Wall Street Thieves Find “New Way” to Steal from Us

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

We know that millions of American families lost their homes after Wall Street’s 2007 financial crash… but where did all those houses go?

It turns out that Wall Streeters themselves formed profiteering investment groups that rushed out to scoop up tens of thousands of those foreclosed properties, usually grabbing them on the cheap at courthouse auctions in suburban metro areas that were hard-hit by the crash. These moneyed syndicates have deep, deep pockets, so they easily outbid local buyers to take possession of the majority of the single-family homes being sold off in many distressed places.

Why are they buying? To turn the homes into rental properties and become the dominant suburban landlord, controlling the local market and constantly jacking up rents. For example, the Wall Street Journal found that in Nashville’s suburb of Spring Hill, just four of these predatory giants own 700 houses – giving this oligopoly of absentee investors ownership of three-fourths of all rental houses in town. One of these bulk buyers is an arm of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, another is an equity outfit that was spun out of the housing speculation department of Goldman Sachs, and another is a billionaire whose investors include the Alaska State Oil Fund.

Not only do rents jump dramatically when such outfits seize a market, but Wall Street’s intention is to impose “a new way” on housing America: They’re pushing a cultural shift in which homeownership is no longer part of the American Dream and tenants are taught to accept annual rent increases as the price of having a home.

So the banksters crash the economy, you lose income and your home, they buy your house at auction, then they rent it to you at an ever-increasing price. The “new way” is the same old story: The rich robbing the rest of us.

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Reposted from Hightower Lowdown.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work