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Friday, July 16, 2010

The DC- backed by a millionaire and edited by a man whose dad has a multimillion-dollar collection of canes- slams DC while still caring nothing about the District's poor

Tucker Carlson's The DC is peeved by a study by Richard Florida on the highest per capita income cities in America. The study was led by Richard Florida at Ontario's Martin Prosperity Institute and the top twenty cities were highlighted the other day at The Daily Beast.

The study finds Washington DC has the highest median income in the US.

"THANKS, TAXPAYERS!" is the DC story's caption.

The median District metropolitan area median household income is $85,000 a year. DC didn't report the median income and per capita incomes, which tip the scale just over $40,000.

Florida, author of the popular Rise of the Creative Class, explained the results- and their challenges- in The Daily Beast's article (oddly, no one seems to have put up the full report, including the Institute):

High-income regions tend to have populations that are highly educated and skilled—what economists refer to as higher levels of human capital. Regions with more knowledge-based, professional, and creative jobs have higher incomes on average, as do regions with high concentrations of high-tech industries.
Many of these high-income metros also have high costs of living. Housing costs in Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Silicon Valley, Greater New York, Boulder, and Honolulu are among the highest in the nation; their housing cost-to-income ratios are dauntingly steep. Still, incomes are high enough that most of the people and families in these places have more money left over, even after paying for housing and other essentials, than those in most lower-earning areas, according to our research. Other high-income regions, like Minneapolis-St. Paul have a much lower cost of living.
The gap separating the regions with the highest and lowest incomes is substantial. With a median household income of more than $85,000, and median individual income and per capita income levels in excess of $40,000, Greater Washington's income levels are more than double those of America's lowest income metros. The flip side of this growing income inequality is a deepening economic geography of wealth and class.

This gap is only likely to worsen as our economy continues its inexorable transformation from a manufacturing-based industrial system to an idea-driven post-industrial one and as highly skilled people, high-tech industries, and high-paying jobs continue to concentrate in some regions and not others. This is an issue of pressing national concern; new and innovative public-policy strategies are badly needed.

Not so much on Carlson's radar- he's busy trying to irritate Keith Olbermann- is this Jonathan Chait summary of a Brookings report on unemployment nationally:

Brookings has a good report on just how long it will take to return employment to a normal level:
In recent months, on this blog, we described the job gap -- the number of jobs it would take to return to employment levels from before the Great Recession, while also accounting for the 125,000 people who enter the labor force in a typical month. After today's employment numbers, the job gap stands at almost 11.3 million jobs. 
How long will it take to erase this gap? If future job growth continues at a rate of roughly 208,000 jobs per month, the average monthly job creation for the best year for job creation in the 2000s, it would take 136 months (more than 11 years). In a more optimistic scenario, with 321,000 jobs created per month, the average monthly job creation for the best year in the 1990s, it would take over 57 months (almost 5 years).

I'm not the first person to make this point, but this is a social catastrophe that large parts of the establishment have deemed basically acceptable. They're not in favor of mass unemployment. But they don't consider it a real emergency, like a war or natural disaster, than justifies huge spending to lift us out of it. It's hard to escape the conclusion that this attitude reflects the enormous distance between elite circles, where unemployment is fairly low, and less-educated communities that are experiencing a real depression.

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