Friday, January 5, 2018

High finance

I have for many years said that the real divide in America is not north/south,  or urban/rural, or right/left or white/colored or any of the usual categories by which the political demographers split us up.

The real divide is between those who have too much to do and those who have nothing to do. And it's getting worse, with estimates I have seen for open tech jobs around 600,000.

But there is another one, the split between those who aspire to a fixer-upper without running water in Park Slope (a leafy district in Brooklyn) but are priced out at $2.3 million; or who open a restaurant that grosses $17 million a year but still cannot make the rent, and everybody else.

It is not easy to think that people who struggle to buy a house in the Midwest at $200,000 and those who spend $250,000 on custom dentiling for a second home on Maui can, even with good will on both sides, understand each other's daily concerns.

This is hardly an original thought. The New York Times ran a story in 2009 about how difficult it is to struggle by on $2 million or $3 million a year. Several congressmen of both parties have said they cannot make it on $174,000 a year. But they are right, at least if they want private living quarters.

Congresscritters did not always aspire to such opulence. For most of our history they tended to live in boarding houses.

I have been looking at real estate within commuting distance of DC, and the congressmen are right.

So, to policy: raise the bridge or lower the river?

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