You might have heard about this Tennessee couple lost their home as firefighters watched. John McQuaid asks in Forbes:
As tax revenues have fallen over the past three years of recession, and austerity became the default policy of local governments, the public sector has been steadily hemorrhaging employees and cutting back on services. This is kind of a shadow recession, its effects lagging behind the first and putting a drag on the recovery. Most of us get by on a patchwork of public and private services, with overlapping responsibilities: the fire department (paid for with tax revenues, usually) will put out the fire, while most homeowners have insurance to pay for the damages. These days, both the public and private ends of this arrangement are fraying badly, and gaps are opening up. As the story notes, this is the second time firefighters in South Fulton have let a house burn because the owner didn’t pay the $75 fee.