Thursday, December 23, 2010


on the front page of today's NYT:
This struggling small city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by 2009. Right on schedule, its fund ran dry.

Then Prichard did something that pension experts say they have never seen before: it stopped sending monthly pension checks to its 150 retired workers, breaking a state law requiring it to pay its promised retirement benefits in full.

Since then, Nettie Banks, 68, a retired Prichard police and fire dispatcher, has filed for bankruptcy. Alfred Arnold, a 66-year-old retired fire captain, has gone back to work as a shopping mall security guard to try to keep his house. Eddie Ragland, 59, a retired police captain, accepted help from colleagues, bake sales and collection jars after he was shot by a robber, leaving him badly wounded and unable to get to his new job as a police officer at the regional airport.

Far worse was the retired fire marshal who died in June. Like many of the others, he was too young to collect Social Security. “When they found him, he had no electricity and no running water in his house,” said David Anders, 58, a retired district fire chief. “He was a proud enough man that he wouldn’t accept help.”
hey what else happened in 2009, the year that prichard's pension fund was going broke? that was when the GOP and blue dog democrats cut direct federal aid to states and local governments out of the stimulus plan. they did it in the name of reducing the federal deficit. then this year those same republicans and blue dogs voted to extend a huge deficit-busting tax cut for wealthy americans.

i'm pretty sure that none of the people who earn over $250k per year would have died while living in a house with no electricity or running water if they hadn't gotten their precious tax cut.