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Will poverty ever be history?

#101 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 09:45

View Postbillw55, on 2014-July-07, 12:10, said:

A century is just a blink of an eye. Barring a fast extinction event, humans will exist long past that, even when heading for slow extinction.

Civilization might be another question.


Homo Sapiens may indeed evolve into a different species. Climate and environmental factors often speed up the process of evolution.
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#102 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 10:28

I was in the doctor's office yesterday and while waiting I found a story in Time, Feb 10th or so. It was about San Francisco.

Apparently I would qualify as impoverished if I tried to live there. Some diner is selling toast for $4.00. The median rent on an apartment is about $3500 per month. Yes they have rent control but apparently there are ways around that.

Change of topic, but back to the point in a minute. Our outdoor faucet for watering plants broke, and fixing it is a bit complex so I called the plumber. He did a couple of other things as well, a very capable guy, the bill was a bit over $100. Well worth it. It's done, it's done right. Back to SF. Firstly, I probably couldn't afford a house. Secondly, no doubt plumbers would charge more, probably a lot more. They would need it to survive, just like here people need the service, and many of the people there are able to afford high prices.. So the plumbers will make out ok.

OK, you have the wealthy people that can afford the prices, you have plumbers and other essential service people who can make a living because their services are needed, now what happens to the rest? They move out, apparently. This works, sort of, as long as there are places to move to where they can afford to live.

I am a little concerned about where this is all going.
Ken
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#103 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 12:03

The greater SF housing is crazy.

Our next door neighbor just moved back to the area( just south of SF)...Their tiny house there is now worth 1MM. It is tiny and on a smaller lot and older than the house they just left.

The city of Sf is actually pretty small.

The only consolidated city-county in California,[12] San Francisco encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121 km2)[13] on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, giving it a density of about 17,867 people per square mile (6,898 people per km2). It is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York Cit
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Agree with your main point about moving if you cannot afford to live there. No reason why the USA does not have plenty of room for double the population. The key is economic growth that the greater population should bring, if allowed to flourish and fail. :)
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#104 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 15:58

View Postkenberg, on 2014-July-08, 10:28, said:

The median rent on an apartment is about $3500 per month. Yes they have rent control but apparently there are ways around that.


You misunderstand; sky-high rents are the main consequence of rent control.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#105 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 17:25

View PostVampyr, on 2014-July-08, 15:58, said:

You misunderstand; sky-high rents are the main consequence of rent control.


I don't doubt that they distort the market. My first wife, sometime after we splt up, moved to San Franciscvo and lived there for a good thirtty years in a rent controlled apartment not at that far from Union Street and Van Ness. A decent location even if it is not Pacific heights. I think the landlord did everything short of hiring a hit man to get her out. . So she benefited greatly from rent control. . But yes, I accept that it causes distortions. Whether it is actually a cuase of high rents, I happily remain agnostic.

I like the Pacific Coast, I like it a lot, and my current (and permanent) wife lived, during her adolescence, near Haight-Ashbury. But we are settled and happy where we are, I doubt we will be moving. And, apparently, if we ever decide to move to San Francisco I had better first find a large source of cash.


The Time article that I mentioned described people who were protesting Google. Protesting Google???? It's a strange world that we live in. The techies are driving up prices. Who woulds thunk?
Ken
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#106 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 19:27

View Postkenberg, on 2014-July-08, 17:25, said:

But yes, I accept that it causes distortions. Whether it is actually a cuase of high rents, I happily remain agnostic.


Well, I don't want to make you happy, but there are three main ways that I know of:

1. Scarcity. Land owners will build commercial properties rather then residential, or residential properties to sell only, knowing that they could be seriously disadvantaged by rent control. They may also sell properties that they had previously rented out.

2. Scarcity again, in a way. People will stay in apartments, even if the locations becomes inconvenient, for a long time, since they are paying much less than the market rate. Or they may sublet, possibly illegally, but this will be at the inflated market rate.

