2006 June 22 Thursday
American Middle Class Shrinking
The center is not holding.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself.
In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released Thursday. It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000.
We have less and less in common.
The middle is getting smaller as the two ends get bigger.
The analysis attributed the shrinking number of middle-income communities to, among other factors, gentrification of more marginal neighborhoods and a bunching of high-income families in more homogenous surroundings.
"It sounds like it's a function of changing income distribution," said John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. "What happened between 1990 and 2000 in metropolitan New York and especially New York City was that the number of really high-income households went up, and low-income went up and the middle shrank."
"What looks like a shrinking middle is partly an upgrading of income," he added.
The hollowing out was most pronounced in Manhattan, where 51 percent of neighborhoods were identified as high-income, 40 percent as low-income and only 8 percent as middle-income. Long Island ranked second only to Scranton with the highest proportion, 65 percent, of middle-income neighborhoods of any metropolitan areas in the nation.
People are more likely to live in homogeneous neighborhoods. All this talk about diversity is just babbling. People are living near people more like themselves.
Here is the Brookings study:
- Middle-income neighborhoods as a proportion of all metropolitan neighborhoods
declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000. This dramatic decline far
outpaced the corresponding drop in the proportion of metropolitan families earning middle
incomes, from 28 percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2000.
- Between 1970 and 2000, lower-income families became more likely to live in
lower-income neighborhoods, and higher-income families in higher-income neighborhoods.
Only 37 percent of lower-income families lived in middle-income neighborhoods
in 2000, down from 55 percent in 1970.
- The proportion of neighborhoods that were middle-income shrank faster than the
proportion of families that were middle-income in each of 12 large metropolitan
areas examined. Among the 12 metro areas, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Baltimore, and
Philadelphia experienced much more dramatic declines in middle-income neighborhoods
than San Antonio and Louisville.
- Only 23 percent of central-city neighborhoods in the 12 large metropolitan areas
had a middle-income profile in 2000, down from 45 percent in 1970. A majority of
families (52 percent) and neighborhoods (60 percent) in these cities had low or very low
incomes relative to their metropolitan area median in 2000.
- A much larger proportion—44 percent—of suburban neighborhoods in the 12 metropolitan
areas had a middle-income profile in 2000. Yet this proportion fell over the
30-year period, too, from 64 percent in 1970, accompanying a smaller decline in suburban
middle-income families. Suburban middle-income neighborhoods were replaced in
roughly equal measure by low-income and very high-income neighborhoods.
This sorting of society by class reminds me of The Bell Curve book's observations about cognitive sorting. The Brookings writers observe that neighborhoods are becoming less middle class even more rapidly than the middle class is shrinking. This is a very important observation.
Although middle-income families have declined considerably as a share of the overall family income distribution, it is noteworthy that middle-class neighborhoods have disappeared even faster in metropolitan areas, especially in cities. This trend suggests increased sorting of high- and low-income families into neighborhoods that reflect their own economic profiles, and increased vulnerability of middle-class neighborhoods "tipping" towards higher- or lower-income status. The resulting disparities among neighborhoods create new challenges for policies to enhance household mobility, improve the delivery of key public services, and promote private-sector investment in struggling locales.
The increase on racial heterogeneity of the United States is contributing to the shrinking of the portion that is middle class. Instead of a single bell curve of abilities with a center representing the majority we now have an increasing number of separate bell curves by racial and ethnic groups with each curve for number of people on the y axis peaking at a different point for IQ on the x axis.
Also the differences between the races contributes to a flight into neighborhoods of more economically similar residents as people react to not just cognitive but racial differences between themselves and people of other economic classes. America is becoming less and less like Mayberry RFD.
Update: An article in The Economist about income trends paints a bleak picture. While most Americans still believe that poor people can strike it big the rising tide in productivity growth no longer lifts the salaries of most workers.
Eight out of ten, more than anywhere else, believe that though you may start poor, if you work hard, you can make pots of money. It is a central part of the American Dream.
