Posted by Leonard Steinberg on October 15th, 2011
As OCCUPY WALL STREET continues, I feel its connection to the real estate world and how location is everything. Do these demonstrators know nothing about how one block can make all the difference in New York? Firstly, the title is about as accurate as WOODSTOCK, the era-defining music festival that never really happened in the town of Woodstock at all, just close by. These demonstarations are somewhat mis-located: almost like buying an apartment in Gramercy Park, yet being unable to see a single leaf of the park. Or living in Tribeca, but living in a building East of Broadway?
I understand the average salary of all those working on Wall Street currently is around $ 70,000/year, certainly not the fortunes that qualify as the target audience. Of course abongst bankers, that average is closer to $ 340,000.00/year. Frankly, I always thought the real wealth of Manhattan was focused more in Mid-town? Scarier is the fact that this group has LOTS in common with the Tea Party movement, although I do think (joking aside) that many of this group’s grievances (which as yet are badly focused) are somewhat legitimate. Until this great country of ours acknowledges the huge disparity in incomes between the super-rich and everyone else, social unrest will continue. But it had better become intelligent soon. $250k/year in Manhattan is not rich. And if everyone who is rich is removed from Manhattan, the parks will wilt, the public services will be destroyed, and worse: large chunks of real estate transfer taxes will be removed from the State’s coffers, adding further pain to the already struggling state…..remember Manhattan supports the rest of New York State? We cannot forget that while certain super-rich individuals escape the Federal taxation the masses support, but no homeowner in New York escapes real estate taxes. About 30% of Manhattan is owned real estate, and those owners are paying LOTS in real estate taxes. LOTS. A typical 2,000sf apartment pays around $ 24,000 per year….. A 5,000sf apartment could pay 50k per year or more. Townhouses and some apartments do pay lots less (unfairly) which is a disgrace.
OCCUPY WALL STREET should clearly identify what they are for rather than what they are against. It’s easy to complain. It’s really tough to provide solutions. Realistic, workable solutions. Naive dreaming is the last thing we need right now. Maybe we are all learning to adjust to a new terrifying reality: Is man being replaced by machines en masse now? And are those who control the machines automatically reaping the biggest rewards, bigger than anything we have ever seen or known because no-one ever imagined the human consequences of an un-re-educated population in the MASS computer age?