Tag Archives | Recession

Entire South Dakota Town For Sale For $800,000

5830652118_fbb3eba6f2For under a million dollars, you can purchase Scenic, South Dakota, a small town with weather-worn charm that includes a jail, post office, dance hall, and several saloons that have stood since the days of the Wild West. Most of the remaining residents are relatives of a woman named Twila Merril. What you’ll do with your very own U.S. town is your business. Via CNN:

Scenic, South Dakota, might not have much — a dance hall, a jail and a handful of out-buildings. But it’s a town. And most of it could be yours for $799,000. “They’ve decided to sell and move on,” said Dave Olsen, a realtor who is hoping to sell the property. It’s 46 acres in total — 12 acres in town and 34 acres around it — located about 50 miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota.

The sale includes the “kit and kaboodle,” said Olsen — a saloon, dance hall, museum, bunkhouse, two stores, a train depot, jails (one abandoned) and a handful of out-buildings.

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Youth In Revolt In Puerto Rico

upr-protest-12-23 Wondering why American citizens aren't up in arms in the streets, à la Spain, Egypt, Greece, and elsewhere? Well, they are, just not on the mainland. Al Jazeera's always-intriguing Fault Lines visits the island to look at the massive protests as the government imposes big cuts in education and social services, rending Puerto Rico a guinea pig in a harsh conservative "fiscal experiment":
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Britain’s Assault On Squatters

squatter-rights-5There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties in the UK – 650,000 in England alone. We should be seizing empty properties and giving them to people who need them, not locking up people for wanting a place to live.

People are broke and evicted. Meanwhile, countless homes sit unused and empty, or abandoned…some people take matters into their own hands and live as squatters. But now the outraged authorities are fighting back against the squatter scourge, the UK’s New Left Project writes:

The traditional view that the Tories are the party of the landed classes was built on solid bedrock. The last time they were in power they orchestrated the largest land-grab in living memory – the ‘right to buy’ – through which council housing passed to property magnates and buy-to-let landlords. This time around, spurred on by misleading articles in the right-wing media, they’ve announced plans to make squatting illegal and to allow landlords to forcibly evict people – whether squatters or tenant – backed up by the iron fist of the law.

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Welcome to Nowhere: U.S. Recession Wipes Empire, Nevada Off The Map

Photo: aturkus (CC).

Photo: aturkus (CC)

Jessica Bruder writes in the Christian Science Monitor:

This mining town of 300 people clings like a burr to the back of the Black Rock Desert. For years, it was marked on state Highway 447 by a two-story sign reading, “Welcome to Nowhere.”

On June 20, that tongue-in-cheek greeting will become a fact. Empire, Nev., will transform into a ghost town. An eight-foot chain-link fence crowned with barbed wire will seal off the 136-acre plot. Even the local ZIP Code, 89405, will be discontinued.

Many towns have been scarred by the recession, but Empire will be the first to completely disappear. For only a few days more it will remain the last intact example of an American icon: the company town.

Since 1948, the United States Gypsum Corporation (USG), which is the nation’s largest drywall manufacturer, has held title to all of Empire: four dusty streets lined with cottonwoods, elms, and silver poplars, dozens of low-slung houses, a community hall, a swimming pool, a cracked tennis court, and a nine-hole golf course called Burning Sands…

Read More: Christian Science Monitor

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McDonald’s Accounted For Half Of May’s Job Growth

3876843822_fc4d31ab52If you’re looking for a job, McDonald’s is the place to go. No really, it’s the only place for you to go. The Atlantic Wire writes:

We were joking when we wrote that McDonalds was singlehandedly reviving the U.S. economy by hiring 62,000 employees in a single day in April. At the time, it didn’t feel like the recovery hinged on the creation of low-paying, temporary McJobs. Well, on the heels of today’s pessimistic report saying that just 54,000 jobs were added in May, the fast food chain’s effect on the economy is looking impressive to MarketWatch.

Seasonal adjustment will reduce the Hamburglar impact on payrolls. (In simpler terms — restaurants always staff up for the summer; the Labor Department makes allowance for this effect.) Morgan Stanley estimates McDonald’s hiring will boost the overall number by 25,000 to 30,000.

Those 25,000 to 30,000 McJobs that Morgan Stanley estimated were the net additions that would amount to half of the jobs added in May.

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The U.S. Double-Dip Recession Is Here

Photo: Brendel (CC)

Photo: Brendel (CC)

The media today are telling us what we already know: the United States is firmly in the grip of a double-dip recession, at least so far as home values are concerned. Shannon Bond has the details for the Financial Times:

US home prices slumped for an eighth straight month in March, dropping below the bottom previously recorded in the housing bust in a sign of the persistent weakness of residential real estate.

A separate report showed consumer confidence sagged in May as Americans grew more pessimistic about the job market and inflation expectations rose.

Prices of single-family houses in the 20 largest US cities fell 0.2 per cent from February to March on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. The decline was in line with economists’ expectations and left the index at 138.16, below its low point of 139.26 in April 2009 and the lowest level since March 2003.

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Can Manhood Survive The Lost Decade?

Unemployed Man - Exhibitor at APExpo 2010 012Via Newsweek:

If this isn’t the Great Depression, it is the Great Humbling. Can manhood survive the lost decade?

Brian Goodell, of Mission Viejo, Calif., won two gold medals in the 1976 Olympics. An all-American, God-fearing golden boy, he segued into a comfortable career in commercial real estate. Until 2008, when he was laid off. As a 17-year-old swimmer, he set two world records. As a 52-year-old job hunter, he’s drowning.

Brock Johnson, of Philadelphia, was groomed at Harvard Business School and McKinsey & Co., and was so sure of his marketability that he resigned in 2009 as CEO of a Fortune 500 company without a new job in hand. Johnson, who asked that his real name not be used, was certain his BlackBerry would be buzzing off its holster with better offers. At 48, he’s still unemployed.

Two coasts. Two men who can’t find jobs. And one defining moment for the men in the gray flannel suits who used to run this country.

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By The Top One Percent, For The Top One Percent

top-one-percentIn a fantastic piece for Vanity Fair, acclaimed economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses what America’s vast income inequality means for our future — in short, how it will corrode and distort every aspect of society:

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy.

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2010 Was The Year Of ‘The Crumble’

Happy New Year 2011 banner 1The tenth year of the 21st Century has left us behind, and it can’t be too soon.

It was a year of the crumble.

The economy continued to crumble for ordinary people with little hope for a quick turnaround even as some markets surged. The hopes of the jobless for employment crumbled. The faith of the so many homeowners that they will find a way to stay in their homes facing foreclosure crumbled.

And so have the hopes of so many of us that our new Change Is Coming president would fight for us, would end the wars, would close Gitmo, would abandon torture, would make healthcare more affordable, would give us a government we could believe in; that, too, has crumbled.

Look back at the devastation of the year gone by its ugly election, bought and paid for by US Supreme Court sanctioned special interests, oil spilled by the Gulf-ful, wars escalated, climate change unabated, and Wall Street unchecked and we have to scratch our heads and wonder who is crazier, them or us.… Read the rest

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