Day: April 26, 2011

A New Outrage: Public Pensions Under Attack, Despite Legal Guarantees!

The attack on public workers–teachers, nurses, social workers, police officers, fire fighters, prison guards, and others–continues, and it is not only affecting work conditions, but also guarantees by contract on pensions in many states and cities, and not only for future pensioners, but also present pensioners in some locations!

Everyone acknowledges that police officers and fire fighters face more dangerous and stressful work conditions than other public workers, so in many localities around America, they can retire at a younger age and collect pensions for many more years than other public workers.

Now, the police office in Detroit are seeing their pensions cut, and in a small town outside Mobile, Alabama, 150 retired workers stopped getting pensions checks altogether!

This seems like the tip of the iceberg, as it means that many public workers, who have accepted public jobs with lower pay but better benefits, now are endangered by not having a guarantee of their pensions in the future, and in extreme circumstances, could lose all or most of it as economic conditions deteriorate further all across the country!

It used to be thought that if contracts are agreed to by both sides in a negotiation, therefore, there are legal guarantees of enforcement of those contracts. But now it seems clear that what any government gives, it can take away at will and with abuse!

The Housing Crisis In America: Not Just Mortgages, But Rents!

A lot has been heard and published about the mortgage crisis faced by millions of American homeowners, many of whom are being manipulated and deceived by the banks that hold their mortgages, when the homeowners are in trouble but are promised assistance that does not occur.

What has not been so recognized is the crisis that millions of renters also face. About one out of four renters, over 10 millions, are now paying half their pre -tax household income on rent and utilities, the highest percentage in a half century!

Rents are rising rapidly due to homeowners who have lost their homes, and to young people attempting to leave the nest of their parents, although many are actually returning home after being away at college for four or more years.

So housing rises to the top of the list of major problems, and this is not including those who are becoming homeless!

And in the midst of all this, what are the Republicans doing in Congress to deal with this crisis, as well as unemployment? NOTHING, as they would rather spend time talking about cutting Medicare, and their party prefers to dwell on the theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, as if that creates jobs or housing for the millions who are suffering in this nation!