Skip to navigationSkip to content

Thousands of New Millionaires Are About to Eat San Francisco Alive

By The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Big wealth doesn’t come in monthly paychecks. It comes when a startup goes public, transforming hypothetical money into extremely real money. This year — with Uber, Lyft, Slack, Postmates, Pinterest and Airbnb all hoping to enter the public markets — there’s going to be a lot of it in the Bay Area

Comments

  • Awful. Will i even be able to visit my hometown?

    The whole reason it was an amazing arts city to move to will vanish. As a dancer & tiny business owner, i know what we need to do great work affordably. So now we have to cater to these instead of regular people? Move to glitzy streets with higher rents? Idk. Sounds awful

  • At what point do we start seeing ultra-rich people not as a symbol of success but as one of failure? A system that allows such huge wealth disparities needs looking into. Every millionaire/billionaire is a policy failure.

  • San Francisco is one interesting city. It has the wonders of a cultural, international, creative city but it's struggling with a massive wealth inequality gap.

    The tech boom is exciting, bringing new ideas and experiments to the city—ride-hailing and cashless projects started there early on, but it's alienating many. What's going to happen to the homeless? What's going to happen to the economically displaced? What's going to happen to the smaller businesses?

  • If that crowd in the room with a view of the Bay Bridge had looked down they would have seen the homeless folks who are increasingly making that part of San Francisco their home. The gap between those who can still afford homes and those who cannot is getting ever larger. Something needs to be done, and soon.

  • It’s really misleading to blame this on new millionaires. There’s an obvious remedy to the housing shortage: new construction. The problem is resistance from existing home owners. Not to say I blame them. Which would you choose: live in a neighborhood without high rises and eventually sell your house for $5 million, or live in a neighborhood with high rises and sell your house for $1 million?

  • As a veteran and beneficiary of the first dot-com boom and bust, it's for the very reasons outlined in this article that I'm glad I left the Bay Area. When I left in 2000, I expected housing prices to decrease, but they never did. To be clear, I don't begrudge anyone their success or wealth. But one can't get away from the fact that with a big influx of new wealth, competition for housing, infrastructure and services just gets worse - eventually something will have to give.

  • The fascinating part of this is the income gap. I’m fortunate enough to live in San Francisco, but I pass so many homeless people on my 20 minute walk to work. We don’t live in a “rich” society until we find ways to take care of those least fortunate.

  • As a native and 18 year old who grew up in the constant change of this city, I have seen many of the city’s neighborhood change from grocery shops, bakery’s, cafe into something new entirely. I understand there is always change in society but it was very drastic, San Francisco has turned into a city full of wealthy people and others working to serve and help them become rich, leaving a few in the middle.

  • Great! Maybe they can then clean the crap up in the streets instead of creating apps to track the poop

  • Anyone else notice the extreme cases of gentrification going on in almost all major cities? You can't afford to live comfortably in LA, new york, san fran, London,Tokyo, etc unless you are a multi millionaire. Does anyone else see this as a problem?!

  • A million dollars in San Francisco is not a lot of money, I wouldn't even consider that wealthy. It's Middle class there. I believe low income in San Francisco is around 120k a year in Salary. The goods and services have adjusted to account for the surplus of cash. According to that article, Uber has not turned a profit yet. Also when stock options are given to employees their is a freeze period on selling your options to keep all of the employees from dumping them in the open market on day 1 of

    A million dollars in San Francisco is not a lot of money, I wouldn't even consider that wealthy. It's Middle class there. I believe low income in San Francisco is around 120k a year in Salary. The goods and services have adjusted to account for the surplus of cash. According to that article, Uber has not turned a profit yet. Also when stock options are given to employees their is a freeze period on selling your options to keep all of the employees from dumping them in the open market on day 1 of trading and that hold can be as long as 18 months to two years. Usually you get screwed because the stock drops dramatically in that time period especially if you are not turning profit. This Wil be interesting to watch.

  • Is there a housing supply problem in San Francisco? A real estate professional in the article “... revealed more data about new millionaires and about just how few new units have been built for them. San Francisco single-family home sale prices could climb to an *average* of $5 million.”

  • A reminder to all. Our country was established on the foundation of individual freedom, property rights and equality opportunity, not outcome. Envy and greed don’t work. Redistribution of wealth will cause the rich to move elsewhere. Already the rich, who can, are fleeing the high tax states of California and New York.

  • So many threads to this story but my biggest one is that IPOs won't as destructive to the ecosystem if they were diffused across a larger region. San Francisco, the article says, attracted these startups through a tax break.

    Here's the architect of that break:

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/12/12/san-francisco-ed-lee-oversaw-tax-break-advocated-for-tech.html

    Here's an evaluation of the payroll tax breaks:

    https://www.kalw.org/post/hey-area-bay-area-losing-money-corporate-tax-incentives#stream/0

    So many threads to this story but my biggest one is that IPOs won't as destructive to the ecosystem if they were diffused across a larger region. San Francisco, the article says, attracted these startups through a tax break.

    Here's the architect of that break:

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/12/12/san-francisco-ed-lee-oversaw-tax-break-advocated-for-tech.html

    Here's an evaluation of the payroll tax breaks:

    https://www.kalw.org/post/hey-area-bay-area-losing-money-corporate-tax-incentives#stream/0

    If we want sustainable entrepreneurship, we must encourage tech companies to spread out. Tax breaks are one tool.

  • What goes up will come down and these poor kids will live sad lives unless they ask for and get real wisdom.

  • Anyone who has a hatred for wealth is not only lying to everyone else, but also to themselves. No one wants to make "just enough".

    I want more than I need, because I want to have the financial luxery of investing in ideas and the future of my children. But I can't do that without wealth and neither can any of you.

    A hatred of wealth itself doesn't really exist. More specifically, it's a hatred fueled by a jealousy and greed that someone else has what you want.

    You would simply just take money

    Anyone who has a hatred for wealth is not only lying to everyone else, but also to themselves. No one wants to make "just enough".

    I want more than I need, because I want to have the financial luxery of investing in ideas and the future of my children. But I can't do that without wealth and neither can any of you.

    A hatred of wealth itself doesn't really exist. More specifically, it's a hatred fueled by a jealousy and greed that someone else has what you want.

    You would simply just take money from the millionaires and the billionaires, but that would be a crime, so you have to "change the system" to legitimize theft, and not so that everyone might be richer, but because you can't stand the idea of anyone being richer than you.

  • THIS: “millennials obsess over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter and attend Democratic Socialists of America meetings. But the socialist passion doesn’t seem to have impacted the city’s zeal for IPO parties, which the party planning community says are going to surpass past booms.”

  • If a city/region that cyclical generates greater and greater wealth is deemed a "failure" it is NOT a failure of policy... The failure is in the accusers, the culture, and the misunderstanding of what money itself actually is (nothing more than society's reward for giving others more life!)

    The Bay Area has developed a culture of creative applied entrepreneurialism since going all the way back to 1904 with Amadeo Giannini (Bank of America founding forefather) and arguably earlier. The current wave

    If a city/region that cyclical generates greater and greater wealth is deemed a "failure" it is NOT a failure of policy... The failure is in the accusers, the culture, and the misunderstanding of what money itself actually is (nothing more than society's reward for giving others more life!)

    The Bay Area has developed a culture of creative applied entrepreneurialism since going all the way back to 1904 with Amadeo Giannini (Bank of America founding forefather) and arguably earlier. The current wave of certain "overnight success" is a reflection on a CULTURE of taking risks (foregoing "living wage guarantees" and employer health insurance and 401k matching) in order to CREATE solutions for the rest of society, entirely on a calculated best-guess effort to truly change lives, in the way society WANTS their lives changed! (And therein lies the difference between markets and policy... Society only rewards via markets! Policy only punishes.)

    So the creative culture of the Bay Area has consistently nurtured and attracted a TRIBE of creatives... And the individual sub tribes of creatives are in the process of graduating another cycle of life giving/saving/supplementing solutions. The fact society appreciates, recognizes, and rewards these creatives is NOT a problem. The fact they happen to have aggregated into a localized synergistic community just means the wealth redistribution (from all the beneficiaries in society, voluntarily, into the plenum of the Bay Area) simply moves the economic vortex away from D.C. and across to the Left Coast.

    All the money's still going to be at work. Yep, there will be localized distortions... Just part of the game.

  • Since when is wealth a bad thing? Oh I remember, it’s when the socialists (AKA AOC et al) claim it’s “immoral”. Hogwash! Bring on the wealth!

  • The rich can afford to be sunshine reformers & summer socialists. Talk is cheap. Don't expect them to do anything.

  • The Cannibals arrived

  • I love San Francisco, but when the cost of visiting or living there is higher than New York then there is an issue (not that NYC shouldn't be cheaper mind you). Homeless people don't make 85k a year; it's shocking to see so many employers people priced out of the market.

  • As the SF I loved when I lived there recedes further into the baroque 21st.

  • I speak from direct experience here - as a regular person, about to be squeezed out from the City. Hopefully this shit brings about the end of capitalism. It’s time to eat the rich. (and to the clodgy old defender of capitalism, hurry up and die).

  • Over the last decade or two I have lost count of how many times I have been offered jobs or pushed to move to the Bay Area. Everything in the article shows what is already a banana republic level of inequity is only getting worse. Seattle area starting to head that direction too sadly. The housing prices, taxes and commutes combined with rampant crime. It’s like a city built on lottery winners. It’s unsustainable so it will be interesting to watch.

  • San francisco is a symbolic city of global capitalism where wealth concentrate and the gap between rich and poor is spread.

  • Jacob Estrada,

    I hope you don't really believe that???

    I make about 60 to 70 thousand a year? I am very happy with that!

    Wealth, ie millions would make me miserable! I would have to hide to find peace and quiet! Not everyone values aquiring more and more? Wow to me that is sad? What do you do with it all? Hord it, bury it, give it away? You sure can't take it with you? Lol

  • It’s crazy (and horrifying) that a headline so hyperbolic could also be accurate.

  • Life Insurance is one “old school” method utilized by the wealthy and ultra wealthy alike to maintain, preserve and transfer wealth.. Tax free & other meaningful benefits like getting paid interest to borrow your own $...

  • This recently popularized notion of the billionaire-as-policy-failure makes a nice soundbite. Want to see a policy failure? Go look at all the homeless living under freeway overpasses in San Fran.

    Here’s another: We are basking in an economy right now where there are about 6 million unemployed - and over 7 million job postings going unfilled. Many if not most of these new billionaires have done a great deal to create all these jobs. But now they are villains because . . . they are billionaires

    This recently popularized notion of the billionaire-as-policy-failure makes a nice soundbite. Want to see a policy failure? Go look at all the homeless living under freeway overpasses in San Fran.

    Here’s another: We are basking in an economy right now where there are about 6 million unemployed - and over 7 million job postings going unfilled. Many if not most of these new billionaires have done a great deal to create all these jobs. But now they are villains because . . . they are billionaires?

    Perhaps if we spent more time figuring out how to help people get the skills needed for today’s jobs - and less time being envious of others’ success - we’d be even better off.

  • This is not going to end well for anyone. I am an optimistic person by nature but something in this whole SF scenario has the makings of a real implosion.

  • When you become a member of the oligarchy, you have a decision to make. Are you gonna live in abject fear of losing what you have and therefore you're going to use every resource you have to make sure nobody else has what you have? Or are you going to recognize that your hard work coupled with the luck you had to have been born with the brains and the body that you have... And as a result of your partnership with your workers and your consumers.. And as a result of your partnership with your workers

    When you become a member of the oligarchy, you have a decision to make. Are you gonna live in abject fear of losing what you have and therefore you're going to use every resource you have to make sure nobody else has what you have? Or are you going to recognize that your hard work coupled with the luck you had to have been born with the brains and the body that you have... And as a result of your partnership with your workers and your consumers.. And as a result of your partnership with your workers and your consumers that you were blessed beyond measure... And that what you have been given is not a reward For the delusion of pulling yourself up by the boot straps now we're so readily handed to you in life.... but in fact you were given a stewardship... An obligation to use the abundance you have been given to improve the lot of all of mankind.. Obligation to use the abundance you have been given to improve the lot of all of mankind and do something to ease the suffering not just of your immediate family members... But to ease the suffering of members of your community and the world around you.... You must choose wisely and you must encourage others to choose wisely as well... Because even though one pitchfork is no match against the castle wall... The castle walls do come down when there are enough pitchforks.

  • FYI

  • Make rent illegal to solve problems. Ensure that any payment for housing goes toward ownership on the normal mortgage scale, 1/30 per year and 1/360 per month.

Want more conversations like this?

Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise.

App Store BadgeGoogle Play Badge
Leaderboard Screenshot

A community of leaders, subject matter experts, and curious minds bringing nuance back to how we talk about the news.

Editors' Picks Screenshot

No content overload: our editors will curate the most notable and discussion-worthy pieces for you every day.

Share Screenshot

Don’t just read the story, tell it: contribute your ideas and experience to the dialogue.