Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

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Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

I have no comment on this story from the Joplin Globe, and the citizens' varied responses on the same page, other than to say it's a fascinating, real-world look at events in one small town, population about 11,000, in middle America.

http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x1936222266/Neosho-to-lay-off-up-to-22-...

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

Well they finally got what they wanted, no tax increases and they'll have to live with it. So over a $1 tax increase they lose their fire department and police department, now everybodies insurance will go up hundreds of dollars. I don't know where they get the idea you can have services such as fire and police departments without taxes.In a town that size I don't imagine there is much " Fat to trim" in the budget.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:

Well they finally got what they wanted, no tax increases and they'll have to live with it. So over a $1 tax increase they lose their fire department and police department, now everybodies insurance will go up hundreds of dollars. I don't know where they get the idea you can have services such as fire and police departments without taxes.In a town that size I don't imagine there is much " Fat to trim" in the budget.

Yep. I thought the same thing. I wonder how thoroughly all this was explained to the citizens. In other words "If this, then that". I wonder if the townspeople really weighed the options and ramifications or if they just made emotional decisions.

I live pretty close to Neosho. It will be interesting to see how things go. I know Tulsa, OK. just went through the same thing.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

 Smaller towns in mid America  have volunteer forces .  They also raise money from soup suppers and such to buy equipment and upkeep .. even fireworks .   Everyone has to eat and are willing to pay a little extra for not having to cook and to come together for community fellowship .

 When the old people die they leave their money to the community that they lived their lives in .  Golf courses , VFW ,  Schools, ETC .   I do not think these organizations have to pay inheritance tax .

  I am not saying it is right  for all towns but it is how it is done .

 FM

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

I too find this incident fascinating because of the glimpse it affords into small town political mechanics. But I think it’s a mistake to look at it through the lens of traditional political/economic thinking. Because regardless of how one feels about taxes -- if they exist at all and their use/allotment if they do exist -- or the need for fire/police departments in every town in the world, this is the future.

The future is less socially and infra-structurally complex. More and more towns will start not having fire/police departments, department of public works, etc. And I think the sooner towns transition to this model they better off they’ll be in the long run.

Again, this isn’t actually about taxes and what they pay for, it’s about inevitability.

 

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Yep. I thought the same thing. I wonder how thoroughly all this was explained to the citizens. In other words "If this, then that". I wonder if the townspeople really weighed the options and ramifications or if they just made emotional decisions.

I live pretty close to Neosho. It will be interesting to see how things go. I know Tulsa, OK. just went through the same thing.

I glanced at the budget and they had 27 officers in a town of 11,000.  That's 1 for every 407 people. It's 25% more than we have in a city of over 500K people.  It will be interesting to see if the town becomes overriden with crime or burns down.  I suspect we are all going to learn that we don't "need" near as many of these services in our lives and as mainecooncat pointed out we will soon discover it's inevivitable.

I just tried to look to find historic data for number of police/fire fighters per capita, but can't seem to find any via Google.  Seems odd, I would think this would be a pretty easy and researched item.  Does anyone have a reference to such data?  It would be nice to have since we will probably all be faced with this type of decision and it would be good to make an informed decision.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Yep. I thought the same thing. I wonder how thoroughly all this was explained to the citizens. In other words "If this, then that". I wonder if the townspeople really weighed the options and ramifications or if they just made emotional decisions.

I live pretty close to Neosho. It will be interesting to see how things go. I know Tulsa, OK. just went through the same thing.

I glanced at the budget and they had 27 officers in a town of 11,000.  That's 1 for every 407 people. It's 25% more than we have in a city of over 500K people.  It will be interesting to see if the town becomes overriden with crime or burns down.  I suspect we are all going to learn that we don't "need" near as many of these services in our lives and as mainecooncat pointed out we will soon discover it's inevivitable.

I just tried to look to find historic data for number of police/fire fighters per capita, but can't seem to find any via Google.  Seems odd, I would think this would be a pretty easy and researched item.  Does anyone have a reference to such data?  It would be nice to have since we will probably all be faced with this type of decision and it would be good to make an informed decision.

Many of these small towns have followed the lead of the federal government and overspent. Your stats for the number of officers does not surprise me.  I drove through Marshall, Texas the other day and went past the new police station.  From the outside, it looks like it ought to have granite countertops.  I considered the average home in Marshall and thought that the new station was WAY out of line.

To me, many times this is nothing more than the city leaders acting fiscally irresponsibly and having it catch up to them. I expect this to become a much more frequent occurrence. Get rid of the overkill on police and fire and city "services" and all their "must have" new toys.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
MarkM wrote:

Many of these small towns have followed the lead of the federal government and overspent. Your stats for the number of officers does not surprise me.  I drove through Marshall, Texas the other day and went past the new police station.  From the outside, it looks like it ought to have granite countertops.  I considered the average home in Marshall and thought that the new station was WAY out of line.

Yep, dowdy old Marshall is no rich parish. But the most extreme examples of public-sector profligacy are to be found in the big bad fedgov. They've been on a decade-long tear of constructing lavish judicial palaces. The Fresno Bee summarized the results of a GAO study:

http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/06/23/1982182/fresno-federal-courthouse-called.html

Thirty-two of 33 judicial palaces larger than authorized -- i.e., 'broke the law.' Not to mention the lavish materials used - cherry paneling, polished brass elevator doors, etc.. Where's the accountability? The only party not represented here is the taxpayer.

Plus, note how many of them are named for ward-heeling politicians, taking obnoxious personal credit for spending other peoples' money -- D'Amato, DeConcini, Eagleton.

I think I'd rather be tried in the 'Coca Cola Federal Courthouse' than the 'Limbaugh Sr. Federal Courthouse.' Let's get some corporate sponsorship here! 

 

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

Hmmmm...I think you're on to something here, MH. Burgher King Town Hall? BPPD? Subway Subway? Taglines? Nah, I'm in enough trouble already.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Yep. I thought the same thing. I wonder how thoroughly all this was explained to the citizens. In other words "If this, then that". I wonder if the townspeople really weighed the options and ramifications or if they just made emotional decisions.

