Posts Tagged ‘Affordability’

Caviar Liberalism Segregates Housing

July 26, 2021

Berkeley was the birthplace of the caviar liberal mentality, a place where privileged liberals went to expensive restaurants, crowed in delight about it, having dinner where Bill Clinton did, and struck progressive poses among themselves… While carefully excluding those less wealthy and influential. The more privileged they got, the more “liberal” they posed… As long as their neighborhoods could stay segregated. The university itself led that mentality, by exploiting all sorts of teaching assistants and untenured lecturers, refusing, for decades, to let them form unions, as the university refused to consider that these workers were employees. Many of them had to work for no pay, because Berkeley was such an advanced, glorious place, beyond any suspicion. I had direct experience of this as a victim, for years.

The truth then was quite the opposite of the human rights picture that caviar liberals wanted to projectl: Berkeley and its sister cities refused to build low, or even middle income housing… it would “block the views”… that, and alleging developers would make profits, were the best argument the pseudo-liberals could find, while even fully employed school teachers had to live in miserable conditions. Berkeley and some of the adjoining cities have recently lifted total interdictions on multistory buildings (which is what middle income housing means there). But market demand still forces prices around ten times, per area, above national average. The only solution is massive construction. All Bay Area cities, dominated by wealthy caviar liberals, obstinately refuse it, they are all millionaires, thanks to housing.  

Caviar liberalism is the objective accomplice and servant of the oligarchical plutocracy which rules the world. The first step in sociological progress is to make caviar liberals aware of their hypocritical status. 

Patrice Ayme

***

Housing prices in Berkeley nearly quadrupled in the last two decades. However, salaries, especially of the non-upper class, did not quadruple. Actually, they stayed stagnant

The Case-Shiller Index for “San Francisco” covers the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo (northern part of Silicon Valley), Alameda and Contra Costa (East Bay), including Berkeley and its sister cities, and Marin (North Bay). It doesn’t cover the southern part of Silicon Valley, including San Jose, which is even more outrageously expensive, and the largest portions of the North Bay (Wine Country counties of Sonoma and Napa) and Solano County.

***

P/S: The preceding was (except for the last sentence) a comment to a NYT article which condemned Berkeley as the birthplace of housing segregation, a point I have long made, in various essays, and sent to the NYT in various comments. So let me congratulate myself for an alert well done.

The NYT has links to various laws and ways explaining the California housing crisis in the way I have long advocated: a crowning achievement of caviar liberalism… originating in Berkeley, as I have long said. And this is no coincidence: Stanford is honest about its elitism, and tries to compensate for it. UC Berkeley, 30 miles north, is the opposite: dishonest about its elitism, and unwilling to compensate for it (as it does not exist, hey! Never mind the tuition for undergraduates at UC Berkeley is a quarter of the median US family income… for California residents… non CA residents pay three quarters of median US family income, just for attending classes, before room and board…)

Here is an extract from

It’s Hard to Have Faith in a State That Can’t Even House Its People. July 26, 2021, by Ned Resnikoff.

Mr. Resnikoff is policy manager for the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco.

Even if you don’t live in California, you’ve probably seen the pictures of tents lining Venice Beach. Or maybe you’ve seen photographs of Oakland’s sprawling homeless encampments, or the crowds of people living on the street in Los Angeles’s Skid Row neighborhood. Those images, while stark, do not come close to capturing the scope of the state’s homelessness crisis.

Numbers come a little closer. California is home to nearly 12 percent of the country’s total population but, as of January 2020, 28 percent of its unhoused population, according to federal statistics. More than half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population resides in California. All told, the federal government’s most recent point-in-time count tells us that roughly 161,548 Californians were homeless as of just one night in early 2020, 113,660 of whom were unsheltered — and this was before Covid-19 plunged the United States into crisis.

The political implications of mass homelessness cut deep, cut to the very foundations of our democratic system, in fact. Widespread homelessness is both a symptom of democratic decline and a harbinger of worse to come.

It should never have gotten this bad. Homelessness is solvable. Its primary driver is housing unaffordability (not a sudden recent increase in mental illness or substance use disorder, despite claims to the contrary), and so the solution has always been more housing, particularly for those who don’t currently have it. But California has allowed homelessness to metastasize over the past few decades. As the humanitarian crisis has gotten worse, it has become a political crisis. Homelessness is one of the major themes in this year’s campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, and a growing number of commentators have cited it as evidence that the “California dream” is dying.

As I pointed out in the past, segregated housing we have now started as segregated racism, and so-called “red zoning”… which is more active than ever.

The structural factors that threaten U.S. democracy have directly contributed to homelessness in California. Take structural racism. In his landmark book “The Color of Law,” Richard Rothstein outlined how the government spent decades segregating neighborhoods as a matter of public policy, stifling Black homeownership and pushing Black Americans and other people of color into zones of concentrated urban poverty.

