did not prevent men, families and communities from deterio-
rating; after a time on the dole, they said, family relations
eroded and men no longer wanted or expected to work.7
Conservative themes such as this are being revived today. What may be
the effect of resurgent conservativism on local governments? This is
a question that is explored in this dissertation. Before the actual
effects of conservative thought can be measured, however, a thorough
understanding of the development of this ideology is helpful. A review
of major themes of conservativism will provide insights into policy
making from an ideological perspective.
Major Themes of Conservative Political Ideology
Before delineating themes of one particular ideology or another,
it is necessary to define the term. There exists no universally ac-
cepted definition for ideology although the term has been in usage for
quite some time. L. T. Sargent claimed that ideologies were based on
the value systems of society and simplified the complexity of the world
into something understandable.8 Frederick Watkins contended that
ideologies usually represented militant and revolutionary ideas which
opposed the status quo. David Ingersoll defined ideology as consist-
ing of an assessment of the status quo and a view of the future which
was materially better than that of the present.0 Paul Sweezy, on the
other hand, claimed that ideology was an ensemble of ideas, morals, and
rationalizations which served the interests of the ruling class.11
Max Mark claimed that ideology was usually associated with dogmatism.
It contained a particular value and the assertion that only this value
should be implemented.12 Agger, Goldrich, and Swanson stated that
ideologies include answers to a number of questions. Among other func-
tions, ideologies define what role government should play in allocat-
It should come as no surprise that a great deal of confusion
surrounds the concept of ideology. It is often to the advantage of
politicians to purposely confuse potential voters and to stake out the
broad middle spectrum of political debate. In 1976 Jimmy Carter ap-
pealed to native southerners and conservatives who were opposed to
entrenched bureaucrats in Washington or anybody else connected with the
federal establishment. Carter, was cautious, however, not to antago-
nize liberal Democrats who represented powerful interests within the
Democratic party. Carter wanted to move to the right but not so far
to the right as to endanger liberal support. He was able to unify the
Democratic party and win in 1976 because, unlike McGovern in 1972, he
represented the interests of more conservative elements within the
In 1980 confusion resulted when John Anderson, a conservative
Republican during his twenty years in Congress, ran for the presidency
appealing to voters who considered themselves liberals. Ronald Reagan
received strong support from conservatives but also appealed to
blue-collar workers who traditionally had been members of the Demo-
cratic coalition. Reagan often invoked upbeat references to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, claiming that he represented the party of solutions
while the Democratic party could only counsel acceptance of economic
Modern politics does not lend itself to an understanding of clear
ideological distinctions between candidates. Conservative and liberal
philosophies, however, differ in regard to fundamental values and
ideals. This chapter reviews major themes of conservativism in order
to provide insight into the relevance of political ideology to public
Two characteristics of American conservatives predominate in the
1. A clinging to the notions of laissez-faire economic prin-
2. A clinging to the old virtues of economic individualism and
Conservatives clinging to laissez-faire economic principles justify
their philosophical positions on the basis of classical liberal be-
liefs toward liberty and economic freedom. There exists general agree-
ment that conservatives in America today are characterized by a cling-
ing to these two principles. Conservatives, however, differ in regard
to priority of values. Some focus upon culture or the environment,
others emphasize moral issues, while still others concentrate upon
Conservatives who characterize problems of society as a result
of cultural forces include Edward Banfield, James Q. Wilson, and Daniel
Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan has been classified as a neoconservativee"
and "neoliberal," but labels have less significance than substance.
Moynihan is firmly in agreement with Banfield and Wilson that cultural
phenomena prevent the public sector from accomplishing its objectives
to assist the underclass in America.
Banfield asserted that government programs aimed at assisting the
lower classes were doomed to fail because of the nature of the lower
classes. Persons in the lower classes were characterized by Banfield
1. Radically improvident with a low sense of self-worth
2. Preferring immediate consumption, especially for sex and
3. Taking no interest in work but working in order to live
4. Unable to maintain satisfactory social relationships with
5. Preferring violence to living in harmony.4
In contrast to lower-class individuals, upper-class individuals were
characterized by Banfield as being
1. Self-respecting and self-confident
2. Independent and considerate of others
3. Motivated by internal standards
4. Tolerant of their children's preferences
5. Opposed to bigotry and violence.15
Many have termed Banfield a racist; yet he claims that culture is a
product of socialization, not genes. Banfield concluded that little
could really be done for the lower classes because of their attitudes
and motivations. The culture in which lower-class attitudes and motiva-
tions are developed will prevent public programs from achieving success.
Banfield felt that one must first change the culture in which the in-
dividual is largely formed before improvements to the individual could
be expected to take place:
So long as the city contains a sizable lower class, nothing basic
can be done about its most serious problems. Good jobs may be
offered to all, but some will remain chronically unemployed.
Slums may be demolished, but if the housing that replaces them is
occupied by the lower class it will shortly be turned into new
slums. Welfare payments may be doubled or tripled and a negative
income tax instituted, but some persons will continue to live in
squalor and misery. . If, however, the lower class were to
disappear-if, say, its members were overnight to acquire the atti-
tudes, motivations, and habits of the working class-the most
serious and intractable problems of the city would all disappear
Moynihan was not concerned with the time orientation of individuals
which would determine class (Banfield's thesis); instead, Moynihan
focused upon the problems of the Negro family. Moynihan concluded that
the problems of inner cities were intractable because of the matriarchal
structure of today's Negro families. Because of chronic unemployment,
Negro men were unable to become strong husbands and fathers. The wel-
fare system even encouraged men to abandon their families,in which case
the family could qualify for public assistance. Moynihan believed that
problems with the Negro family made government programs inherently
inadequate.17 Like Banfield, Moynihan concluded that deep-seated
problems precluded the success of federal programs as they attempted to
alleviate the problems of the poor.
James Q. Wilson maintained that efforts to assist the poor may
even be counterproductive. This he attributed to the phenomenon of
rising expectations and what Wilson termed the "psychological urban
problem."18 The psychological urban problem relates to expectations
increasing faster than achievements. Wilson claimed that, viewed in the
historical perspective, conditions of the city in terms of housing and
poverty have gotten better, not worse. The gap, however, between the
quality of life in the central city and in the periphery has widened.
This situation has led to urban discontent. Furthermore, the discon-
tent will not be alleviated in the short run:
Efforts to lessen the gap between expectations and achievements
will, in the short run, only make the discontent produced by
the gap more acute. This is one of the inevitable tensions in
a society committed to self-improvement.19
Banfield, Moynihan, and Wilson all expressed skepticism regarding
the viability of federal programs. Each pointed to some fundamental
problems affecting the individual which prevents the success of public
programs. Today, conservative philosophies have their greatest impact
in the field of economics. Conservatives are replacing Keynesian
philosophies with supply-side and monetarist views. This marks a fun-
damental shift of economic policy in the nation.
Supply-side economics is a restatement of Say's Law, a classical
principle of economics presenting the view that supply creates its own
demand. Supply-siders maintain that in an unfettered market, produc-
tion would generate income (wages, profits, and rents) which, when spent,
would be just sufficient to clear the market of all the commodities
Two corollaries to Say's Law follow:
1. If there is unemployment and idle capacity, they can be elimi-
nated by an increase in production or the supply.
2. Policies aimed at stimulating the economy need only be con-
cerned with increasing production.
Supply-siders advocate reducing the tax rate (especially for the
wealthy who would be more likely to reinvest their income) in order to
stimulate production. National income would rise, along with rises in
productivity, which would result from increases in private investments.
Government revenues would rise, even with the lower tax rate, because
of the expansion of the economic pie. With the return of a vital
economy, government programs such as unemployment insurance would be
less costly and the budget could be balanced. Inflation would also
abate due to the increase in productivity. Producers would be able to
lower prices without sacrificing profits.
Supply-side economists emphasize the negative effect taxes play
on the economy. Arthur Laffer's primary point is that there are al-
ways two tax rates which will yield the same level of governmental
revenues.20 This is true because at a certain point governmental tax
rates become so oppressive that production falls and there is less
revenue available to tax. The Laffer Curve, first drawn by Arthur
Laffer on a napkin in a Washington restaurant, is displayed in Figure
2-1. Laffer argues that,when the tax rate is at 100 percent, all pro-
duction ceases in the money economy. People will not work in this
economy if all earnings are taxed. The effect will be the same as if
the tax rate were zero-government would not be able to collect any
revenue. As taxes move down to point A or up to point B, the govern-
ment begins to receive money from taxes. Point A represents a much
higher tax rate than point B, but, because of the flight from taxes into
the underground economy and into tax shelters, the amount of revenue
collected is identical. In similar fashion, government revenues will
increase by either lowering or raising taxes until point E is reached.
Point E is not a fixed number but can be represented by a high or
low number depending upon attitudes and environmental conditions. For
example, during the siege of Leningrad, Russian soldiers worked to their
physical limit though they received the barest rations for their ser-
vices.21 Under other conditions people would not voluntarily allow the
government to take the fruits of their labor with so little in return.
Point E, therefore, is more of an attitudinal value-the point at which
the electorate desires to be taxed and the point where tax revenues
and production are maximized. The idea behind the Laffer Curve is that,
paradoxically, more tax revenue may be collected by reducing taxes than
by increasing taxes. The level of support for tax programs plays an
important role in the Laffer Curve. If the populace is unsupportive of
the government in general, and taxes specifically, then increasing
taxes could drive business into the underground economy where the govern-
ment is unable to extract any revenue. High tax rates may also result
in less investment and risk taking.
From the Reagan economic program we can conclude that "Reaganomics"
is based upon the proposition that we are in the upper portion (prohibi-
tive range) of the Laffer Curve, and that lowering the tax rate will in-
crease revenues by moving down the curve until point E (optimal point)
is reached. Evidently, Reagan's economic advisors expected an increase
in investment in plant and equipment to occur along with the reduction
of taxes. This, however, has not occurred. It is unlikely that invest-
ment will occur in periods of slack demand such as a recession. Tax
cuts have resulted in greater concentration of capital with the surge
of mergers recently. They have not resulted in a surge of investment
in new plants and equipment. All of this creates doubts in the via-
bility of supply-side economics.
While the popularity of supply-side economics appears to be wan-
ing, conservative monetarists exert great influence. Conservative mone-
tarists are followers of Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of
economics. They believe that inflation can be controlled by control-
ling the supply of money. Monetarists on the Federal Reserve Board
have limited the supply of money in an effort to reduce inflation. It
appears that they have been all too successful. As Friedman maintains,
limiting the supply of money provides a cure for the ravages of in-
flation but the cure is not painless.22 High unemployment and slow
economic growth are said to accompany slower growth in the supply of
money. This has been the case in the recession of 1981-82. If any-
thing, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board has been criticized
by the White House for not sufficiently restricting the supply of money
even though unemployment reached a post-World War II high.
Conservative economists, in general, have an orientation differ-
ent from that of liberal economists. They are fully supportive of
Adam Smith's concept of the "invisible hand." As developed by Smith,
the "invisible hand" concept provides that no exchange will take place
unless it is beneficial for all parties involved. The free market operat-
ing under the influence of this invisible hand, therefore, will provide
the greatest benefit to society in general.
Friedman presented numerous examples of the superiority of free
societies (free market economies) when compared to collective or con-
trolled societies. The most obvious example is the contrast between
East and West Germany. This is an excellent example of two nations with
common cultures-the same civilizations and same levels of technical
skills and knowledge. Friedman asks which nation has prospered and
which nation has constructed walls to pen in its inhabitants. Friedman
claims that on one side there are brightly lit streets filled with bust-
ling people. Newspapers and magazines expressing every variety of
opinion can be freely purchased. Conditions reflect the economic and
political freedoms that characterize this nation. However, "a walk of
a few hundred feet, after spending an hour filling out forms and waiting
for your passport to be returned, will take you to a city where the
streets appear empty; the store windows dull; the buildings grimy."23
Other examples abound in Friedman's analysis. Yugoslavia,
although its standard of living is lower than that of neighboring
Western nations, such as Austria, is seen as a paradise in comparison
to the Soviet Union. This is attributed to the greater degree of
economic freedom found in Yugoslavia when compared to the Soviet Union.
In the Far East, other nations that rely on private markets-Malaysia,
Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan-are thriving. The economic
development of two ancient civilizations with sophisticated cul-
tures-India and Japan-are also compared by Friedman. India is
said to have many advantages over Japan, such as natural resources, a
trained civil service, and an excellent railroad system. Friedman
claims that, despite the many similarities between Japan in 1867 and
India when it received independence in 1947, the outcomes of the two
nations' economic development were quite different. In thirty years
Japan extended social and economic opportunity to all citizens, dis-
mantling its feudal structure. Economic improvements rapidly followed.
In the thirty years following Indian independence, only lip service
was paid to the elimination of the caste system and differences in
wealth grew wider. Friedman attributes the differing success stories of
Japan and India to the fact that Japan relied primarily on voluntary
cooperation and free markets while India relied on central economic
Friedman concluded that the "deadening effects of government"
may eventually destroy both the freedom and prosperity enjoyed in the
The experience of recent years-slowing growth and declining
productivity-raises a doubt whether private ingenuity can con-
tinue to overcome the deadening effects of government control if
we continue to grant ever more power to government, to authorize
a new class of civil servants to spend ever larger fractions of
our income supposedly on our behalf. Sooner or later-and per-
haps sooner than many of us expect-an ever bigger government
would destroy both the prosperity that we owe to the free market
and the human freedom proclaimed so eloquently in the Declara-
tion of Independence.24
The spotlight in recent times has centered around economic policy;
yet moral issues occupy an important place in conservative philosophies.
Many conservatives blame the decline of America on a decline in the
moral character of its people. They believe that,in order to "make
America great again," there must be a return to a greater sense of
morality in the country. Work, family, neighborhood, and God are,
according to George Gilder, the pillars of our free society.5 Erosion
of those pillars has resulted in the erosion of American greatness.
This moralistic theme is espoused by politicians such as Ronald
Reagan and Jack Kemp. Reagan based a large part of his campaign on
restoring American greatness and returning to those values that made
America great. Kemp echoed this view, claiming that turning away from
the pillars of our society (individual, family, and neighborhood) and
relying upon Washington as the salvation for our problems is one of
the fundamental mistakes of American society.
Somewhere along the line we lost the focus on the individual,
the family, and the neighborhood that was once the heart of the
American Dream. Political leadership turned away from confi-
dence in the citizen as an individual, in the family as the bed-
rock of a free society, and the neighborhood as a basic unit in
the democratic framework. Attention instead turned toward
Washington, and to an infinite variety of grandiose programs and
plans that were supposed to lead or command us to a better life.26
This revival of moral posturing is indicative of the salience of reli-
gion and the New Christian Right today. The New Right firmly backed by
the New Christian Right has experienced remarkable success in recent
The New Christian Right, advocating a politics of moralism, was
successful in nominating Ronald Reagan in 1980 instead of other hope-
fuls such as John Connelly (who enjoyed the support of the business
community), Robert Dole, George Bush, and Howard Baker. The New
Christian Right also claimed credit for the election of 25 out of 30
targeted seats in the House of Representatives. Liberal Democrats,such
as Elizabeth Holtzman of New York, Robert Coats of Oklahoma, Robert
Morgan of North Carolina,and Jim Folsom of Alabama, all went down to
defeat in the Reagan landslide of 1980.27 (Table 2-1 lists the senato-
rial candidates receiving New Christian Right support and the outcomes
of their elections.28) Senators elected in 1980 will not come up for
reelection until 1986. Twenty liberal senators up for reelection in
1982 have already been targeted by the New Right. Advocates of the New
Right are gaining confidence and believe that they can now defeat
liberal candidates. Pat Robertson reflects this sentiment: "Now
America could defeat liberals, the ones who had failed to control dope,
pornography, abortion, feminism, and moral decay because they were dedi-
cated to secular humanism."29 The confidence reflected in Robertson's
observation indicates that 1980 may have been something more than a
temporary aberration. Success has brought confidence as well as funds,
and well-organized campaigns. Support from the New Christian Right has
greatly aided the larger group which is termed the New Right. The New
Right has demonstrated that it is a political force to be dealt with in
the 1980s. Blue-collar Democrats concerned about "social" issues have
combined with conservative Republicans concerned with the economy to
form a solid coalition under the banner of the New Right.
The New Right
Although the New Right is generally associated with conservative
Republican candidates, this is not necessarily always the case. The
Democratic governor of Massachusetts, Edward King, is also associated
with the New Right. King mobilized support through appealing to
"social conservatives" in the state. The litmus test for the New Right
will not necessarily be reflected in the future success of incumbent
New Right Candidates Supported
Candidate, Senate New Right Group Outcome
John East (R-N.C.)
Frank Murkowski (R-Alas.)
Warren Rudman (R-N.H.)
Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.)
Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.)
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
Don Nickles (R-Okla.)
Dan Quayle (R-Ind.)
Mack Mattingly (R-Ga.)
James Abdnor (R-S.D.)
Steven Symms (R-Ida.)
Gene McNary (R-Mo.)
Paul Gann (R-Calif.)
Mary Buchanan (R-Colo.)
Bob Dole (R-Kan.)
Jake Garn (R-Utah)
Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.)
MM, CV, NCPAC, RR
MM, NCPAC, RR
MM, CV, NCPAC, RR
MM, CV, NCPAC, RR
MM, CV, NCPAC, RR
MM, NCPAC, CSFC
Key: CSFC Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress
RR Religious Roundtable
MM Moral Majority
CV Christian Voice
NCPAC National Conservative Political Action Committee
Since 1960 incumbent presidents have not fared well. Richard
Nixon was the only president reelected; yet he failed to serve out his
second term, leaving the White House in disgrace after Watergate.
Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek reelection in 1968 while incumbent
Presidents Ford and Carter were defeated in 1976 and 1980 respectively.
Irrespective of political party, the endurance of the New Right can be
observed through the policy positions of candidates. When Democrats such
as Jerry Brown campaign on the platform of law and order, balancing the
budget, and lowering taxes, evidence is provided that the agenda of
political debate has shifted to the right. Significant distinctions
exist between what has come to be known as the Old Right and the New
Right. Paul Weyrich noted a number of these distinctions. Weyrich
stated that the Old Right was strongly intellectual, pursuing a level of
discourse above the language of the ordinary man. The New Right, in
contrast, reaches the common man through a direct discussion of "gut"
social issues such as crime, abortion, busing, and pornography. The
Old Right gave primacy to laissez-faire principles. The New Right sup-
ports the free enterprise system but also realizes that people have come
to expect certain things of their government and that it is possible
to extend public services without destroying the free enterprise sys-
The New Right is seen by Weyrich as the vanguard of a new direc-
tion for America. The Old Right was fearful of the media while, in
contrast, the New Right believed that it had nothing to hide. The Old
Right spoke abstractly about the decline of the West, and wrote off
such groups as labor unions, churches, and the working class. In
contrast, the New Right presents concrete programs that would in its
view preserve the values of the middle class, and build alliances with
groups that the Old Right disdained.
The New Right comprises what sociologist Donald Warren has termed
"Middle American Radicals" (MARs). These MARs possessed the following
characteristics in the mid-1970s:
MARs had a family income of $3,000-$13,000. There was a strong
presence among them of northern European ethnics, although
Italians tended to account for more MARs than other groups.
MARs were nearly twice as common in the South as in the north-
central states. They tended to have completed high school but
not to have attended college. They were more common among
Catholics and Jews than among Protestants, and among Mormons and
Baptists than among other Protestant sects. They tended to be
in their thirties or in their sixties and were significantly less
likely to be professional or managerial workers than to be skilled
and semi-skilled blue-collar workers.31
The New Right capitalized upon the general feeling among MARs that
government favors both the rich and the poor to the detriment of the
middle classes. The dominant perception is that "the rich give in to
the demands of the poor, and the middle income people have to pay the
bill."32 The MARs see themselves as ravaged in a "sandwich" attack by
the autocrats from above and the underclass from below.