The political consensus, therefore, has sought to pursue economic growth rather than the redistribution of income, in keeping with John Kennedy's adage that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide has been rising fast recently. Thanks to a jump in productivity growth after 1995, America's economy has outpaced other rich countries' for a decade. Its workers now produce over 30% more each hour they work than ten years ago. In the late 1990s everybody shared in this boom. Though incomes were rising fastest at the top, all workers' wages far outpaced inflation.
But after 2000 something changed. The pace of productivity growth has been rising again, but now it seems to be lifting fewer boats. After you adjust for inflation, the wages of the typical American worker—the one at the very middle of the income distribution—have risen less than 1% since 2000. In the previous five years, they rose over 6%. If you take into account the value of employee benefits, such as health care, the contrast is a little less stark. But, whatever the measure, it seems clear that only the most skilled workers have seen their pay packets swell much in the current economic expansion. The fruits of productivity gains have been skewed towards the highest earners, and towards companies, whose profits have reached record levels as a share of GDP.
Lots of Americans have noticed their stagnant incomes and are not happy about it.
According to the latest Gallup survey, fewer than four out of ten think it is in “excellent” or “good” shape, compared with almost seven out of ten when George Bush took office.
More of wealth comes from paid work as compared to almost a century ago.
In 1916 the richest 1% got only a fifth of their income from paid work, whereas the figure in 2004 was over 60%.
But I wonder how much of this trend is due to CEOs getting paid well by boards of directors who they chose.
The NYT article on this, not only does not mention poor quality, and excessive quantity, of immigration for this polarization (Colombianization?), but quotes a Brookings scholar as suggesting the opposite. That is, with less 'strong immigration to NYC', the process would have been accelerated, is the implication.
If so, then why are LA and NYC now the most polarized cities in terms of incomes and rarity of solid middle class neighborhoods?
How could it have happened that median incomes in NYC are no longer far above the national median?
This is what low quality and high volume of immigration, does and has to do.
They move into places where median incomes are far above that of the rest of the country, drive rents up by piling in tighter on existing units, and wages down; thus displacing enough people to make room for themselves and their relatives.
At the end of the process, median incomes fall below average, while costs remain far above national norms.
The rich still can stay in that circumstance, but the middle class flees as if from plague.
There is an omerta on mentioning this, though; since, if one did, one would not be treating the immigrant as one who can do no wrong.
This omerta needs to be more and more violated, especially since it helps awaken the patriotic citizenry to the magnitude af aggression which occurs with this sort of immigration policy.
But what is the point of resisting? What do _I_ gain from resisting? What are the costs for me? This 2000 century idea of nationalism with a minimal socialism and at least some care for your fellow man, or at least a small bit of care for your fellow _countryman_ may allready be way to burdensome for even social species of Homo Sapiens. We humans are evolved to live in 50 to 150 member tribes. Extending even a small part of those instincts to the national arena is an exeptional feat. Life has been good, much better than we have had reason to expect.
Why are people evening wasting their energy of trying to solve this problem outside of their own life?
Meanwhile, sociopaths are breeding and evolving in this new arena called "anonymous city". New humans all the time, new gullible prey. In times of old, these people would be killed of if they didnt turn their aggression onto other tribes. Now they breed with young women in search of a baby. in the future there will be more of beings who look like humans, but who arent human.
Gated communities may be annoying to more national communitarian instincts, but I guess that they are a rational way out. Rational gated communities should be able to talk with each other be able to grow together. After a while I guess it should be in their best interest to aqquire land close to the main gated community and upgrade it to at least Status B security zone.
I hope there is a way out even for some with low IQ and low sense of responsibility. Getting that GPS bracelet wouldnt be that much of a problem if it let you live in an security zone D area, would it? And the rent is quite cheap if you get your monthly slow release anti-aggression medication. (Cheap since the patents are since long run out) You may be stupid... but not so stupid that you actually trust yourself.
Note: Im having some problems posting this. Your gated community aggressively confronts tresspassing posts.
