The rich, the poor and the state of SF

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(68)
Why are they so angry? Take a guess

The latest Forbes 400 is out, the list of the richest Americans, and a record number (according to my annual record-keeping) now live in San Francisco. This is a city with 18 people on the top-billionaires list -- and since the list cuts off at $1.1 billion, there are a lot of really, really rich San Franciscans who didn't quite make it this year. School Board candidate Sam Rodriguez told us his research shows that there are 80,000 millionaires in the city, meaning one in ten San Franciscans is worth a cool mil, and while some of that is just homeowners who bought 20 years ago and now have property worth $1 million -- and I haven't verified his data anyway -- it's hard to argue that this is anything but a very wealthy city.

(It also has, according to Forbes, the second-hippest neighborhood in the nation, and that would be the Mission, which is reaching that fully-gentrified stage where nobody young can afford to live there anymore so it won't be hip much longer.)

The list comes out at the same time that figures show nearly 7 million Californians are living in poverty, and household income for most people has been stagnant -- at best -- for more than a decade.

It was a great year for the top 400, though -- their median income was up rather dramatically. It seems that, whatever Mitt Romney may say in public or in private, the Obama administration hasn't been bad at all for the 1 percent.

I keep asking, and I know it's tiresome, but: Why, in a city with 18 billionaires, do we still have to clear out homeless encampments?

Why are the public schools holding (literally) bake sales to buy paper and pencils? Why have we cut the number of acute psychiatric care beds at SF General from 40 to 10? If San Francisco can't even talk about taxing the billionaires, is there any hope for the rest of the country?

FYI, here's The SF 18 (complied by Anna Sterling):

    1
    Riley Bechtel
    $2.9 B
    Chairman and CEO, Bechtel Corp.
    2
    Stephen Bechtel, Jr.
    $2.9 B
    Former Chairman, Bechtel Corp.
    3
    Doris Fisher
    $2.9 B
    Cofounder, Gap
    4
    Dustin Moskovitz
    $2.7 B
    CEO, Asana
    5
    Ray Dolby
    $2.4 B
    Founder and director emeritus, Dolby Laboratories
    6
    John Fisher
    $2.3 B
    President, Pisces, Inc.
    7
    William Randolph Hearst, III
    $2.3 B
    Source of Wealth: Hearst Corp
    8
    Marc Benioff
    $2.2 B
    Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
    9
    James Coulter
    $2.1 B
    Source of Wealth: Leveraged buyouts, Self-made
    10
    Gordon Getty
    $2 B
    President and Chairman, Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation
    11
    Phoebe Hearst Cooke
    $1.9 B
    Source of Wealth: Hearst Corp
    12
    Michael Moritz
    $1.9 B
    Partner, Sequoia Capital
    13
    John Pritzker
    $1.8 B
    Source of Wealth: Hotels, investments
    14
    Robert Fisher
    $1.7 B
    Director, Gap
    15
    William Fisher
    $1.7 B
    Director, Gap
    16
    Peter Thiel
    $1.4 B
    Partner, Founders Fund
    17
    Thomas Steyer
    $1.3 B
    Founder & Co-Senior Managing Partner, Farallon Capital Management
    18
    Jack Dorsey
    $1.1 B
    CEO, Square, Inc.

 

 

 

Comments

A very late dinner.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

The poor are tough and stringy.

Posted by tim on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

You just have to slow-cook them, like a lamb shank, to break down the tough, stringy connective tissue. They make a splendid curry! Finally, make sure to compost what you don't cook and eat. Because, you know, Gaia, man.

Posted by Ruth Bladder Ginsu on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 6:06 am

I recommend adding a little red wine and some onion soup mix because they are a little dry without gravy.

Posted by MisBeaHaven on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

are pretty fat.

You are thinking of our tenderloin drug addicts.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 3:41 am

Agreed, there are no poor people in the US.

That said, concentrated income distribution is bad for most all people.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 8:19 am

"poor" really aren't that poor at all.

Wealth inequality can just be an exercise in envy and self-pity, if the poor who complain about it are actually doing fairly well. Constantly comparing yourself to others is unhealthy.

