"Seattle Is America's Income Inequality Problem on Steroids"

Comments

1
Hawaii has been like this for decades. It has a banana-republic economy, with these strata:

1. well-connected families in government jobs or oligopolies in the logistic chain ($8 Cheerios, anyone?). At the apex, the old families based on inherited land.

2. Military/Christian soldiers and their families. This place is flag-draped jingoland.

3. Rich old people working on their lizard skins.

4. The unwashed majority, living several families to a ramshackle dwelling, driving from menial job to menial job, just getting by.

5. Moron tourists driving around in circles in rental cars.
2
Can we please retire the "on steroids" thing forever
3
It took forever to get rid of the "....on acid!" and "...from hell" things. "On steroids" still has a ways to go.
5
Steroids might be obsolete. We should use "on PEDs."
6
Well, behavior and culture matters. It also has consequences.
7
"This means standing with BLM to shut down Black Friday is a practical way to reduce income inequality."

Can you please finish this train of thought? What is the sequence of events that would lead from protesting to reducing income inequality?
8
@6 cool story fascist
9
@4, The powers that be choose the latter. The reaction against the Occupy movement in NYC and the Bay Area was a dress rehearsal.
10
JonnoN @8,

What happened? I thought you were leaving SLOG?
11
The first step is for white urban progressive liberals is to realize that their white-urban-liberal policies are in fact, not progressive at all. They're just a net set of white people with a new set of white goals that support their version of an idyllic white lifestyle, this time filled with numerous artisanal stores, Tom's shoes to walk to them with, and fixed gear bikes for places a little further away. It's no less white than a mid-aughts Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.
12
@6 and @11 Can we stop turning political debates into culture wars? It's reductionist, at best.

Recognize your absurd stereotypes and cliches for what they are, and just take a moment to at least acknowledge the structural forces underlying income inequality. That's all this article is asking of you, and that ain't much.
13
What about Asset Inequality?

Shouldn't people who provide the same, or more service, start off with the same (or more) assets?

14
@6 Can you stop being so racist and be objective for a second? Being a responsible person, working hard, and investing in your education often does absolutely nothing to lift a lot of people out of poverty. Any unemployed/underemployed new grad could tell you that. Now throw in the added problems of racism in hiring, compensation, and promotion, especially if said person of color is female. Now add the fact that professionals (and those qualified to be professionals) who started out poorer have bigger student loan debts. It's a cycle that minorities are much more likely to get stuck in because of structural racism.
15
#11

The point of these policies is to distribute alms to the poor and enlist them as soldiers to help fight off an up and coming middle class who would challenge the status quo of Insiders.

That is why anyone who challenges the Insider Top Dogs gets labelled a racist, pedosexual and so on with lots of Oompa Loompas getting check from the government ready to chime in and pull them down the ladder.

For example, there is never any talk of Income Inequality between C-levels and managers and employees, even though we live and world in an Agile/Uber/Social Media world where the role of the centralizing Command and Control leadership provides increasingly less value.

When the question is who gets equal access to the dollars printed by the Federal Reserve I may take heed.

16
@ 14, FSM help us that's all so true. I'd add that pernicious downward mobility is the new norm in our eCONomy, as well.
I worked my ass off for top grades in business school only to end up in a job that pays less than the one that I had before, and now I have massive student loans that will hang around my neck for the rest of forever, forget about buying a house or other major contributions to economic growth.
Our entire society now is set up to funnel all of the wealth to those already at the top, and guarantee that the rest of us stay poor no matter how hard we work.
17
I don't have a worry in the world. You know why? For years I've read from the cracker-jack writers at the Stranger how things like all of this new housing that's gone up over the past decade will bring housing prices down for everyone and make Seattle more affordable.

So Seattle doesn't have a problem...Seattle is living the dream!!
18
@15: if you knew anything about the "oompa loompas getting checks from the government", you'd know they are almost entirely disconnected from politics. they could vote, but they don't. they're not chiming in on jack.

but the white people just up the class ladder vote, and boy they have a shit ton of prejudice, resentment and misinformation.

I have no idea what an "insider top dog" is, and I suspect you don't either.
19
@13 Excellent point. And let's not forget slippery slope inequality. What about slopes that are slipperier or slopier than others. All this talk about leveling the playing field and no one NO ONE!!!!! is talking about leveling the slippery slopes. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
21
Or we could realize we have the following problems that cause this:

1. Use of the police, courts & prisons to attack low income asset formation, including $500 median fees for homeless or indigent, and below minimum wage prison labor, which affects black & Hispanic families mostly, who have median family assets of ... $500. Total.

2. Lots of talk about POC & women in STEM jobs but very very little hiring above the $40/hour level. If half your board and execs are not POC &/or women you're doing it wrong, period.

3. Lack off housing people without large assets can buy (translation: white families only in SFH zones). Solutions: permit Tiny Houses in all lots on arterials to MFH levels; permit Tiny Houses on all underzone lots (used to own 2 lots with 1 house for me & my son). Poor people can't afford land price but can afford a Tiny Home if we permit leases or rental in Seattle.
22
I know many brilliant people of color in IT. They work as hard or harder than anyone and they have the success to show for it. Attitude and behavior matters. I know that's blasphemy to liberals to democrats everywhere. Yes, America has a shit ton of bigots. That isn't stopping you from enjoying a middle class existence if you make good choices. Stay in school, stay sober, speak proper English, learn how to use the free birth control being thrown at you, obey police and shut up. If you're too dumb or self-destructive to do those things no one should waste energy on you.
23
@12 politics is culture, they aren't inseparable, they are the same thing. Almost every political debate in America right now is a debate over whose cultural values should everyone else follow.
24
Aw look, #22. Sharing what your mommy and daddy taught you. Too bad not everyone had the same amazing, striving, middle-class mommy and daddy, or we could all be just like YOU!

"Stay in school, stay sober, speak proper English, learn how to use the free birth control being thrown at you, obey police and shut up."
25
@1, never mind Hawaii, that sounds like Vashon Island.
26
#BasicMinimumIncome
A guaranteed minimum income increases the "velocity" of money, because it puts money in everyone's hands.
So instead of hoarding it, or merely scrapeing by, they will spend it.
Money spent changes many hands and increases economic activity.
Positive economic activity --vs. stagnation-- creates more income equality, as per the author's point.
We just need to make sure the money doesn't "slip out" of the local area and get sucked away by the giant neoliberal vampire that is global economic financialization.

Not to mention, it could "reduce governement" by eliminating section 8, welfare, food stamps & other programs.

We seriously need to think about this. Finland is about to try Basic Minimum Income nationally, it makes sense to them. Various other, smaller, locations are trying it. It just makes sense. It would eliminate homelessness, reduce poverty, replace social security, and give everyone a better start.
Why are we a society in the first place? To help each other out? Or not?
27
s/governement/government
28
@26:

You're going to be declared "unmutual", you keep talking like that...
30
@26.... Amateur economist hour is over. Time for your nap while the adults talk.

Guaranteed money doesn't create "economic activity." Because it just exchanges currency, it doesn't CREATE goods or services. Jesus people.
31
Meanwhile, rich white liberals continue buying up property in the CD and Rainier Valley to take advantage of the transit opportunities that were originally put there to aid the lower income families that used to live there. But they honked their horns when they drove past a #BlackLivesMatter rally in their Hybrid, so that makes everything alright.
32
@17, New housing that's gone up over the past decade will bring housing prices down for everyone and make Seattle more affordable. That's usually how these things work.
33
@31 almost!

Those transit services were never really intended to benefit the low-income POCs that lived there. The same folks who in one breath will laud the provision of transit as a viable option for "those communities" will in the next talk about how much development springs up around transit, and in the third, talk about things we can do to fight gentrification.

It's almost as if they are no smarter or caring than those idiotic, poorly educated, racist selfish rubes who watch Fox news!
34
So if people of color will be 54% by 2040 which color will be dominant?
35
Why in the fuck are people mocking the idea of more housing? All things being equal, if you have more people than housing, the price goes up. That includes situations where more housing is being built, but it's not enough to cover past deficits or the rate of population increase is larger.

How fucking difficult is this for you? You get mad that there's a focus on high end housing, but if there isn't enough everything will end up high end anyway. Sure, do things like mandating affordable housing and multi-use zoning and all that other fun shit people talk about. In the meantime, get over the fact that your favorite dive bar is going away so that more people can have housing.

Seriously, get the fuck over it. Your shitty hipster bar or "neighborhood character" or whatever you fucking NIMBYs cry about isn't worth keeping lower income families out of the city.
36
@21

Let's be absolutely clear about what you mean when you talk about women/POC in STEM jobs over $40/hour - those are far and away computer programmers. These aren't folks working in labs or teaching math classes.
37
@35, It isn't a tradeoff. We're losing affordable housing, our beloved hipster bars, and neighborhood character all at the same time. What we are getting is density without transit and much higher prices for all housing.
38
@33 - It seems to me that the purpose of transit is to move people en masse more efficiently and at less expense than single occupancy vehicles. This can, in theory, serve lower-income residents. It doesn't in all neighborhoods, likely because of the development of which you speak, but not all development = gentrification.

There's no denying that we can see the effect(s) of which you speak. The question is, what is the alternative? Whom does it aid to not have transit available?
39
@29 - I suspect at least some portion of that class of which you speak will include teachers, artists, and happier service industry workers who have, thus far, not been able to participate actively in the economy because their work has consistently kept them at or below sustenance level. A fair number of those people are probably doing the work they do because it actually satisfies them, and would continue to do so at rates comparable to what they do now, only with some hope of reward. Others still would apply themselves to study, personal development, etc.

I'm not sure that would be the majority, and I imagine some uptick in crime is possible, but crime born of poverty & need would presumably decrease. You'll have to convince me that the harmful side-effects wouldn't still be preferable to those who work long hours to see ends not meet, or those who fall into despair at being worker bees with no room to create meaning in their lives (I mean, I know you're a borderline objectivist who thinks meaning is for god-floggers and art majors, but for most people, life is a thankless chore ending in anonymous death without at least the illusion of purpose).
40
@38 Oh, I'm basically with you here, I just enjoy pointing these things out to the dogooderati who have miraculously discovered that all these poor others want exactly the same thing they want, isn't that convenient? Cast your own desires as someone elses, reap the rewards, and then blame a new third party for the consequences. An unassailable system!
42
Here's a crazy idea, how about if we STOP IMPORTING POOR PEOPLE.
43
@41

Then you'd better get to work on stopping any further advance in agricultural and factory automation, self-driving vehicles, business process software, etc.

There aren't going to be enough jobs in entertainment to make up the difference; the only thing that might provide all those jobs you're going to need in America is a return to a culture in which the economically comfortable all employ at least one full-time household servant.
44
@42

Sure, no problem.

But we're going to assign you the job of scratching The New Colossus off of that plaque inside the Statue of Liberty.
45
Dear people of Seattle, please stop making poverty a racial issue, Race is in out minds, and it's not very smart of this Pastor to blame racism as the reason of Income inequality, Since I moved here I realized there is people suffering inequality specially for the locals I have seen all colors of people struggling to have a decent life in this bubble. If peope in the US stopped marching for the bpm and instead started working on pressuring companies into increasing opportunities for locals, no mater their race, age or gender, we wouldn't be having this talk.... It is a well know fact that boosting local economy helps the development of fast growing cities like Seattle. To fix this situation there is a series of problems that need to be solved, first rent stability for locals, second educative programs, money management and carreer assessment for students specially for those in danger of falling under the poverty line, Third making sure large businesses hire a percentage of locals, no matter age, race and gender. It's not fair that their first choice is to import people from abroad rather than giving the chance to someone local. Fourth blending neighborhoods, having people of just one type of profile living together (same economic background, race, size of family etc.) increases egoistic thoughts, we need that rich people realize the struggle that middle and low class are having so that they get involved also. There is thousands of Ideas I could write on here but I hope you get the point with these.
46
This is why, as Gardheere stressed over and over again last night, we need to think of dismantling structural racism as a practical and not a purely idealistic way to address income equality.

Of course. What sane person would contend otherwise? Structural racism is a much greater impediment to racial justice than attitudinal racism, and has been for quite some time. We didn't need some egghead from UCLA to tell us this, did we?

This means standing with BLM to shut down Black Friday is a practical way to reduce income inequality.

The rather obvious missing step in the argument here is how a protest designed to make it slightly more difficult for shoppers to get to stores reduces structural inequality. The pairing of these two sentences is classic underpants gnome logic.

Feel free to fill in the gap from this article, Rich, where you explain how this protest destroyed structural racism.