California was an early innovator in racist housing policies: Berkeley was most likely the birthplace of single-family zoning, which constricts housing supply and pushes up the cost of housing. This policy puts it out of reach for low-income households, in particular the people of color it was intended to keep out.

More than a century after it was first enacted, Berkeley is now in the process of undoing single-family zoning. But at both the city and the state level, other racist policies remain on the books. Some of them are baked into the state’s Constitution, which the voters amended in 1950 to restrict development of low-income public housing. And California’s decades-long effort to keep low-income Black residents out of adequate housing continues to bear fruit: today, Black people make up 6.5 percent of the state’s overall population, but 40 percent of its homeless population.

Even as the homelessness crisis has grown out of the same factors as the crisis of democracy, it has directly contributed to democratic decay. California’s continual failure to make inroads against widespread homelessness risks fomenting anger, cynicism and disaffection with the state’s political system. A state that appears powerless to address fundamental problems does not make a very persuasive case for its own survival. As such, state and local policymakers need to take homelessness seriously as not only a humanitarian disaster, but a threat to liberal democracy.

California was long the world’s dream center. It got carried away with a herd of good looking do-gooder laws which served the privileged white elite, enabling a segregated society. Some of these caviar liberals I know advised presidents, and not just US presidents. It is high time to point this hypocrisy out, and recognize it as the origin of multiple crises, so that the correct strategies can be put into place. Getting rid of corrupt, hyper-wealthy caviar liberals such as billionaire Feinstein, near billionaire Pelosi, Newsom with his eleven companies created by the plutocratic Gettys, and getting rid of many others, nearly as corrupt… is the necessary first step towards truth and transparency.

Caviar Liberals, not Republicans, is why we cannot progress. To fight an adversary frontally is just war. But, while one tries to fight for progress, racist caviar liberals stab in the back, while claiming dastardly you matter to them, and they just patted you in the back!

Great Cities A Must, So Tax Superrich Hard, Everywhere.

December 2, 2015

Shallowness of thinking is a sin. Many view it as a creature’s comfort., though (“Thus spoke the Tyranosopher”). OK, not a sin in the Bible (otherwise the Bible would have put itself out of business!). But it’s a dangerous consequence, and temptation from the Internet and “multitasking”. For shallow thinking one of my reference is Paul Krugman, the most respected “liberal” (USA) or “progressive” (anywhere else) in America and Europe.

Krugman wrote “Inequality and the City” an editorial, where he depicted the success of New York, and pointed, all too moderately, and somewhat disingenuously to its features. Here he goes, with a striking disinformation hook at the end:

“New York, New York, a helluva town. The rents are up, but the crime rate is down. The food is better than ever, and the cultural scene is vibrant. Truly, it’s a golden age for the town I recently moved to — if you can afford the housing. But more and more people can’t.

Rich Gets Into More Expensive Housing, Low Lives Sleep Outside

Rich Gets Into More Expensive Housing, Low Lives Sleep Outside

And it’s not just New York. The days when dystopian images of urban decline were pervasive in popular culture — remember the movie “Escape from New York”? — are long past. The story for many of our iconic cities is, instead, one of gentrification, a process that’s obvious to the naked eye, and increasingly visible in the data.

Specifically, urban America reached an inflection point around 15 years ago: after decades of decline, central cities began getting richer, more educated, and, yes, whiter. Today our urban cores are providing ever more amenities, but largely to a very affluent minority.

But why is this happening? And is there any way to spread the benefits of our urban renaissance more widely?

Let’s start by admitting that one important factor has surely been the dramatic decline in crime rates. For those of us who remember the 1970s, New York in 2015 is so safe it’s surreal. And the truth is that nobody really knows why that happened.”

Did he really say that? “Nobody really knows why” New York became safer? Really? Never heard of Mayor Giuliani? (Giuliani was several times presidential candidate.) He was tough on crime, strong on “profiling”.

The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world (with the Seychelles islands). Eight million people are under justice supervision. Police brutality helped. This may be why nobody Politically Correct knows why New York is so much safer; nobody wants to know why. Hard thinking is always uncomfortable.

As soon as plenty of police brutality videos surfaced, and the police was reined in, crime rates exploded. That was in 2015. That is, a few months ago.

Paul Krugman does not want to praise the virtues of daily fascism as far as direct repression is concerned. Not PC. However, he dares to be a little bit, very delicately, NON PC:

“But there have been other drivers of the change: above all, the national-level surge in inequality.

It’s a familiar fact (even if the usual suspects still deny it) that the concentration of income in the hands of a small minority has soared over the past 35 years. This concentration is even higher in big metropolitan areas like New York, because those areas are both where high-skill, high-pay industries tend to locate, and where the very affluent often want to live. In general, this high-income elite gets what it wants, and what it has wanted, since 2000, has been to live near the center of big cities.”

I already mentioned this: the new young elite is less dumb and wasteful that the one which preceded it. Krugman, correctly playing psychologist:

“Still, why do high-income Americans now want to live in inner cities, as opposed to in sprawling suburban estates? Here we need to pay attention to the changing lives of the affluent — in particular, their work habits.

To get a sense of how it used to be, let me quote from a classic 1955 Fortune article titled “How Top Executives Live.” According to that article, the typical executive “gets up early — about 7 a.m.. — eats a large breakfast, and rushes to his office by train or auto. It is not unusual for him, after spending from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. in his office, to hurry home, eat dinner, and crawl into bed with a briefcase full of homework.” Well, by the standards of today’s business elite, that’s actually a very relaxed lifestyle.

And as several recent papers have argued, the modern high earner, with his or her long hours — and, more often than not, a working partner rather than a stay-at-home wife — is willing to pay a lot more than the executives of yore for a central location that cuts commuting time. Hence gentrification. And this is a process that feeds on itself: as more high earners move into urban centers, these centers begin offering amenities: — restaurants, shopping, entertainment — that make them even more attractive.”

Notice Krugman does not mention the Darkest Side: having the rich living only among the rich… Let alone correctly colored. I have observed this many times: entire neighborhoods, cities, islands, secluded enclaves of the 1%.

On this Krugman is a bit naive:

“We’re not just talking about the superrich here, or even the 1 percent. At a guess, we might be talking about the top 10 percent. And for these people, it’s a happy story. But what about all the people, surely a large majority, who are being priced out of America’s urban revival? Does it have to be that way?

The answer, surely, is no, at least not to the extent we’re seeing now. Rising demand for urban living by the elite could be met largely by increasing supply. There’s still room to build, even in New York, especially upward. Yet while there is something of a building boom in the city, it’s far smaller than the soaring prices warrant, mainly because land use restrictions are in the way.”

It is true that land use restrictions are a huge problem (in the San Francisco Bay Area, cities which want to build skyscrapers next to train stations, have been blocked… Mostly by the superrich, who do not want the poor, mediocre and thoroughly medium to rise up in the sky. The result has been the greatest gridlock in the USA).

Here is how Krugman concludes: “But will that understanding lead to any action? That’s a subject I’ll have to return to another day. For now, let’s just say that in this age of gentrification, housing policy has become much more important than most people realize.”

Trust Krugman to be as hard as a soft-boiled egg. Krugman, or why moderation is a sin. All what Krugman said was true, but it is “non-controversial“, namely everybody knew it already. Is that what the top thinking on the left can be? With moderates like that, who needs Republicans?

Something Krugman does not say:

NO HIGH TAXES ON SUPERRICH, NO GOOD CITIES:

Housing policy, thus the built-up of infrastructure, is crucial for the economy… and for comfort: infrastructure deteriorates, and has to be worked on continuously. Let alone modernized.

Private infrastructure in a city, depends upon PUBLIC infrastructure (water, electricity, basic transportation, basic police, justice, schools, government).. Thus, because of the necessary involvement of public infrastructure, PRIVATE infrastructure requires more PUBLIC spending.

Hence a thriving PRIVATE economy requires more PUBLIC economy, hence more taxes on the wealthy (Canada’s Trudeau, the new PM, advocates just this).

An example is schools: they can be made profitable, thus private, as long as they cater to the top 10% To cater to everybody, thus make a sustainable city, taxes will have to be augmented and redistributed to public schools. So sustainable cities will require a change in the philosophy of the socio-economy.

Ah, something else: taxes cannot just be restricted to the cities, as then the superrich will escape again. So they have to be national. And even international. And “Dark Pools”, “Shadow Banking”, Tax Havens, Delaware, have to disappear.

Building thriving cities is about not destroying the planet: cities are more efficient. Most of humanity lives now in cities, and the proportion will have to go up.

Don’t trust the superrich, don’t let them call themselves “philanthropists”, as if they could tax themselves. Latest clown here is the Facebook founder, who got free advertising everywhere, for his pledge to “give 99% of his fortune away“. Meanwhile he will keep on enjoying it, while claiming he does not, before he can convert it into tax-free vehicle, for himself, his wife, and child, Bill Gates’ style. It is rather sad to see so many applauding some clowns whom I do not find funny.

Politics is named after cities, so is civilization. Cities can, and will have, to save the biosphere, as they can be made more efficient, and smarter, than any alternative. And what is cities’ greatest historical enemy? Plutocracy.

One must crush infamy, and thus plutocracy, and it’s exactly why taxes were (mostly) invented.

Patrice Ayme’


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Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century