The next St. Louis County Executive better brace himself for this: poverty is exploding in the county. I'm not saying poor people do bad things. I'm saying that, at some point, eliminating jobs and hope will drive people to take things. And they will take things by force. And they will show no mercy to anyone who tries to get in their way.
Right or wrong, it happens. And no militarized police force will stop it. As Zero Hedge notes:
We have warned all along that the Fed's disastrous policies are splitting the nation in two, creating a tiny superclass of uber-wealthy oligrachs, and a vast majority of disgruntled, disenfranchised poor. It is the latter, whose life of squalor and poverty, has left them with little if anything to lose. Unless dramatic and rapid changes take place within the executive levels of the US corporato-banking oligarchy and its D.C. puppets, very soon "Ferguson-type" occurrences, where participants could care less if the S&P 500 closed at a fresh all time record high, will become a daily, and very deadly, occurrence. All thanks to the Fed's dual mandate of "maximum employment and stable inflation."
How fast is poverty spreading through St. Louis County? Take a look, thanks to Zero Hedge.
Here's a census map of poverty from 2000.
So what happened in the next 10 years? Poverty spread like untreated cancer:
OMG, is right. Ferguson went from a city with a pocket of poverty 2000 to a city of poor people in 2012. And look how many new poverty centers emerged while the Dow was breaking records. Here's more detail on Ferguson's economic collapse from the Brookings Institute:
But Ferguson has also been home to dramatic economic changes in recent years. The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third. The number of households using federal Housing Choice Vouchers climbed from roughly 300 in 2000 to more than 800 by the end of the decade.
Amid these changes, poverty skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2010-2012, Ferguson’s poor population doubled. By the end of that period, roughly one in four residents lived below the federal poverty line ($23,492 for a family of four in 2012), and 44 percent fell below twice that level.
From Zero Hedge:
The biggest concern, however, is that Ferguson is merely the canary in the coalmine. According to Brookings, within the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the number of suburban neighborhoods where more than 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line more than doubled between 2000 and 2008-2012. Almost every major metro area saw suburban poverty not only grow during the 2000s but also become more concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. By 2008-2012, 38 percent of poor residents in the suburbs lived in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher. For poor black residents in those communities, the figure was 53 percent.
When you combine rampaging poverty with governments at all levels helping the haves get more and throwing welfare at the have-nots, you begin to understand why local police departments are buying equipment necessary to take down a city . . or to kill a lot of people in a hurry.
As Brookings' Elizabeth Kneebone said:
And as concentrated poverty climbs in communities like Ferguson, they find themselves especially ill-equipped to deal with impacts such as poorer education and health outcomes, and higher crime rates. In an article for Salon, Brittney Cooper writes about the outpouring of anger from the community, “Violence is the effect, not the cause of the concentrated poverty that locks that many poor people up together with no conceivable way out and no productive way to channel their rage at having an existence that is adjacent to the American dream.”
So, to both Rick Stream and Steve Stenger, you have to answer this question: how will you reverse the remarkable economic and social damage done to St. Louis County during the the combined reigns of Buzz Westfall (D) and Charlie Dooley(Double D)? How will you restore hope of a better economic future?
And if your answer is, "city-county merger," you might as well keep on walking. Nobody's buying that crap sandwich here.