Your Choce:...Food, Clothing, Shelter
May 22 (Bloomberg) -- As nighttime temperatures plunged in Birmingham, Alabama, last October, Dora Bonner had a choice: either pay the gas bill so she could heat the home she shares with four grandchildren, or send the Birmingham Water Works a $250 check for her water and sewer bill.
Bonner, who is 73 and lives on Social Security, decided to keep the house from freezing.
``I couldn't afford the water, so they shut it off,'' she says.
Bonner's sewer bills have risen more than fourfold in the past decade. So have those of others in Jefferson County, which has 659,000 residents and includes Birmingham, the state's largest city.
What's threatening to increase them even more isn't the high cost of treating waste; it's the way county officials chose to finance the $3.2 billion in debt they took on to build a new sewer system. The county relied on advice from a bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., to arrange its funding, rather than use competitive bidding.
The above article deals with the fallout from a SWAP deal gone bad...but illustrates a HUGE problem that is rapidly unfolding. More and more Americans are being forced to choose between food, clothing or shelter because their income can no longer afford all three simultaneously.
In the article, sewer bills in Jefferson County have increased fourfold in the past decade. Many items the consumer spends money on has doubled or more in the past decade.
You think incomes have doubled in the past decade. Actually if you take out the top 5% of income earners, incomes for Americans have actually declined since 1999 for the bottom 95%.
Those that are most vulnerable are those dependent on Social Security or government assistence. As the reported CPI keeps understating the rise in costs, tens of millions of Americans are falling further and further behind.
This post is not intended to pass judgment.... Simply this:
How do we as a nation deal with the issue if half of our citizens cannot simutaneously afford to pay for food, clothing and shelter based on their personal incomes?
And some think foreclosures are going down and housing will improve????? Hope springs eternal....but reality sucks.