* RANT ALERT- LT MORSE HAS BEEN TAKING BITTER PILLS AGAIN!
Let's see if I've got this right: We have been in a recession that began sometime in 2007 or '08. The sub prime mortgage industry, at the behest of some powerful lobbyists in Washington whose enormous financial reserves help elect our leaders and keep them there, basically serving as pawns to the power brokers fueled the collapse of what was a strong economy. A lot of people made a lot of money by lending at inflated interest rates, or government backed loans to people who did not deserve the money, not because they are bad people, rather they had not had the opportunity to sweat, and worry, and pinch pennies, and cut costs, and suffer a little until they saved enough for a down payment on a home that would have meant a lot more to them than it did when gotten with little or no sacrifice.
People who should not have qualified for mortgages in the first place defaulted, the banks lost lots of money-for a little while, lending tightened, no more loot for everybody, the building trades suffered, the real estate brokers saw a vast downturn in their income, people slowed down their spending, defaulted on loans, foreclosed on their property and started to feel what it is like to have to save, and sacrifice, and pinch pennies.
The pinching penny people who cannot get loans or credit cards can't spend their borrowed money, people who run small businesses can't stay open, the middle class sinks further into debt and insolvency and the government bails out Wall Street and tries to add jobs to an economy that is destined to fail because it is built on borrowed money that no longer exists.
Enter the firefighter who has worked for twenty years, and wants to move on. The pension system, which has been underfunded, or not funded at all by local politicians is on the brink of collapse, and the pensioners are being hung out to dry by anybody with a hanging stick. Radio talk shows, editorials, news stories-all told with the municipal workers as either moronic dupes who were led to slaughter by their "union bosses," or greedy thugs who live a life of leisure at the detriment of the average taxpayer.
The middle class is being led to believe that the middle class municipal workers are fat and happy, living in relative luxury while they toil and sweat and produce things so that their counterparts in government can take it easy. They are being willfully misled to their own detriment. If things continue, kiss the forty hour workweek goodbye, weekends, and work place safety. Think I'm being dramatic? Look at your Health Care package, or your feeble IRA's.
So anyway, back to the intention of all of this, a typical middle class homeowner in Rhode Island pays anywhere from $2500 to $6000 give or take in property taxes. For that investment, he or she gets a police force comprised of people who would take a bullet for them, a fire department full of folks who at a moments notice respond to any and all emergencies that may occur, and are willing and able to put their lives on the line every time they do so, a decent education for their kids, and if they do not have any an educated workforce, safe, lighted streets, parks and playgrounds, trash pick-up, storm drains and a lot more.
Yet it is not enough. The thought of more taxes sends them over the edge. Business owners form coalitions aimed at "exposing the pension problem" and taking benefits away from the public sector.
Things cost money. Good people do not come cheap. You cannot get something for nothing. It is easy to sit back and point fingers and blame the unions rather than taking a good hard look in the mirror.
You get what you put in, and if you choose to not put much in, you will get not much in return. Unless you happen to be a firefighter who has put everything he was supposed to in, and now finds himself staring down a populace that feels justified in taking it away.
These are truly crazy times we live in.
* Disclaimer: I was listening to the Patriots game on the radio Sunday night, when I started the car Monday Morning I was bombarded by AM radio talk show banter, namely one John DiPitro, who has a tendancy to get under my skin whenever I have the misfortune of being sucked into his self-serving little web.