Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hoovervilles -- No, Republicanvilles

During the Great Depression, shantytowns formed in many American cities where the homeless and jobless threw up shacks to live in. They were called "Hoovervilles."

It's happening again. Crooks and Liars collects reports of tent cities growing up in Sacramento, Seattle, Reno, and Nashville. To tell you the truth, the tent cities look like more precarious places to live than the Hooverville shacks.

Here's a video from MSNBC.

Bob Herbert has a good column about the general subject of conservative malfeasance here.

The seeds of today’s disaster were sown some 30 years ago. Looking at income patterns during that period, my former colleague at The Times, David Cay Johnston, noted that from 1980 (the year Ronald Reagan was elected) to 2005, the national economy, adjusted for inflation, more than doubled. (Because of population growth, the actual increase per capita was about 66 percent.)

But the average income for the vast majority of Americans actually declined during those years. The standard of living for the average family improved not because incomes grew but because women entered the workplace in droves.

As hard as it may be to believe, the peak income year for the bottom 90 percent of Americans was way back in 1973, when the average income per taxpayer, adjusted for inflation, was $33,000. That was nearly $4,000 higher, Mr. Johnston pointed out, than in 2005.

But, hey, they've got flat-screen TV's.

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