The New Right is very pragmatic in its attempt to mobilize
middle-class dissent. Richard Viguerie, the main political strategist
of the New Right, believes that conservatives can build a majority
coalition in America. "Social issues" such as pro-family issues (right
to life, gay rights), pornography, gun control, street crime, busing,
drug abuse, capital punishment, and ERA are all issues that are per-
ceived as attractive to the New Right, and that could attract "social
conservatives" from the Democratic party.
Viguerie clearly sees the tide running in favor of conservative
candidates. He claims that as early as 1966 the country exhibited
second thoughts about the Great Society. In 1968 George Wallace
capitalized on conservative sentiment, in 1972 George McGovern, the
candidate of the liberals, received less than 2/5 of the popular vote,
and in 1976 Jimmy Carter, campaigning as a conservative Democrat, de-
feated a field of liberal contenders for the nomination.33
Viguerie cites a study by Dr. Harold Voth, psychiatrist at the
Menninger Foundation, who declared that in his opinion the family unit
was deteriorating in America. Dr. Voth claimed that industrialization,
wars, economic pressure, and working mothers have all combined to de-
prive children of good parenting, that without committed parents there
will be few healthychildren and without healthy children a society will
soon lose its vitality. The New Right cites this and similar studies,
and is committed to working everywhere necessary to protect and pre-
serve the American family as it evolved during the nation's 200-year
history. Viguerie concluded that "each American shares the responsi-
bility to make America great again. We must use whatever talents God
has given us. This can take many directions. Community work, church
activity and political involvement are just a few."34
It is sometimes difficult to notice long-term trends, but it
appears that a conservative shift is occurring in the nation. Electoral
success and the greater visibility of the New Right are two indicators
of this shift. Enunciation of conservative policies even by Democratic
candidates is another indicator. If indeed there is a shift toward
conservativism, what this shift will mean to local governments is a
matter of importance. Ideology, this study contends, has implications
to local government. What these implications are is delineated in this
Influence of Conservative Values on Local Governments
Conservatives are in general agreement on issues such as the role
of government. Conservatives favor a restrictive government. Lack of
unity, however, exists in regard to the emphasis conservatives place upon
certain issues. This chapter has discussed three major themes of con-
servatives: culture, economics, and morality. Each of these perspec-
tives supports the general conservative positions of low taxes and low
expenditures. "Cultural" conservatives are likely to support the posi-
tion of low taxes and low levels of services because of their belief
that public programs are bound to fail. These cultural conservatives,
such as Edward Banfield, James Q. Wilson, and Daniel Moynihan, present
evidence that cultural characteristics are likely to doom any govern-
mental efforts to alleviate or improve conditions of the poor.
Banfield focuses upon class based upon time orientation of in-
dividuals. Individuals seeking immediate gratification were charac-
terized as lower class while individuals who were able to postpone
gratification were said to be of a higher class. Banfield concluded
that lower class individuals could not be helped unless their cultural
predispositions could undergo a transformation.
Moynihan asserted that our current welfare system could not ade-
quately deal with the problems of the inner cities because it did not
deal with the fundamental problem of the black family. Problems in the
black family stemmed from the poor self-image of the often unemployed
Wilson presented the thesis that government programs may even be
counterproductive, leading to rising expectations and increased frustra-
tion. The common thread connecting the views of Wilson with those of
Banfield and Moynihan is the observation that government programs are
not accomplishing their objective. If this is true, then the percep-
tion is that high levels of public expenditures are either wasteful or
"Economic" conservatives such as the supply-siders, believe that
government expenditures should be low in order to provide adequate in-
centives to business and to stimulate growth. The Laffer Curve demon-
strated that high rates of taxation could actually reduce the amount of
revenue collected by a polity. Cities are particularly vulnerable to
loss of business to other locations. Levels of taxation may influence
businesses either to stay in the city or to relocate.
New York City is an example of a government following supply-side
philosophies. Having suffered from the flight of business in the 1960s
due to high rates of taxation, New York City put caps on property taxes
and offered generous tax abatement plans to businesses after 1975. This
policy was inaugurated in order to stem the outflow of jobs and busi-
nesses from the city. This conservative economic program had great suc-
cess in revitalizing many parts of downtown Manhattan. A real estate
boom developed in parts of Manhattan in the late 1970s. Unfortunately,
the program has not succeeded in revitalizing the decaying outlying
boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.
"Moral" conservatives attack government programs from the perspec-
tive that the dole or welfare increases marital breakups and reduces
iniative. They argue that governments have taken over many of the
responsibilities that previously rested with the family or the church,
and as a result the pillars of our society-family, work, and neighbor-
hood-have been severely undermined.
This chapter has described resurgent conservative philosophies.
It has provided insight into why public policy differences exist be-
tween people who have different values and perceptions. Theoretical
positions have been explained. In later chapters differences between
conservative and liberal cities will be empirically explores.
Thomas Dye, Understanding Public Policy (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice Hall, Inc., 1975), p. 199.
Richard P. Nathan, "Field Network Evaluation of the Reagan
Domestic Program," Public Budgeting and Finance 1:4 (Winter 1981), 85.
3George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty (New York: Basic Books, Inc.,
1981), p. 122.
4Ibid., p. 120. 5Ibid., p. 127.
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Regulating the Poor:
The Functions of Public Welfare (New York: Random House, 1971), p. 80.
Ibid., p. 81.
Lyman Tower Sargent, Contemporary Political Ideologies: A Com-
parative Analysis, noted in Leon Baradat, Political Ideologies (Engle-
wood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1979), p. 32.
Frederick Watkins, The Age of Ideology-Political Thought, 1950
to the Present, noted in Leon Baradat, p. 33.
1David Ingersoll, Communism, Fascism, and Democracy, noted in
Leon Baradat, p. 33.
Paul Sweezy, "Vietnam: Endless War," in Marvin Gottleman and
David Mermelstein, eds., The Failure of American Liberalism (New York:
Vintage Books, 1970), p. 594.
1Max Mark, Modern Ideologies (New York: St. Martin's Press,
1973), p. 3.
3Robert Agger, Daviel Goldrich, and Bert Swanson, The Rulers
and the Ruled (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1972), p. 10.
1Edward Banfield, The Unheavenly City Revisted (Boston: Little,
Brown & Co., 1970), pp. 57-59.
15Ibid., pp. 61-63 16Ibid., pp. 234-235.
7Lee Rainwater and William Yancey, "The Moynihan Report: Opposi-
tion in the Permanent Government," in Douglas Fox, ed., The New Urban
Politics (Pacific Palisades, Calif.: Goodyear Publishing Co., Inc.,
1972), p. 118.
18James Q. Wilson, "The War on Cities," The Public Interest, no.
3 (Spring 1966), p. 31.
19Ibid., p. 32.
20Jude Wanniski, The Way the World Works (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1978), p. 97.
2 Ibid., p. 99.
2Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (New York:
Avon Books, 1981), p. 261.
23Ibid., p. 47. 24Ibid., p. xx.
26Jack Kemp, An American Renaissance: A Strategy for the 1980's
(New York: Berkley Books, 1979), p. 163.
2Erling Jorstad, The Politics of Moralism (Minneapolis: Augs-
bert Publishing House, 1981), p. 101.
28Ibid., p. 102. 29Ibid., p. 90.
30Paul M. Weyrich, "Blue Collar or Blue Blood: The New Right
Compared to the Old Right," in Robert Whitaker, ed., The New Right
Papers (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982), p. 51.
Samuel T. Francis, "Message from MARs: The Social Politics of
the New Right," in Robert Whitaker, ed., The New Right Papers (New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1982), p. 67.
3Richard Viguerie, "Ends and Means," in Robert Whitaker, ed.,
The New Right Papers (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982), p. 33.
34Ibid., p. 26.
Liberalism, like conservativism, stands for a specific group of
ideals and values. It is assumed that these different values will
lead to different policy preferences and different governmental pri-
orities. A review of the philosophies underpinning liberalism pro-
vides some insight into the underlying reasons for the policy differ-
ences. A review of liberal legislation also should provide insight
into how liberal philosophical beliefs are eventually transformed into
Liberals hold a view of the world different from that held by
conservatives. Liberals are generally optimistic about the ability of
man to improve life through human reason. They believe that people are
basically good and that factors which contribute to the realization of
human potential should be carefully nurtured. Liberals believe that
people are rational and that all should have equal opportunity to suc-
ceed in life. Ideals of liberals also hold that all men and women are
fundamentally entitled to equal treatment under the law. This view con-
trasts with the conservative belief that inequities are inevitable.
Under the view of Adam Smith, inequities of wealth will arise but this
is necessary in order to optimize benefit to all.
Today, much confusion surrounds the meaning of the term liberalism.
In the early nineteenth century, liberals concerned themselves with
what they considered to be oppressive obligations to authoritative in-
stitutions such as the state and the church. These institutions were
perceived to restrict individual freedoms and the fulfillment of the
"Classical" liberals believed that government could be oppressive
if it was given too much power. These philosophers sought to protect
individuals from the abusive power of the state. Today's liberals,
however, view the abuses of industry as a factor in inhibiting the
standard of living of the masses. By the late nineteenth century many
social critics agreed that the dangers of excesses from the industrial
revolution had become more insidious than the dangers of government.
Today liberals try to use the government or the state in their efforts
to curb the abuses of industry.
C. B. Macpherson claimed that the term "liberal" is a source of
confusion today. He claimed that it means so many things to so many
people that it can easily be misunderstood.1 This confusion that
Macpherson refers to is especially great when it refers to politicians
who benefit from blurring issues. It is also great in periods of ideo-
logical transition such as is the case today.
Labels describing ideological positions may be quite confusing.
Daniel Moynihan was referred to as a neoconservativee" in the mid-
seventies but is referred to today as a "neoliberal." The confusion
does not lie in a change of philosophy by the senator but rather in a
change of reference point. The political center has moved so far to
the right that labels assigned to people like Moynihan are changing.
