“Carmel with a hint of Rwanda”

That is San Francisco, where income inequality has gotten so stark that by one measurement it is as bad as sub-Saharan Africa.

“The scores are to be taken with a grain of salt since social services and charities mean it’s different to be poor in San Francisco than in Rwanda or Guatemala, but they still demonstrate a quickly widening gap between our city’s top and bottom earners,” writes SF Chronicle political writer Heather Knight.

In SF, the rich are getting richer, while the middle class are being squeezed out. ”The middle class – or those earning between 50 and 150 percent of the city’s median household income of $72,500 – has shrunk from 45 percent of the city’s population in 1990 to 34 percent in 2012. Both ends of the spectrum have grown.”

Silicon Valley is generating new millionaires but ”the city has done such a poor job of adding housing supply, meaning that as wealthy newcomers arrive, they naturally drive out lower-income people.”

To me, this shows the hollowness of California’s pretensions to progressivism. It’s bad enough that in many ways the state hangs the Central Valley out to dry. But even the self-proclaimed capital lof of America’s progressivism has the inequality disease.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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