Wednesday, December 15, 2010

start collecting your middle class fossils now

Surprise, surprise. Toronto, like the rest of the world, is seeing a decline of its middle class and the income divide is getting worse in our city.

U of T professor David Hulchanski published the latest installment of his Three Cities Within Toronto study on Wednesday and it paints a "devastating picture of income segregation by neighborhoods"

The last report(from last year) showed that about 15% of traditionally middle income neighborhoods have changed since 2001, mainly being reverted to low income areas where people are earning 20-40% under the city average. If the trend continues until 2025 about 10% of the city will be middle income , 30% will be upper middle, and 60% will be low to very low income.

This toronto star article is actually VERY confusing because the author hasn't seen the report. They're writing the story based on a "source" who has seen it. they also made pretty grandiose statements about why Hulchanski published the report--"one observer pointed out that the report’s release is timely in light of the fiscally minded administration at city hall headed by newly minted Mayor Rob Ford."

Why can't they do anything but speculate? Because they couldn't get an interview with Hulchanski and they haven't read the actual report.  A lot of this speculation is attributed to Michael Shapcott, the director of affordable housing for the Wellesley Institute.
I wonder if the toronto star actually interviewed Shapcott or if they just trolled his website and pulled quotes from what he's already written? Now that's REAL journalism!
Besides the shoddy journalism of the Toronto Star, why is anyone surprised by this report?? This is a trend that has been happening the world over--the middle class is becoming extinct everywhere--so of course it's also happening in toronto, the largest city in Canada.

The middle class of our parents generation is crumbling because we have less job security and many of the long term/secure jobs of the past have been moved out of the country(like, to Mexico) to take advantage of cheaper labour and lack of labour standards. manufacturing jobs are practically non existent in this country and especially in this city. Everyone who has job hunted knows how hard and competitive it is just to fill in someone's maternity contract. We have people who are specialized but can't find a job in their field so these people are working at restaurants and bars, in retail, waiting until they can finally score something full time and in their area of education.

It's interesting though, to consider what it really means to not be middle class. If we're looking at paycheques, I probably don't know anyone who is middle class right now--I certainly don't make enough money to be considered a part of the middle income bracket, not even close. Most of my friends don't either but we don't buy houses or cars, we aren't married, and we mainly don't have kids. This is a biiiig difference from the middle class of days gone by. We just have a different standard of living and we spend our money in different ways.

In a world where the ultra rich get tax breaks but use more resources is it really surprising that a middle class no longer exists? Did you know that there's a list of transnational corporations who headquarter in Canada who have never paid their taxes? Like, a list. of millions of unclaimed dollars in taxes that could pay for things like services that support people in low, very low, and middle class brackets. Look at the united states, where the ultra rich don't even really PAY taxes. It seems completely backwards. you make more money, so you pay less money? Even though you use the infrastructure of the nation more? Look at Don Cherry(I know, we're all so sick of hearing about Don Cherry, but he's a great example) : this guy makes like $700'000.00 to talk about sports on public television. He's a conservative guy and he publicly supported the wars that Canada is currently bleeding money in. He supported the invasion of Iraq and also of Afghanistan. He gets paid more than most Canadians, out of Canadians own pockets, to publicly voice his uneducated opinion on things that the majority Canadians DON'T support. Then he has the nerve to lambaste the left of the Toronto city council and the left of the nation, calling them bike riding, lefty kooks- pinkos.
Well, us pinkos might just be left wing kooks for a good reason--because we're POOR! Does Don Cherry know how much money riding a bike saves??? This year the TTC fare went up to 3$. That means that on days that I have to go to school at York i pay 6$ for a return trip (cities that have far larger and far better transit systems than Toronto don't have fares that high). So we bike.

We're leftist kooks, pinkos, because we don't want Rob Ford to scrap Transit City and put the city farther into the hole than it already is. We don't want him cutting services that actually affect us and affect the most vulnerable people in the city. Some people see a policy change and it translates into not being able to afford the TTC  anymore, or having to choose between bare essentials, because some people are fucking poor. So that makes us left wing pinkos, because we actually have to count every single quarter we have in our change jar to afford to do our laundry. Unlike some people, who have a Scrooge McDuck pool of loose change that they'll never have to count.

Someone like Rob Ford can talk all he wants about not spending his councillor's budget and wanting to "Save money" as Mayor, but the truth is that he didn't NEED to spend his budget because he's fucking loaded.  Iust because he's fat and ugly doesn't make him working class and the whole point of having a councillor's budget is so that people who aren't loaded can do the job without suffering.
So the middle class is disappearing and we have idiots like Don Cherry and Rob Ford who claim to represent the "little guy" steering the ship... it's cognitive dissonance at its best when millionaires can claim to be 'blue collar' and people believe them.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Well said. OF COURSE the rich don't care about social services because they don't depend on them. This is really at the heart of the battle between left and right, and it has been since forever.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...