3. Landlords, knowing that new tenants will be covered under rent control, initially charge high rents so that they will not take a big hit too soon.

There are probably lots of other factors that I have not thought of. I think that a better solution than rent control would be to give tax advantages to owners of rental properties, but who in San Francisco, which is governed by direct democracy, would favour a law that gave advantages to THE MAN?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#107 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 22:26

Rent control is not the main reason for high rent in SF, but it certainly contributes and isn't a good policy. There is high rent in non-rent controlled surrounding areas as well. There is an incredibly well written long article about SF housing from tech crunch.
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#108 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-08, 23:05

Could not read the article but the headline is silly.

There is no crises of housing..just do not live in Sf ..guys there is a whole country out there to live in.

If it sucks to live in Calif for so many high cost reasons....move...

I did and I love repeat love Carlsbad(sd)

As I mentioned my neighbor who is from calif moved back to his house that now is worth 1MM or more..and it is a very sucky house. but his wife had a great promotion at VISA in SF so they moved back

Their house is a couple of blocks from the back bay...basically a swamp and just south of sf off the freeway

As far as I can tell they spend all their time at work...at work travel and vacation so ....

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Keep in mind that sf is one of those clusters that we all learn about at mba school from Porter and other teachers. Private schools such as Stanford really drive that but manufacturing has left calif all that is left are brilliant minds that group together.

Brilliant minds that live in SF but spend more and more time outside of calif.
Some are called entrepreneurs
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#109 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 06:43

View PostMbodell, on 2014-July-08, 22:26, said:

Rent control is not the main reason for high rent in SF, but it certainly contributes and isn't a good policy. There is high rent in non-rent controlled surrounding areas as well. There is an incredibly well written long article about SF housing from tech crunch.


I got about halfway through this. I just got tired, but I agree it is very well written. As an old guy, I found the historical comments about the suburbs of interest. As a young person in the Twin Cities in the middle of the last century, people in the suburbs were pitied. Why would anyone want to live in the stupid suburbs? Then it became the thing to do. And now, again, people definitely want to live in the city. I'm 75 and now live out in the sticks. Farms and cows right around the corner. I enjoy it, but still there are times... The Twins were a great place to grow up c.1950.

Anyway, it's not simple. I lived in Berkeley for a few months some thirty years ago. Even then I could sense that SF, for all of its reputation for love-ins and be-ins and so on-ins, was very much a city of and for the well-off. It's a great place, and expecting people to sacrifice the features that they have and love in order to accommodate the wishes of others is just not realistic. It isn't happening, and it won't be happening.

I do not rest easy over this fact, but I think it is a fact. Articles such as you cite may help in finding a decent path forward, one that combines vision with reality.
Ken
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#110 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 13:31

View Postkenberg, on 2014-July-08, 10:28, said:

I was in the doctor's office yesterday and while waiting I found a story in Time, Feb 10th or so. It was about San Francisco.

Apparently I would qualify as impoverished if I tried to live there. Some diner is selling toast for $4.00. The median rent on an apartment is about $3500 per month. Yes they have rent control but apparently there are ways around that.

Everything is relative. Prices in SF are sky-high because salaries in Silicon Valley are very high. They can afford to charge these rates because residents can afford to pay them. You wouldn't be impoverished if you lived there, because your salary for whatever job you have would probably be proportionately higher.

I'm reminded of the opposite effect. Years ago, my company wanted me to move from the Boston area to Denver (or Atlanta). Had I done so, I could have purchased a huge house for the price I could sell my 1-BR condo for. But I'd have to live in Denver.

#111 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 16:59

It is important to note that:

1) only few work in silicon valley
2) many of them don't live in the city of SF.
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#112 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 17:33

View Postmike777, on 2014-July-09, 16:59, said:

It is important to note that:

1) only few work in silicon valley
2) many of them don't live in the city of SF.


