Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stupid Real Estate

For those of us who were actually looking forward to a life entrenched in the middle class, this kind of thing is really really really depressing.
Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself. In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released Thursday. It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000.
The article is even more depressing than this excerpt, citing numerous other bits of evidence supporting this trend. Boo.


Smitty said...

The middle class is absolutely shrinking as our manufacturing sector, the heaviest source of "middle class" thus far, is being replaced by the economy of information and banking and worse, the economy of debt.

With tax cuts aimed at the richest segment of society, the tax base that results from the shrinking middle class can't support the government; not enough money comes in. The result? Tens of Billions of dollars worth of structural defecit in federal Medicare payments and State Medicaid payments and cuts to local units of government. The lower class grows as the current middle class either can't afford or simply can't get the education needed for the new emerging economy. But the lower class, which is growing, goes without medical services and cities like Detroit fight just to keep enough cops on the street because, again, the tax base created by a shrinking middle class simply can't afford those "amenities" any more.

This is why I drink.

Thrillhous said...

Okay, I thought I was depressed. Now I'm REALLY depressed.

Thanks a lot, Smitty.

S.W. Anderson said...

Reagan got elected and won the hearts of millions at precisely the time when the last meaningful numbers of politically active people who had lived through the Depression passed from the scene.

A depressingly large portion of the electorate that gave Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 their victories are largely ignorant of history and economics, although I'm sure they'd insist otherwise. They were OK with piddling away usury laws and adequate regulation of the financial industries, weakening environmental protections and buying into neocon jingoism.

And yes, the same ignorance helped give us Bill Clinton, NAFTA, WTO and the race to the bottom.

Paradoxically, the majority of these ignorant voters and givers of political donations were and are from the middle class, willing repeatedly to vote against their own best interest in return for bans on things like gay marriage and flag burning, smacking down affirmative action and promoting religion in the public square, etc.

So, it comes as no surprise that after authorizing nearly 30 years worth of Republican/conservative damage to its own interests, the middle class and its neighborhoods are in decline.

The destination of right-wing Republican policy is the kind of neofeudal society that made for 300 years of bloody strife and suffering throughout Latin America, with residual grief continuing in many countries to this day.

Smitty said...

Well-said, S.W.A. And agreed: Clinton has as much to do with our current "economy of debt" than any other president in recent history.

The middle class will soon disappear and what we'll have because of this is strata of upper class and a really sunken lower class who essentially finds work by working for and under the upper class strata, in a more subservient role. This is still a ways off, but it's on the way...

...because of what you said. The middle class is constantly duped into voting for people who carry a message about shit that really doesn't matter, and they don't care about what does....their own self interest.

My aunt- and uncle-in-law said it best: "I don't care what else my Congressman does, so long as he's pro life. I mean, if he's pro-life, then morally, he wouldn't do anything else wrong."


S.W. Anderson said...

Smitty, that quote really says it.

I was fortunate to have an extremely good social studies teacher in ninth and 10th grades. One of the things she stressed was what a mistake it can be to vote for or against a candidate on the basis of a single issue. How right she was.