Detroit on the Chattahoochee

By Lance Lamberton

It is an unfortunate political fact of life that in the United States, starting as far back as the end of World War II, liberals and progressives have been migrating from high tax, big spending states with relatively high regulatory burdens on business to lower taxed ones. The process began when liberal, affluent New Yorkers were drawn to the bucolic hills of Vermont; once the most conservative state in the Union, and native to the one of the most fiscally frugal presidents to ever serve: the late great Calvin Coolidge. In fact, it’s hard to believe that Vermont, now the politically safe haven of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, was one of only two states that voted Republican in the 1936 presidential election, the other being Maine. The popular saying at the time was “as goes Maine, so goes Vermont.”

Yet by the 1960s the political landscape of Vermont was completely upended, making the most conservative state the most liberal. That trend started to repeat itself with Massachusetts libs invading New Hampshire, and Californians invading Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and now even Georgia with its generous film tax credits. Indeed, Georgia has become the latest casualty in this demographic shift; a victim of its own success by enticing corporate America, with its business-friendly political environment, to make the Atlanta metropolitan area its new home.

Along with that growth is the arrival of dyed in the wool liberal employees from states like New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, et al. There is indeed a reason why Georgia, but not Alabama, has been transitioning over the past ten years from crimson red to purple. It is not because our indigenous population suddenly woke up one morning and decided to become liberals. It is because their new neighbors from blue states have come down to join us and have brought their liberal propensities with them.

This phenomenon has become especially pronounced here in Cobb County, where in the last election the Democrat party won almost a clean sweep of all local offices, and now have firm control of about 55% of the electorate. It has resulted in a three to two democrat majority on the Board of Commissioners and has ushered in as chairwoman uber liberal Lisa Cupid, from the Detroit area, a part of the country which has suffered under dysfunctional big government liberalism more than any other place in the country.

But how liberal, really, is the new chairwoman? Well based upon the actions she has already undertaken to impose a new rental assistance program, very, very liberal indeed. The program will make available $4,800 in rent money to Cobb residents without regard to whether such residents could afford to pay a portion of that money. In other words, a non-means tested benefit. In addition, the aid will be administered by three separate non-profits without sufficient safeguards and oversight to ensure beneficiaries do not double dip on the benefits by applying to two or more organizations.

This program is not Ms. Cupid’s first foray into lavishing taxpayer money on undeserving recipients at taxpayer expense, but now as chairwoman the opportunities to do so increase exponentially. When she was just a mere commissioner, and one of only five, she managed to push through the FLEX bus system; a program limited to four small zones in South Cobb which picks up riders at their homes and drops them off at bus stops linked to the County’s bus service. As a wasteful program, FLEX has few peers, where the taxpayer subsidy is as high as $50 per ride. When it was proposed that it be replaced with a more efficient voucher ride sharing program through Uber and Lyft, the proposal, due to bureaucratic inertia, went nowhere. In the meantime, FLEX continues to squander millions since its inception.

Indeed, as Commissioner, Detroit native Lisa Cupid was always an unflinching advocate for spending more money and raising taxes and would often scold those of us opposed to such growth as being uncaring and selfish; a time worn liberal mantra. Well, it took Detroit decades to go from being an industrial powerhouse at the end of World War II to becoming what it is today. I only pray that the same fate does not manifest itself here in Cobb under Ms. Cupid’s leadership and that we not become some variant of Detroit on the Chattahoochee.

Lance Lamberton is the Chairman and founder of the Cobb Taxpayers Association and holds a Master of Arts in American history from New York University. The following article first appeared last year in Insider’s Advantage, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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