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Central Falls Goes Broke

Jacki Lyden in for Tom Ashbrook


The Rhode Island city of Central Falls is broke. Its cops and firemen wait to get paid. Is this the future for cities and states around the country?

Michael Long, a retired police sergeant and practicing lawyer asks several pension related questions at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, R.I. Tuesday morning, July 19, 2011. The state appointed receiver running the financially troubled city asked retired police officers and firefighters to accept significant pension cuts to help avoid municipal bankruptcy. (AP)

Michael Long, a retired police sergeant and practicing lawyer asks several pension related questions at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, R.I. Tuesday morning, July 19, 2011. The state appointed receiver running the financially troubled city asked retired police officers and firefighters to accept significant pension cuts to help avoid municipal bankruptcy. (AP)

Central Falls, Rhode Island a proud and historic place whose motto is “city with a bright future” took the rare step this week, for a municipality –- of filing for bankruptcy.

The city hasn’t been paying its pensions for years — and doesn’t plan to do so. The public employees have been told: get a lawyer.

How Central Falls became a city with a troubled future may be an object lesson for may other municipalities around the country who are in dire straits.

This hour On Point: The American community, struggling.

-Jacki Lyden


Guests:

John Hill, staff writer for the Providence Journal.

Marta Martinez, director of communications for Progresso Latino, the only non-profit social services provider in Central Falls.

Billy Folsom, mechanic for the City of Costa Mesa, California. Boardmember of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association.

John Garvey, acting chief of the Central Falls Fire Department.

Robert Flanders, state-appointed receiver for the City of Central Falls

Ryan Holeywell, staff writer for Governing Magazine and author of the blog ‘Fed Watch.’

More:

Central Falls, Rhode Island
View Central Falls, Rhode Island in a larger map

NBC Nightly News did a story on Central Falls, which you can find here.

Central Falls proposing reduction in Police and Fire budget


Central Falls residents concerned about public safety cuts

The Buzz: Central Falls bankruptcy

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Yar

    This looks like an interesting case.  The City website is up and has information on the bankruptcy filing. http://www.centralfallsri.us/
    Before you say “it serves you right” to the civil service workers, teachers, firefighters, and police officers, stop and consider that this might happen all across the country.  As the federal government squeezes the debt balloon, states have less to share with cities, and cities can’t bridge their ever widening budget gaps. If this model is effective in dumping pension debt, cities and states will see this as the only option for survival?  Private industry has strategically used bankruptcy for years.  How many airlines used bankruptcy to dump their pension responsibilities onto the taxpayer?  Who picks up the responsibility to provide a retirement and access to medical care for public employees in these cases?    I know very little about Bankruptcy law and less about Chapter 9. Can your guests explain the meaning:
     ”of bonds issued by municipality statutory protection from § 552(a) lien stripping provisions” 

    Municipalities’ ability to re-write collective bargaining agreements are much easier than in a corporate Chapter 11 bankruptcy and can trump state labor protections allowing cities to renegotiate unsustainable pension or other benefits packages negotiated in flush times. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_9,_Title_11,_United_States_Code
    Times were never that flush for the working man, but when the stock market was really hot, it appeared pensions were growing like weeds, at least on paper.  Underfunded pensions are a nationwide problem.  68% of our 14 trillion dollar US debt is held largely by Government and private funds including pensions.  Our future selves have loaned our retirement money to our present selves in the form of lower taxes.  Bankruptcy only books the loss, the money isn’t there.  Watch out, this may be the start of a trend.  We are all in the same boat.

  • Michiganjf

    “No new taxes! No new taxes!”

    “It’s not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem!”

    This country ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to suffering municipalities!

    While Republicans assure that joblessness isn’t addressed, or even worse, while they ensure more job losses by targeting the trivial percentage of the budget represented by extremely important discretionary spending devised over decades of careful legislation… in this meanwhile, more Americans than ever are homeless, destitute, hungry, unemployed, and ever more desperate.

    Will all the hungry and destitute just give up and die?

    Well, some certainly will, but most will of course do whatever it takes to survive, and that means higher and higher crime rates.

    Yet an extremely small minority in our country is thwarting the will of the majority regarding increased government revenues, undermining education, housing/food/energy assistance for the poor and elderly, anti-crime/anti-gang programs, youth counseling and rehabilitation programs, police funding initiatives, public transporation subsidies, worker training programs, etc., etc…..

    The results of countless studies over the last half century are being ignored, as are decades of carefully developed and refined legislation, all of which helped to create a degree of balance, fairness, and opportunity in our society… something of which we are in desperate need now more than ever.

    The new Republican extreme, however, can’t seem to add two and two, proving themselves completely ignorant of the ways in which balance benefits all, and just how expensive neglect will ultimately be to America.

