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12/05/2010

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Bill Hicks

Greetings from County #2 on that list (Fairfax). What makes that article more disquieting is that despite our lofty status there HAVE been plenty of signs of the downturn around here. There's a strip mall a couple of miles from me, for example, where more than half the 15 or so stores have closed in the past two years. The surface streets are in terrible shape in many places and they no longer mow the medians of the divided major roads very often so the weeds grow high in the summertime.

Also, the local governments are deep in the red. The Fairfax County School system laid off a couple of hundred workers this past year. Housing values in some outer suburban areas of DC have cratered more than 50% and the DC Metro train system is literally falling apart, with deadly derailments, track fires and worker deaths in the past 18 months plus more overcrowding and nearly daily delays. Despite this fares have increased three times in the past seven years and are now nearly double what they were in 2002. We've also got plenty of newly built half-empty condo towers around if you're looking to buy at still-overinflated prices.

Given all of that I cannot imagine what it must be like in other areas of the country. And now with federal salaries being frozen for the next two years I expect all of the above will just get worse.

S P

You are right, Dave, and this is obvious to anybody with a pulse and a brain.

What is interesting is the other counties on your list, seemingly benefiting from the financial center of NYC.

It's nothing less than the center of Empire extracting wealth from the periphery, until there's no more wealth to extract.

Still, remember that these are mostly upper middle class people, they are not the upper class. As Empire declines, the upper middle class has the most to lose, and they will. Witness the recent freeze in federal worker pay, while Wall Street walks away with ever higher bonuses.

Morocco Bama

Here's an excellent documentary by one of the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, Jamie Johnson, entitled The One Percent. Of interesting note is how these wealthy heirs, at least some of them, are dragged kicking and screaming to their fortunes....by the technocrats who are maintaining and expanding that fortune. They are propped up like Bernie in Weekend At Bernie's, and you have to ask why? I believe the reason is the same reason the U.S. props up a President, even though the position is meaningless outside that of a symbolic figurehead. The documentary is separated into multiple parts on YouTube. Here's the first part. The technocrats are such enabling scum. This all has to end...and it will end, voluntarily, or involuntarily. Gail, I wager the latter, but not before much gnashing of teeth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFU2O_UP_2c

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