I live pretty close to Neosho. It will be interesting to see how things go. I know Tulsa, OK. just went through the same thing.

I glanced at the budget and they had 27 officers in a town of 11,000.  That's 1 for every 407 people. It's 25% more than we have in a city of over 500K people.  It will be interesting to see if the town becomes overriden with crime or burns down.  I suspect we are all going to learn that we don't "need" near as many of these services in our lives and as mainecooncat pointed out we will soon discover it's inevivitable.

I just tried to look to find historic data for number of police/fire fighters per capita, but can't seem to find any via Google.  Seems odd, I would think this would be a pretty easy and researched item.  Does anyone have a reference to such data?  It would be nice to have since we will probably all be faced with this type of decision and it would be good to make an informed decision.

 

Those officers are on shifts, 24 hours a day, which means there are only 9 of them available at any one time, likely half of them on shift are doing administrative work ,leaving about 4 to patrol or answer calls. That's hardly a lot of cops for 11,000, the national rate of full-time law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants was 3.5 in 2004,

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
diogenkees wrote:

That's hardly a lot of cops for 11,000, the national rate of full-time law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants was 3.5 in 2004,

Where are you getting your figures.  This from the FBI shows in 2008, the nationial average was 2.3 for cities and 2.8 for counties, and for cities 10K-25K population, the average was 1.9.  This town was about 2.5, but will soon be at 2.0 since I believe the new budget would be cutting to 23 officers. 

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
diogenkees wrote:

That's hardly a lot of cops for 11,000, the national rate of full-time law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants was 3.5 in 2004,

Where are you getting your figures.  This from the FBI shows in 2008, the nationial average was 2.3 for cities and 2.8 for counties, and for cities 10K-25K population, the average was 1.9.  This town was about 2.5, but will soon be at 2.0 since I believe the new budget would be cutting to 23 officers. 

I got it from the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/law_enforcement_personnel/index.html . It's from 2004, but any major drop would likely indicate a nation wide downsizing of police forces due to budget cuts.

"The national rate of full-time law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants remained at 3.5 in 2004, unchanged from the 2003 rate. (Based on Table 74.)

Among the Nation’s four regions, law enforcement agencies in the Northeast had the highest rate of law enforcement employees, 3.5 law enforcement employees for every 1,000 inhabitants. Agencies in the South had 3.4 law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants, in the Midwest, 2.7, and in the West, 2.4. (See Table 70.)

An examination of the 2004 law enforcement employee data by population group showed that in the Nation’s cities collectively there were 3.0 law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants. Of the population groups with the city label, cities with 10,000 or less in population had the highest rate of law enforcement employees, 4.2 per 1,000 inhabitants. Cities with 25,000 to 49,999 inhabitants and cities with 50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants had the lowest rate, 2.3 law enforcement employees per 1,000 in population. The Nation’s largest cities, those with 250,000 or more inhabitants, averaged 3.8 law enforcement employees for every 1,000 inhabitants. (See Table 70.) The law enforcement agencies in the Nation’s metropolitan counties averaged 4.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants; agencies in the Nation’s nonmetropolitan counties collectively reported having 4.5 law enforcement personnel for each 1,000 inhabitants."

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

Don't worry the feds will straighten this out.  With big, gnarled hands wrapped tightly around the taxpayer's throat, the grip tightens.

"In an effort to please union backers ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quietly trying to nationalize rules governing every police, fire and first responder union in the nation."

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=537397&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EditorialRss+%28Editorial+RSS%29

It makes perfect sense to me. IF...IF you realize that the federal government is bent on total control. Why else would they want to nationalize collective bargaining for these people.  Public unions should be disbanded, not given more power. They are bankrupting/have bankrupted cities all across this nation.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/economy/sectors-mainmenu-46/4323-conjuring-magic-to-cover-states-debts-fiscal-reality-sets-in

Isn't it wonderful for these people to sit around a table and discuss more ways to steal from the productive members of our society and centralize the holders of the reins of power. The only group not represented at the table is the taxpayer. "Shut up, we will let you know when we need your input."

 

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
MarkM wrote:

Don't worry the feds will straighten this out.  With big, gnarled hands wrapped tightly around the taxpayer's throat, the grip tightens.

"In an effort to please union backers ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quietly trying to nationalize rules governing every police, fire and first responder union in the nation."

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=537397&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EditorialRss+%28Editorial+RSS%29

It makes perfect sense to me. IF...IF you realize that the federal government is bent on total control. Why else would they want to nationalize collective bargaining for these people.  Public unions should be disbanded, not given more power. They are bankrupting/have bankrupted cities all across this nation.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/economy/sectors-mainmenu-46/4323-conjuring-magic-to-cover-states-debts-fiscal-reality-sets-in

Isn't it wonderful for these people to sit around a table and discuss more ways to steal from the productive members of our society and centralize the holders of the reins of power. The only group not represented at the table is the taxpayer. "Shut up, we will let you know when we need your input."

 

 

While there is truth in what you say, it's a generalization to use it in the context of the Neosho and places like it. When you have communities that have to turn off street lights, and cut essential services like Fire and Police departments, or is some cases eliminating them entirely, there is no more fat to trim.  People are falling for the oldest trick in the book  "divide and conquer" by scape goating unions as a main reason for budget problems. People are always whining about taxes, even though big chunks of the American public (2008 median household income $52,029) are in the lower tax brackets ( 15-25%) even before deductions.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

D,

In many cities, the unions ARE the main reason for budget problems. I keep using Vallejo, but I will post others if you wish.  A little clip from the linked article,

"Vallejo, a city of 120,000 across the bay from San Francisco, faced a $9 million budget shortfall at the time, owing to soaring payroll costs for its firefighters and police officers whose pay and pension costs make up almost 80 percent of the city’s budget. Those pay packages were negotiated with the unions representing those workers, and were necessary, according to spokesmen for the city, to be competitive with surrounding towns."

