The GDP may be almost done shrinking, but let’s not forget about the unfortunate folks missing out on the trickle-down effect of all those TARP bonuses.
Take John Freitas, the leader of a Rhode Island tent city whose financial situation is summed up thusly in today’s Times:
A job holding store-liquidation signs beside the highway allowed for a climb back to a motel, but it didn’t last.
Now Freitas is self-employed keeping the peace — including, we kid you not, resolving a “conflict over tarp distribution” — in a community of 50 pierced anarchist runaway types, unemployed hairdressers, drunks, and sundry other down-on-their-luck types living illegally beneath an overpass.
They live by a barter system and play horseshoes all day, and two guys who used to own a hair salon give haircuts for free. “It’s what you make of it,” one of them says.
Still, is that really worse than being one of the people who held onto their house in a foreclosure ghost town? There’s the story about the single family inhabiting a 32-story condo building in Fort Myers, Florida. The silence is “deafening” and no one can find the remote control to the clubhouse TV.
But crippling isolation is just the tip of the iceberg for most of the people still making their mortgage payments in Foreclosureland U.S.A.
The Lancaster, California mayor is getting national attention for cracking down on gangs who use foreclosed properties to raise packs of angry pit bulls.
Middle-aged ladies in Cleveland have to sleep with their guns under their pillows, and the empty pools attract swarms of mosquitos like something out of the Bible.
We’ll take the free haircuts.
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