New York City, home of liberalism — its money, its political base, its intellectual steam, where many liberal policy trends begin — has stepped into a conundrum that has fellow liberals embarrassed and conservatives saying "I told you so." It is showing the poor the back door. Literally. A city law allows developers tax breaks and other goodies for creating housing for people near the bottom of the economic ladder that they can apply to their upscale housing projects for the very wealthy. Not a bad idea except that the housing units must be in the same housing development. In the Big Apple, housing developments mean sky piercing buildings with glorious views and luxurious amenities. It's very difficult to market these extremely expensive spaces to the wealthy if the unwashed are living next door.

So the real estate developers have fixed the problem. They simply create another entrance, an entrance less the trappings of the high life: No regal entry, no door man, no high arches and marble floors, nor glass atriums and glamorous lobbies, not to mention the absence of gyms, pools, rec rooms and other perks provincials dare not dream about.

These non-descript back doors are given separate addresses. While these "poor doors" may be symbolic, the segregation is real. Once inside, dwellers will not twain to bump into with their wealthy "neighbors" in an elevator, for example, as the apartments are built precisely so as to prevent integration. In other words, Woody Allen is your neighbor in name only. Even the left wing Salon.com is outraged, calling it a "fiasco."

This law special favor given to liberal monied interests to make millions more with special loopholes and so that the liberal elite can live as they please while both smile and give lip service to helping those on the lower ends of the economic spectrum isn't new. It's just a more ostentatious double standard. Symbolism is more important than substance in the liberal world view. Equality of opportunity and upward mobility, and dignity get the backdoor treatment. For liberals, all that talk literally ends at their front door.

Here's a local television news report with more details: