Exactly one month ago, the WaPo had an article on the same Brookings Institute study, that I discussed here. But, the NYTimes is trotting it out again, with a different spin, it's okay to push out the middle class.
Edward L. Glaeser, a Harvard economist who studied 300 large cities with a range of levels of income inequality in the 1960’s and 1970’s, says he found little evidence that those levels later affected the growth of housing prices, income or population there.
Of course, cities need police officers, firefighters, teachers. But as long as they can get the labor they need from somewhere nearby, some economists say, middle-class shrinkage may not hurt. In Southern California, developers import construction workers from Las Vegas and put them up in hotels; costs go up but rich clients can pay. Firefighters who want to live in high-priced cities can work two jobs, said W. Michael Cox, chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “I think it’s great,” he said. “It gives you portfolio diversification in your income.” Pay for essential workers like plumbers and cabdrivers will tend to go up, he said.
Just a wee bit presumptuous this Mr. Cox is, expecting firefighters to work two jobs while the upper-class stomps on the middle class. Forget about firefighters seeing their families, let alone trying to incorporate a second job into their lives.
What the NYTimes article does do is reiterate the homogenization, and by extension the discrimination, that is occuring.
“This trend toward living and interacting with people who are like you is intensifying a lot,” said Professor Gyourko, who lives in the affluent suburb of Swarthmore, Pa. “I do not meet the full range of incomes and social classes within my neighborhood. Well, think about what happens if metropolitan areas like New York, San Francisco and the like turn into my suburb. You’ll have even less interaction. The most interesting and potentially foreboding implication of this sorting is that it changes the way we view life.”
The bottom line is, less interaction and more polarization.