Even though I’ve listened to Councilman Ed Gallo for years, his inane statements can still stun me. At the end of Wednesday’s City Council meeting, he reported on his attendance at a SANDAG Borders Committee meeting where he heard a report from Go Global San Diego. The item that impressed him the most at that meeting was their assertion that by the year 2030, 66% of the world’s middle class would live in Asia, not in the USA. Ummm. Where to begin? First of all, at the present time the USA has only 4.4% of the world’s population, approximately 320 million. Asia has 60% of the world’s population, 4.3 billion. At the present time, Asia and the South Pacific have a 50% share of global middle-income people. One also needs to bear in mind that the global measure for middle income starts at $10 per day. At the present time North America, with 8% of the world’s population, includes 7% of the world’s middle class. http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/07/08/a-global-middle-class-is-more-promise-than-reality/pg-2015-07-08_globalclass-05/ Now, only 2% of Americans would be classified as poor ($2 or less per day), 3% low income ($10 – $20 per day), 13% Middle income ($20 – $50 per day), and 56% as high income (over $50 per day). So by the global standard that measures the 66% Gallo was speaking of, a majority of Americans have high incomes. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/09/how-americans-compare-with-the-global-middle-class/pf_15-07-08_gmcsocialcards_a/
That being said, there is no doubt that the American Middle Class has lost ground—as Bernie Sanders keeps pointing out. Councilwoman Olga Diaz responded to Gallo’s observation by asking him if that was because we keep shipping our jobs to Asia. She didn’t get an answer. Since 2000, the share of American middle-class households ($35K – $100K per year) has shrunk from 45% to 43% in large part because households have lower, not higher, incomes. The middle income group had shrunk from 53% in 1967 to 45%; in 2000, because more households moved up into higher income groups. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/business/economy/middle-class-shrinks-further-as-more-fall-out-instead-of-climbing-up.html For the last 34 years, the nation has been experimenting with Reaganomics, it doesn’t work. Unfettered capitalism inevitable leads to inequality of income. Keynesian economics is what brought this country out of the great depression, it does work, empirical evidence makes that clear. But, empirical evidence doesn’t seem to be valued by Republicans—a majority have so little regard for such evidence they question evolution—a scientific theory like the theory of gravity.
The staff presentation of Agenda Item 9: Financial Status Report for Fiscal Year 2014/15 and Budget Adjustment, had few surprises. Even the $131K year-end shortfall of the Reidy Creek Golf Course, was to be expected. The staff noted that the golf industry was suffering a nation-wide downturn. Diaz wondered how long should the City continue to subsidize that golf course—when would the “full cost recovery” rule be applied there? City Manager Clay Phillips responded that there was only so much the City could do, and that the golf course had been developed as a means of providing flood control to the North Broadway area. (Which was another “compromise” with developers—but that’s another story for another blog.) Councilman Mike Morasco opined that the golf industry was in a slump, not dying. Councilman John Masson said he was a little concerned that they continued to subsidize the course. Mayor Sam Abed took the opportunity to parrot the current Republican talking points, including the myth that the economy is bad and that the country was not going in the right direction. Well, according to Forbes, Obama has done better than Abed’s hero Reagan on the economy. http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/
There was one public speaker on the issue, a young man who suggested that maybe the way to save the golf course would be to close the western half and use it as a park or(?), and create an executive course on the eastern side, and maybe make it more appealing to younger players with night golfing with glow-in-the-dark balls. Diaz responded that she might be interested in playing such golf. Others on the Council didn’t seem impressed. Seemed like a good idea to me—but I know very little about golf.