I think a hard discussion is necessary in the cash strapped cities to determine what is "essential".  Streetlights? Parks? Libraries? Fire? How much of each is really essential and not just a desired comfort.

As far as the local tax base to support these services, in my neck of the woods that comes from property taxes...and they are becoming onerous to me. When I add all the taxes I pay (fed.local,property), it is well over 50% of my labor that is confiscated to support non-productive elements of my surroundings. It has to stop somewhere.

I will reiterate my position that, in many cities, and states, public unions are a huge part of the problem.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
MarkM wrote:

D,

In many cities, the unions ARE the main reason for budget problems. I keep using Vallejo, but I will post others if you wish.  A little clip from the linked article,

"Vallejo, a city of 120,000 across the bay from San Francisco, faced a $9 million budget shortfall at the time, owing to soaring payroll costs for its firefighters and police officers whose pay and pension costs make up almost 80 percent of the city’s budget. Those pay packages were negotiated with the unions representing those workers, and were necessary, according to spokesmen for the city, to be competitive with surrounding towns."

I think a hard discussion is necessary in the cash strapped cities to determine what is "essential".  Streetlights? Parks? Libraries? Fire? How much of each is really essential and not just a desired comfort.

As far as the local tax base to support these services, in my neck of the woods that comes from property taxes...and they are becoming onerous to me. When I add all the taxes I pay (fed.local,property), it is well over 50% of my labor that is confiscated to support non-productive elements of my surroundings. It has to stop somewhere.

I will reiterate my position that, in many cities, and states, public unions are a huge part of the problem.

 

I find a 50% figure very hard to swallow.  I'm pretty average, I'm in the 25% income tax bracket , with two kids and a mortgage, after standard deductions & credits I got a big chunk of my tax refunded. My property taxes are are close to the national median ($1,854.00 http://retirementliving.com/RLtaxes.html) at less than $2000.00 a year, hardly crushing.  As for the unions, past budgets were approved by the elected officials, likely re-elected time and again by the same people who demanded full services for years and are now screaming for tax cuts when the bill comes due.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:

I find a 50% figure very hard to swallow.  I'm pretty average, I'm in the 25% income tax bracket , with two kids and a mortgage, after standard deductions & credits I got a big chunk of my tax refunded.

Some Estimates: Income tax - 25%, State Income Tax (varies widely 0-10) - 5, State Sales Tax - 5, Property Tax - 3%, Local Sales Taxes - 5%, Licensing/Sin/Energy/Telecomunications/... Taxes - 5%,

Then you want the real tax burden, you have to toss in all that your employer is also taxed, which is considerable.  Remember, that is tax on your labor as well. It's easily over 50% for a middle class income.

Diogenknees wrote:

As for the unions, past budgets were approved by the elected officials, likely re-elected time and again

Ah - the real problem - Unions and the politicians setting salaries that are completely unsustainable, unworkable.  It doesn't matter what they said or did - it's doesn't work and is not payable.  The unions can keep pushing to get what they were promised, but at somepoint there is no money and pensions both private and public sectors (including SSN) are insolvent.

Diogenknees wrote:

by the same people who demanded full services for years and are now screaming for tax cuts when the bill comes due.

The problem, just like our debt was pushed into the future, so no, it's not the people who demanded the services that are screaming, it's their kids.  Ponzi schemes don't work.  Pensions are just a ponzi scheme that is near the end.   So yes, those workers who bought into the lie, are about to find out there screwed, just like all those who got useless degrees, bought too expensive a house, expect social security, believe in Santa Claus.

We are now moving to a time where we are going to discover the true costs of many things, and it's going to be shocking!

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Diogenknees wrote:

I find a 50% figure very hard to swallow.  I'm pretty average, I'm in the 25% income tax bracket , with two kids and a mortgage, after standard deductions & credits I got a big chunk of my tax refunded.

Some Estimates: Income tax - 25%, State Income Tax (varies widely 0-10) - 5, State Sales Tax - 5, Property Tax - 3%, Local Sales Taxes - 5%, Licensing/Sin/Energy/Telecomunications/... Taxes - 5%,

Then you want the real tax burden, you have to toss in all that your employer is also taxed, which is considerable.  Remember, that is tax on your labor as well. It's easily over 50% for a middle class income.

Diogenknees wrote:

As for the unions, past budgets were approved by the elected officials, likely re-elected time and again

Ah - the real problem - Unions and the politicians setting salaries that are completely unsustainable, unworkable.  It doesn't matter what they said or did - it's doesn't work and is not payable.  The unions can keep pushing to get what they were promised, but at somepoint there is no money and pensions both private and public sectors (including SSN) are insolvent.

Diogenknees wrote:

by the same people who demanded full services for years and are now screaming for tax cuts when the bill comes due.

The problem, just like our debt was pushed into the future, so no, it's not the people who demanded the services that are screaming, it's their kids.  Ponzi schemes don't work.  Pensions are just a ponzi scheme that is near the end.   So yes, those workers who bought into the lie, are about to find out there screwed, just like all those who got useless degrees, bought too expensive a house, expect social security, believe in Santa Claus.

We are now moving to a time where we are going to discover the true costs of many things, and it's going to be shocking!

 

As I said before , The average American pays bugger all for taxes. After standard deductions you are not really taxed at the 25% level, my rate was actually less than 8% after deductions/credits. Other taxes, such as sales taxes you have some control over, you are not taxed if you don't buy.

As for the Unions, I don't know where you've been, they've made huge concessions this last few years, for example at GM new hires make $14.00 an hour, and yes the ones that are screaming are not the kids, it's the Tea party types screaming for tax cuts that enjoyed all the perks for the last 30 years.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:

As I said before , The average American pays bugger all for taxes. After standard deductions you are not really taxed at the 25% level, my rate was actually less than 8% after deductions/credits. Other taxes, such as sales taxes you have some control over, you are not taxed if you don't buy.

