From The New York Times:
Thomas B. Edsall | April 27, 2016
For years now, people have been talking about the insulated world of the top 1 percent of Americans, but the top 20 percent of the income distribution is also steadily separating itself — by geography and by education as well as by income.
This self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into.
The accompanying chart, taken from “The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation,” a March 2016 paper by Sean F. Reardon, a professor of education at Stanford, and Kendra Bischoff, a professor of sociology at Cornell, demonstrates the accelerating geographic isolation of the well-to-do — the upper middle and upper classes (a pattern of isolation that also applies to the poor, with devastating effect).
In hard numbers, the percentage of families with children living in very affluent neighborhoods more than doubled between 1970 and 2012, from 6.6 percent to 15.7 percent.
At the same time, the percentage of families with children living in traditional middle class neighborhoods with median incomes between 80 and 125 percent of the surrounding metropolitan area fell from 64.7 percent in 1970 to 40.5 percent. . . . .
Geographic segregation dovetails with the growing economic spread between the top 20 percent and the bottom 80 percent: The top quintile is, in effect, disengaging from everyone with lower incomes.
Well, horrors! it seems that the top producers are choosing to spend their money by buying homes in the best neighborhoods; who would ever have guessed that? Then, after telling us that the upper income levels are increasingly difficult to achieve if you weren’t already born into them, Mr Edsall continues:
“Family structure, as a marker and predictor of family stability, makes a difference to the life chances of the next generation,” Reeves writes:
To the extent that upper middle class Americans are able to form planned, stable, committed families, their children will benefit — and be more likely to retain their childhood class status when they become adults.
Using 2013 census data, Reeves finds that 83 percent of affluent heads of household between the ages of 35 and 40 are married, compared with 65 percent in the third and fourth income quintiles and 33 percent in the bottom two.
Translation: marriage is an economic advantage, something we already knew. But marriage is something that virtually anyone can enter; it’s staying married that produces the economic benefit. Mr Edsall seems to want to disparage the “top quintile” for living well, but he has just admitted that it is their economic and social behavior — getting married — which is a strong class characteristic.
But it’s the following two paragraphs which so strongly reek of liberal hypocrisy:
As the top 20 percent becomes more isolated and entrenched, reforms designed to open opportunities for those in the middle and on the bottom “can all run into the solid wall of rational, self-interested upper middle class resistance,” Reeves argues.
At the same time that lifestyle and consumption habits of the affluent diverge from those of the middle and working class, wealthy voters are becoming increasingly Democratic, often motivated by their culturally liberal views. A comparison of exit poll data from 1984 and 1988 to data from the 2008 and 2012 elections reveals the changing partisan makeup of the top quintile.
We’re being told both that the “top quintile” are resistant to “reforms designed to open opportunities for those in the middle and on the bottom,” yet that, at the same time, the top producers are becoming more liberal, “often motivated by their culturally liberal views.” I have to ask: can both of these things be true?
Well, maybe. We noted, last December, the hypocrisy of Mr Edsall’s New York Times colleague, Paul Krugman, who told us that climate change will kill us all, and that it’s the wicked ol’ Republicans who will be at fault, yet has not even a single (visible) solar panel on his huge, sprawling house. An arial photo of the esteemed Dr Krugman’s home and neighborhood shows us that his huge, sprawling home is just one of many in a very much upper-class neighborhood. Perhaps Mr Edsall might ask his very liberal colleague about his lifestyle.
All of those well-to-do, getting-more-liberal voters? The most racially segregated cities in America are the Democratic bastions of Milwaukee, New York City and Chicago. New York City leads the nation in having the most racially segregated school system, and the more liberal, more Democratic northeast:
was the only region where, on average, the share of black students in almost completely minority schools has risen since 1968, according to the report titled “Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future.” More than half — 51.4 percent — of black students in those states in 2011 were in schools whose student populations were 90 percent to 100 percent minorities. In every other region of the country — the Midwest, West, South and “border” states — black students today are less likely to be in heavily minority schools.
As for those conservative, Republican states?
West Virginia is the most integrated state across the board. The share of black students in majority-white schools is incredibly high — 92.6 percent. No black students attend schools where the minority population is above 90 percent and exposure of black students to white students is the highest in the nation. Iowa and Kentucky battle it out for the number two spot among the three measures. Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska also rank among the most integrated states for blacks.
Segregated schools are the result of one thing: segregated living patterns. One would expect, from what they say, that our friends on the left would be living in less, rather than more, segregated neighborhoods, but somehow, some way, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. One would expect, from what they say, that liberals would be the ones to eschew gated communities and welcome diversity in their neighborhoods, but, once again, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Remember Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lashing out at Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall at the Mexican border, saying we should be building bridges, not walls? It turns out that Mr Zuckerberg lives behind security gates, and then bought the four homes which have views of his Palo Alto estate, to have them demolished.
Never, ever, trust the left: whatever they say we should do, they, personally, do the opposite.