This chapter reviews liberal thinkers, the evolution of liberal
legislation, other "left of center" positions, and the implications of
liberal perspectives to local governments. As with the discussion of
conservativism, it is hoped that this discussion of liberal views will
provide an understanding of fundamental values and ideals. This under-
standing of the ideals of liberal ideology will assist in evaluating
The classical view of liberalism is rooted in the period called
the Age of Enlightenment. This view emphasizes man's rationality and
reasonableness. Reason is stressed rather than tradition. For liberals,
contract replaces status, and individual rights replace the rights of
existing power holders.2 Liberalism also tends to support the rights
of the individual against the forces of the old Establishment. "War on
privilege"was a rallying cry of early liberal philosophers. These
philosophers utilized liberal beliefs as a weapon in the struggle against
privileges of the aristocracy.
Liberal ideals reflected the views of the upper-middle classes
who favored institutional protection of their rights. Liberal insis-
tence on constitutional government, division of powers, and clearly
defined tasks for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of
government protected the middle classes from arbitrary actions by the
government. This liberal doctrine which protected individual rights
against potential abuses of government served as a major doctrine from
the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century.3
Classical liberal authors from John Locke to John Stuart Mill
questioned privileges of the ruling strata. Locke's concept of civil
society was derived from two closely connected ideas: the social con-
tract and natural law. The social contract was an agreement of the
people made of their own free will. Individuals freely agreed to enter
a civil or political society in order to better secure their rights.
Locke believed that people were equal only in that they had the
same rights under the laws of nature. The ability to defend those rights
varied from individual to individual. Injustices could prevail if one
person struggled with another who was stronger. Right or wrong would
not enter into the picture under this scenario. Locke felt that,in
order to ensure justice, individuals in a community should make a con-
tract among themselves, thereby removing themselves from the state of
nature. A society would be created through this social contract.
Many of Locke's ideals are embraced by today's liberals; other
views of Locke are embraced by today's conservatives. Locke favored a
capitalist economic system, believing it to be the most conducive to
individual freedom. Locke, however, would probably have objected to
the great disparities in property that existed in latter-day capitalism.
Locke clearly believed that property accumulation should be limited. No
person should accumulate so much property that others would be pre-
vented from accumulating the necessities of life.4 Without such a re-
striction, according to Locke, it would be possible for one person,
through control of property, to deny others their identities and even
their ability to be fully human.
Locke assumed that the basic interests of all people in a given
society were the same. This is referred to as the principle of collec-
tive interests. Locke further believed that whatever was beneficial to
the society as a whole would be beneficial to the individual. This led
to the belief that the majority vote is the most important feature of
political decision making.5
Locke's legacy to liberal thought rests on his belief that the
purpose of government is to serve the people. The government's sole
purpose is to maintain and increase individual rights and liberties.
While these ideas are consistent with the values of liberals, they are,
however, also consistent with the values of conservatives.
Jeremy Bentham was in the forefront of a second wave of liberal
thinkers. Bentham believed that people could use reason to improve
their lives. A basic assumption of his was that men seek to achieve
pleasure or happiness. Bentham's personal view maintained that the
greatest end for society would be the maximization of the greatest hap-
In the public sphere, he [Bentham] considered that the only end
which could be reasonably and acceptably postulated for a society
at large was the maximization of aggregate happiness, the great-
est happiness of the greatest number, and the principle of
utility laid down that actions and institutions were to be judged
by how far they were conducive to this end.6
Bentham did not believe that in a properly ordered society the
long-term interests and happiness of individuals would be in conflict
with the happiness of others in society. Laws would discourage anti-
social behavior, which would have the effect of molding men's de-
sires to seek pleasure in a manner conducive to the general happiness.
Bentham contributed greatly to the development of liberalism as we
know it today. He presented a practical standard by which to measure
the value of particular policies. He set liberalism on a new course
that could significantly improve the conditions of society. Bentham
also provided motivation for many social reforms adopted by England be-
tween 1930 and 1850.8
The most important philosopher of the nineteenth century was
John Stuart Mill. Like Bentham, Mill was a political activist and
spent three years in the House of Commons. He supported the radical
issues of his day such as free education, trade unionism, equal appor-
tionment of parliamentary seats, and repeal of the corn tariffs. Mill
clearly emphasized energetic and original individuality. Emphasis on
spontaneity, character, and originality in human beings typified Mill's
writing. The few experimenters and improvers of society were exalted
as the "salt of the earth."
He [Mill] favoured the active, self-helping type of man required
in a democracy as against the passive type of character, pre-
ferred by the government of a monarchy or aristocracy. Subject-
tion to the will of others and the virtues of self-help and self-
government were incompatible.10
Mill argued that, although democracy was the preferable form of govern-
ment, even democracy could limit individual liberty. For this reason,
freedom of speech and thought should be given absolute protection under
the law. Mill believed that individual freedom was the surest way of
reaching happiness. This position, consistent with the view that the
First Amendment to the Constitution is the most important section of
the document, has been supported by some justices of the United States
Mill's views concerning minority rights are often quoted. His
position on this matter is reflected in the following statement: "If
all mankind minus one were of the opinion, and only one person were of
the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing
that one person than he, if he had the power, would be in silencing
mankind."12 Mill was also a firm believer in freedom of the press. He
felt that in conditions of the free competition of ideas, the right
ideas would prevail. This was further justification for an open, free,
and uninhibited expression of minority opinions.
Mill was the first liberal philosopher to attack laissez-faire
capitalism. His attack against the "enslaving capacity of capitalism"
was so effective that few liberals have supported laissez-faire since
his time.13 Both Bentham and Mill laid a foundation that liberal
philosophers could build upon. Both were interested in political ac-
tivity. Bentham believed that the government should take positive
steps to maximize the happiness of the society. Mill became an activ-
ist, supporting the radical issues of his day. The liberal legacy in
America owes much to Bentham, Mill, and Locke.
Social Welfare Legislation
Philosophers such as Mill, Bentham, and Locke fostered liberal
values and ideals. The ideal of liberals, namely,the concept that
reason will lead to solutions to society's problems, led to social
welfare legislation aimed at alleviating the conditions of the poor
and the working class. Modern social welfare legislation dates back to
the time of Otto von Bismark of Prussia. Bismark feared that class war
could erupt in Germany if the state ignored the problems of the work-
ing classes. He urged "a little more Christian solicitude for the
working man," at a time when Marxist views were gaining in popularity.14
Social welfare legislation was also inaugurated in Great Britain
at the turn of the twentieth century. Liberalism underwent a distinct
transformation at this time. Concern for individual rights and liber-
ties was replaced with concern for social justice for all the people.
This concern for greater justice and equity led to legislation in the
areas of health insurance, pensions, unemployment, and care of school
Liberals, spurred by the writings of John Stuart Mill, began to
move away from the defense of free market competition. The social costs
of defending competition on the basis of individual freedom had become
too great. The industrial revolution in Britain had created massive
poverty and social disruption. In response to these unfavorable condi-
tions, people began to demand that the government provide some protec-
tion for the exploited workers. The idea that a self-regulating mar-
ket would provide the greatest benefit for the entire society simply
collapsed in the face of reality. Liberals began to concern themselves
with social justice and the problems of inequitable distribution of
resources. A "new liberalism" evolved, stressing social reform. Two
conceptions of social reform were
1. The notion of rendering help to individuals and groups that
were materially disadvantaged with respect to their fellow
2. A desire to redesign society in such a manner as to realize
ethical values among all members; to heighten awareness of
communal ends and the changing role of the state.15
Advocates of this brand of liberalism,such as Mill, pushed for
social legislation in Parliament. If industrialization and capitalism
infringed upon the rights of workers to achieve a satisfactory life, then
the belief of these liberals was that the government should step in
to assure workers their rights. Old age pensions were among the first
measures recommended in Britain. The corrollary in the United States to
Britain's old age pensions is our system of social security. It was
argued in Britain that, since pensions were payable to state servants
(soldiers, sailors, postmen, and policemen), they should also be payable
to other workers. Old age pensions would also serve to increase aggre-
gate demand, improve social justice, and create a fuller perception of
the state as the leader of a community. The Nation, an organ of new
liberalism, enthusiastically endorsed the concept of universal pen-
Old age pensions successfully expressed the sense of responsi-
bility of the state to provide a minimum standard of living to the
elderly who had contributed to society. The provision of old age pen-
sions is based on the recognition that earnings in old age will be in-
sufficient and that the state should have the responsibility of caring
for its needy. Prominent liberals such as L. T. Hobhouse recognized
that pauperism among the aged was not due to shiftlessness, as the case
may be with the younger poor, but was the normal fate of the poorer
It also became recognized that unemployment was not the result
of shiftlessness. Unemployment was a cyclical phenomenon in industrial
Britain. Workers would be periodically laid off because of slack de-
mand. This was no fault of their own and not a result of laziness,
irresponsibility, or other character defects. In the early twentieth
century the government of Britain accepted responsibility for the problems
of unemployment. It was recognized that the community must take re-
sponsibility for some of the problems that were foisted upon its mem-
Care of school children was another issue that attracted a good
deal of attention in Britain. State care of young children was per-
ceived as a viable means for breaking the vicious circle of social dis-
tress characteristic of the lower classes. The Speaker, another liberal
publication, claimed that it was the duty of the state to insist that
every child in elementary school have the physical sustenance required
for development.17 The Nation claimed that parents should supply the
necessary level of sustenance but,in the event of their refusal or in-
ability, it should be supplied by voluntary means or the local govern-
ment.18 A number of motives were involved in advocating the feeding
of school age children. Justice and humanitarianism were major motives;
yet the development of a sense of social solidarity did not play an
unimportant role. Children were viewed as a natural resource indis-
pensable to the well-being of the community. Their development was
regarded as too important to be left entirely to individual parents.
The area of health care is still another area where the govern-
ment of Britain accepted responsibility for the provision of services.
The Insurance Act of 1911 provided national health and unemployment
insurance for all workers. Joint responsibility was assumed by
workers and the state in order to ensure this protection. The British
system of health care is referred to by many in this country as an
example of poor health coverage; yet many consider it better than the
situation in this country, where a person's life savings may be wiped
out by medical costs. The United States has adopted some of Britain's
views toward health care, but,with Medicaid for the poor and Medicare
for the aged,we have not gone as far as Britain or a country such as
Israel in providing free health care to all. In other areas, such as
old age pensions, unemployment insurance, and the feeding of school
children, the United States has closely followed the British initia-
Many persons credit the social legislation that was passed in the
United States during the Great Depression with saving our economic sys-
tem. There are many radical writers who do not believe that the capi-
talist system should have been saved and that it is doomed to collapse.