Your right, you aren't paying enough taxes!  Why the hell am I paying for your kids! Wink  Really?  I guess you can live without buying anything, having a phone, internet connection, car, fuel (gas, natural gas, electricity)?  I guess you can't have a job either since you indirectly pay a huge chunk of you labor that way.

Diogenknees wrote:

As for the Unions, I don't know where you've been, they've made huge concessions this last few years, for example at GM new hires make

HAHAHAHAH - GM should have gone bankrupt, the bond holders should have been able to sell off the company, all the workers should have lost their jobs, and the whole mess handled in bankruptcy court.  Instead they were rescued, bond holders screwed, the union was handed large portions of the company, and on top of that the average salary is more like $32/hour(64K) + benefits/pension- and that's an assembly line worker - not an engineer.

Diogenknees wrote:

it's the Tea party types screaming for tax cuts that enjoyed all the perks for the last 30 years.

What perks do I get from the friggin UAW?  Yes, I'm going to end up bailing out a car company that makes crappy cars with my tax dollars.  Wow - perks galore!  Oh, so you meant all the public sector jobs in city/state governments?  What perks - bad service, wasted money, large bueracracies?  I think I would prefer it all go away and I'll pay less to some private company for the services I actually want, and I'm sure I wouldn't be forced to wait in line and be treated badly.

But you still seem to miss the point, NO MONEY!  NOT SUSTAINABLE!  Based on your responses you much be a union public employee?

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Diogenknees wrote:

As I said before , The average American pays bugger all for taxes. After standard deductions you are not really taxed at the 25% level, my rate was actually less than 8% after deductions/credits. Other taxes, such as sales taxes you have some control over, you are not taxed if you don't buy.

Your right, you aren't paying enough taxes!  Why the hell am I paying for your kids! Wink  Really?  I guess you can live without buying anything, having a phone, internet connection, car, fuel (gas, natural gas, electricity)?  I guess you can't have a job either since you indirectly pay a huge chunk of you labor that way.

Diogenknees wrote:

As for the Unions, I don't know where you've been, they've made huge concessions this last few years, for example at GM new hires make

HAHAHAHAH - GM should have gone bankrupt, the bond holders should have been able to sell off the company, all the workers should have lost their jobs, and the whole mess handled in bankruptcy court.  Instead they were rescued, bond holders screwed, the union was handed large portions of the company, and on top of that the average salary is more like $32/hour(64K) + benefits/pension- and that's an assembly line worker - not an engineer.

Diogenknees wrote:

it's the Tea party types screaming for tax cuts that enjoyed all the perks for the last 30 years.

What perks do I get from the friggin UAW?  Yes, I'm going to end up bailing out a car company that makes crappy cars with my tax dollars.  Wow - perks galore!  Oh, so you meant all the public sector jobs in city/state governments?  What perks - bad service, wasted money, large bueracracies?  I think I would prefer it all go away and I'll pay less to some private company for the services I actually want, and I'm sure I wouldn't be forced to wait in line and be treated badly.

But you still seem to miss the point, NO MONEY!  NOT SUSTAINABLE!  Based on your responses you much be a union public employee?

Sorry to tell you but the average American has kids, and anyone in the 25% bracket with kids and a mortgage gets deductions and credits. Why it bothers you that the average guy gets a break seems to indicate you could care less about taxes in general unless it effects you. The perks I'm talking about  are the ones you and every other citizen have enjoyed since WW2 as an American. They are the result of someone elses labor, people who went to work everyday, who built and maintained the infrastructure, kept the lights on, the roads clear, the water running etc. all of which require money to run. The people who did those jobs bargained in good faith that when the time came when they could no longer work they had an income to support themselves, and yet you attack them because their employer's did not properly fund the pension plan?

Nice snip of the fact new GM employee's make HALF of the old rate, and the UAW are not the only union that's made big concessions in recent years. Union bashing is a hobby horse ridden by a jealous rider, in GM's case it was not the unions fault GM was in trouble. Gm neglected to properly fund the pension plan and for years built a crap product. The workers at GM have no say in the design or development of the cars made, nor the material used in their construction, they show up each day and build what they are told to.

BTW. I'm not in a union, I've been self employed most of my life, I have no pension waiting for other than my own investments. I'm old enough to recognize union busting for what it is, a class warfare encouraged by the right wing between two groups of workers, those that make decent money and have some protection from abuse and those that do not.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:

The people who did those jobs bargained in good faith

Still missing it!  There is no money, there never was!  Just because someone promises you something that can not be real, desn't mean you deserve it.  Same with SS.  Most americans have been promised what can not be delivered.  Sorry, but all who thought they could have more than they worked for are suckers!  Just like the  we can give you all the healthcare you need, free education, employment, blah blah blah....

Again: NO MONEY!  So the unions and their emloyees are going to take a huge haircut, so are all citizens expecting SS.  The sooner those that are going to be effected realize that fact the better!

I also have a comment, why do you take your deductions?  If you believe that every American should pay more in taxes, you can easily just not claim your deductions.  In fact you can give more to reduce the debt if you want?  Are you doing so? If not why?  Perhaps because it is far easier to dictate what others should do to some anonymous group than take responsiblity yourself? Once again, I have to trot out my favoirite artcle: Button Button.

Note: I'm not bashing unions, I'm bashing all government sponsored entities/rules that distort the markets, Unions just happen to be one of the majors ones that benefits from the force of violence by the government.

 

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Diogenknees
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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Diogenknees wrote:

The people who did those jobs bargained in good faith

Still missing it!  There is no money, there never was!  Just because someone promises you something that can not be real, desn't mean you deserve it.  Same with SS.  Most americans have been promised what can not be delivered.  Sorry, but all who thought they could have more than they worked for are suckers!  Just like the  we can give you all the healthcare you need, free education, employment, blah blah blah....

 

The money for SS was there, there was a surplus that the government has raided. SS as a rule is not a Ponzi set up, Canada for example has their pension fund separate from general accounts and is sound out the next 75 years. The reason the USA is in the shape it is, is because people have been unwilling to pay for services. You can't keep screaming "tax cuts!" and expect surpluses. Canada again is an example, they cut programs and raised taxes back in the mid 1990's, the end result and balanced budgets for the next 12 years. The tax cutting conservatives were voted in and the country slipped back into a deficit position within two years.

 

 

Again: NO MONEY!  So the unions and their emloyees are going to take a huge haircut, so are all citizens expecting SS.  The sooner those that are going to be effected realize that fact the better!

Don't know where you've been, they've been taking the hair cuts for years, Unions in the USA are a very small piece of the pie, less than 13% of the American workforce belong to Unions.

I also have a comment, why do you take your deductions?  If you believe that every American should pay more in taxes, you can easily just not claim your deductions.  In fact you can give more to reduce the debt if you want?  Are you doing so? If not why?  Perhaps because it is far easier to dictate what others should do to some anonymous group than take responsiblity yourself? Once again, I have to trot out my favoirite artcle: Button Button.

 

Nice try at diversion . I'm not dictating to anyone, I've simply laid out facts about taxation you do not want to address, that average Americans with standard deductions are not paying as much taxes as you seem to think they are. My deductions go right back into the local economy via my refund every year, as most peoples.

 

Note: I'm not bashing unions, I'm bashing all government sponsored entities/rules that distort the markets, Unions just happen to be one of the majors ones that benefits from the force of violence by the government.

 

Not union bashing? you just did in the sentence where you claimed you have not. Unions are only 13% of the workforce, of which over 40% are between the ages of 45-65. These people have worked, paid their fair share all of their working lives, and likely at a higher tax rate than you . So you can't scapegoat them for getting any free ride or blame them for the mismanagement of their employers . They joined unions because of the security offered by legal contract would provid them with healthcare and a pension at a point when they would not longer be able to work.  In other words they planned ahead, they did everything right, but their employers did not.

 

 

 

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
rhare wrote:
Diogenknees wrote:

I find a 50% figure very hard to swallow.  I'm pretty average, I'm in the 25% income tax bracket , with two kids and a mortgage, after standard deductions & credits I got a big chunk of my tax refunded.

Some Estimates: Income tax - 25%, State Income Tax (varies widely 0-10) - 5, State Sales Tax - 5, Property Tax - 3%, Local Sales Taxes - 5%, Licensing/Sin/Energy/Telecomunications/... Taxes - 5%,

Then you want the real tax burden, you have to toss in all that your employer is also taxed, which is considerable.  Remember, that is tax on your labor as well. It's easily over 50% for a middle class income.

Diogenknees wrote:

As for the unions, past budgets were approved by the elected officials, likely re-elected time and again

Ah - the real problem - Unions and the politicians setting salaries that are completely unsustainable, unworkable.  It doesn't matter what they said or did - it's doesn't work and is not payable.  The unions can keep pushing to get what they were promised, but at somepoint there is no money and pensions both private and public sectors (including SSN) are insolvent.

Diogenknees wrote:

by the same people who demanded full services for years and are now screaming for tax cuts when the bill comes due.

The problem, just like our debt was pushed into the future, so no, it's not the people who demanded the services that are screaming, it's their kids.  Ponzi schemes don't work.  Pensions are just a ponzi scheme that is near the end.   So yes, those workers who bought into the lie, are about to find out there screwed, just like all those who got useless degrees, bought too expensive a house, expect social security, believe in Santa Claus.

We are now moving to a time where we are going to discover the true costs of many things, and it's going to be shocking!

 

Here's one for you:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_H2DePAZe2gA/TGyWPBAGanI/AAAAAAAAOQ8/YwsEyLr-bM...

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

and that is relevent because...?

Did you even read rhare's Button, Button article?  If so I don't think you understood it.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
goes211 wrote:

and that is relevent because...?

 

Because the cartoon shows those that bitch all the time about taxes are in a position to pay, but push the button everyday. As I stated before, I'm pretty average, two kids, a wife and a mortgage in median income range and technically in the 25% tax bracket. After deduction my tax rate is actually only about 8%. Based on what I've just said many Americans are in the same situation, to complain about paying taxes at that level is in my opinion is ludicrous.

 

Did you even read rhare's Button, Button article?  If so I don't think you understood it.

 

I understood it very well, there are those that don't want to pay any taxes at all, period, but have benefited their whole lives from the system they complain about. I don't live in the Libertarian make believe world, I know taxes are the price you pay for a civilized society, to me what I have to pay in taxes is a bargain for what I get in return.

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy

The origins of the Button, Button story is from 1st year undergraduate philosophy, where students are exposed to the concept of totalitarian societies, and the ease by which violent and destructive actions may be brought to bear  against anonymous enemies

Like many contemporary propaganda pieces, this one has been co-opted by the Right, it’s intent and meaning reversed, and circulated as “evidence” of the opposite parties ideology in direct contradiction to its initial intent and purpose.

To the subject at hand, an interesting comparison is here in California in the city of Bell, a small working class subdivision of Los Angeles, population 40,000. Many will be familiar with this as the news has been awash in incredulous stories of outrageous city salaries and pensions. The city manager was just fired after the media uncovered that his total annual compensation was just under $1.5mm. The police chief was pulling down a salary of almost $500k, not including perks. The taxpayers pension obligations for this crew of criminals is in the millions of dollars, as the crooks simply give themselves raises just before retirement to game the pension system into paying out 65% of the last years salary- in perpetuity.

 Article Link

Until his salary became public, Rizzo continued to dominate his city. At ex-Councilman Cole's urging, former and current employees say, Rizzo helped the city stage a successful election — barely 400 of Bell's 40,000 residents voted — to transform the town from a general law municipality into a charter city. The election was scheduled soon after a 2005 state law capped council salaries for general law cities.

 

Council members have denied that pay had anything to do with the election, but their salaries shot up after the switch to charter status, and Rizzo's employment contracts ballooned. Casso said available city records indicate that Rizzo's salary was divided among several titles he held, such as head of the housing and public finance authorities; no single giant figure appeared under the city manager designation. Spertus said he believed the council and a former city attorney opted to structure the pay that way.

Much to the disappointment of the tea partiers and libertarians, none of this has anything to do with unions or out of control government, it just plain corruption and graft as the city council voted in and approved all of the salaries and compensation, naturally after the principals grafted all of council members into the game with their own benefits and land deals.

In a relevant example of the detailed mechanics of how this works, the graft and corruption spread out horizontally to include the city council members and other decision makers, including in some cases grafting their spouses, and out into the business community by involving prestigious law firms (in drawing up the compensation packages to try and avoid liability) and third party business for fraudulent land deals, and ultimately upward vertically involving Wall Street investment banks.

In short, this was a tightly coupled robbery of the taxpayer with many complicit entities specifically designed to work around governmental checks and balances. Note that in the last election, of the 40,000 residents, 400 actually turned up to vote. Also note that California law requires any pension shortfalls to be distributed to other counties, so the whole gang is on the hook for the pension excesses of the city of Bell.

Now of course without disclosing these details, the governmental deconstructionists (tea partiers, libertarians, and right wing conservatives) are free to enter the fray, whose media outlets are funded and sponsored by the very same private sector actors who benefited in the first place, and raise the hue and cry that government is out of control and naturally we need to tear it all down. And to whose benefit?

Curiously, (well not really) the only whistleblower was the highly criticized “drive by media” and liberal thought Nazi’s at the LA Times, without whose investigative journalism none of this would have been disclosed.

The initial premise of civil service began after WWII, and was intended to provide a mechanism for staffing of municipalities and government agencies with below market salaries, to provide a “break” for the citizens so they could afford to have professional management of what was rapidly becoming a complex and fast growing society. The social contract was intended to provide a below market wage to these civil servants, primarily benefiting the taxpayer. The flip side was to incentivize the civil servant with a pension and other benefits that could be generated with interest income over the term of employment, at  no cost to the taxpayer.

This of course has been perverted into the outrageously corrupt system we have now, with many who call for a deconstruction having no idea why it was constructed in the first place, and even less of a clue as to how to replace it.

Diogenknees, keep up the fine posting.

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goes211
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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:
goes211 wrote:

Did you even read rhare's Button, Button article?  If so I don't think you understood it.

I understood it very well, there are those that don't want to pay any taxes at all, period, but have benefited their whole lives from the system they complain about.

So how exactly do you believe we should be allowed to complain about the system from which we have derived these so-called benefits?  I assume you would never criticise our countries foreign engagements because they seem to have kept the country safe since 9/11?  Bush sucked but I am sure you just bit your tongue as we did not get attacked.  Somehow I doubt it and what a moronic argument anyways.

If Bush sucks, he should be called on it.  If Obama sucks, so should he.  If government at any level shows incompetence or corruption, it should be exposed.  If the whole concept behind our current government shows it to be illegitimate, so be it!

Diogenknees wrote:

I don't live in the Libertarian make believe world, I know taxes are the price you pay for a civilized society, to me what I have to pay in taxes is a bargain for what I get in return.

Finally the true comes out.  Sound like you like the system because it is a bargain for what you get in return.  If you are getting more than you paid for doesn't that imply that someone is probably getting less?  I will tell you any benefits I get now are coming at a very steep price either now in taxes or in a future collapse.

Diogenknees wrote:

As I said before , The average American pays bugger all for taxes. After standard deductions you are not really taxed at the 25% level, my rate was actually less than 8% after deductions/credits. Other taxes, such as sales taxes you have some control over, you are not taxed if you don't buy.

If I was paying anything like the 8% you are, I might only be a little annoyed.   My employer is nearly paying that much just on their half of SS and medicare.  Sales and property taxes are optional as long as you don't want to have shelter, clothe yourself, or eat.

darbikrash wrote:

The origins of the Button, Button story is from 1st year undergraduate philosophy, where students are exposed to the concept of totalitarian societies, and the ease by which violent and destructive actions may be brought to bear  against anonymous enemies

Like many contemporary propaganda pieces, this one has been co-opted by the Right, it’s intent and meaning reversed, and circulated as “evidence” of the opposite parties ideology in direct contradiction to its initial intent and purpose.

Please explain the correct interpretation of that story.  I would love to hear the original before it was "co-opted by the Right" and had "it’s intent and meaning reversed".

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Diogenknees
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 109
Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
darbikrash wrote:

The origins of the Button, Button story is from 1st year undergraduate philosophy, where students are exposed to the concept of totalitarian societies, and the ease by which violent and destructive actions may be brought to bear  against anonymous enemies

Like many contemporary propaganda pieces, this one has been co-opted by the Right, it’s intent and meaning reversed, and circulated as “evidence” of the opposite parties ideology in direct contradiction to its initial intent and purpose.

To the subject at hand, an interesting comparison is here in California in the city of Bell, a small working class subdivision of Los Angeles, population 40,000. Many will be familiar with this as the news has been awash in incredulous stories of outrageous city salaries and pensions. The city manager was just fired after the media uncovered that his total annual compensation was just under $1.5mm. The police chief was pulling down a salary of almost $500k, not including perks. The taxpayers pension obligations for this crew of criminals is in the millions of dollars, as the crooks simply give themselves raises just before retirement to game the pension system into paying out 65% of the last years salary- in perpetuity.

 Article Link

Until his salary became public, Rizzo continued to dominate his city. At ex-Councilman Cole's urging, former and current employees say, Rizzo helped the city stage a successful election — barely 400 of Bell's 40,000 residents voted — to transform the town from a general law municipality into a charter city. The election was scheduled soon after a 2005 state law capped council salaries for general law cities.

 

Council members have denied that pay had anything to do with the election, but their salaries shot up after the switch to charter status, and Rizzo's employment contracts ballooned. Casso said available city records indicate that Rizzo's salary was divided among several titles he held, such as head of the housing and public finance authorities; no single giant figure appeared under the city manager designation. Spertus said he believed the council and a former city attorney opted to structure the pay that way.

