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Why Achieving the American Dream Depends on Your Zip Code


Why Achieving the American Dream Depends on Your Zip Code

Greg Kaufmann

Today, the state of the American Dream—the ability of anyone to work hard and get ahead—largely depends on one’s zip code. That is more than a little troubling, given that 97 percent of Americans believe everyone should have an equal shot at success.


My understanding is that one aspect of community presence, rental mobility and accessibility for people on section 8 housing subsidies is that the registration, verification and tax paper work for landlords is complex and frequently considered a burden that they feel they must reject to protect the quality of their own lives.


In my city, over a period of only a 6 years or so, rents have quqdrupled from a easily affordable an average of $400-500/month ($650/month for a nice townhouse) to $1500-2000 a month. The reason? The neighborhood (see the picture below) became a "cool" place for "young professionals" working at nearby Google offices and other "high tech" firms - and students from wealthy families going to the upper-crust Canegie-Mellon University - and $2000 a month is simply what the "market will bear" with this abundant supply of yuppies coming in. In many cases, the houses and apartment-converted houses are long-paid-off, not particularly well-maintained, and the tax assessments are still low. So most of those high rents are pure profit to the landlord.

If you are not rich and "the market" prices you out of a roof over their head - well tough. To be honest, I don't know a lot of wage earners - many of whom cannot move out to cheaper suburban areas becasue they need access to public transit - survive at all.

We need rent controls.

 photo BloomfieldSmallJPG.jpg
Photo - Pittsburgh's formerly Italian-USAn working class Bloomfield neighborhood - recently declared "fashionable" by the yuppies


(With apologies to Christopher Brauchli!)

"Today, the state of the American Dream—the ability of anyone to work hard and get ahead—largely depends on one’s zip code. That is more than a little troubling, given that 97 percent of Americans believe everyone should have an equal shot at success."

So now, the solution to this problem suggests itself. From now on zip codes will be assigned by lottery to assure the equitable distribution of wealth. Problem solved!

"But what makes this trend even more problematic, as a new Center for American Progress report indicates, is that now—due to a lack of affordable housing and enduring
patterns of residential segregation—the zip code where people live is largely determined by income, race, and ethnicity."

So 'birds of a feather flock together'. This is news?!! When hasn't this been so?

"In order to help more low-income families move to high-opportunity
neighborhoods, the report recommends establishing a federal law that
would prohibit landlords from refusing tenants just because they possess
a housing voucher. Additionally, the authors call for the elimination
of exclusionary zoning—“ranging from density limits and minimum lot size
requirements to community vetoes of new construction”—which limit
affordable housing construction and increase racial and economic

Let's also not forget such amenities as:
K-12 Montessori schooling, Artisan bakeries, organic grocers, vegan food restaurants, and Volvo and Audi car dealerships.

"But not every family is going to be able to move to a high-opportunity neighborhood (nor does every family want to relocate), which is why we need to revitalize distressed communities as well."

(With apologies to Marie Antoinette)
"Then let them eat fast food, drink MD 20/20 wine, buy their groceries at the local minit market (along with beer, cigarettes, and lotto tickets)".

What makes a neighborhood good or bad is not zip code, affordable housing, or diversity of race or ethnicity. What makes a neighborhood good or bad is the people who live in the neighborhood and what makes the people who live in the neighborhood good or bad is the family in which they were raised and whatever such families value.

Thanks largely to the confused signals transmitted by TV and other mass media entertainment (and everything on commercial and so called "public" broadcasting is entertainment), some people grow up today even unable to decide even their "gender identity".

Get rid of the mass media and the twisted minds that program and control its content from your home and a lot of family problems will clear up. Clearing up family problems will automatically clear up a lot of the issues causing blighted neighborhoods.

Next, withdraw your kids from public school immediately, go to the library (or if you can afford to do so invest in some useful home schooling materials) and take charge of your own child's education. The power of public education is the control they exert over the greater majority of today's youth. A power that ought to rightly belong to the families into which these children were born.

Finally, set an example of careful diligence in the decisions you make on how you spend the time of your life and the example you set for the children in your life every day. By demanding proper polite standards of behavior and enforcing them in your own home you will set and example for the children in your life and their friends.


"If our priorities weren’t so skewed to benefit affluent homeowners, an increase in our affordable housing stock might be more easily achieved."

Verbiage as offered in the statement above suggests that the priorities arrived upon reflect the WILL of the governed rather than the outcomes produced through the purchase of politicians and lawmakers.

When that imbecile, Governor Scott Walker took aim at unions, a PERCENTAGE of citizens may have gone along for the ride (likely misunderstanding that scum), but what he did--as an unapologetic card-carrying oligarch was HIS will. Imposed! That is a lot different than a true public mandate.

When Rahm Emmanuel closed too many public schools in Chicago, again, it was HIS decision. Imposed.

That is the coin of the realm these days. Take anything from the so-called Affordable Care Act that is a legal travesty FORCING people to buy insurance which is hardly the same thing as GUARANTEED health CARE! (This bill was decided behind closed doors and largely written by Insurance corp. agents) to frackers in one's backyard... public opinion is largely irrelevant. The corporate oligarchs get what they demand.

The Page and Gilens Study PROVED that most policies enacted at government levels reflect the will and wishes of the upper 10%.

Therefore, when writers who theoretically empathize with the problems of poverty, war, racism, sexism, and general injustice embrace UNIFORM FRAMES that suggest public consensus where there is none, they do the Deep State's work for it.


If, as Yunzer notes, wealthy kids are moving into homes that have been converted to apartments then why couldn't the government simply go into those wealthy neighborhood homes and pick a less well-off family to 'share' a portion of those 20-room homes? With apologies to 'Dr. Zhivago': thirteen families could live in one of those mcmansions! :sunglasses: