Monday, October 18, 2010



Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, the suburbs. Fresh grass (the kind you mow morons!), elm trees and oak trees, white picket fences, trellises, finished basements (up north anyway), straight streets and avenues (with the exception of  cul de sacs of course ), newer schools……

The suburbs were once a place to get away from the stink of the city as well as those minorities—if you know what I mean.

Higher property values meant higher property taxes meant better schools and public libraries and such.
Then came the surburban sprawl and a pretty soon we had exurbs so that we could build bigger houses on larger plots of land. And the exurbians could get even further away from the stink of the city and those pesky minorities—if you know what I mean.

A pair of analyses by the nonprofit Brookings Institution paints a bleak economic picture for the 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade and in coming years, and finds that suburbs now are home to one-third of the nation's poor, and rising.
The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent.
At the same time, social service providers are spread thin in many suburban areas, according to a detailed Brookings survey of groups in representative metropolitan areas of Chicago, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. That has forced providers to turn away many poor people due to scarce aid that typically goes to cities first.
"Millions of Americans at all income levels moved to the suburbs looking for better schools, better jobs, affordable housing, and a sense of security, but in recent years, as incomes have fallen, people had a harder and harder time making ends meet," said Scott Allard, a University of Chicago professor who co-wrote one of the reports.
"As a result, Americans who never imagined becoming poor are now asking for assistance, and many are not getting the help they need."

Well, the Satanic snake has wriggled its way into paradise.

But we have all these retirees living in beautiful suburbia. I mean these are the people who were awarded those upper middle class jobs both in the private sector as well as the public sector. And with those jobs came all these pensions and such.

Okay, so some private pensions are in trouble and people have been reviewing balances in their 401k’s that look a lot like the balances they had twenty years ago.

But surely those retirees with public pensions—da bastards—they get to look forward to living in the lap of luxury following thirty years of service?

Well it turns out that many states view public pensions as ‘gratuities’ if you will. And no matter what these people were promised decades ago, they may not have what they think they have coming.
A study released in March, authored by University of Minnesota professor Amy Monahan, compares the pension legalese in a variety of state constitutions. In at least two states, Indiana and Texas, pensions are called "gratuities." The Indiana Court of Appeals has called pensions "mere gratuities springing from the appreciation and graciousness of the state."
Rauh called those states "outliers," and Monahan notes in the study that 2009 Texas pension legislation didn't touch current employee benefits. Where pensions don't have full and explicit constitutional protection, governments often protect them. But as municipalities look to balance their budgets, these conventional protections could be tested.
"In a lot of states the question is open to judicial review," Snell, the NCSL state services division director, told HuffPost. "They are certainly open to judicial review, of which there has not been a lot over the years, and certainly not comprehensive in most states
I wonder how many pensioners have received notice in the mail that their pension ‘rights’ may be open to judicial review?

And, then again, if you have a city pension and that city goes bankrupt, or the pension fund goes bankrupt,  what then?

And, of course, private companies go bankrupt all the time and might default as they say on their pension obligations.

Well there is trouble
Right here in suburban paradise.
And that trouble starts with a ‘t’
And that rhymes with ‘p’
And that stands for pension.

If suburbia is beginning to feel the effects of the transfer of wealth in this country from the middle class to the wealthy one per centers, maybe the middle class will begin to realize that the repubs have absolutely no answers to the real economic problems facing this nation.

1 comment:

cmaukonen said...

Well here in sunny Fl. things are no so sunny. A lot of the burbs are in foreclosure now and a lot of those retirees are in retreat to other areas.

Florida being one big suburb complete with Malls (empty) and Strip Malls (also a lot of them empty), it's beginning to look in places like some sort of later day ghost town.