Friday, March 04, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad, March 4, 2016 edition.

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

That the economy is bad is something that you will not hear politicians speak about. You sure as hell are not going to hear about things like this from the Republicans (who mostly cause a lot of the bad economy) nor the Democrats (who these days are pretty much Republican-lite. Talk about how the mighty have fallen). So, let's then talk about what the politicians and pundits fail to even consider.

  • You are still naive and think the U.S. is the land of opportunity? The Washington Post has a few charts to help you wake up and put that myth to rest
  • The Atlantic reports that rural hospitals are closing delivery rooms.
  • And assuming you can deliver your child in a rural area, if you are poor, things are not better overall. In fact, poverty among rural children is on the rise, and a lot of it is clustered in Appalachia. But you will not hear any political party mentioning this. Story via The Rural Blog
  • And more on hospitals, where many patients, mostly elderly and disabled, are finding themselves stranded because the nursing homes where they may have come from refuse to let them come back. It's some serious fuckery. Story via NPR.
  • The Atlantic also reports on something I have mentioned before on this blog: the debtors' prisons are very much alive and well in the United States. In fact, collecting fees for minor things as well as piling up court costs for petty things has pretty much become a big racket in many American cities and towns. According to the article, "What these cities lack in tax receipts, they collect through fines and fees stemming from minor municipal violations. These include vehicle violations such as expired registration, speeding, or seat-belt tickets, and other offenses like “saggy pants” or property-upkeep tickets (everything from chipped paint to trash-can violations). Simply put, these are not serious crimes. And, to make matters worse, such laws are unevenly enforced. City governments, incentivized by their own budget goals and shortfalls, encourage local police to increase the number of citations in order to drive up revenue. Municipal courts are the mechanism for collection."
  • Meanwhile, in Tennessee it pays to be a legislator as you get showered with money from the payday loan industry to approve shitty loans with a 279% interest rate (yea, that number is correct; The Mob wishes they could do this kind of racket legally). According to Addicting Info, who highlighted the story, "an investigation by WTVF revealed that, just before and just after the bill was passed, at least $400,000 was funnelled to state lawmakers from payday lending companies."
  • And speaking of unethical scheming, did you know you could get rich exploiting and plundering public schools, and you do not even have to educate a single student? Read this article from Common Dreams to find out how. Still need a hint? Let me give you one word: privatization.
  • Meanwhile, in Maine, low income renters are shit out of luck as their neighborhoods get gentrified and the millionaires tell them to GTFO. Story via Addicting Info.
  • Hell, gentrification is getting so bad that billionaires are actually telling mere millionaires to GTFO. Via The Halting Problem.
  • In fact, the economy is so bad that bratty spoiled college students are now setting GoFundMe pages so you can chip to help pay for his spring break. Like this guy. Story via COED.
  • And for your amazement in signs the economy is bad, for this Thai princess, she is so rich she can afford to build toilets she will never use at $40K a pop. Story via the BBC.

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