Most of our states are making budget cuts — of those programs most needed by our worst off citizens — education, Medicaid, low cost housing, jobs for the lesser educated. When we hear of job losses, let us not forget who is losing most of them — not the more media focused middle and upper classes. Our younger college grads will eventually get there, but not older people who are losing their savings as well as employment and employment opportunities who are in dire circumstances.

The U.S. has become a nation drastically divided between poverty and wealth. The unemployment figures in NYC for African American men are our most drastic — and race discrimination looks to have become a hiring factor as well.

I have watched the changes in recent decades in my neighborhood — Morningside Heights with Columbia and other academic institutions. We used to have single occupancy residential buildings — they have all been converted to co-ops or high priced rental buildings. Our restaurants are now all expensive. We have lost the low cost businesses — to increased lease prices (many by Columbia).

We used to have people sleeping in the rail line running at lower Riverside Park. I have not seen them of late. We do have a guy who regularly begs at the corner of Broadway and 116th St. But we no longer see poor people on our streets. Harlem to the north of us is being gentrified and one of the few remaining lower income housing areas just to the south of us is also being converted to high cost stuff.

Where all this will end, I do not know. We seem to be owned and operated by our billionaires — among which is our newly reelected mayor who is all for high cost development, budget cuts, and diminished enforcement of civil rights.

And so it goes.

— “A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli) — Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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