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Thread: RECESSION WATCH NEWS 2009

  1. #1
    Feel free to add related stories that have been relevant to the recession. (direct and indirect )

    opinions welcome

  2. #2
    Feel free to add related stories that have been relevant to the recession. (direct and indirect )

    opinions welcome

  3. #3
    Recession cuts illegal immigrants’ health care
    Calif. county among 1st to take drastic step, deny non-emergency services


    updated 3:05 p.m. ET, Sun., March. 15, 2009

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Graciela Barrios, an undocumented immigrant with few resources, has long relied on the county health clinic for the advice, medication and tests that have kept her diabetes under control.
    But next month, Barrios and thousands like her will be on their own, and many more people across the nation face the same fate.
    Bowing to recession-related budget pressures, Sacramento County recently took the drastic step of cutting non-emergency health services for illegal immigrants. Contra Costa County, on the east side of San Francisco Bay, will vote on a similar measure Tuesday.

    Local health systems in other states are facing similar decisions as health officials find themselves trapped between dwindling federal, state and local funding streams and the growing number of newly uninsured who need services.
    “The general situation there is being faced by nearly every health department across the country, and if not right now, shortly,” said Robert M. Pestronk, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, based in Washington.
    Difficulty meeting needs

    Data on the cost of health care for unauthorized immigrants is hard to come by, because community clinics and hospitals usually do not ask patients for their immigration status. But the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that about 59 percent of the 11.9 million illegal immigrants living in the United States have no health insurance, making up about 15 percent of the nation’s approximately 47 million uninsured.
    As the financial crisis takes a toll on local health systems and job losses spike the number of uninsured, health providers are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the people they serve, said Pestronk.
    More than half of local health departments across the country laid off or lost employees in 2008, according to a survey in January by the health officials association. About one-third predicted layoffs in 2009.

    In Sacramento County, such cuts initially meant closing three of six clinics. In February, with even less money and more patients lining up, county supervisors and health officials had to decide: close one more clinic, firing up to 40 staffers to save $2.4 million, or cut services to the approximately 4,000 illegal immigrants treated annually.

    “It was very difficult ethically for me,” said Keith Andrews, head of primary health services at the Department of Health and Human Service in Sacramento County. “People I’ve been caring for for years will be hurt.”


    Counties may legally cut services for illegal immigrants. Although hospitals receiving Medicaid funds must provide emergency care for anyone who needs it, there is no law requiring health providers to offer primary care.
    Contra Costa County officials are doing the same hard math: If they vote to cut services to the 5,500 illegal immigrants they serve a year, they will save about $6 million.

    After letting social workers go, cutting mental health services and seeing a delivery room built to handle 120 births a month accommodate 240, there were few other options, said Contra Costa Health Services Director William Walker.
    “We’ve never had this crisis before,” said Walker, who submitted the plan being voted on Tuesday. “We’ve tried to carefully slice what we thought we could without cutting off our ability to respond. Now we’re looking at bad choices among bad choices.”

    Health officials and immigrant advocates say they do not know how many local health systems provide primary care to undocumented immigrants. Officials note that many hospitals and clinics do not ask a patient’s immigration status, in part because treating chronic conditions such as asthma and hypertension keeps patients from emergency room visits that are far less effective and more expensive.
    The fraying of the safety net provided by local health systems could have serious consequences — not only for illegal immigrants, who are among the most vulnerable, but for the rest of the population, said Sonal Ambegaokar, health policy attorney at National Immigration Law Center.
    “Cutting care, you save $100 today, but you may end spending $500 tomorrow when that person shows up in the emergency room because you didn’t provide them with basic medication,” said Ambegaokar. “It’s shortsighted.”
    Asking local health officials to verify immigration status is problematic, said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
    “The devil’s in the details. Asking county workers to act as immigration officials puts them in a difficult position,” Mass said.
    For Barrios, the financial crisis has had a double impact. The same economic forces that slashed Sacramento County’s sales and property tax revenues took her husband’s job in a landscaping firm, and the family’s bills are piling up, she said.

    “I have no insurance, no resources, nothing to fall back on,” said Barrios, who has one daughter. “I have no idea what I will do.”

    <span class="ev_code_RED">Really? whatever happened to government assistance.. Your own government should provide usa a fund to offset our costs for healthcare provided for the undocumented that do not belong here, yet seek free healthcare.</span>



    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29706982

  4. #4
    LOL, liberals always claim illegals can't get welfare. What a bunch of liars.

