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Class Divide (HBO Documentary Films): I dunno if I can take it...


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class-divide.jpgAfter watching the trailer, I'm not all that anxious to see this documentary.  It is like being a war vet suffering from PTSD, and watching a grisly war movie.  

Over the past decade Manhattan has become a much nicer city.  The image below shows the old meat packing district which used to be a freaking disaster.  Today it is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country.  

I don't get it, because I would definitely not want to live in the area.  It is far too noisy and busy for my taste, but even for those with a desire to live there, the real estate is WAY out of proportion (think $1 million+ for a 1 bedroom and you still have to pay for maintenance, taxes, parking, schools, and everything in the vicinity is expensive).  

The city is almost crippled with all the new construction, but virtually none of it is for people with moderate incomes.  Instead much of the new housing stock belong to investors with no need or interest in living in these places--it is just a safe haven for rich folk's money to grow.  Meanwhile poor people struggle for decent housing and schools.

Here is a little anecdote:  In most places in the country you can go to a municipal park and play tennis for free, assuming tennis courts are not already in your community. Forget about tennis courts in schools, the vast majority of schools in Manhattan don't have them (if any).  In New York City you have to pay $200 a season to play tennis in a city run park--and there aren't that many places to play. But rich folks play in private clubs where the fees are often staggering.  Suffice it to say the next Serena will not come from New York City

I could go on all day with little anecdotes like this.  Basically if you are rich New York City is  great place to live, but even if you are middle class you can't truly appreciate all the City has to offer.  

If you are a wage earner and make less than $150K a year you will struggle to find a decent place to live in Manhattan and still have enough money to do some of the things people with salaries that high, anywhere else in the U.S., might expect to do like take vacations own a nice car or pay for private school for their kids.

New York could truly be a great city if did something to accommodate anyone other than the rich. 




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The entire discussion we were having is bolstered by this film. The housing projects right across the street from the school featured is crazy. The only saving grace is the students they chose to interview who don't have private jets to fly away for vacations on the weekend give me hope that the next generation will recognize the disparities. Because nothing is going to change, unless those who benefited actually change it.

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It's called Globalism.....

It's not just New York, it's taking place in urban areas all over the United States.

Wealthy people are trying to take back the urban core of American cities because they're running out of land.
If you look at the "norm" that exists outside the United States....today as well as in the past it is the POOR who live outside of the inner city. They tend to live in the townships, villages, and rural communities.
It's the wealthy who live in the inner cities where the amenities are.
But the United States for the past 60 years or so became the opposite and the wealthy people started moving out into the suburbs after WWII.
Partially to get away from Black people and partially because of the fear of nuclear war.
I'm sure they figured that the further away they got form "ground zero" which would be the core of most urban areas....the better they'd fair during an attack.

If you notice, most of the gentrification started AFTER the collapse of the Soviet Union when they felt that the threat of a nuclear attack was over.
So now the wealthy want their cities back and they're  tearing down the projects, patching up the ghettoes, and shipping the poor and working class...not too far out...but out into the boroughs and inner ring suburbs so that they're close enough to commute to the city and work for them but not close enough to socialize or send their children to the same schools.

No more middle class or working class.
Just the educated wealthy elite inhabiting the cosmopolitican cities, and the TRAINED (educated just enough to do the job) WORKING (not on welfare or any other type of benefit that may prevent them from having to slave to eat) poor that have been regulated to the outskirts and boondocks.

In my opinion the social planners are making a huge mistake because this structure is typical of that of a third world country...and third world societies are notoriously unstable as the poor constantly get fed up and seek to overthrow the system.
One of the reasons the United States HAS been so stable since the 60s was because the poor and working class were given some dignity.
You take that away and force them to either bust their ass working 2 jobs just to afford to SHARE a roach infested apartment or end up out in the street begging...and you're asking for skyrocketing crime and revolutions every 20 years or so.

As Troy alluded to, a much wiser plan would be to build affordable housin in the city for working class people so that people earning a modest salary can still afford to support themselves and their families.
Most people don't ask for much anyway.
It's not like everyone is demanding masions with guest houses or trying to keep up with what billionaires have and demanding the same.
Most people just want a clean place free of roaches or bedbugs, make sure the plumbing and lighting is working, and some cable and wifi where they can sit down and relax at the end of the day of work.
Over 90% of the population would be happy with that and could care less how much more the wealthy had.

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