"They move into places where median incomes are far above that of the rest of the country, drive rents up by piling in tighter on existing units, and wages down; thus displacing enough people to make room for themselves and their relatives."
I lived for 16 years in a middle class apartment complex in Alexandria VA. It was well managed with low turnover and had a fair number of retirees and middle-aged single women, which made for great living conditions - quiet, no crime, clean, etc. In the 90's, we were inundated by immigrants, mainly from El Salvador and Ethiopia.
In quick order exactly what JSB describes above occurred. Apartments with 1 or 2 people suddenly - and illegally, might I add - housed 6 or more, many of whom had never been cleared by the rental office to live there. Quality of life dropped like a stone - litter, garbage piled all over the garbage room, inability to find parking and to get to laundry facilities, etc. We had had almost zero personal crime there (an occasional car theft) and suddenly there it was. My elderly neighbor one floor down was the victim of an attempted home invasion - in broad daylight. Had the 3 guys gotten him into his apartment, I don't doubt for a minute that we would have had a murder, even if accidental.
As more high density occupants arrived, more of us low density renters - some of whom had lived there from the early 70's when it first opened - moved out. I stayed longer than I would have because I was planning to retire and move out of the area anyway. By the time I left in 2002, it was impossible to recognize this complex as the one I had moved into years ago.
The deterioration continued and it became more or less a third world slum. When tenants who had overtaxed the parking facilities at the complex began parking in a nearby neighbrhood with expensive homes, the home owners complained and the apartment complex owners decided to go condo or revamp it as luxury housing, meaning that neither the old tenants nor the new immigrants could afford to live there. They began to close down section by section.
However, for those who remained, rents had gone sky high. Small wonder with now high turnover, increased utility bills, and lots more wear and tear on the units. I had paid about $730 for a one-BR. A 2-BR would have been about $100-120 higher. About 3 years later, a 2-BR was over $1500 - for a person who had lived there over 20 years! Split 6 or 8 ways this wasn't too bad but a single person would have had a difficult time paying roughly double the rent from 3 years earlier.
Where did the old tenants go? I suspect much farther out into the outer suburbs, where the commute was longer, which naturally added to the sprawl and polution. Similar apartment complexes nearby were having the same types of trouble and the higher-priced complexes were too expensive.
Bad public policies have destroyed the school systems in cities and created good schools (or read schools without lots of ghetto children) in suburbs, and population patterns reflect that. Only rich (who can afford private schools) or poor (who don't care about how good the schools are) or the childless now live in cities.
But I think they studied major metropolitan areas rather than just cities. Not sure about that. But some of what they said implies that.
One fact that never ceases to amaze me, is that how an unholy alliance between the extreme left in American politics (Marxist inspired Democrats who insist on the "artificiality" of nationality), and the extreme right ("libertarian" and neo-con Republicans, who wish to maximize profits by minimizing labor), has taken over the debate on immigration and has shut out the voice of reason.
Two ideologies that usually hate each other with a passion!
On another note American neo-con pundits etc, love to sneer and pontificate at the various social-democratic parties and institutions in Western Europe that help to shaope policy.
"But they are stifiling Sweden!", is the cry I've heard allmy adult life, "look at rigid socialist Sweden compared to vigorous, free-wheeling America!".
Notwithsttanding the fact that Sweden is healthier than the USA in fiscal terms and in economic growth.
The fact is the ascendancy of socialist ideas in Europe was the fruit of the inequalities detailed in the piece above in Europe of 18th and 19th centures, they were a pure reaction against it.Contrary to the neo-con bull-sh*t, Europeans have more centuries of experience in dealing with these things.
That unholy alliance between the extreme left in American politics and the "libertarian" and neo-con Republicans makes for the worst of all worlds where immigration is concerned. Not only do you get saddled with outrageous costs (economic and social) but you also have no control over who gets in.