They advocate radical changes which would guarantee less exploitation,
greater equality, and greater justice. In this regard they can be per-
ceived as an extension of the liberalism expressed at the turn of the
century in Britain.
The radical perspective is heavily influenced by the works of
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Marx's beliefs were founded on the
principle that the capitalist system of production is oppressive and
ultimately doomed to fail. A dictatorship of the proletariat would
emerge as the workers would rise up to replace the bourgeoisie. Even-
tually, the state would "wither away" and an egalitarian society run by
the workers would prevail.
A number of factors were suggested as the cause of the inevitable
downfall of the capitalist state: for example, appropriation of the
"social surplus product" and the "alienation of labor." Social surplus
product refers to the part of production produced by the laboring class
but taken from them by the ruling class.19 Alienation of labor refers
to the cleavage between the producer and the product. Division of labor
and commodity production are said to contribute to this alienation.20
Pride of workmanship is reduced with the newer means of production such
as division of labor. Business cycles represented another part of
Marx's overall conception of capitalism. Capitalist society was per-
ceived to be plagued with periodic cycles of boom and bust. These
cycles were said to be inherent and necessary in order to "rationalize"
production. Less efficient firms will be driven out of business in
periods of business contraction.
Marx claimed that since production is determined for the realiza-
tion of profit rather than for the satisfaction of social need, the
masses are oppressed and cyclical trends of boom and bust occur.
Manuel Castells, a modern-day Marxist, emphasized these problems caused
by the privation of profits coupled with socialization of costs.21
Frederick Engels described how capitalism's influence extended even
into the spatial arrangement of cities. Engels claimed that in the
city of Manchester the working classes lived in the immediate vicinity
of the commercial district. The upper and middle bourgeoisie lived
beyond these quarters, the middle class or middle bourgeoisie, in
Engels' terms, lived in regularly laid out streets, and the upper bour-
geoisielived in remoter villas and gardens.22
In a large sense the living arrangements in twentieth century
America do not differ from the living conditions Engels described
in nineteenth-century Britain. Suburbanization has allowed middle-
and upper-class Americans to escape the much harsher conditions of the
inner cities. Many working-class residents in America today have been
able to escape to the suburbs themselves. The phenomenon of the lower
classes remaining in the center city, however, has not changed.
David Harvey expanded upon Engels' concept of spatial arrange-
ment being determined by economic and cultural relationships. Harvey
differentiated between "physical feelings about the spatial symbolism
which surrounded the individual.23 Cultural conditioning, group learn-
ing, and individual learning were all associated with social space.
Harvey advocated a more egalitarian social structure than the one which
is said to exist in the United States. He claimed that "hidden re-
distributions"lead to greater inequalities than we are led to believe.
A policy of "overkill" in redistribution of wealth is advanced in order
to counterbalance apparent and hidden inequities. Harvey, however, was
not optimistic about the political realities of a campaign to redistri-
These [mechanics governing distribution] seem to be moving us
toward a state of greater inequality and greater injustice. Un-
less this present trend can be reversed, I feel that almost cer-
tainly we are headed for a period of intense conflict [which may
be violent] within the urban system.24
Harvey maintained that central authorities should allocate re-
sources in such a manner that social justice would be maximized. Terri-
torial justice (a term first coined by Bleddyn Davies in 1958) was also
advocated by Harvey.25 It refers to the equalization of justice between
boundaries, measured by assessment of need; contributions to the common
good; and merit. Actual resource allocations can be compared to
projected allocations based upon these three measures, which, in turn,
will measure the extent of social justice in each of the territories of
Harvey claimed that policies which maximize the prospects for the
least fortunate regions should be devised. Experience with political
realities, such as gerrymandering, indicates that it is unlikely for
resources to be distributed justly. Harvey speculated that in a capi-
talist society, capital is most likely to flow to places where the rate
of return is highest, and unlikely to flow to areas of greatest need.
He found it hardly surprising that the housing market of inner cities
has collapsed and that more investment has occurred in the outer rings
of the cities since investment opportunities are likely to be more
profitable in these areas.
Harvey concluded that in order to improve the quality of life in
urban areas, structural changes must be made in our society. Produced
and controlled scarcity is one of the factors that Harvey claimed pro-
duces the exploitation of the many by the few.
If it is accepted that the maintenance of scarcity is essential
for the functioning of the market system, then it follows that
deprivation, appropriation and exploitation are also necessary
concomitants of the market system. In a spatial system this im-
plies that there will be a series of appropriative movements be-
tween territories which leads some territories to exploit and
some to be exploited. This phenomenon is most clearly present
in urban systems.27
Michael Harrington concurred with both Harvey and Engels that
structural conditions within the capitalist society have produced tremen-
dous inequalities in our system and led to the exploitation of the many
by the few. Harrington claimed that the American political and economic
system must be made accountable for laying waste to the urban areas of
America. He attributed the decline of our cities today to blind
obedience to corporate priorities, the market, and technology. That
human costs of market decisions are rarely considered he saw as a defect
of the system:
The market analysis of the urban crisis obscures both the real
costs and the social and economic consequences of the process it
describes. Not so incidentally, this flaw is in the interest of
the rich and powerful and to the detriment of the most vulnerable
people in the nation. In this theory, it is tacitly assumed that
one must, in the name of rationalization and efficiency, let the
market forces do their work even if the result is havoc for
millions and for entire communities.28
Harrington claimed that abandoning neighborhoods in cities such as
New York, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis was one way of getting rid
of old plants and investing in new areas. Whether or not this is the
best method of modernizing an economy is questioned, since the social
cost of disinvestment is often ignored. Harrington believed that major
corporations should bear some of the social expenses if they are to re-
locate their plants. He claimed that they are able to walk out on their
employees and their former city without so much as waving goodbye.
Harrington completely rejected the validity of the market theory of
development. These theories are said to represent a remarkable alibi
which absolves those involved from responsibility for economic disasters.
Harrington postulated that the federal government played a major
role in creating the economic problems that plague cities today. He
cited favorable tax treatment offered to home mortgages, huge expendi-
tures for highways, investment tax credits for businesses, and inequi-
table distribution of federal money back to cities as examples of federal
policies which had a negative effect on cities. Harrington also viewed
New Federalism as penalizing the large cities. Nixon's plan to turn
money back to the states and localities to use at their discretion,
rather than to earmark the funds to mandated programs,resulted in larger
proportions of federal money going to small and moderately sized cities
and smaller proportions going to the largest cities. Harrington esti-
mated that, between 1968 and 1975, the share of money going to large
cities declined by 20 percent.29 Politically, this is understandable
since many of the largest cities are Democratic and unlikely to benefit
from Republican policies. Harrington concluded that his proposition
about the federal government fueling urban decline was supported by the
The destruction of great American cities was not the result of
economic forces acting autonomously and independently of the
human will. Rather these forces operated in, and were signifi-
cantly shaped by, an environment created by political decisions
which were systematically and coherently thougthlessas far as
social cost and consequence were concerned.30
Others have discussed the structural problems alluded to by Harvey,
Marx, and Engels. Manuel Castells, a prominent structuralistt," de-
scribed the problems of our cities. Castells defined the crisis of
declining services and deteriorating infrastructure in American cities
as a manifestation of a larger economic crisis in our system. He attri-
buted the larger economic crisis to the socialization of costs and
privatization of profits that occur in our capitalist form of govern-
ment. Castells cited the following basic structural contradictions in
1. The contradiction between the growing need for public ser-
vices in a system of socialized consumption and the increas-
ing privatization of profits
2. The contradiction between the growth of local governments'
responsibilities and their inability to deal with the problems
either financially or institutionally
3. The contradiction between the need to maintain central func-
tions and the urban sprawl of metropolitan areas
4. The contradiction between the concentration of surplus popula-
tions in the center cities and the lack of mechanism of inte-
gration in the center city.
Castells maintained that these contradictions threatened the very
basis of urban existence. They represented a growing breakdown of the
means of collective consumption. This breakdown could be witnessed in
the destruction of portions of cities such as in Baltimore, Boston, and
St. Louis. The South Bronx of New York City was cited as the most
famous example of the decay that threatens our large cities. In the
South Bronx the process of abandonment and deterioration of real estate
values had encouraged the setting of fires in order to collect money
from insurance companies. Castells claimed that there were 12,300
fires in the South Bronx in 1974, approximately 10 every night. The
going rate paid to children to start the fires was incredibly only
three to ten dollars.32 This statistic in itself is indicative of the
chaos that ran rampant in New York during the seventies. The South
Bronx represented the most famous but not the only area of New York in
turmoil. Brownsville and Bushwick in Brooklyn were also laid to waste
in the seventies.
Castells speculated that the breakdown of social order had its
roots in the "ideological experiences of oppression" and the "social
structure of exploitation" that was rampant in our cities. The ex-
ploited vented their frustrations upon the support systems of the inner
cities in the seventies. Street crime and riots were the most signifi-
cant factors in the breakdown of order in the cities. This breakdown
of social order also had a major impact on the management of cities.
Castells maintained that the social breakdown contributed to both the
failure of the cities to manage their affairs and to the urban fiscal
crisis. The fiscal crisis is,in Castells view, the result of the
socialization of costs and privatization of profits that occurs in our
system. Castells concluded that the fiscal crises of municipalities
could eventually threaten the legitimacy of local governments and that
policies must be implemented to overcome the crises. In Castells' view
these policies would be the result of class conflict within the frame-
work of our social structure. The radical perspective can be perceived
as an extension of liberalism's concern for social justice and equality.
Radicals, however, do not believe that the legislation aimed at alleviat-
ing injustices went far enough. They believe that New Deal legislation
in the United States probably saved the capitalist economic system;
however, they do not believe that the system was worth saving. They
contend that significant changes are needed in order to correct the
structural contradictions manifested in the system -changes they claim
would bring about more social justice and equality.