Much to the disappointment of the tea partiers and libertarians, none of this has anything to do with unions or out of control government, it just plain corruption and graft as the city council voted in and approved all of the salaries and compensation, naturally after the principals grafted all of council members into the game with their own benefits and land deals.

In a relevant example of the detailed mechanics of how this works, the graft and corruption spread out horizontally to include the city council members and other decision makers, including in some cases grafting their spouses, and out into the business community by involving prestigious law firms (in drawing up the compensation packages to try and avoid liability) and third party business for fraudulent land deals, and ultimately upward vertically involving Wall Street investment banks.

In short, this was a tightly coupled robbery of the taxpayer with many complicit entities specifically designed to work around governmental checks and balances. Note that in the last election, of the 40,000 residents, 400 actually turned up to vote. Also note that California law requires any pension shortfalls to be distributed to other counties, so the whole gang is on the hook for the pension excesses of the city of Bell.

Now of course without disclosing these details, the governmental deconstructionists (tea partiers, libertarians, and right wing conservatives) are free to enter the fray, whose media outlets are funded and sponsored by the very same private sector actors who benefited in the first place, and raise the hue and cry that government is out of control and naturally we need to tear it all down. And to whose benefit?

Curiously, (well not really) the only whistleblower was the highly criticized “drive by media” and liberal thought Nazi’s at the LA Times, without whose investigative journalism none of this would have been disclosed.

The initial premise of civil service began after WWII, and was intended to provide a mechanism for staffing of municipalities and government agencies with below market salaries, to provide a “break” for the citizens so they could afford to have professional management of what was rapidly becoming a complex and fast growing society. The social contract was intended to provide a below market wage to these civil servants, primarily benefiting the taxpayer. The flip side was to incentivize the civil servant with a pension and other benefits that could be generated with interest income over the term of employment, at  no cost to the taxpayer.

This of course has been perverted into the outrageously corrupt system we have now, with many who call for a deconstruction having no idea why it was constructed in the first place, and even less of a clue as to how to replace it.

Diogenknees, keep up the fine posting.

 

Thanks for that, I was beginning to look at this forum as a lost cause. I'm appalled at the "throwing out the baby with the bath water" attitude I see on forums like this one. I try to look at things from all angles, try and find the little man behind the curtain pulling the strings. My main motto's have always been "Sequere Pecuniam" and "Cui Bono". For example, when the Tea Party started I checked out where it came from and who was funding it before making any decision about it, and looking around I found out it was not what it's claimed to be.

Turns out he original idea did not come from a grass roots protest at all, The term "teabagger" was coined on January 19, 2009 by Graham Makohoniuk, an investment manager who came up with a campaign to "send a tea bag to the White House" as a sign of protest over the bail outs, in February the same year Rick Santelli a trader at the Chicago Merchantile Exchange called for " A New Tea party " on national television. Dick Armey, a life long Republican, the ultimate insider  who served as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives for a number of years and then as a US$750,000 lobbyist, saw how  the wind was blowing and somehow remade himself as a " Washington Outsider ". He quickly co-opted the movement with his book "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto", a book which was published by that other grassroots outsider Robert Murdoch (he owns Fox News). Armey also has been caught out in the past  "Astroturfing",a term that refers to so called grassroots-based citizen groups that are primarily conceived, and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms. So there you have it, a Grass Roots Movement funded and manipulated by millionaires

 

 

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ao
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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
Diogenknees wrote:

Thanks for that, I was beginning to look at this forum as a lost cause. I'm appalled at the "throwing out the baby with the bath water" attitude I see on forums like this one. I try to look at things from all angles, try and find the little man behind the curtain pulling the strings. My main motto's have always been "Sequere Pecuniam" and "Cui Bono". For example, when the Tea Party started I checked out where it came from and who was funding it before making any decision about it, and looking around I found out it was not what it's claimed to be.

Turns out he original idea did not come from a grass roots protest at all, The term "teabagger" was coined on January 19, 2009 by Graham Makohoniuk, an investment manager who came up with a campaign to "send a tea bag to the White House" as a sign of protest over the bail outs, in February the same year Rick Santelli a trader at the Chicago Merchantile Exchange called for " A New Tea party " on national television. Dick Armey, a life long Republican, the ultimate insider  who served as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives for a number of years and then as a US$750,000 lobbyist, saw how  the wind was blowing and somehow remade himself as a " Washington Outsider ". He quickly co-opted the movement with his book "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto", a book which was published by that other grassroots outsider Robert Murdoch (he owns Fox News). Armey also has been caught out in the past  "Astroturfing",a term that refers to so called grassroots-based citizen groups that are primarily conceived, and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms. So there you have it, a Grass Roots Movement funded and manipulated by millionaires

Talking about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I guess you didn't realize that the founding fathers were part of a grass roots movement, "manipulated" issues of the time (remembering that manipulation can be both a positive and a negative process), and many of them were the millionaires of their time.  I suppose the Democratic party has been funded by impoverished masses of street paupers selling scrap cardboard to raise countless pennies in a noble collectivist effort.   

Maybe this forum is a lost cause for you.  Perhaps your pearls of wisdom are more urgently needed elsewhere and should be reserved for greener pastures and not cast amongst the swine here.  We are just not worthy of such intellectual prowess.

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Diogenknees
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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
goes211 wrote:
Diogenknees wrote:
goes211 wrote:

Did you even read rhare's Button, Button article?  If so I don't think you understood it.

I understood it very well, there are those that don't want to pay any taxes at all, period, but have benefited their whole lives from the system they complain about.

So how exactly do you believe we should be allowed to complain about the system from which we have derived these so-called benefits?  I assume you would never criticise our countries foreign engagements because they seem to have kept the country safe since 9/11?  Bush sucked but I am sure you just bit your tongue as we did not get attacked.  Somehow I doubt it and what a moronic argument anyways.