    Add to the formula decreased investment in infrastructure spending, deeply exacerbating the lack of opportunity, further eroding the tax base, and making our country less and less attractive to foreign investment…

    The bottom line:

    we’re going to need those policemen, firemen, and civil servants more than ever as crime and desperation rises, and by the time Americans realize just how bad the “Right” screwed our country up, decades of carefully devised solutions will have been deinstitutionalized and it will take decades again to rediscover, re-legislate, and fix our country anew.

    • Zing

      Hence, ” a well armed militia”.

      • Michiganjf

        Yes… unfortunately, all of this fits the world view of gun-toting conservatives, who believe they are well-prepared for the future they are inadvertently creating and thus aren’t nearly as worried as they should be… it’s the very narrowest of world views.     

        • Gary

          “gun-toting conservatives”
          Enough with the Islamophobia!

  • Winston Smith

    Cities and states are having difficult financial problems due in large degree to ridiculously generous pay and benefits packages, particularly retirement packages, that were given to the government employee unions by the union-bought and controlled municipal governments as outlined at the website listed below.  The municipal and state governments largely consisted of members of the Democratic Party who lit the fuse this ticking time bomb, with the unions supplying the matches.  The unions argued for such ridiculous measures as basing pensions on the hours worked during the last year of employment, and then loaded up on overtime in order to dramatically inflate that number above the multi-year average that really represented the hours that the employee actually worked.  This resulted in “kicking the can down the road” on a grand scale.  It was a rather incestuous relationship…the Democrats would commit to future spending and look like they were balancing the budget now and the unions would agree to vote for these bozos year after year.  The answer at this point is to declare bankruptcy, void these ridiculous pension benefits, and make these bums go back to work and retire at a more normal age with greatly reduced benefits so that necessary services are not cut.

    http://www.golocalprov.com/news/central-falls-bankruptcy-impact/

    • Yar

      @92335a75f7072bb4d4f8aadb348ff179:disqus ”ridiculous measures as basing pensions on the hours worked during the last year of employment”
      In a few cases your statement is correct, the last few years don’t reflect wages earned over an employee’s career.  But you should not paint all government employees with the same brush.  Most employees have lost real wages over the past few years.  Are you so cold that you would have a firefighter or police officer have their wage and retirement cut in half?  You may be equally exploited in your job, or maybe you may profit on the exploitation of others, but the bad will purchased through dismantling our nation’s social safety net will make our country a grim place to live.  Do we really want to become “No country for old men?”
      Where it takes a bribe to keep your house from burning down, or being robbed?

      We may disagree on who is the host or parasite, but I hope you understand that killing one will destroy both.
      My ideology is different than yours, I don’t have an absolute answer, but I know we can’t cut our way to prosperity.  I believe we must invest in our youth. 
      The biggest gap we face is medical costs, I prefer to give services to all and work on cutting costs per person, it seems you believe free market principles work even when choice doesn’t exist.  My goal in not to make you angry, I want to understand your vision of our shared future.

      • Margbi

        I’d just like to add to what Yar wrote, how much societal uproar are those like Winston Smith willing to tolerate when those with nothing have nothing to lose by acting in a manner to upset any stability still remaining in the society? Talk about grim!

        • Anonymous

          Well then people like Winston Smith will call this a “law and order” issue. How dare these people protest and ask for more. It’s as if we are all Oliver Twist.

    • Anonymous

      This is simply not true. While there are some abuses of the system most municipal workers have pretty small pensions. The police and fire departments are a different story. However it is also rare for them to abuse the system with overtime as you state. You bash unions, which is to be expected by people on the right. I’m kind of done with this nonsense. It’s clear to me that people of your ilk are in a different mind set from people like myself. I happen to think the problem is not making government smaller, but more efficient and accountable.

      The right uses unions as the whipping posts for all that is wrong with this country. Meanwhile corporations pay less taxes and get away with moving jobs over seas and doing whatever they want. Workers rights are eroded and wages have been flat and are now falling.
      It’s as if the people of this nation do not count anymore. This is what you are are saying pal. You’re part of the problem, not the solution.

      Central Falls problems are that they were already poor and in a more or less permanent down turn for decades. The great recession has brought even more woe to this city.  

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Jeffe: I think we can call Winston’s philosophy: “selective reasoning.”

        It’s easy to pick on union workers and not pick on CEOs who bankrupt companies and take home huge bonuses for doing so.

        It’s simply a matter of being selective in where one looks. Winston finds it easier to point a finger at working class people than wealthy people.

        The real problem is not Winston per se, it’s poor and working class people who watch FOX news and somehow believe they are the problem, not realizing what this means.

        Tea Party signs that say things like “Get the government out of my Social Security” say it all.

