More information about wealth disparity here and elsewhere is coming out that validates the overall complaint about economic injustice made by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
A new study shows that middle-class housing areas, especially in “booming” Oklahoma City, are shrinking while lush enclaves for the rich and poorer neighborhoods are growing. In other words, as if anyone needed to be reminded, we have a decreasing middle-class and growing poverty. The wealthy are doing just fine, of course. This is the story of our new Gilded Age.
The study, titled “Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009,” was conducted at Stanford University and based on 117 metropolitan areas. It found that residential segregation by income in Oklahoma City was the second highest in the nation, right behind Detroit, from 2000 to 2007. Overall, income segregation has more than doubled in the nation since 1970, the study found.
The study depicts a different version of the income reality here than that often projected by the local corporate media, which simplistically fixates on the city’s relatively low unemployment rate and the construction of the new Devon World Headquarters Tower.
The report points out the upward trend of residential income segregation is problematic. According to the report:
These trends are consequential because people are affected by the character of the local areas in which they live. The increasing concentration of income and wealth (and therefore of resources such as schools, parks, and public services) in a small number of neighborhoods results in greater disadvantages for the remaining neighborhoods where low- and middle-income families live.
The report notes the trend also “limits opportunities of low-income children for upward social and economic mobility . . .”
A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report also echoed the concerns about growing economic justice among the Occupy protesters. As I pointed out in a recent post, the growing income disparity from the 1970s between the richest 1 percent and everyone else has been astonishing. These current trends in income segregation threaten our democracy.
I was a member of a panel at the University of Central Oklahoma recently that discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement and its tactics. One of the major questions raised was whether the movement had clear objectives.
So let’s be clear: The recent information from the Stanford study and the CBO is a clear validation of the movement’s overall message that the wealthiest 1 percent in our country is systematically limiting income opportunities for the 99 percent and will continue to do so unless people speak out. The corporate media can mock the movement all it wants, but the Occupy protesters voice concerns validated on a regular basis by studies, economic news and, most importantly, the reality of their lives.