As someone in both categories I can assure you that:

Housing in the bay area is super-expensive even outside SF. In fact Palo Alto is MORE expensive than SF in general. Small (say 1600 square feet) houses often reach a million dollars even in the "cheaper" parts of the peninsula.

While tech companies pay quite well, it is not clear that all other jobs pay proportionately more. In fact this is a serious issue in the bay area! We have helped at the bottom end of the income scale by raising the minimum wage to among the highest in the country, but the housing issue effects people higher up the wage scale too...
Adam W. Meyerson
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#113 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 18:08

View Postawm, on 2014-July-09, 17:33, said:

Small (say 1600 square feet) houses


Maybe part of the problem is that homes are just too big, so there is room for fewer of them?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#114 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 18:19

View Postawm, on 2014-July-09, 17:33, said:

As someone in both categories I can assure you that:

Housing in the bay area is super-expensive even outside SF. In fact Palo Alto is MORE expensive than SF in general. Small (say 1600 square feet) houses often reach a million dollars even in the "cheaper" parts of the peninsula.

While tech companies pay quite well, it is not clear that all other jobs pay proportionately more. In fact this is a serious issue in the bay area! We have helped at the bottom end of the income scale by raising the minimum wage to among the highest in the country, but the housing issue effects people higher up the wage scale too...


In the Time article I referred to they had one of those charts showing, for various cities a ratio (w/o clearly specified terms) of top earnings to bottom earnings. SF has jumped over NY to have what I gather is the highest anywhere. Always these charts have to be taken with several grains of salt and perhaps a margarita, but it sounds like it is measuring something and is consistent with what you are saying.

barmar said "Everything is relative.". Soften it to "We have to look at the whole picture" and I think we may be closer. Some areas cost more and people get paid more. Sure. But I gather that in SF, and of course in Palo Alto and other nearby areas as well, many long time residents are having it tough. This is tougher on some than on others. For me, it's not tough at all. I couldn't afford to live there, just as I couldn't afford to live in Paris. So I won't. End of problem. Now take a single guy/gal with no kids whose salary has not at all kept up with the change in prices. It may not be a trivial matter for him/her to move, s/he has possessions, s/he has friends, s/he has relationships, s/he has a lease, but with effort s/he can probably do it. Now shift to the family/ Two working parents, two or three kids, and they no longer can afford to live there. This is tough. It's real tough.

And, I gather, it is happening.

Solutions are hard to come by. I doubt that any of us really disagree here.

Just as a side note: We are going out to the West Coast soon. There is a Math meeting in Portland, Becky's son lives in Spokane, we have some other plans as well. I was stunned at hotel prices in downtown Portland (we found a reasonable place, but not downtown). It wasn't so many years ago that I stayed in SF for a reasonable price. I gather that this would no longer be possible in SF, Portland is bad enough. I mean no disrespect to Portland.

There are many aspects to poverty, the subject of the OP. My not being able to afford a house on Society Hill does not qualify. A family with kids who have to move and really can't figure out how they can do so does qualify, even though there are worse situations elsewhere. There are always worse situations in some elsewhere.
Ken
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#115 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 19:18

View Postbarmar, on 2014-July-09, 13:31, said:

Everything is relative. Prices in SF are sky-high because salaries in Silicon Valley are very high. They can afford to charge these rates because residents can afford to pay them. You wouldn't be impoverished if you lived there, because your salary for whatever job you have would probably be proportionately higher.

I'm reminded of the opposite effect. Years ago, my company wanted me to move from the Boston area to Denver (or Atlanta). Had I done so, I could have purchased a huge house for the price I could sell my 1-BR condo for. But I'd have to live in Denver.

I was in Denver one January about 35 years ago. Streets were six inches deep in ice. With ruts. I asked a cop "don't you guys ever plow the streets around here?" He looked around and said "What for? It'll melt." I said "Yeah? When?" He looked around again and said "July." :lol:

Went to grad school in Albuquerque. It was a nice town, then. Haven't been back in 35 years though.
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#116 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-09, 20:32

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-09, 19:18, said:

I was in Denver one January about 35 years ago. Streets were six inches deep in ice. With ruts. I asked a cop "don't you guys ever plow the streets around here?" He looked around and said "What for? It'll melt." I said "Yeah? When?" He looked around again and said "July." :lol:

Went to grad school in Albuquerque. It was a nice town, then. Haven't been back in 35 years though.