        • Yar

          The sad part, many in the TEA Party are CEO wannabes, but they are really just our brothers in the working class.  They hate the hood, they think the only way out is to tear it down.  They have been told that anything that builds community is socialism, which they believe is a terminal illness.  But if they can free the market almost everyone will all live in peace and prosperity.  The rest will go to jail.  The story is as old as civilization, the Christmas Carol was written because so many people believed the lie.

      • Winston Smith

        Actually if you keep yourself informed, it is true.  Many news stories on various networks have cited examples throughout the country of unjustified overtime during the last year of employment in order to inflate pension benefits.  You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own set of facts.  It is very interesting to me that no matter what level of government we are talking about, they are all broke!  There seems to be a common thread here…government is bloated and inefficient at all levels.

        • Anonymous

           Not true. It’s working pretty well in Philly. Boston is a bit of a mess bit the city works pretty well considering. You just like to bash unions, it’s an empty platitude based on exaggerated news stories.
          As if every city employee is doing this, what a load of rubbish.
          Your facts are skewed, period.

          • Winston Smith

            The reason that it happened is that the Democratically controlled and union bought city governments negotiated sweetheart deals with the unions to whom they were beholden, giving them such ridiculously high pay rates that there was no money to set aside into retirement funds.  Also, anyone who has ever watched a road crew “work” knows that 5 guys watch 1 guy work.  So when you have 6 overpaid guys doing the work of 1 relatively lazy guy, and then realize that you will have 6 overpaid guys getting an overly generous pension package at an unreasonably young age, it’s no wonder that there is no money for putting into a pension fund.

    • Cory

      Don’t forget the welfare mamas driving the Cadillac full of children.  Might as well pull out all the stops with the tired old elitist anecdotes.

      • nj

        Black welfare mamas, to be precise. It’s implied, but may as well be clear about it.

      • notafeminista

        As opposed to all the emotionally manipulative Marxist utopian class anecdotes.  Hi pot, have you met kettle?

    • Anonymous

      Flat wrong – the problem is the cities & town don’t fund the accounts & then start crying poverty when they are supposed to pay up.

      Don’t sign on to the deal and then blame the workers for the problem you have created by ignoring the details.

    • Anonymous

      Here in Omaha, NE, it was not a partisan issue.  We have an officially non-partisan city government, although everyone knows who’s an R and who’s a D, and they all participated in negotiating police and fire contracts that allowed spiking of pay on which pension benefits are based, retirement at ridiculously early age (47), full lifetime payment of family health insurance.  We have some retired cops, 50 years old, getting pension benefits of $80,000-plus for the rest of their lives, who then go on to take the same type of job with different municipalities, or, in some cases, with other departments in our own city, capitalizing on the experience they gained while working for our city.  In my view, we taxpayers have definitely been taken advantage of by our “first responders”.  Not as much so with other public workers who couldn’t manipulate their pension benefits, but are still allowed to retire way too young.

    • Michiganjf

      Unfortunately, all of this fits the world view of gun-toting conservatives, who believed they are well-prepared for the future they are inadvertently creating and thus aren’t nearly as worried as they should be… it’s the very narrowest of world views.

  • Anonymous

    The right starved the beast. The problem is the lack of well paying jobs for the middle class, and the relentless cutting of taxes on those who have the most wealth:•   
    66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all
    Americans.

    •   
    In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s
    paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to
    between 300 to 500 to one.

    •   
    The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively
    own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

    •   
    The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s
    corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

    •   
    The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national
    income.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/the-u.s.-middle-class-is-being-wiped-out-here's-the-stats-to-prove-it-520657.html?tickers=^DJI,^GSPC,SPY,MCD,WMT,XRT,DIA

    And while the rest of us are nursing a hangover from this manufactured debt ceiling crisis, Congress is getting ready to reward those corporate vultures who contrived to send their profits overseas by cutting their taxes to 5%:

    “Keith Olbermann talked to Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi about another really horrible idea that’s apparently gaining bipartisan support with our politicians — another one of these repatriation tax holidays where corporations are rewarded for offshoring their profits by being allowed to bring them back to America for rates as low as just over 5%.As Matt pointed out here, this does nothing to create jobs as we saw from the last time they did this. They just pocketed their money and laid off their workers anyway. And it’s counterproductive because allowing this to go on just encourages more of it.”http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/matt-taibbi-corporate-tax-holiday-gainingWhenever anyone points out the fact that the concentration of wealth in this country is now back to what it was during the Gilded Age, the right accuses them of “class warfare”. Talk about projection.There is no phrase that smacks of class warfare more than “job creator”.

  • Cime

    This will be the future for us all if certain people get their way!!

  • Cime

    This will be the future for us all if certain people get their way!!

  • William

    No big deal. A city is just a business and if it is mismanaged it will eventually fail. Since 2010, 11  US communities have gone bankrupt so just fire the workers, sell off the public land and let a larger city absorb what is left.