In the United States radical intellectuals have not been very
successful in fundamentally altering the system. Workers in America
have struggled and achieved a relatively high standard of living. The
exploitation and poverty noted by Marx and Engels when describing the
plight of the majority of industrial workers in England does not
apply to industrial workers in America today. Revolutionary movements
have in fact been more successful in agrarian societies than in the
industrial society where Marx predicted the proletariat would seize con-
trol. China, Vietnam, Cuba, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Angola, and Afgani-
stan are examples of agricultural societies that have accepted collec-
tive forms of government.
There is evidence in the United States that the proletariat, or
workers, are not as radical as others, such as intellectuals or students.
In the sixties the construction workers, or "hard hats," symbolized con-
servative thought. In 1972 large numbers of workers abandoned their
traditional political home (the Democratic party) because the standard
bearer was perceived to be "too liberal." In 1980 the proletariat, or
working class, delivered a resounding victory to the conservative can-
didate, Ronald Reagan. Workers in America today have a vested interest
in the continued prosperity of the nation. They have attained a decent
standard of living through many years of struggle with management.
Sweatshops in New York and the Ludlow massacre in Colorado are two
examples indicating that the struggle has not been easy. It appears
that,in response to a shift to the right by many workers, liberals are
modifying their public positions. Neoliberalism refers to this shift
to the right.
A new group of Democrats who claim to be the political heirs of
John F. Kennedy are gaining visibility in America today. This group has
only recently been defined. They are represented by senators such
as Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Gary Hart of Colorado, Paul Tsongas of
Massachusetts, and Max Baucus of Montana; congressmen such as Timothy
Wirth of Colorado, Richard Gephardt of St. Louis, James Florio of New
Jersey, Leon Panetta of Monterey, California, Albert Gore of Tennessee,
and Phillip Sharp of Indiana; governors such as Jim Hunt of North
Carolina and Bruce Babbitt of Arizona; communicators such as economist
Lestor Thurow of MIT, Morton Kondracke of The New Republic, James
Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly, Charles Peters of The Washington
Monthly; and even bankers such as Felix Rohatyn.34
What the neoliberals represent has only recently been defined.
Neoliberals would like to free themselves of the albatross of dis-
credited social programs of the sixties. They would, however, like to
retain an allegiance to the ideals of the sixties-compassion for the
downtrodden, justice, fair play, and liberal ideals. Neoliberals claim
that they simply would like to practice pragmatic politics and that
they will repackage the politics of good intentions in a manner that
does not disrupt society. A closer inspection of the platform and
agenda of neoliberals reveals that in many respects their positions are
not much different from the positions advocated by the New Right.
Neoliberals wish to limit the role of government but do not call
for the extent of contraction desired by the Right. Congressman
Richard Gephardt claimed that government has a duty to see that people
are not "crushed by the economic forces of the free market," but he
asserted that government has no business being in other areas, such as
In terms of economic posture, neoliberals do not differ much
from neoconservatives-both stress tax incentives, economic growth, and
the encouragement of the entrepreneurial spirit. According to Charles
Peters of The Washington Monthly,
ninety percent of our bright young kids of the Seventies have
gone to law school or business school. Instead of going into
something that would create a new enterprise that would make the
country move again, they are going into whoring. I don't want
to lose to the Japanese.36
This nationalistic appeal is heard with equal clarity from the
Right. Neoliberals, however, differ from neoconservatives in terms of
priorities. Neoliberal emphasis is almost exclusively on economic
issues. Neoconservatives, many of them sociologists, insist that
America's problems stem from a cultural breakdown. Economic problems
are only a manifestation of the deeper cultural problems of the nation,
in the view of these neoconservatives.
Neoliberals recognize the need for more government-business
cooperation. The Japanese concept of teamwork explained in the recent
best seller Theory Z is extolled by neoliberals.37 Emphasis is also
placed on research and development and long-term rather than short-
term solutions to our economic problems. Fear that the traditional
excellence of the United States is slipping is another thesis of the
neoliberals. Neoliberals view traditional liberals such as Kennedy and
Mondale as "paradigms of tired thinking," and view themselves as repre-
senting the new direction of liberalism in America. A neoliberal agenda
emphasizes the following:
1) Compulsory National Service
2) Negative Income Tax
3) Central Economic Planning
4) Hi-Tech Industrialization
5) Better Defense 38
6) Cooperative Regionalism.
Implications of Ideology to Local Governments
Does political ideology have a marked affect upon the budgetary
behavior and socioeconomic conditions of cities? This is a question
that will be investigated in greater detail in the following chapters.
Some make the argument that there is no liberal or conservative method
of sweeping a street, teaching children, controlling crime, or budget-
ing. Whether differences between liberal and conservative cities exist
in regard to budgeting will be determined. Intuitively, one would expect
policies in conservative cities such as Dallas and Houston to be dis-
tinctly different from policies in liberal cities such as New York and
Boston. This may be attributed to the fact that we expect leaders in
conservative cities to rely upon the free market to a greater extent
than leaders in liberal cities. One would expect, a priori, liberal
cities to be characterized by high per capital expenditures, high borrow-
ing, and high intergovernmental revenue. Presumably, these revenues
and expenditures would be necessary and would be supported by the citi-
zens in order to fund the expansive type of government likely to be
encouraged by liberal philosophies.
This chapter has delineated basic philosophical positions of the
liberal political ideology. It has also discussed the historical evolu-
tion of liberal legislation. Both of these discussions are aimed at pro-
viding theoretical insights into why policy differences may exist be-
tween liberal and conservative cities. These differences will be empiri-
cally explored in later chapters.
The discussion of the rise of the neoliberals demonstrates that
ideology is indeed a matter of interest today. Just as the rise of
the New Right describes ideological foment, the rise of neoliberals
represents the Democratic party's response to the electoral success of
conservative candidates. Both of these movements indicate that the
agenda of the nation has shifted to the right. If one believes the
assumption that a shift in ideological values of the nation is occurring,
one should also be concerned with the consequences of this shift. This
study will evaluate the association between political ideology and
specific public policy. Through this analysis we can begin to assess
the policy implications of shifts in value priorities or shifts in
ideologies. In the following chapters the association between political
ideology and budgetary policy are empirically investigated. Whether
different budgeting policies exist between liberal and conservative
cities is explored. Specific categories of revenues and expenditures
are compared between liberal and conservative cities. The extent of
difference in these categories is empirically identified. The discus-
sion of New Right positions provides an indication of the salience of
the conservative position today. There was a time when conservative
ideology in America was considered dead. The election of 1980 and
other elections, however, demonstrated that the Right has the ability
to draw support from a broad spectrum of the electorate. Working-
class support of conservative Republicans particularly troubles Demo-
crats accustomed to the support of rank and file labor. Frustrations
of coal miners, truckers, and farmers have been exploited by the New
Right anxious to build a durable coalition.
C. B. Macpherson, "The False Roots of Western Democracy," in
Fred R. Dallmayr, ed., From Contract to Community (New York: Marcel
Dekker, Inc., 1978), p. 17.
E. K. Bramsted and K. J. Melhuish, eds., Western Liberalism
(London: The Chaucer Press, 1978), p. xvii.
Ibid., p. xvii.
4Leon Baradat, Political Ideologies (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1979), p. 61.
5bid., p. 62.
Bramsted and Melhuish, p. 20.
Baradat, p. 94.
81bid., p. 94 9bid., p. 96.
10Bramsted and Melhuish, p. 249.
lBaradat, p. 97. 1Bramsted and Melhuish, p. 79.
13Baradat, p. 97.
1Asa Briggs, "The Welfare State in Historical Perspective," in Mayer
Zald, ed., Social Welfare Institutions (New York: John Wiley & Sons),
15Michael Freeden, The New Liberalism: An Ideology of Social
Reform (Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 20.
16"Pensions and the Poor Law," Nation, 16.3.1907, quoted in
Freeden, p. 203.
17Freeden, p. 222. 18Ibid.
1Ernest Mandel, An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory
(New York: Pathfinder Press, 1979), p. 9.
20Ibid., p. 13.
2Manuel Castells, The Economic Crisis and American Society
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978).
2Frederick Engels, The Condition of the English Working Class
in 1844 (London: 1962 Edition), pp. 46-47.
23David Harvey, Social Justice and the City (Baltimore:
Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 34.
241bid., p. 95.
27Ibid., p. 119.
25Ibid., p. 101.
26Ibid., p. 101.
28Michael Harrington, Decade of Decision (New York:
Schuster, 1950), p. 186.
29Ibid., p. 199.
30Ibid., p. 203.
31Manuel Castells, The Economic Crisis and American Society
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980), p. 200.
32Ibid., p. 208.
33Ibid., p. 214.
34Randall Rothenberg, "The Neoliberal Club," Esquire, February
1982, p. 38.
35Ibid., p. 44.
36Ibid, p. 45.
37Wiliam G. Ouchi, Theory Z (New York: Avon Books, 1981).
38Rothenberg, p. 45.
NEXUS BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND SOCIOECONOMIC VARIABLES
The association between political ideology of cities and the
experience of their socioeconomic variables is explored in this chapter.
Causality is not determined, only distinctions based upon the difference
of means between liberal and conservative cities. A number of socio-
economic variables are compared employing the difference of means, t
tests. The overall health or economic viability of cities is also com-
pared utilizing bond ratings and changes in bond ratings as surrogate
measures of municipal health. Prior to the investigation of socio-
economic distinctions between liberal and conservative cities, the
development of the concept of ideology is discussed.
Development of Concept of Ideology
The term ideology was first coined by the French scholar Destutt
de Tracy (1754-36), who used the term in his study of the Age of Enlight-
enment.1 Destutt de Tracy viewed ideology as part of a newly conceived
science of ideas, which was to be the basis of a new social order. At
the turn of the eighteenth century, Destutte de Tracy and his followers
enjoyed great popularity. The influence of the movement was short lived,
however. Napoleon dismissed the leaders of the movement as a group of
tiresome theorists. In order to establish a strong central state,
Napoleon decided to restore the influence of the Church rather than to
support the influence of the "science of new ideas."2
Ideology was little heard of after the failure of de Tracy to
reform France in the late eighteenth century. Marx resurrected the
term, however, in the mid-nineteenth century. His earliest systematic
use of the term occurs in The German Ideology, which was co-authored
with Frederick Engels. Marx and Engels viewed ideology primarily as a
fabrication used by one group of people to justify their place in
society. The idealized use of the term as a science for the improve-
ment of society had been abandoned. In the view of Marx and Engels,
ideology was a concept that worked to benefit the ruling class by
guiding the programs of the existing class structure. An ideology would
cease to exist only when it no longer met the demands of its population.
