Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Landed Gentry

I read yesterday the increasing gentrification of American cities are also increasingly dividing the same. From the housing crisis in San Francisco that has made it the most unaffordable in the nation for its own Teacher and Civil Servants to live there to the widening crisis of Detroit and its bankruptcy as they try to downsize to the right size.

But if you are rich you are alright alright alright!

Seattle is one of the many cities undergoing immense change and it is not a pretty change. When you speak to people about Seattle they rarely speak of the quality of community but of the external physical nature in which it is surrounded by. We are not the most neighborly of people and that Mr. Rogers is what defines the Seattle Freeze. And like many cities we are facing the truth behind that curtain of Oz that defines the Emerald City.

I spoke to a young former student of mine yesterday who is in fact my neighbor as well about her attempt to make to college. I recall that day when she told me she was going to the University of Washington and her plans. I was proud of her but I did not actually tell her what I was thinking, you are not going to make this on your own, Mary Tyler Moore you are not. She is Vietnamese with parents who barely speak English. Her brother graduated barely from high school and that was from an alternative one with students who cannot succeed in mainstream school. They are very much a communal household with another younger child in school. To succeed in College it is not just the finances it is the network, the access and secondary support that enables those to make it.

And sadly she confirmed my beliefs. The debts, the lack of skills she possessed with regards to scholastic achievement, the lack of support by the University and finally the costs led her to drop out with debt and no direction. Sounds promising right?

Without that in place all the talk about education and college it is all just talk. And it is not getting better. The below article discusses that while we talk this talk about raising the minimum wage, improving access to health care and to education.

It is all for naught when people simply can't make enough to make it here, there anywhere.

Income inequality widens in all 50 states
A new report finds that lopsided income growth is happening across the nation, but the gap between the top earners and everyone else is substantially wider in several states.
By MSN Money Partner

Average real income in the U.S. grew by more than a third between 1979 and 2007. That's great news for Americans, right?

Unfortunately, no. Not all Americans, anyway.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that all 50 states have experienced lopsided income growth in recent decades. In fact, between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers took home nearly 54 percent of the total increase in income.

To put it another way, while the bottom 99 percent of earners experienced an 18.9 percent average growth in income, the income of the top 1 percent grew more than 10 times that much -- a whopping 200.5 percent increase.

Here are some other key findings from the report:
Between 1979 and 2007, the average income increased only for the top 1 percent in Alaska, Nevada, Michigan and Wyoming. The income of the bottom 99 percent actually dropped. In 15 other states, the top 1 percent captured 50 to 84 percent of all income growth.

Incomes at all levels dropped during the Great Recession, but income inequality soared as the economy stabilized in 2009. "Only the top 1 percent gained as the economy recovered," the report said.
In 2011, New York and Connecticut had the biggest income gaps between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. The top earners in both states make 40 times the average income of the bottom 99 percent.

The report says the financial sector helps to fuel rising income inequality. Four of the 10 states with the steepest rise in incomes among the 1 percent between 1979 and 2007 had big financial sectors, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois.

However, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Mark Price, co-author of the study and a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, said that income inequality is pervasive across the country.

"It's not just a story of the financial markets in New York City," Price said. "Over time, that (top) group in each state is accruing an increasingly larger share of the growth in income."

24/7 Wall St. used the EPI report to help determine the 10 states where income inequality has increased the most.

Here are the top five:

We've all heard the saying: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

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