    • Cime

      We live as a community my friend! Not as a marketplace! The good old republican attitude! The hell with people! It’s all about money! Rubbish!!

      • william

         Economy of scale matters and these old “historic” cities need to combine their assets to survive. Failure to do so will result in more financial failure.

    • Anonymous

      Until it happens to your city or town.
      How do you know if this was mismanagement and not a falling tax base. Which is what it mostly is by the way, a poor city that’s fallen on hard times. It’s the Great Depression for them.

      I can see that empathy is not one of your strong points.
      Did you know that not having the ability to have empathy is one of the signs of sociopathic behavior.

      • Lee

        That’s funny, I was just thinking about the Grapes of Wrath last night. But my thought was how perfect Michelle Bachmann fits in that novel.

        I think William is being realistic.

        You think you can save Central Falls?

        Maybe it should be absorbed by Providence.

      • William

        Go ahead, feel sorry these people, that will get them a job. This area got hit hard back in the 1970′s when the textile companies left the area. What did the “smartest people in the room” do? Nothing…so here you have it…delayed pain….game over…if you care to feel sorry for them, well that is not a solution and won’t put food on their table.

    • Jasoturner

      This sort of glib, unsubstantiated rhetoric stinks of trolling.  Surely, sir, you are capable of better.

      • Cory

        He’s not, and don’t call him shirley!

      • william

        Being blunt and to the point when dealing with failed leadership of this city is exactly what is lacking in the discussion. The solution is always the most direct and long overdue.

    • TFRX

      A city is a business?

      Businesses stop offering products, get out of markets, decide that the one service or good I’ve spent my $2.99 every week on since I was in high school carries too low a margin for them to sell any more. I go to the store and it’s not there one day.

      Businesses tell poor people, all the time, “You don’t make us enough money. Too bad. No hard feelings, you poor sucker.”

  • John of Medford

    “The Rhode Island city of Central Falls is broke. Its cops and firemen wait to get paid. Is this the future for cities and states around the country?”

    Yes this is the future for cities and states around the US.

    We’ve had our moment and like the past empires in history, we are in decline.  I had thought until very recently that the decline would be relatively slow.  I don’t think that anymore.  In my opinion the decline looks like it is going to startling swift and far nastier than the so called experts expect.

    Sadly, the recent fiasco in Washington is making us look like nothing more than a banana republic in much of the world’s eyes.

    • Jasoturner

      Agree on point #1
      Agree on point #2
      Agree on point #3

      It is not reassuring to see these observations gaining wide currency.

    • Cory

      Great post.  I’m 40 and stunned at where this country has gone during my lifetime.  So sad.

  • Ggerg

    Rhode Island has Democrat Senators, Democrat Representatives, Democrat majorities is the State Assembly and Lincoln Chaffe as Governor. Is it any wonder they’re broke?

    The model for turning deficits into surpluses without raising taxes is in Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and New Jersey. I look forward to a show on their fabulous successes.

    • Cory

      Ggerg likes to “regurge” the republican talking points.

      • Ggerg

        Truth is not a talking point. Do Democrats control Rhode Island or not? Are Republicans seeing great success in the States mentioned or not?

        • Yar

          That does not create a cause and effect relationship.  Poor cities are more likely to vote democratic.  Private schools have better test scores, that doesn’t mean that if we get rid of public education our children will be better educated.

          • Ggerg

            Interesting.  It’s easier to get votes on a platform of free fish than cheap fishing lessons but one is sustainable and the other not. I do see a relationship but it is debatable and I appreciate you at least being civil.

            I’ve often thought if we got rid of public education our children would be better educated but I guess that’s for another day.

        • Cory

          Only your definition of success.  It makes profoundly sad to share a country with you.  I find your perspective inhumane and archaic.  You spit on hundreds of years of hard earned worker’s rights and gleefully worship at the altar of the golden calf.  I wonder if you consider yourself a christian?  I call once again for the dissolution of the American union, as it no longer functions in any way for the majority of it’s people.

          • Ggerg

            O please, Democrat policies are shutting down cities, take a look at Detroit. These are the people getting spat upon. There is a huge difference between Private and Public sector unions. Even FDR was adamantly opposed to Public sector unions.

            BTW, I swear on a stack of Bibles I’m not a Christian. 

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            I guess we better not talk about the State of California going broke under the leadership of Arnold, the Governator who happens to be a Republican.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah I guess that Republican state of Texas is a shinning example of excellence. How about Nevada or Arizona or New Jersey.
          You can play your blame game all you want. I’m more inclined to point to corruption and bad management and I don’t care what party runs a state. If these ingredients are in the mix then it does not matter what party is in power. Rhode Island has a history of corrupt politicians and this is one fact that cannot be overlooked.

          • Ggerg

            Texas has an unemployment rate lower that the average US rate, Arizona is about the same and Rhode Island is higher than average. The immigration problems in border states are a huge obstacle. it’s a tough comparison. New Jersey has turned the corner after decades of corrupt Democrat leadership.

          • TFRX

            Texas should be doing better with all that sweet blue-state tax money it gets. Maybe Governor Goodhair should pray harder, or to the proper god.

          • Ggerg

            It’s not so much the party as the policies. Raising taxes doesn’t work, even Andrew Cuomo knows that.  

          • Anonymous

             It is in Philly.

          • Anonymous

            Texas is a basket case and a failure. It has the some of worst public schools in the nation the homeless shelters are over flowing. It has a huge deficit that is out of control.
            It also has some of the worst working conditions in any state with accidents that are harking back to the 19th century.

            You people on the right are really into taking this nation into the 19th century. What’s next, child labor and debtors prisons? Indentured servitude?

            As if republicans are not corrupt. If you were a comedian I would be laughing, however I think you’re serious.

          • Ggerg
          • TFRX

            If you get to complain about them getting government aid, and still count the jobs they’re filling as “growth”, no matter how exploitative and low-wage, aren’t you trying to have it both ways?

            Pick one.

          • Ggerg

            Fair enough, good one. I’ll pick complaining about them getting government aid and taking jobs from Americans. They give legal immigrants a bad name. 

    • Cory

      Sure, it is easy.  Destroy unions and steal pensions and benefits from teachers and librarians.  While you are at it, destroy the social safety net and swell the bank accounts of those who need it least with tax cuts.  A society fit to burn in revolution.

      • Ggerg

        That’s a bit dramatic, don’tcha think? 

    • TFRX

      Comparing one small city to complete states?

      Yes, let’s do more of that.

      And without the usual right wing crutch of the dogwhistle about “people who don’t look like us”, given the photograph at the top.

    • TFRX

      Comparing one small city to complete states?

      Yes, let’s do more of that.

      And without the usual right wing crutch of the dogwhistle about “people who don’t look like us”, given the photograph at the top.

  • Cory

    If the government pursues a policy of using bankruptcy to screw people out of pensions and benefits they have already earned, I see no other alternative than to begin a continuum of revolution.  First non-violent, then revolution against property, and so on to its conclusion.  Tell me what other alternative there is.

    • Freeman

      Well Cory, your perception is “fine-tuned” this morning. Isn’t this is what the ” Arab Spring” thingy is  about ?

    • Yar

      Cory, congratulations, you just got mentioned on air.  

    • nj

      Wait, writing letters to Congresscritters doesn’t work?

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Cory: While I agree with a piece of the sentiment of your post, I must tell you that if you set foot on my property with the aim to even things out by taking away my house and property, well, I’m not a gun owner… yet.

      My wife and I made whatever money we have the old fashioned way: we earned it. We’ve done pretty well and we own our house, our land, and the contents of our house. We have no debt and we got to where we are legally and by hard work over many years (we’re older than you).

      You want to talk about moral hazard? Putting all people with more means than you into one pot is a serious problem and you really need to tone that talk down. Some of us have some means yet aren’t greedily trying to tilt the system our way.

      I think you often make the mistake in your comments here of putting “the rich” into one, single category and everyone else in another. I don’t see the world that way at all.

      There’s a big difference between Warren Buffett and Dick Cheney. Both are very wealthy but they have little in common.

      • Cory

        I made no mention of the rich in my post.  I also own a home and have worked hard all my life.  Breaking the promises discussed today is akin to dissiloving the social contract, and Americans in and with power should pay the price for breaking this contract.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          This is the part of your comment that confuses me:

          “then revolution against property”

          Who’s property?

          Sorry if I misunderstood but when you talk about property I think individuals.

          I agree that we need to hold our Government responsible and when they break the social contract we should vote them out of office. The fact that we seem to be voting the wrong people into office means that some of us are greedy or deluded or both.

  • Lee

    Look at the tags on your clothes. That’s why Central Falls failed.

    The reason why the left can’t make any headway has to do with the media and Central Falls will be spun like Greece was spun.
    I racked my brain last night trying to think of a similar format on the left to Limbaugh and Beck, and the only name I could think of was George Carlin- and that’s going back quite a ways. Michael Moore is similar, but he is more of a muckraking journalist. Did George Carlin’s  appeal to emotion was universal, and for the most part, left-wing. Is it propaganda? Propaganda, to me, is when you don’t have any choices, not that you have an extended listening session of one person’s thoughts. That extended viewpoint can be valuable, even if you don’t agree with it. Jon Stewart is not the same as George Carlin.  He makes fun of the right wing versions of George Carlin. Steve Colbert parodies them. It’s not the same as an extended listening session of one man or woman’s point of view- clarifying ideas or manipulating emotions-it depends on how you look at it.

    • Anonymous

      Carlin was a librarian.

      • TFRX

        I don’t think he was left or right either, but there is something otherworldly about the term “right wing version of George Carlin”. There’s a null set if I’ve ever heard it.

        • Lee

          “There’s a null set if I’ve ever heard it.”

          That’s exactly the point TFRX.

          Definition of NULLIFYtransitive verb
          1: to make null; especially : to make legally null and void
          2: to make of no value or consequence

  • Claudine

    Question for the panelists: How will the recently struck debt ceiling deal effect cash-strapped states?

    • Anonymous

      It’s going to be ugly. Get ready for learning to live in a banana-republic.

  • Freeman

    Jackie & Guest;
                           The Federal Government has exaserbated this problem. From personal expirence working with public funds. The goverment KEEPs promising and giving monies they ( we) don’t have (borrowed) and giving it to these cities and mulnicipalities; NOT to improve service but to ENRICH their perks and benefits;at the expense of the well being of OUR communities.

  • TFRX

    What percentage of a retired public worker’s pension has to be surrendered before the right wing stops treating them like sh!t?

    If one cannot come up with an answer to the above question, why don’t these middle-class sorts just start acting like the rich, i.e.: grabbing every cent they can as soon as they can?

  • Freeman

    Jackie;
             Tell Mr. Garvey we appreciate his sacrifices and those of his Department. Sure hope you are more successful than myself–My pension was slashed 50 %- Please join the rest of us         the poverty
                                                                           below
     line. 
                                                                         

    • TFRX

      Maybe you shoulda thought like a corporation, and got a lawyer to sue for your rights.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s some food for the republicans: Alabama is going to be one of the largest. So much for the democrats being villains here.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/08/03/alabama-county-could-file-for-biggest-u-s-municipal-bankruptcy-ever/

    • TFRX

      But that ex-governor with the funny sounding name is a Democrat, and he went to prison. Doesn’t that make it all his fault?

  • Anonymous

    Here’s some food for the republicans: Alabama is going to be one of the largest. So much for the democrats being villains here.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/08/03/alabama-county-could-file-for-biggest-u-s-municipal-bankruptcy-ever/

  • SteveV

    The saddest part of all this is it didn’t have to happen. We’ve spent countless billions protecting ourselves from “foreign threats”, only to destroy ourselves from within. We have met the enemy and…..

    • Jasoturner

      Hey, bin Laden’s goal was to bleed the infidels.  So while we may have been our own enemies, we also played into the hands of those who wish us ill.  Even sadder – kind of pathetic, really.

  • Yar

    If I was in charge of the pension fund, I would try to get a lien against all the city assets.  Take the swimming pool, the library, the parking meters, city hall, any asset,  I would keep them open with the labor from retired city workers.  

  • Freeman

    Jacki; 
              Do you dare bringing up ” Bell” California ? 

  • Anonymous

    It’s an employment and growth problem. That’s what we have here.

    • nj

      “Growth” can be a problem.

      “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” —Edward Abbey

      http://steadystate.org/

      • Anonymous

        Well right now buddy we need all the growth we can muster.
        Context is something you might want to explore.

  • Dh001g

    How can we not also be talking about urban sprawl? Often there is a wealthy community right next to the bankrupt community. We as a society are abdicating our responsibility to take care of our young people and old people.

  • AndyF

    I simply do not understand anymore…  Day after day after day we hear stories of America and Americans suffering as Central Falls and its people are, and yet we STILL (!!!) here NOTHING about any punishment for the thousands of Wall Streeters and Mortgage agents who gleefully and greedily took millions that got us into this mess.  I hear NOTHING about the idiots Bush and Cheney who cost us Trillions (not to mention thousands of lives) in two wars we cannot hope to win because there is no such thing in such wars…  NONE of these dopes suffer anything and worse, they continue to live like Kings, while good decent Americans pay the price.

    If any one thing is clear about America and her history, if we dont learn from our mistakes, we make them again and again.  WHY are good decent average Americans suffering when they had nothing to do with this mess that now has made our country on par with the Third World?

    The only thing certain about this disaster is that we will do it again and again and again – the rich will get richer and the middle class will vanish and you will either be a “have” or a “have not”.

    When are we going to learn?  ONLY when we penalize those whose greed and complete lack of decency actually cost them something.  For now, we reward such behavior and label such people “successful”.  We are a very very sick country – sick in the head, and in the way we treat our fellow Americans.  We might as well kiss America goodbye – cause the country as it was once envisioned is long gone.

  • Winston Smith

    The caller that just ended cites the typical Democratic answer to government financial shortfalls…just run the printing presses.  Fortunately, states and cities are not allowed to do that.  Too bad that the federal government didn’t have a balanced budget amendment 40 years ago to prevent them from just printing money.

    • Anonymous

      Oh boy. I’m not sure what to say here.

      • TFRX

        Just repeat to yourself: The Bond Vigilantes are coming, the Bond Vigilantes are coming.

        Do it often enough and you won’t be able to think of anything else, just like our mainstream press.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Winston: I don’t remember you saying anything like this during the Bush/Cheney years when we racked up most of this debt.

      Do you hold George W. Bush responsible for at least some if not most of this problem?

  • Bill

    One thing that never gets addressed – the Bush tax cuts are likely unsustainable. After a recession, governments usually gets a windfall as markets come back. This happened after the dot.com bust and recovery.

    This time around the tax revenue did not bounce back along with market – and we’re now in dire straits.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2L4LQQNBMFLZ7QPCZCBEABTXEI Mark

    A solution to the jobless issue would be to create a tax subsidy for businesses that create new jobs, “in exchange for allowing Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy to expire”.

    • Alan Shulman NH

      I like it Mark. If the wealthy need their low taxes to create employment opportunities here at home, lets see the evidence.

  • Lee

    I don’t want to get into a debate about the left or right wing views of Carlin. That’s not the point, Jeffe.  Calin’s libertarian views were mainly about FREE SPEECH. that’s what is missing in the media - we have traded balance and civility for deep discussion. Carlin used bad language, but he did it thoughtfully.

     
    Two examples: as soon as the caller Nicholas from TN expressed a novel view about printing money, Jackie’s first instinct was to cut him off and insinuate his idea was beyond the pale. If the media does not allow a broader spectrum of opinion we are never going to get out of this mess.
     
    How bout asking the Marta Martinez from Progresso Latino some follow up questions like: who are the Latinos in the community? Where are they from in Latin America?  Why and when did they immigrate to Central Falls? When did the factories close? What kind of work are people doing instead? We got  a recap of how citizens are contacting her organization to find out which services have been cut, while that is a good introduction, it was a wasted  opportunity to get an interesting perspective.

    I think the media wrongly believes that there is all the timein the world. That all they need to do is get the conversation started and the rest will take care of itself. But they don’t open the conversation enough to begin with. They need to start broader and let us narrow. Instead, they start narrow and hope we will broaden out. That was what was great about Carlin- he made room for big thoughts and ideas. Public media thinks that smacks of propaganda.

    • Anonymous

       I never said one thing about him being left or right wing.
      I said he was a libertarian. However his views before he passed away were pretty left of center on a lot of things. All of which I agree with.
      George Carlin was and still is one of my hero’s and a great sitarist and commentator.

      • nj

        Carlin played the sitar? Who knew?  {8^)

        • Anonymous

          He could burn a raga…

    • Alan Shulman NH

      Lee: I noticed that dismissive reaction by Ms. Lyden to the mention of printing money and found it wanting as well. Which is not to say I support the notion; but to not give it its moment, to editorialize about it by dismissing it was not good journalism or good hosting.

  • Lee

    I really hope I wasn’t blocked from making a comment because of censorship

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Double Dip Recession is on. Good Luck to all of us in America.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      I am mad. even our cafeteria increased their food prices on Monday and I guess everything will be going up soon.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Blessesd the people of Rhode Island. I see them everyday on 95 north going to work in Massachusetts. They even go further up to New Hampshire but Massachusetts is a strong States. We will overcome Recession 2x. We have a strong local economy.

  • notafeminista

    Until humanity (of whatever political ilk, power and status) figures out 2 things: 1)You cannot get something for nothing and 2)there is no free lunch, circumstances such as those in Central Falls are going to keep happening.  Someone somewhere has to pay for the services and benefits demanded by a given population and as long as the cost of the services and benefits keeps going up, the pool of resources to fund those services and benefits will keep getting smaller.  That is human nature regardless of socio-economic status.  Each and every time an exemption is granted from those costs, everyone will try to find a way to be exempt.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The economy of Rhode Island is not a Recession it is a Depression. It will take another 5 to 10 years for RI to recover. if the people of Rhode Island will move to another State to be closer to their jobs like Massachusetts. The State of Rhode Island will be a Ghost State. A State where no jobs are created. Sad to say but it’s true.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      The Democrats and Republicans with the twist of Tea Bags destroyed our Economy in a span of 13 years. Depression is not far behind if Washington will continue its path of destructive governing. They destroyed the middle class. Only a handful of us are now left to survive for the time being. the economic plunder by the 2 major parties of America. There is not solution for what they did to the American people. Wall Street is a major contributor of economic unrest that Washington failed to stop and continue to support with the tax payers money.

