Saturday, November 5, 2011

Economic doom in Las Vegas, SoCal & Camden


The following description of the decline of Las Vegas comes from a recent article in The Telegraph....

But Las Vegas’s days as a boom town are long gone. At 14 percent, unemployment is the highest in America (the national average is 9.1 per cent). House prices have fallen 58.1 per cent since their 2006 high – the biggest losses of anywhere in America, while according to the website RealtyTrac, which specialises in foreclosed properties, Las Vegas is the nation’s foreclosure capital. Some 70 per cent of homes in Las Vegas are thought to be 'under water’, or in negative equity, meaning their value is worth less than the amount owed on the mortgage, while foreclosure notices have been served on one in 16 properties. A survey last year by the local Las Vegas Review-Journal and Channel 8 News Now found that 34 per cent of locals would leave Las Vegas if they could find a job elsewhere, or if they weren’t underwater on their home loan.
Last year, I wrote a piece entitled "The Death of Las Vegas". Since then, things have gotten even worse for the city in many ways.

Today, there are hundreds of people living in the tunnels underneath the streets of Las Vegas. You can see CNN video of some of these people right here.

But at least the "tunnel people" have a "roof" over their heads.

Over in "Lost Angeles", homelessness is absolutely exploding and there are thousands of people living in the streets.

The following is from a recent article by Nick Allen....

In Skid Row, a grimy pocket of downtown Los Angeles, the prostrate forms of homeless people lie strewn across the pavements.

The lucky ones have tents for shelter but others make do with a sliver of cardboard for a bed and a supermarket trolley to carry their rags.

At the last police count 1,662 people live on these streets, twice as many as a year ago.

And now amid the drug addicts and the drunks there are families who not so long ago had homes and ordinary suburban lives.

Wait, wasn't the economy supposed to be getting better?

So why has the number of people living on Skid Row doubled over the past year?

Los Angeles, like much of California, is rapidly falling apart. Decades of very foolish policies have turned the "California Dream" into the "California Nightmare".

Unemployment is rampant, crime is seemingly everywhere and the gangs appear to be getting bolder by the day. For example, 21 machine guns were recently stolen right out of an LAPD training facility.

But there are cities in California that are in even worse shape than Los Angeles is. If you go east of Los Angeles about 100 miles, you will come to the city of San Bernardino. 34.6 percent of the residents of San Bernardino are currently living below the poverty line. Among major U.S. cities, only Detroit has a worse poverty rate.

Heading back to the east coast, the city of Camden, New Jersey is representative of the post-industrial hellholes that you will find all over the mid-Atlantic region and up into New England.

In an extraordinary article entitled "City of Ruins", Chris Hedges did an amazing job of documenting how bad things have gotten in Camden. Today it is estimated that the actual rate of unemployment in Camden is somewhere around 30 or 40 percent. For most young people in Camden, there are very few legitimate opportunities for a better life, so many of them have resorted to selling drugs or selling their bodies in a desperate attempt to survive.

The following is a brief excerpt from "City of Ruins"....

There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city's few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.
The era of "American exceptionalism" is over. We have rejected the things that made us great. We have forsaken the truth and now we are paying the price.

At this point, we are rapidly becoming a joke to the rest of the world...

The New Reality For U.S. Cities: No Money For Street Lights, Roving Packs Of Wild Dogs And Open-Air Drug Markets
October 19, 2011

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