Gov. John Hickenlooper is turning Colorado into a hipster city. Earlier this week, Joel Kotkin wrote an interesting piece for The Washington Post about how the current liberal bastions like New York City, San Francisco, and Portland (among others) are being redesigned as playgrounds for the wealthy over the needs of the middle class. (Via The Denver Post):
It reflects a desire to create an ideal locale for hipsters and older, sophisticated urban dwellers. It’s city as adult Disneyland or “entertainment machine,” chock-a-block with chic restaurants, shops and festivals.
Overlooked, or even disdained, is what most middle-class residents of the metropolis actually want: home ownership, rapid access to employment throughout the metropolitan area, good schools and “human scale” neighborhoods. [the Peak’s emphasis]
Whenever Hickenlooper talks about Colorado and growing the economy, it is always in the context of the luxury; whether it is praising some new micro-distillery, or talking about fostering the Denver music scene. Hickenlooper doesn’t appear to have the appetite to do what is necessary to grow Colorado’s middle class (hell, his fellow Democrats brag about wanting to make commutes harder so people drive less. Why don’t they just tear up all the roads in downtown, buy the land around it and just become a second Boulder where only the wealthy can afford to live?). This is evident in the growing divide between the rich and poor in Colorado (from The Denver Post):
Colorado ranks among the top 20 states in the nation with the highest levels of income inequality, according to a new study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
In recent years, incomes for many Coloradans have fallen behind the cost of living. Since 2007, the median income in Colorado, when adjusted for inflation, has fallen $4,400. [the Peak’s emphasis]
Hickenlooper keeps praising how great Colorado’s economy is, but he doesn’t mention the caveat that this only applies to you if he likes what you’re doing.
This goes along with the trend of hipster/luxury cities mentioned above as they’re some of the most unequal places in the country when it comes to income:
Luxury cities, increasingly, are less places of aspiration than geographies of inequality. New York, for example, is by some measurements the most unequal of major U.S. cities, with a level of inequality that approximates South Africa before apartheid…
Other luxury cities exhibit somewhat similar patterns. A recent Brookings report found that virtually all the most unequal metropolitan areas… are luxury regions, including San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. [the Peak‘s emphasis]
Liberal policies exacerbate income inequality and kill off the middle class? We’re. So. Shocked. Good thing Democrats have appointed themselves the party most likely to help the poor. Without such labels, looking just at results, people might assume Democrats are just a bunch of privileged assholes. They’re like the Apple of political parties.