Having just finished some wine, I will continue with this diversion. Becky and I went through the Indian museum in Albuquerque. The guide gave an excellent three sentence summary of a difficult historical period:

The Spanish came and said you have to give us your gold, give us your women, and convert to Christianity. We said we don't have any gold, you can't have our women, and we are happy with the gods we have. So there was trouble.

PS I was in Denver a couple of winters ago. They haven't changed their approach, I helped push a woman [edit, well, I pushed her car] out of some snow she got stuck in.
Ken
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#117 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-10, 10:28

"....However, if those extra profits are collected by the government and redistributed to the bottom say 40% of wage earners, the money drives demand for more product, causing expansion of business, new jobs, and even more profit for the owners. How some people cannot see this simple economic notion is to me baffling. Perhaps it is too simple."

Perhaps California and the city of SF could try out Winston's recommendation to solve poverty and hunger.
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#118 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-July-10, 14:08

View Postmike777, on 2014-July-10, 10:28, said:

"....However, if those extra profits are collected by the government and redistributed to the bottom say 40% of wage earners, the money drives demand for more product, causing expansion of business, new jobs, and even more profit for the owners. How some people cannot see this simple economic notion is to me baffling. Perhaps it is too simple."

Perhaps California and the city of SF could try out Winston's recommendation to solve poverty and hunger.


Because the trickle down of supply side has been so successful?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#119 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-11, 14:29

View PostWinstonm, on 2014-July-02, 11:07, said:

The problem as I see it is that too many people refuse to acknowledge history, preferring to indulge in ideological comfort over taking difficult action. From Henry Ford's strategic pay raise to his employees to FDR up to Reagan, history is replete with examples of demand driving expansion and growth - when the rich become richer, they do not invest but horde.

A business simply has no reason to expand without increased demand for its products and/or services - so if tax breaks increase owners' incomes, that money is nostly horded in bonds, not much spent, and certainly not invested in expanding businesses.

However, if those extra profits are collected by the government and redistributed to the bottom say 40% of wage earners, the money drives demand for more product, causing expansion of business, new jobs, and even more profit for the owners. How some people cannot see this simple economic notion is to me baffling. Perhaps it is too simple.


I suspect I would be opposed to this, but I will wait for the details. For example, do you envision that every America, as a right of citizenship, be entitled to have at least X thousand dollars a tear? Say $25,000 per year? If s/he is not working, by choice or not, we would just give it to him/her? We do give SNAP, I believe it requires no proof of any attempt to find a job, so giving everyone 25K would be like SNAP on steroids, as the expression goes.

Here is a thought behind my question: There are two frequent ways of presenting the idea of helping the disadvantaged. Roughly put, one is to give them things, the other is to help them in their quest to become self-supporting. Of course we do both already, SNAP is very much of the first sort, Pell grants are of the second sort. I support both, quite possibly we need to do more of both, but first we need to recognize that these two kinds of help are of a substantially different sort. The second sort envisions people eventually no longer needing as much help. The first just sort of hopes that maybe they won't.

The Democratic Party would like to retain the Senate and reclaim the House. As they put forth their ideas, I believe that the second approach will be much more likely to attract voters. I am certain that it is more attractive to me.
Ken
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#120 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-July-11, 14:39

Ken,

You are such an interesting and thoughtful person that you help me understand my own views better after hearing what you have to say. I realize that what I propose is not about what to do or how to do it but is simply a condemnation of the trickle-down ideology. Tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy do no automatically spur business - business expansion occurs from demand increase.

All I am saying is that if the lower tiers of earning status had more money and upper status had to pay a higher share of the burden then everyone would benefit.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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