Playgrounds for Elites

The increasingly left-wing politics of leading U.S. cities clashes with the aspirations of middle-class residents.

The revival of America’s core cities is one of the most celebrated narratives of our time—yet, perhaps paradoxically, urban progress has also created a growing problem of increasing inequality and middle-class flight. Once exemplars of middle-class advancement, most major American cities are now typified by a “barbell economy,” divided between well-paid professionals and lower-paid service workers. As early as the 1970s, notes the Brookings Institution, middle-income neighborhoods began to shrink more dramatically in inner cities than anywhere else—and the phenomenon has continued. Today, in virtually all U.S. metro areas, the inner cores are more unequal than their corresponding suburbs, observes geographer Daniel Herz.

Signs of this gap are visible.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    The NYC Housing Authority now advertises “affordable units” in various neighborhoods. This means that most units within the city are not affordable.

  • Brett McS

    The “barbell” economy is the left elite’s goal for the whole country, not just the cities they control now.

  • Hard Little Machine

    NYC has three castes: the hyper wealthy, the poor/working poor, and the city employees. Off to the side are the illegal aliens and then there’s the absentee property owners who hold most of the high end residential properties to park cash from overseas.