From San Francisco to cosmopolitan New York City, urban tenants are beleaguered by soaring rents and the anxiety of how to keep a roof over their heads. Several generations pack into one apartment or house trying to cover living costs. Tent cities sprout across the country or the homeless seek shelter in overflowing facilities and freeway underpasses. And the working class — an increasingly poor working class — is being forced out of cities to locations with lower rents, far away from their low income jobs.
The “American Dream,” so vigorously marketed by capitalism, promises that home ownership is the road to prosperity and security. This resonates with millions because a stable place to live — and an address — is essential to landing and holding a job. But it is a false dream. High-powered investment firms and developers buy up “affordable” homes and build mansions for the wealthy. High tech companies like Google and Amazon take over entire city blocks and replace apartment buildings with luxury condo sky-rises and office complexes. Huge rents charged to well-paid professionals push prices skyward. The sharks are winning out as the ranks of renters swell.
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