Sunday, May 15, 2022
Not just an elite. In this era, we have a mass wealthy class. 20, maybe even 30% of the population. That could be both good and bad. It's a new way to articulate the situation
I hear, through the grapevine, that it's got plenty of buyers. It's considered high end with condos around the million dollar range. These days, being a millionaire is middle class, or at least slightly upper middle class.
There is a mass class of millionaires, a product of prosperity, but also a distortion because owning a home has lead to such great wealth appreciation, over the years, that it's pushed lots of ordinary people into millionaire class; on paper at least.
I often enjoy watching construction and I realize that large private investments help to jump start new things in the city; such as redevelopment of the waterfront. Lots of people complain about these projects, however.
Our city is experiencing changes and construction. Too much of it is thought of as for "high end." There are waiting lists and bidding wars for high end homes. Waiting lists implies lots of people. Seems like this isn't just a small elite. High end is just the middle class, or at least slightly upper middle class.
Not just in Bellingham, but nationwide, we seem to be experiencing the effects of a mass wealthy class. A product of prosperity and home value appreciation. This is having an effect on the landscape.
Most people, in this mass wealthy class, don't think of themselves as wealthy. Maybe they aren't. Everything is relative.
The term upper end may need to be redefined. Upper end is now actually just middle class. True upper end are now the multi millionaires and the billionaires.
Much of the focus of criticism, on the left, is focused on the 1% which are well into the multi millionaire and the billionaire class. Still, the bidding wars over homes and the lack of affordable housing, for lower middle class, may have more to do with the large number of people in the upper middle classes. It has to do with a large population which also relates to population growth.
Immigration is a factor in this country's population growth, but immigration isn't necessarily bad. It brings in labor, prosperity and vitality. A certain percent of immigrants do rise to the upper middle class thus helping to feed the bidding wars for housing. Bidding wars; especially in areas, like Bellingham, that are still considered nice places to live.
I think we do need to consider not just the 1%, but also the effects of the upper middle class on our landscape. It isn't all bad, but it has a big effect due to the large number of people involved.
Much of upper middle class is willing to tax themselves more for the benefit of the larger community.
There are a lot of voters in upper middle class, but if upper middle class doesn't feel gratitude for it's situation, it tends to vote like it's poor. It tends to support the politics of austerity and tax cuts.
Tax cut politics seems to always benefit the 1% and the billionaires as well. People often vote for tax cuts to middle class while complaining about the 1%. Seems like this tax cut politics always benefits the 1% also. Seems like practically nowhere has been able to pass a billionaire tax. Tax cut politics for the upper middle class does seem to always benefit the very top as well.
Much of the consumption of resources also comes from the middle class. Policies that can lead to higher gas prices, like restrictions on oil drilling, effect the middle class. If the middle class feels poor and barely getting by when gas prices go up, the politics can shift against environmental rules that restrict oil production. So much is still governed by supply and demand.
If the vast number of people, in the middle class, really started pushing for a more fair and ecologically sustainable society, changes could really start happening much faster.
I think the 1% would have to change also as the power of mass markets would be shifting. The 1% stay on top by knowing how to play the market. If the market changes, they would feel the pressure also.
The vast number of voters in the middle class could change the market forces and political landscape.
Maybe I am naive, but I think the vast middle class could come from more of a mindset of gratitude versus a mindset of fear and the feeling of poverty. I think much of the feeling of poverty comes from constantly comparing oneself to people who make more money. Ultimately comparing oneself to the 1%.
It's our whole culture of emphasis on material wealth, I guess. Something pushed in the media, pushed by most of the 1% and bought by just about everyone else.
A mind shift in the middle class could move both the mass markets and the political landscape toward a better and more sustainable culture.