July 14th, 2012

"Not Suffering Enough"



From “The Sharp Sudden Decline of America’s Middle Class” in Rolling Stone Magazine:

"I didn't wear my best clothes, but I wore a light blouse and jeans, and I guess I was just a little too dressed up," she recalls. "Because the woman just looked at me and said, 'Are you in a crisis? Your application says you're in a crisis.' I said, 'I'm living in a van and I don't have a job. I have a little bit of money, but it's going to go fast.' The woman said, 'You have $500. You're not in a crisis if you have $500.' She said anything more than $50 was too much."

If Adkins had filled her tank with gas, done her laundry, eaten a meal, and paid her car insurance and phone bills, it would have used up half of everything she had. But emergency food stamps, she was told, are not for imminent emergencies; they're for emergencies already in progress. You can't get them if you can make it through the next week – you have to be down to the last few meals you can afford.

"The money's for my phone, it's for gas, it's for my bills," Adkins said.

"Why are you in a crisis," the woman asked, "when you have a phone bill?"

"I need the phone so I can get a job. You can't look for a job without a phone."

"Why do you have bills?" the woman asked. "I thought you didn't have a place to live."

"I live in my van," Adkins said. "I have insurance."

"You have a 2007 van," the woman said. "I think you need to sell that."

"Please, I need a break," Adkins said. "I need some help. I need to take a shower."

"Why didn't you have a shower?"

"I live in a van."

The woman told Adkins to come back when she really needed help.


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Mic

Mortgages. How do they work?

A curious story here. See, in the SoCal desert, one of those southern counties is trying to implement the "eminent domain" clause to rescue some of its towns. The whole idea is that the local authorities would be allowed to take a home that's sunken underwater, pay the bank the market price (more likely: less than the market price), and then re-finance it for the current resident. The purpose would be to avoid many areas mainly consisting of foreclosed (and now empty) homes turning entire areas into ghost-towns.

Article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-28/eminent-domain-is-bad-ploy-for-underwater-mortgages.html

Question is, is this step an abuse of government power? Or if we get further, could it be interpreted as government theft? It'll certainly affect lien holders negatively, but will those who caused the housing crash be duly punished, or they'd never get affected?

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