 

Who said anything about not complaining? I just stated that the Average American of a median income with two kids, a wife and a mortgage is not paying anywhere near what was claimed, and in my own case I consider it a bargain. As for Bush, we were attacked on 9/11when he was already running the show. I protested the whole run up to the war in Iraq, the fake yellowcake documents,memo's regarding invading Iraq before 9/11 even happened and Colin Powell's Dog & Pony show at the UN. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

 

If Bush sucks, he should be called on it.  If Obama sucks, so should he.  If government at any level shows incompetence or corruption, it should be exposed.  If the whole concept behind our current government shows it to be illegitimate, so be it!

 

I don't disagree completely, any government , right or left should be called on corruption or incompetence, but by the same token going back to some imagined "Leave it to Beaver" world of 1955 is not an option.

 

Diogenknees wrote:

I don't live in the Libertarian make believe world, I know taxes are the price you pay for a civilized society, to me what I have to pay in taxes is a bargain for what I get in return.

Finally the true comes out.  Sound like you like the system because it is a bargain for what you get in return.  If you are getting more than you paid for doesn't that imply that someone is probably getting less?  I will tell you any benefits I get now are coming at a very steep price either now in taxes or in a future collapse.

 

Make up your mind, first it's " We pay too much Tax", then when I point out that's not the case for an average American family man of median income, you change your tune and attack me because I pay every cent I'm legally obligated to? You are not making much sense.

As I pointed out I'm not alone in my position, being in the median income range means just that, about half the population makes what I make or less, meaning they get the same deal or better, and not the one you are complaining about. I can only gather from your complaint that you are either already making far more than the median income, or require someone to help prepare your taxes.

 

Diogenknees wrote:

As I said before , The average American pays bugger all for taxes. After standard deductions you are not really taxed at the 25% level, my rate was actually less than 8% after deductions/credits. Other taxes, such as sales taxes you have some control over, you are not taxed if you don't buy.

If I was paying anything like the 8% you are, I might only be a little annoyed.   My employer is nearly paying that much just on their half of SS and medicare.  Sales and property taxes are optional as long as you don't want to have shelter, clothe yourself, or eat.

 

I already covered property taxes back up the thread, mine are close to the national median ($1854.00 ) as well, less than what a lot of people pay for coffee and a doughnut everyday.

 

darbikrash wrote:

The origins of the Button, Button story is from 1st year undergraduate philosophy, where students are exposed to the concept of totalitarian societies, and the ease by which violent and destructive actions may be brought to bear  against anonymous enemies

Like many contemporary propaganda pieces, this one has been co-opted by the Right, it’s intent and meaning reversed, and circulated as “evidence” of the opposite parties ideology in direct contradiction to its initial intent and purpose.

Please explain the correct interpretation of that story.  I would love to hear the original before it was "co-opted by the Right" and had "it’s intent and meaning reversed".

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Re: Neosho, MO - window on a troubled city economy
 
40 Bizarre Statistics That Reveal The Horrifying Truth About The Collapse Of The U.S. Economy
20-07-2010
 
Most Americans still appear to be operating under the delusion that the "recession" will soon pass and that things will get back to "normal" very soon.  Unfortunately, that is not anywhere close to the truth.  What we are now witnessing are the early stages of the complete and total breakdown of the U.S. economic system.  The U.S. government, state governments, local governments, businesses and American consumers have collectively piled up debt that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP.  At no point during the Great Depression (or at any other time during our history) did we ever come close to such a figure.  We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and now that gigantic debt bubble is beginning to pop.  As this house of cards comes crashing down, the economic pain is going to become almost unimaginable. 

Already, things are really, really, really bad out there.  Unemployment is at shockingly high levels.  Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continue to set new all-time records.  Businesses are being shut down at a staggering rate, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. government continues to pile up debt at blinding speed.

There is no use sugar-coating it.

The U.S. economy is collapsing.

The following are 40 bizarre statistics that reveal the truth about the collapse of the U.S. economy....

1 - According to one shocking new survey, 28% of U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

2 - A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

3 - There are 9.2 million Americans that are unemployed but that are not receiving an unemployment insurance check.

4 - In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

5 - According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.

6 - China's trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent in June compared to a year earlier.

7 - This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.

8 - According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

9 - According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, 71% of Americans say that it still feels like the economy is in a recession.

10 - Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.

11 - Banks repossessed an average of 4,000 South Florida properties a month in the first half of 2010, up 83 percent from the first half of 2009.

12 - According to RealtyTrac, a total of 1.65 million U.S. properties received foreclosure filings during the first half of 2010.

13 - The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes has sunk to a 13-year low.

14 - Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

15 - 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008.

16 - Back in 1950 each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

17 - According to a new poll, six of 10 non-retirees believe that Social Security won't be able to pay them benefits when they stop working.

18 - 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

19 - According to one survey, 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.

20 - According to one recent survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.

21 - The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply to 52.9 in June.  Most economists had expected that the figure for June would be somewhere around 62.

22 - Retail sales in the U.S. fell in June for a second month in a row.

23 - Vacancies and lease rates at U.S. shopping centers continued to get worse during the second quarter of 2010.

24 - Consumer credit in the United States has contracted during 15 of the past 16 months.

25 - During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

26 - Things are now so bad in California that in the region around the state capital, Sacramento, there is now one closed business for every six that are still open.

27 - The state of Illinois now ranks eighth in the world in possible bond-holder default.  The state of California is ninth.

28 - More than 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.

29 - On Friday, U.S. regulators closed down three banks in Florida, two in South Carolina and one in Michigan, bringing to 96 the number of U.S. banks to be shut down so far in 2010.

30 - The FDIC's deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.

31 - The U.S. federal budget deficit has topped $1 trillion with three months still to go in the current budget year.

32 - According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

33 - The M3 money supply plunged at a 9.6 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2010.

34 - According to a new poll of Americans between the ages of 44 and 75, 61% said that running out money was their biggest fear. The remaining 39% thought death was scarier.

35 - One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

36 - The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

37 - The number of Americans with incomes below the official poverty line rose by about 15% between 2000 and 2006, and by 2008 over 30 million U.S. workers were earning less than $10 per hour.

38 - According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.

39 - For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

40 - A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that just 23% of American voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.

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