My life isn't poorer for Bill Gates being worth 66 billion. If instead some foreigner had built MicroSoft, and all that money had been earned overseas, Bill Gates would be 66 billion poorer but that wouldn't help me and you one iota.

If Gates had been Swiss, we'd both be poorer.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 11:28 am

"Republicans were quick to dismiss his request as 'the politics of envy and division.' However, multi-billionaire Bill Gates called his policy something else entirely: 'That’s just justice.'”

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/25/411283/bill-gates-taxes-just...

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

Maybe the better question to ask is - where is all the money going??

I think we all know where...

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

Within 10 years, this will again be a GOP town. And within 50 years, the city's topography will consist of a handful of islands. Suggested reading: the epilogue to Leo Rosten's terrific novel "Captain Newman M.D."

Posted by Richard Knee on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 12:17 am

Great article by David Cay Johnston~

"Our current societal panic began almost four decades ago, when the economic glow created by emerging from World War II with half the world's industrial capacity wore off and President Nixon went to Beijing, opening the door to the transfer of that manufacturing capacity to China.

"The long-term effects of this, and the faux "free trade" policies adopted at the behest of our financier class, took time to affect society, just as the invention of coinage did not instantly disrupt ancient Greek social and commercial relations.

"Our panic turned into wildly unthinking behavior at the end of the last century, with taxes as the first sign that reason was giving way to belief, that dogma was trumping empirical evidence.

"But while the symptoms we see are crazy tax policies, crazy borrowing, and neglect of the commonwealth property and policies that are the foundation for private wealth creation, our panic is about something much deeper.

"Our societal panic is about what we as a nation fear almost as much as death itself -- the end of American abundance, the death of the idea that each generation would do better than the last, the end of the notion that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules will at least prosper in the sense of having a roof over their heads and enough to eat. Our societal panic is about a new world of mind-numbing complexity where speculation with algorithms and borrowed money pays more in a day than thoughtful investment may return in a lifetime, where jobs pay less tomorrow than yesterday, and where loyalty is something we associate with frequent flier programs rather than careers."

http://www.tax.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/UBEN-8CBMN2?OpenDocument

Posted by 99 on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

Those of us who have been here a while have seen neighborhoods change as some have become trendy and "hot". people like to live near like minded people whither they are yuppies, hippys or hipsters they want to live near others like them and will pay a premium to do so. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in the part of town where i live you can by a duplex townhouse for $99,000 and a single family detached for $230,000. This is a big town with all sorts of housing options. I find the scene in the Mission amusing just as i am amused by folks buying $250 tennis shoes while i pay $25.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

To: Tim, Ruth Bladder Ginsu, `guest on Sept. 21, 2012 @ 12:40PM and danimalssf

I have never heard such ignorant, cruel, un-evolved crap, ever! I hope I never meet you in the flesh or worse, be your server @ one of your catered `eating the poor' events. May you be struck by consciousness before your number is up on this planet.

Posted by guest on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

To: Tim, Ruth Bladder Ginsu, `guest on Sept. 21, 2012 @12:40PM, and danimalssf:

I have never heard such ignorant, cruel, unevolved crap. I hope I never meet you in the flesh, or worse, be your server @ one of your catered `eating the poor' events. May you be struck by consciousness before your number is up on this planet. Peace on you anyway.

Posted by guest on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

Let's see...we have the rich, the poor, Rizzo, Mirkarimi, bikers, Alphabet Soup(!), and a disgruntled server. What's missing? All right, I'll have a hefty plate of Middle Class Fricassee with a side of chablis, served up with a wry sense of humor. What, you're all out of Middle Class? Dang!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

I will be your wry server today. Alas, we are all out of Middle-Class Fricasee of the mature variety -- that is, the heftier adults who have gotten skinnier and skinnier the past four years. Hardly worth your refined tastes, good sir. But despair not, for we still have in store a few those tender babes of the bourgeois class who would be consigned to a life of debt peonage if we don't commence to eat them...

"I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

"I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.

"I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children."

Posted by J. Swift on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

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