economic disparity

The Gilded Age is Back

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Los Angeles is one of those places on this Earth where one can observe the extent to which the disparity between the haves and the have-nots has become a gulf of historic proportions.

Just this week there’s the story of how prospective middle class home buyers, teachers, managers, in the Inland Empire of Southern California, are attempting to purchase homes while prices are at historic lows. But the properties are being quickly bought up by cash buyers. Not local individuals, but far-off investment firms ranging from places like Wall St. to beyond including China and the Middle East.

People who live, shop, work and pay taxes in cities like Riverside and San Bernardino, and certainly soon to be Los Angeles and everywhere else in California, can’t take advantage of these never-seen-before prices for homes because people from far far away will capitalize financially at this advantageous time.

The plan, as has been reported in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere, is to create a super-industry of residential rentals, owned and managed by the wealthy firms on Wall St. and elsewhere who can easily buy up these properties with cash. That’s right. They will then RENT these homes to the very area residents who were willing and able to buy those same properties at the prices they were sold at and, in many cases, even more as these locals have learned that they must often overbid by tens of thousands of dollars to even have a chance of winning the prize of their dream home.

Permanent far off landlords will take the place of the American dream of owning one’s own home. Someone will get rich on those locals instead of them being able to claim homes and property they were more than willing to buy and own.

Meanwhile in places like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and I’m sure in the better parts of Manhattan and Boston and the northeast one can easily see up close how extremely well some people in this world are doing financially. What it really means to have the stock market hovering near record highs while unemployment and other economic indicators measure what continues to be an ongoing economic ditch for much of the country and the world.

I think we all better start getting used to it. Or get used to the idea that we’re going to have to do something about it at some point. Because the wealthy of this world are pulling together, across national or ethnic lines, their wealth binding them as an unstoppable force, while the proverbial and literal 99% of the rest of the world, maybe more, are relegated to being spectators watching how they live their lives.