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Gentrification: Sign of American Happiness?

USA Today has released a stat-heavy article that aims, in part, to question the role of gentrification in Americans' optimism about their own human condition, even as they express disillusionment with the country at large. Polls are problematic means of measurement—let's just leave it at that. However, according a mid-August Harris poll, a whopping 94% of Americans expressed satisfaction with their lives, while 54% claimed that their "personal status" had improved over the past year. A NBC News/ Journal poll indicated that only 16% of Americans trust our national government and 18% corporate media. We're sensing some contradiction here; you?

The IRS claims that the poverty level dropped by 5.5% last year, and the number of folks earning $100K-plus rose by almost 3.4M. As traditionally working-class cities (hello, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit) are building; "it's even tough to single out neighborhoods that have moved in the wrong direction," according the article. Enough with the numbers— psychology is at work here. When Tony Soprano introduces somebody's face to the curb, do you feel a surge of national pride? (Don't answer that one.) Do you hum "God Bless America" while zoning out to the CNN bylines during your treadmill slog sessions? Conversely, scoring the perfect loft or seeing one's property value rise brings a sense of self-satisfaction—of euphoria, even. Seeing is believing, and forgetting is nice work if you can get it; a lot of people are, it seems. As we've said already, nobody wants to look at poo.
· The best of times, the worst of times? America’s public gloom contradicts people’s enduring, if private, confidence [USA Today]