At that time a new ideology favoring the interests of a different class
would emerge. Marx's Theses on Feuerbach presents a rough outline of
his definitive work on ideology.3 In this work, Marx emphasized the
practical nature of thought and denied the importance of unpractical
thinking. Marx maintained that only thought could change the world-
all else was trivial. Only by changing the world, Marx believed, could
men destroy the society that alienated them from themselves. Aliena-
tion is a vital component of what Marx termed "false consciousness."
Since in contemporary societies all that is naturally human is alienated
from man, alienation of thought naturally follows. Alienation of
thought leads thinkers to believe their works to be true; yet this is
false consciousness or the individual's mistaken belief.4
Marx observed that alienation of social thought was centered on
the state instead of the real basis of alienation which was property.
Political thought mistakenly centered upon state institutions rather
than on problems arising out of private ownership of property. This
political orientation was further evidence of the false consciousness
of thinkers and the extent of their alienation. Only if thinking were
directed at the real basis of society (property) would thought cease
to be alienated. False consciousness was said by Marx to explain the
errors of previous thinkers and to provide an explanation of how socie-
ties are ruled:
The false consciousness of a ruling class, its ideology, guides
it according to the direction of its own interest. The ideology
of the bourgeoisie, for example, is the programme of bourgeois
expansion and power. The exponent in this programme is the polit-
ical economist, who tells the bourgeois how to expand his capital
at the fastest possible rate. On Marx's understanding this
programming is unobjectionable, until the economic and social
system which is guided by the bourgeois ideology stops expanding.
. When the forms of material production are no longer able to
meet the demands of an expanding population, the social system
is bound to be overthrown. But before this occurs, a new ideology,
one setting forth a programme5favourable to the interests of a
different class, will emerge.
In short, Marx viewed ideology as an idealized justification for
ruling-class control, which meant control of all means of production-
goods as well as ideas. New ideologies would take hold only when mate-
rial production was no longer able to meet the demands of the population.
In this manner the world would follow the history of material change,
not the logic of thought, as Hegel claimed. Marx was critical of all
philosophy and what he termed the delusions of absolute idealism.
A prerequisite for Marx's "socialist science" (which would be led by
the proletariat) would be what Marx termed an "unmasking of human self
alienation."6 Marx's theory of ideology was assigned this task. Marx
maintained that once the unmasking process had been accomplished, all
would be clear. He stated that "it is the task of history, therefore,
once the other world of truth has vanished [false consciousness],to
establish the truth of this world."7
Karl Mannheim, another important contributor to the development
of the concept of ideology, was in agreement with Marx in that he be-
lieved all thinking was socially determined. He believed, however,
that Marx's writings were no more free from ideology (false conscious-
ness) than the works Marx attacked. Marx, he claimed, used false con-
sciousness to discredit opponents but did not apply the same criterion
to his own works.
Mannheim claimed that men's thoughts are in accordance with their
class positions, and that the task of intellectual criticism is to
understand and benefit from the ramifications of this insight. Mann-
heim concluded that no idea was strictly congruent with reality, all
ideas being more or less pathological expressions of social discontent.
He distinguished between what he termed utopies and ideologies, calling
the more incongruous thoughts, the ones which are so incongruous
that they prevent the thinker from acting effectively, ideologies.
The more effective ones, the ones which enable men to break
through the status quo and satisfy the needs of the thinker, are
called utopias. Mannheim admits that a little insecurity and
maladjustment in a class is to be expected, for then the class
concerned will express its grievance in the form of what he calls
a utopia and so overcome its problems.8
Mannheim feared that unmasking false consciousness might prevent
utopian responses to pressing problems. When this unmasking occurred,
groups shorn of their utopia might react to the situation not by refer-
ence to their true position, but by taking refuge in what was perceived
as an intractable pathological response or ideology.
Both Mannheim and Marx laid the foundation for an understanding
of ideology. Since the time of Marx, ideology has been utilized as a
means of describing class conflict and philosophical beliefs. It also
has been viewed as a means of studying how ruling classes have justified
their positions. Perhaps most important, ideology provides a means of
investigating historical change.
Dialectical View of Ideology
Ideology has been utilized as a means of understanding large
changes in the history of man. Marx's concept of dialectical material-
ism is fundamental to the Marxian understanding of history. Ideology
plays a large part in this dialectic, or change, that is ever occur-
ring. The concept of the dialectic was borrowed by Marx from George
Hegel. Hegel developed a theory of history based upon the concept of
change in which the world was progressing toward an ideal or goal that
was predetermined by God.9 According to Hegel, people should not try
to adjust the progress of history-which he viewed as beyond their
power and predetermined by God. People, he wrote, would find truth
only when they accepted their place in history, or in the Devine plan.
Marx was not in accord with this view of history but adopted Hegel's
idea of the dialectic process.
Hegel believed that the dialectic was a devinely created
force by which the Idea [history] was to unfold. He believed that
any reality is two things. It is itself, and it is part of what
it is becoming. Thus the only consistency Hegel saw was change
itself. He called this the power of the negative. To Hegel
history was simply the process of change brought on by struggle.
In this process no truth was ever lost since today's reality
would become part of a more perfect truth tomorrow. 0
Marx changed Hegel's dialectic in order to suit his own view of
historical progress. While Hegel argued that the dialectic was a
struggle between devinely inspired ideas which culminated in change,
Marx postulated that the dialectic was a struggle among worldly (not
Godly) interests. Marx, therefore, is said to have "stood Hegelism
upon its head":
Marx believed that the human conflict was caused by social class
differences. In addition, he held that the struggle that occurred
at the end of one historical era and led to the dawn of a new
one was a struggle between opposing social classes. Further, he
believed that humanity had passed through four historical stages
and was about to enter its fifth and final era.11
The first era of human history was said by Marx to be based on
primitive communism where no occupational specialization or division of
labor existed. As specializations developed, they led to strife and
conflict, with empire resulting from the strife as the second dominant
political system. Slavery was said to have been the economic system
that supported the political system of empire. Feudalism emerged as the
political-economic system toppling the old system of empire. Bourgeois
democracies were the basis of the political systems replacing feudalism.
Capitalism was the economic system supporting the bourgeois democra-
cies. The proletariat, or the factory workers, were to be the vehicle
for the creation of the fourth historical era. This fourth era would
emerge as the end product of the final dialectical struggle-all classes
but the proletariat would be eliminated; the source of all human strife
would disappear; and a new, classless society holding its goods in
common would emerge. In this society all people would find peace and
Whether one adheres to the dialectical view of history or not,
it is fairly clear that some ideological change appears be be occurring
in America today. For the purpose of this study, the impact of this
change on local governments is of primary concern and will be evaluated.
First, however, two procedures must be implemented: (1) ideology must
be operationalized and transformed from a theoretical concept into an
objective value, and (2) cities must be characterized according to
ideology so that their behavior can be contrasted.
Empirically Characterizing Cities by Ideology
The twenty largest cities in the United States were typologized as
either liberal or conservative12 by use of rankings by the Americans
for Democratic Action (ADA). These ADA rankings were assumed to repre-
sent an independent, nonpartisan measure of ideology. The ADA was
organized in 1947 by a group of political leaders, trade union officials,
and university people. Its purpose was to serve as a bulwark of liberal
anticommunism,13 and it is dedicated to work for the nomination and
election of liberal candidates to public office, regardless of party
label. The Americans for Democratic Action is established to "seek out,
propose and support candidates who stand for regorous liberal programs."14
As stated in the introduction, a number of assumptions were made
in typologizing cities. Among them are (1) congressmen and congress-
women of a particular municipality are representative of the political,
cultural, or political ideology of that municipality, and (2) Americans
for Democratic Action can accurately identify the ideological posture
Evidence exists that ADA scores accurately reflect the ideology
of the members of Congress and correlate highly with other indexes
that claim to describe ideology. A strong negative correlation exists
between the ADA measure and conservative measures of ideology. Those
with high scores on the ADA scale rank low on the conservative scale
and vice versa. It is assumed that the key votes chosen by the ADA
represent policies with an ideological frame of reference.
Through ADA rankings, a measure of ideological preference for
each city was attained. For example, New York City is represented in
the House by districts 7-22. The representative from each of these
districts is ranked by the ADA with regard to his or her correspondence
with liberal positions on certain values. By averaging the scores of
all of New York's representatives, an ADA score for the entire city can
be calculated. This procedure was carried out for the other cities
and arrayed from highest to lowest. The highest cities on the ADA rank-
ing were designated "liberal" cities while the lowest cities were desig-
nated "conservative" cities. Appendix A shows ADA rankings for each
district in the cities under review; Table 4-1 arrays the average ADA
ranking for all of the cities. The cities were dichotomized into two
categories in Table 4-1. the cities with the highest ADA scores
(Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Memphis,
Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Jose) were
characterized as liberal; the others were characterized as conserva-
tive. The majority of the conservative cities were located in the sun-
belt. Los Angeles and Memphis were the only liberal sunbelt cities.
Columbus and Indianapolis were conservative cities not located in the
sunbelt. The salience of political ideology relative to region is dis-
Ideological Ranking of Cities by ADA Scores
Ideological Versus Regional Salience
Kirkpatrick Sale's Power Shift stirred a great deal of attention
in discussing the growth of the sunbelt and the decline of the snowbelt.
Sale's contention, simply stated, was that the sunbelt was experiencing
growth while the snowbelt or frostbelt was in a state of decline. Wat-
kins and Perry disputed some of Sale's contentions. They claimed that
there was poverty in both areas but that the response to the poverty
differed dramatically between the two areas. In the north, poverty was
addressed through governmental assistance and was a source of fiscal
crisis in cities such as New York. In the south, poverty was a source
of cheap labor. Poverty, measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
was greater in the south; yet the poor of the south were much more
likely to be working-for a subsistence wage-and paying taxes, while
the northern poor were much more likely to be unemployed. Culture
or political ideology may begin to explain this phenomenon. Implicit
in Watkins and Perry's analysis is the contention that regional differ-
ences may be linked to policies toward the poor.