Even if - IF - you could justify legalizing an unskilled slaughterhouse worker, does the US need his immediate family, who probably doesn't speak English and is added right away? Down the road does it need his and his wife's aged parents and siblings - plus their families?
Is this any way to hire unskilled labor? Of course not. It would cost the business interests much less to pay the kind of salary that would make these jobs possibile for US citizens to accept than it costs the rest of us to pay the overhead on adding the immigrant and his family to the US. Since they would be able to recover these costs via higher prices, it would be vastly better for us to pay a bit more at the grocery store or McDonald's. The problem is that the business interests see the cost up front and we see it in bits and pieces as taxes rise, schools and hopitals deteriorate, insurance rates go up, and communities go downhill; and it has taken a long time for most people to connect the dots.
The neo-cons are marxists and always have been. I don't know why you would be surprised that they ally with other marxists. When it comes to immigration, the libertarians are useful fools who blind themselves with their own ideology.
I don't understand why so many people want to make Sweden the poster child for socialism. I remember some of my socialist friends pointing to Sweden back in the 1980's as the paradigm of true socialism instead of the aberration it is. Then came "the severe recession in the early 1990s". (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2880.htm)
It's current success has nothing to do with socialism but rather the implementation of some rather conservative fiscal policies:
The new, strict budget process with spending ceilings set by parliament, and a constitutional change to an independent Central Bank, have greatly improved policy credibility. This can be seen in the long-term interest rate margin versus the Euro, which is negligible. From the perspective of longer term fiscal sustainability, the long-awaited reform of old-age pensions entered into force in 1999. This entails a far more robust system vis-à-vis adverse demographic and economic trends, which should keep the ratio of total pension disbursements to the aggregate wage bill close to 20% in the decades ahead. Taken together, both fiscal consolidation and pension reform have brought public finances back on a sustainable footing.
While Sweden is 20% immigrant, it is 80% homogeneous, intelligent Swede. Collectivist policies seem--for some strange reason--to work better in homogeneous tribal societies.
As a Swede, I should set a few things straight:
- Very high Swedish GDP/GNP growth rates are always computed by using 1994 as a base year, when due to the extremely severe recession the output gap peaked at a staggering 8 percent (roughly) of GDP. Thus, the ensuing recovery is (misleadingly) taken to be evidence of productivity growth.
- "20 percent immigrant" is a tad misleading, as most of Swedish immigrants are not underperforming third-world immigrants, but rather highly performing Nordic and western-European immigrants.
- Social democracy of the Swedish variety works, albeit at a price. (As with all systems). The price is lower output (30 percent or more below the US per capita income), and higher unemployment. (The offical unemployment rate is pegged at about 5 percent, but (at least) another 5-10 percent are hidden away in the myriad of "active labor market" programs, in early retirement (govt. funded) for labor-market related reasons, on long-term sick leave (Sweden has staggering levels of sick leave compared to most other western nations), etc. The upside is greater social equality and less individual attention required for managing insurance and savings. (Especially with regards to health insurance) Take your pick.
It all depends on how they define a "metropolitan area". If they said "city", then we'd know why the report is meaningless...everybody knows that most of the middle class hates living in real cities. But "metropolitan area" can mean anything larger than a city but smaller than a nation. How many of the counties ringing Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, etc were counted as part of the "metropolitan areas" for those places? Because suburban flight stopped being just about crossing the city border decades ago. The real city-phobes these days live three hours (or more) drive away from the city that defines their region.
I'd also be interested in knowning their definition of "middle class neighborhood". You and I may think we know what it means, but the definition in a statistical analysis is likely to be rather different.
Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars which have been transfered FROM US TO THEM. All over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They just keep getting richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductible crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. Cashing in on the PR and getting even richer the following year. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. Their bogus efforts to make the world a better place can not possibly succeed. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will be lost in another. EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. So don’t fall for any of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductible contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGenerous, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. Now, there are commercial ties between nearly every industry and every public figure. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool. No offense fellow citizens. But we have been mislead by nearly every public figure. WAKE UP PEOPLE. THEIR GOAL IS TO WIN THE GAME. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Reaganomics. Their idea. Loans from China. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. High energy prices. Their idea. Obscene health care charges. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. The multi-million dollar endorsement deal. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. Brainwash plots on TV. Their idea. Vioxx, and Celebrex. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed, credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of the above shrink the middle class, concentrate the world’s wealth and resources, create a dominoe effect of socio-economic problems, and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, executives, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and politicians. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for any of their ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTIBLE PR CRAP. In many cases, the 'charitable' contribution is almost entirely offset. Not to mention the opportunity to plug their name, image, product, and 'good will' all at once. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. These filthy pigs even have the nerve to throw a fit and spin up a misleading defense with regard to 'federal tax revenue'. ITS A SHAM. THEY SCREWED UP THE EQUATION TO BEGIN WITH. If the middle and lower classes had a greater share of the pie, they could easily cover a greater share of the federal tax revenue. They are held down in many ways because of greed. Wages remain stagnant for millions because the executives, celebrities, athletes, attorneys, and entrepreneurs, are paid millions. They over-sell, over-charge, under-pay, outsource, cut jobs, and benefits to increase their bottom line. As their profits rise, so do the stock values. Which are owned primarily by the richest 5%. As more United States wealth rises to the top, the middle and lower classes inevitably suffer. This reduces the potential tax reveue drawn from those brackets. At the same time, it wreaks havok on middle and lower class communities and increases the need for financial aid. Not to mention the spike in crime because of it. There is a dominoe effect to consider. IT CAN'T WORK THIS WAY. But our leaders refuse to acknowledge this. Instead they come up with one trick after another to milk the system and screw the majority. These decisions are heavily influensed by the 1% club. Every year, billions of federal tax dollars are diverted behind the scenes back to the rich and their respective industries. Loans from China have been necessary to compensate in part, for the red ink and multi-trillion dollar transfer of wealth to the rich. At the same time, the feds have been pushing more financial burden onto the states who push them lower onto the cities. Again, the hardship is felt more by the majority and less by the 1% club. The rich prefer to live in exclusive areas or upper class communities. They get the best of everything. Reliable city services, new schools, freshly paved roads, upscale parks, ect. The middle and lower class communities get little or nothing without a local tax increase. Which, they usually can't afford. So the red ink flows followed by service cuts and lay-offs. All because of the OBSCENE distribution of bottom line wealth in this country. So when people forgive the rich for their incredible greed and then praise them for paying a greater share of the FEDERAL income taxes, its like nails on a chalk board. I can not accept any theory that our economy would suffer in any way with a more reasonable distribution of wealth. Afterall, it was more reasonable 30 years ago. Before Reaganomics came along. Before GREED became such an epidemic. Before we had an army of over-paid executives, bankers, celebrities, athletes, attorneys, doctors, investors, entrepreneurs, developers, and sold-out politicians to kiss their asses. As a nation, we were in much better shape. Strong middle class, free and clear assets, lower crime rate, more widespread prosperity, stable job market, lower deficit, ect. Our economy as a whole was much more stable and prosperous for the majority. WITHOUT LOANS FROM CHINA. Now, we have a more obscene distribution of bottom line wealth than ever before. We have a sold-out government, crumbling infrastructure, energy crisis, home forclosure epidemic, 13 figure national deficit, and 12 figure annual shortfall. The cost of living is higher than ever before. Most people can't even afford basic health care. ALL BECAUSE OF GREED. I really don't blame the 2nd -5th percentiles in general. No economy could ever function without some reasonable scale of personal wealth and income. But it can't be allowed to run wild like a mad dog. ALBERT EINSTEIN TRIED TO MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND. UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK. TOP HEAVY ECONOMIES ALWAYS COLLAPSE. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The American dream will be shattered. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE HUMANITARIAN. EXTREME WEALTH MAKES WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman.. Of course, they will jump to small minded conclusions about 'jealousy', 'envy', or 'socialism'. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.