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Rental squeeze

I haven’t noticed it in Philadelphia. How about where you are?

The housing bust horror flick is now giving way to a very unwelcome sequel: a big squeeze on the cost of renting.

The number of renters paying more than half of their income towards rent has hit record levels, according to a new study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University.

Rental affordability is a critical issue for seniors, who live on fixed incomes and already are coping with low yields on their savings, fast-rising healthcare expenses and stagnant Social Security benefits. Yet the struggle with affordability is found most often among low-income Americans; JCHS found that 75 percent of renters in the lowest quartile of income are spending more than half of their income on housing. JCHS also found that lower-middle class renters also are having trouble finding affordable rental housing.

For example, 33 percent of renters with annual income of $14,500 to $30,000 are facing “severe burdens” in finding affordable rent. And the problem is growing most rapidly among demographic groups traditionally less likely to have affordability problems, including younger households, married couples with children and renters with some college education.

“These are astounding numbers,” says Eric Belsky, managing director of JCHS. “If you are spending half of your income on housing, you have very little to spend on everything else.”

Royal wedding

Honestly, do you care? I like weddings in general, but not big public carnival versions. Plus, you know, bread and circuses…

Groupons for healthcare

The Republicans are reassuring the voters who are worried about Paul Ryan’s Medicare “reform” that they’re not getting stiffed — “just” their kids.

It’s a scam, of course. You do understand what Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is, right? Groupons for healthcare! We’re supposed to be thrilled at getting healthcare for 50% off (or whatever their Deal of The Day is). Who doesn’t love a deal, right?

They think this is a brilliant plan. They’re wrong. They’re forgetting about women. We’re the ones who always know when a deal isn’t a good deal.

The women 45 and older who, statistically speaking, are the ones dealing with the brunt of their elderly parents: overseeing medical care, trying to figure out what’s best for their parents and wrestling with the Medicare paperwork.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Medicare made my parents’ final years far more comfortable than it would have been without it. Yes, my dad had a union pension and some investments, but that just covered the basics. Without Medicare, my parents — a father with pancreatic cancer and a mother with congestive heart failure and an eroding spinal column that required several surgeries — would have been impoverished.

And if the women who are dealing with their parents are anything like me, we’re not only thankful our parents had Medicare, we’re counting on it for ourselves, because we don’t want to be a burden to our children.

We also want that security for them.

Now, amoral politicians have one serious handicap: They assume everyone else is as selfish and uncaring as they are. They really don’t understand mothers.

They think we don’t care about our kids? Morons.

Every chance I get, I fight like hell for Medicare and Social Security, even though my own kids don’t even believe it’ll be there. One of them even believes the conservative propaganda that Baby Boomers selfishly bankrupted the country.

I fight anyway. I’m a mother. I know that even if I’m not here to see it, they’ll thank me later.

And so will my grandchildren.

She was asking for it

Is it just me, or does this staffer from Rep. Allen West’s office sound like a brownshirt?

You really, truly need to go read the whole freakin’ thing.


A physics paper: Astronomical alignments as the cause of ~M6+ seismicity.

The ballad of El Goodo

Big Star:

Liberals are bad at messaging

We already knew that.

Virtually Speaking tonight

Right now! Click here to listen.

Hr 1-Jay Ackroyd and Stuart Zechman This week in liberalism Jay & Stuart explore the politics and policy of Medicare.
Hr 2 – Ilona Meagher comes by to talk about fitness, stress and stress management.

Flood emergency in Lousiana

Uh oh:

BATON ROUGE – Governor Jindal declared a state of emergency today in Louisiana to prepare for possible flooding as the Mississippi river swells past flood stage.

Jindal made the announcement from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness around noon.

Storms and heavy rain up-river have already caused flooding in Missouri and Arkansas, and forecasters have predicted the Mississippi will crest at Vicksburg at its highest point since 1937 on May 13.

In his declaration, Jindal said the National Weather Service had issued flood alerts along the length of the Mississippi, and predicted the river will crest well above flood stage in many locations.

Jindal also said the State Penitentiary at Angola had begun implementing flood protection measures to protect inmates, staff and residents, and that several northern Louisiana parishes had already declared states of emergency to prepare for possible flooding.

Not encouraging

Walmart: “Our shoppers are running out of money.”

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