There is another dynamic at work beside sunshine. Thomas Dye
tested the relationship between economic growth and average annual
daily temperature. Dye found that the sunbelt phenomenon was grossly
exaggerated. Warmth and sunshine in and of themselves were not very
good predictors of economic growth.6
Other studies have singled out different conditions as prerequi-
sites for growth. Robert T. Holt and John E. Turner acknowledged the
importance of political conditions.17 They viewed the attitude of the
government as a crucial determinant of economic growth. The present study
focuses upon political ideology and investigates the linkage between
political views (measured by votes in Congress) and various socioeconomic
measures of growth and general health. As Holt and Turner, and Watkins
and Perry, infer, political conditions may be very relevant influences
on social and economic conditions. In the present study the socioeconomic
health of cities is explored by an investigation of bond ratings and
the performance of individual socioeconomic variables.
Bond Ratings, 1981
The economic health of a city is reflected in the bond ratings of
the municipality. Ratings are initially determined by investment ser-
vices such as Moody's or Standard and Poors. After evaluating the pros-
pects of repayment and the risks of default, bonds are given a rating
ranging from Aaa (best quality) to C (lowest rated class), While bonds
are rated by investment houses, the market eventually determines the
worth of the security. If a bond has been rated too low, interest rates
will be very attractive to investors wishing to reap a good return on a
secure investment. These investors will buy the bond, increasing the
demand and making the security sell at a premium. Future issues will
be floated at a lower interest rate reflecting this market interest.
If, on the other hand, the bond has been rated too high, lack of inter-
est will force the price of the bond down, increasing the rate of in-
terest until it eventually finds buyers. Moody's ratings for municipal
bonds are summarized as follows:
Ass Best quality
Aa High quality
A Upper medium grade
B Lacks characteristics of desirable investment
Caa Poor standing
Ca Speculative in a high degree
C Lowest rated class.
Table 4-2 describes the bond ratings for liberal and conservative cities
over a period of twenty years.
The chi-square test was employed to determine whether statisti-
cally significant differences existed between the bond ratings of
liberal and conservative cities. Table 4-3 lists the latest obtained
and expected frequencies of bond rating in liberal and conservative
Since the expected frequencies of cells were less than 10, Yate's
correction had to be employed. No statistically significant differences
between bond ratings of liberal and conservative cities were found to
exist at the .01 or .05 level of confidence. Chi-square value calcula-
tions are shown in Appendix B.
The bond rating data indicate that in 1981 investors had more
confidence that conservative cities would repay their obligations than
they had that liberal cities would do so. The economic health of con-
servative cities appeared to be sounder in 1981, but statistical dif-
ferences were not found at the .01 or .05 levels.
Changes in Bond Ratings Over Time
The trend of bond ratings over the past twenty years was also in-
vestigated. A statistically significant difference between trends in
liberal and conservative cities was discovered at the .05 level of confi-
dence. More of the conservative cities improved ratings between 1961
Municipal Bond Ratings, 1961 and 1981
City 1981 Rating 1961 Rating
Baltimore A A
San Francisco Aa Aa
Los Angeles Aaa Aa
New York B A
Cleveland Caa Aa
Memphis Aa Aa
Boston Baa A
Detroit Ba A
Milwaukee Aa Aaa
Chicago A A
Philadelphia Baa A
San Jose Aa Aa
Houston Aaa A
San Diego Aa A
San Antonia Aa A
Indianapolis Aaa Aaa
New Orleans A A
Dallas Aaa A
Columbus Aa Aa
Phoenix Aa A
Source: Municipal Year Book 1981 (Washington, D.C.: Inter-
national City Management Association, 1981), pp. 12-44; John Moody,
Moody's Municipal and Government Manual (London: Moody's Investors
Service, Ltd., 1961).
and 1981. Table 4-4 shows the obtained and expected frequencies of
changes in bond ratings.
Bond Ratings, 1981:
A or above
Speculative and Upper Grade
B or below
Changes in Bond Ratings:
Five conservative cities improved their bond ratings while no conserva-
tive city had a worsening of its rating. One liberal city improved its
rating while in six liberal cities the ratings fell. Appendix B com-
putes the chi-square values for the 2 x 2 table described above. We
can infer from Table 4-4, at a 95 percent level of confidence,that be-
tween 1961 and 1981 conservative cities were more likely to experience
improvements in their economic viability, expressed by bond ratings.
This discussion of bond ratings describes the bond market's evalua-
tion of the cities' fortunes. Cities were evaluated in terms of inves-
tor confidence in both economic well-being and their ability to repay
loans. Individual socioeconomic trends were lost in this analysis. The
following discussion investigates specific socioeconomic indicators of
economic well-being in liberal and conservative cities.
Specific socioeconomic indicators of cities were investigated.
The following indicators were compared between liberal and conservative
1. Percent white population
2. Percent elderly population
3. Percent of population with four years of high school or
4. Percent of population below the poverty level
5. Median income
6. Serious crimes per 100,000 people.
These socioeconomic indicators were compared both over time and at one
point in time. Data from the 1970 census were the latest available data.
Appendix C presents the performance on these socioeconomic vari-
ables of all liberal and conservative cities. In Appendix D the stan-
dard error of estimate is computed, a figure that is necessary for the
calculation of t scores used in determining significant differences
between means. Table 4-5 summarizes the differences between liberal
and conservative cities for each of the variables listed above. The
data do not support the contention that in 1970 liberal cities were in a
worse condition than conservative cities. No statistically signifi-
cant difference was found between liberal and conservative cities for
any other variable.
Upon careful investigation of the data, however, it was dis-
covered that one city in each group was an anomoly. San Jose (in the
liberal group) and New Orleans (in the conservative group) exhibited
behavior which was different from their group. In general, liberal
cities experienced characteristics of decline, but San Jose experi-
enced robust growth. In terms of population change, the percent white
population, percent elderly population, change in percent elderly popu-
lation, change in total employment, education, poverty, value added by
manufacturing, and retail sales, San Jose'e behavior was closer to the
behavior of conservative cities than to the behavior of liberal cities.
A similar situation existed with respect to New Orleans. While
most conservative cities experienced characteristics of growth, New
Orleans' data were characteristic of decline. New Orleans was an
outlier of the conservative group in terms of population growth, per-
cent white population, change in white population, elderly population,
change in elderly population, change in total employment, change in
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value added by manufacturing, change in retail sales, change in median
family income, education, and poverty.
It has always been the case that unexpected findings may be of
great value. Such is the case with respect to San Jose and New Orleans.
While San Jose was determined to be a liberal city, based upon its vot-
ing record, it has experienced tremendous economic growth. New Orleans'
voting record firmly established it within the conservative group; yet
the city had not experienced any of the growth associated with conser-
vative cities. An explanation of why these two cities are anomolies is
beyond the scope of this study. This study only identifies the situa-
tion and serves as a source of future research.
Larry Mayer of the University of Pennsylvania stated in his lec-
tures at the Inter-University Consortium of Political Science Research
(ICPSR), in 1978, that in order to get the least distorted picture from
data, it is necessary to omit extreme outliers. By dropping these
extreme outliers, a better picture of the swarm,or majority,of the data
is obtained. This was done in regard to the extreme outliers San Jose
and New Orleans. Table 4-6 compares variables after the two outliers
(San Jose and New Orleans) were omitted.
When the cities of San Jose and New Orleans were omitted from
analysis, greater differences between the liberal and conservative
cities were discovered. In contrast to the previous analysis, when
only a difference between the elderly populations of the liberal and
conservative cities was discovered at the .05 level of confidence, dif-
ferences were discovered at the .01 level of confidence for both the
proportion of the white population and the proportion of the elderly
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Even greater population differences were discovered when changes
in the socioeconomic conditions of the cities were investigated. Growth
in the following variables were delineated:
1. Size of city
2. Minority composition of city
3. Elderly composition of city
4. Median income
5. Total employment
6. Value added by manufacturing
7. Total retail sales.
These variables describe changes in both demographic and economic condi-
tions. It is assumed that increases in the proportion of minority el-
derly populations, as well as reductions in the absolute size of cities,
are inimical to a city's "health," and that increases in median income,
total employment, value added by manufacturing, and retail sales are
positive indicators of a city's "health."
Table 4-7 describes changes in socioeconomic measures of municipal
health over time when all cities were included. Change in white popula-
tion was the only category where statistically significant differences
were found to exist between the two groups of cities. This situation
changed considerably, however, when San Jose and New Orleans were dropped
from the analysis. Table 4-8 describes the relationships when these
cities were excluded from the analysis.
Excluding the two cities from analysis considerably changed the
picture. Six of the seven variables shown in Table 4-8 were signifi-
cantly different. These differences occurred for two reasons. First,
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omitting the two outlying cities increased the difference between the
means of liberal and conservative cities. Each of the anomolous cities
had the effect of reducing differences between the two groups. Second,
the variance and standard error of difference was reduced by omitting
these cities from analysis. This had the effect of increasing t scores
and the likelihood of statistically significant differences.
In this chapter the development and historical importance of the
concept of ideology were discussed. Ideology was not dealt with ex-
clusively as a theoretical concept. It was operationalized,with munici-
palities being categorized as either liberal or conservative. Of the
cities under investigation, twelve were identified as liberal and eight
were categorized as conservative.
Liberal and conservative municipalities were compared on a number
of measures. Bond ratings-said to provide an indication of the eco-
nomic health of cities-of liberal and conservative cities did not dif-
fer significantly in 1981. If the sample had contained a larger number
of cities, however, bond ratings of conservative cities would have been
statistically higher than those of the liberal cities. Greater differ-
ences existed in terms of changes in bond ratings over a twenty-year
period. During this time, conservative cities were statistically more
likely to improve their bond ratings, while the bond ratings in liberal
cities were likely to worsen.
Bond ratings provided an indication of gross evaluations of munici-
pal health. Socioeconomic measures delineated in greater detail the