      • Alan Shulman NH

        Not to rebut what you write because I am in essential agreement with it. I would, however, extend the time span of the debacle at least back to the 70s and the opening to China which in short order facilitated the moving of massive amounts of American industry offshore by major corporations. What American industrialists did within our borders for over a hundred years – moving industries within the country to take advantage of lower labor costs and more favorable regulation environments – they now have done internationally for over thirty years. And our two parties serve their interests.

        So what are these towns left with? And I would ask also, who’s ox isn’t being gored?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          We can’t always blame China for America’s demise. We should thank China for saving thousands of American companies from going down the hill. We can’t blame the Chinese for willing to work for a cents an hour to have jobs. We Americans always complain for getting paid the minimum wage but now there is nothing to complain for the jobs are gone not even a minimum wage jobs are easy to find.

          • Alan Shulman NH

            I guess this is where we do differ. Call it blame or call it naming the phenomenon; either way, what we have allowed is for American corporations to go offshore to produce goods using close to slave labor many times under appalling working conditions. Then we import these goods, which, if they were made under these conditions in America, would be illegal; they would violate child labor laws, they would violate environmental laws. And for this I am supposed to be thankful to the Chinese?

            What do you think the last one hundred eighty years of labor history in this country is about if not securing basic human dignity – a decent place to work, a decent wage to be made there. I’m supposed to be grateful because we’ve allowed major corporations to negate that entire history of struggle?

        • EJ

          So we should be a protectionist nation? We should not engage in free trade? The outsourcing of certain secotrs of the economy and work to countires that had a comparative advantage did not free up what would have been extra money spent for other areas of investment? People should think before they repeat the same old BS they hear on their favorite news or radio show.

          • Lee

            EJ,

            If Protectionism is so bad, why did therich  industriailsts of the 19th century sing Protection’s praises?

            “Socialism for me, Free trade for you”

          • Anonymous

            Is a law that prohibits a competitively-priced product made in one of your “comparatively advantaged” locations that will kill your or your child if used a “protectionist” law?  Or is it only protectionist if it protects an American worker?

          • Alan Shulman NH

            So I would ask you;
                 -Is it protectionist to exclude foreign goods made by children?
                 -Is it protectionist to exclude foreign goods made by political prisoners?
                 -Is it protectionist to exclude goods made by workers employed in dangerous working conditions?
                 -Is it protectionist to exclude goods that are made by workers subjected to a fourteen hour work day?
             
            Men and women of all races and origins have fought for and died for the right to a decent paying job within a decent working environment. For the better part of two centuries in this country they have made this fight.

            If we, by law and by our supposed belief in the dignity of human beings, would not manufacture these goods here under such conditions, why is it then okay to import them under the banner of Free Trade?
             

    • Cnigers

       You need to educate yourself on the differences between a recession and a depression….
      Yes, unemployment is high at approximately 10%, and I’m not discounting the problems the unemployed are facing, but 90% are employed.  Not so during the depression.

  • notafeminista

    American corporations didn’t move on a lark…to China or anywhere else…

  • Pingback: A Rhode Island City’s Budget Woes lead to Municipal Bankruptcy « The City Café

  • Lee

    Jeffe I am making a point about Carlin’s form, not just his content. I am saying that George Carlin was the master of the long form, but he made it entertaining enough to hold people’s attention.   
    On point is good because it has a political/economic hour followed by a  social/cultural hour.  But there should be some format for merging these two in a longer form- like three hours, no guests, but taking phone calls. This is what the right wing does. Is this is propagandistic? Why, because it is long?

  • Roy Mac

    Look.  The Bush Tax Cuts were designed to give a benefit to Bush campaign contributors: there is NO evidence that those tax deductions resulted in job creation.  Those cuts have been revised to be presented as a jobs program, which they have proven to NOT be.

    The solution is to redifine the economic effects of the Bush tax deductions as tax credits for actually creating new jobs–i.e., create a new job, receive a tax credit–rather than casting bread on the waters in hopes of trickling down some largesse.

  • ins

    When will Americans realise that they have to pay taxes and that they cant vote into power people who are religiously against taxes and regulation?

  • Anonymous

    Jesus, when the hell is Tom coming back?

  • david

    News Flash!!
    The United States is broke!

  • Pingback: Week In Review: The Debt Ceiling Deal | Radio Boston

  • JP

    I haven’t heard anyone mention this yet: Central Falls is only 1.29 miles. That’s obviously not big enough to support government 

  • Whotrustedus

    At no point in the broadcast was there any mention of the over-promises
    the city made to it’s workers.   Who in the private sector gets a
    lifetime pension & lifetime health care benefits after 20 years of
    working? 

    As someone over 55 years old working in the private sector and feeling like
    I probably will need to keep working past age 65, it is hard to have
    sympathy for 40 to 45 year “retired” public employee. 

  • Cime

    Globalization is indeed destroying the US economy!!

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