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.




  • Heddwch says:

    You know what you get if you take the unions away? Unsafe labour practices. For all the folk who bicker, may they do your job for 72 hours or that of another "public safety" union worker and see how long they last. It takes a special person to do your job and others like it. Unions aren't the problem….it's uneducated folks who complain about them. You've earned your pension 20 times over, as has my husband who did 20 years in the USAF (yeah, they're trying to take away his pension and healthcare too!). Thank you and others like you, for your service. May the nay-sayers wake up some day. Until then, stay safe and take care. Peace

  • We got our Di Petro, his name is John Kobylt. I don't really care what he spews, other than the vitriole he rants is based on ratings and venom rather than facts. The idiots who listen to these assholes hang on every word as if it was written by St. John himself, not some hack talk show host who was never had to make an instant descision with lives at stake.
    What tools.

    • Michael Morse says:

      Hello Capt. great to hear from you. I try to avoid these talkshows but get sucked in now and then, makes me nuts!

  • Old Jake says:

    Oh don't get me started AGAIN………Damn, you got me started!  OK, I served honorably on the job for 10 years.  I was seriously injured at a fire and needed to have multiple back surgeries.  Additionally I suffered a nasty neck injury at the same time which I determined not to have fixed as I was to fearful of what might have happened.  I was called into the Chiefs office and told that I either had to take a normal disability or go off on an accidental disability.  I filed my papers and went toall the doctors and was put off on November 3rd, 1980.  I had no job no life still rehabbing and very little money.  I was getting a pension in a few months.
    I tried to get a job, no luck.  Who wanted someone who had multiple back surgeries.  I took a gig as a security guard making minimum wage.  No one said shit about my pension then.  Nobody cared.  Especially the city.  They could give a shit less.  To this day they could give a crap about any retired member.  I see all the grooups of businesses coming together to fight the pension abuse.  I see all the agencies gathering to state we ripped off the city  Screw them.  I paid my dues.  I have lived in pain for a long time.  No one came to me and said we are sorry. They just call me a fraud and want to take my pension away.  Cianci took our money and balanced the budget for years.  He claims he was not the one who caused the problem.  The so called groups are not going after him.  They want My Money.  I recently returned from having my neck fused as a results of the injury on the job.  I still have one more disc that is troublesome but its kind of high so I wont do anything just yet.  
    I earned my pension.  To have it taken away will be a complete slap in the face from the city to me and all the others who have tried to live their lives after being injured for the City of Providence.  Mike I am sorry for the long rant but I get really pissed when I see the nit nats trying to reduce OUR pensions.  I get crazy.  Again I am sorry for the rant.

  • Old Jake says:

    You have me crazy again!!!   Lets take a look at all those "GOLD CARD" users in the state.  Hows they spend our money.  How about the report recently about the "CARD" users that seem to live in Puerto Rico and Florida.  All these social service recepients that can't work or should I say won't work.  The ones that have full paid medical, food stamps and section 8 housing!   Not one person has jumped up and said there should be a roll back of their benifits?  Do you realise that if we were to trim it by one third we could solve the pension system for good.  If we reduced it by half we could probably have a surplus.  No one beefs about these folks, not a one.  Well the time has come someone beef about this.  I am tired and pissed that the people who have kept up their part of the bargain  are castigated by these business owners and social service groups when they should start to look at themselves.  Now thats just my opinion.   Really it is!

  • anon says:

    "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."

    My dad was a cop for 26 years.  NO ONE is going to get rich doing that – or by being a firefighter or EMS worker, either.  They're badly underpaid and usually overworked.  This is NOT – and never has been – a good situation.  The folks that may save your life some day ought to make at least as much the prima donna athletes and entertainers who are raking in the big bucks!

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