  5. #5
    <span class="ev_code_RED">Let the games begin. More to come you can be sure. Extortion and blackmail to come</span>

    Mexico slaps additional tariffs on 90 US products

    Published: 3/16/09, 3:25 PM EDT

    MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico says it will increase tariffs on about 90 U.S. products in retaliation for last week's decision to cancel a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to transport goods within the United States.
    The Mexican Economy Department says the U.S. decision violates a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that was supposed to have opened cross-border trucking years ago.
    Department officials told a news conference Monday that the measure will affect about $2.4 billion in trade: 90 agricultural and industrial products from 40 U.S. states.
    It did not name the products or specify the amount by which import tariffs will increase.

    Activists in the United States had argued that Mexican trucks were unsafe, something Mexico denies

  6. #6
    Corporate meltdown leaves renters in limbo
    Large apartment complexes abandoned to receivership and unruly weeds



    Nicholle Krause first noticed the weeds sprouting in the usually well-manicured grounds of her 320-unit apartment complex in Chandler, Ariz., in December. Soon, signs of neglect began multiplying: Garbage spilled over from the dumpsters, the water in the swimming pool turned a slimy pea green and the grounds were infested by swarms of bees — especially alarming because Krause is severely allergic to bee stings.
    “I couldn’t even go outside to enjoy where I live,” said Krause, a 21-year-old office worker who pays $827 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with garage space. “I shouldn’t have to pay $800 a month to live in a … hole.”
    It wasn’t until early March that Krause and other residents learned why the complex – the alluringly named Alante at the Islands — was rapidly going to seed. The property owner, Irvine, Calif.-based Bethany Holdings Group, had abandoned the complex and a dozen other large rental properties in the greater Phoenix area after defaulting on hundreds of millions of dollars in loans.
    As panicked renters in Arizona began holding public meetings to explore whether they could walk away from leases, recoup security deposits or sue, it became clear that the scale of the mess was far larger than they had realized. Companies under the Bethany umbrella owned at least 60 — and possibly many more — large residential complexes across the nation, all of which are now believed to be in bankruptcy or receivership, potentially affecting tens of thousands of renters.
    The Bethany Group meltdown highlights how few protections exist for renters caught in the foreclosure crisis. That’s a situation that some experts say is becoming much more common.
    “People were paying attention to the single family resident market, the 100 percent, no-down loans,” said West Coast real estate investor and broker Virgil Hobbs, who is bidding on some of the distressed Bethany properties on behalf of clients. “And then beyond that wave is the commercial market, which is what you’re now seeing now."
    When commercial residential properties change hands, tenants typically don’t feel much impact. But in this case, where properties were simply abandoned, the situation was chaotic.
    Threats of utility shut-offs
    In one abandoned Bethany property — the 500-plus-unit Granite Bay in Phoenix — tenants were served notice by the water company on March 6 that their water would be shut off in five days because of an outstanding $64,000 bill. Alarmed residents only found out shortly before the deadline that a Las Vegas company, 707 Management Services Inc., had been appointed as receiver for the property and would see that the water remained on.
    Other Bethany complexes were threatened with gas or electricity shut-offs due to non-payment of bills. And staff at many of the Phoenix area properties said they had not been paid for a month or more before courts began appointing receivers to assume control of the complexes.
    The precise size of the Bethany rental empire is difficult to establish because the company owns apartment complexes both under its corporate name and numerous affiliated companies.
    At least 18 related entities — limited liability corporations, or LLCs, registered in Delaware that own properties in Texas — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, leaving open the possibility that they will reorganize and try to pay creditors.
    But many other Bethany properties are now in the hands of court-appointed receivers, indicating that Bethany has essentially abandoned them. The receivers — appointed to represent creditors —are charged with preserving any remaining value of the assets, managing them during foreclosure and recovering whatever they can for lenders, typically by selling at a deep discount.
    Bethany CEO Greg Garmon could not be reached for comment. Answering services at Bethany’s main line and Garmon’s office said voicemail boxes were full. The Bethany Group’s Web site no longer works, though the cached version of its introductory page still asserts that “It’s all about people and their homes.” The main office number at Alante at the Islands no longer works.
    San Diego company handling 24 properties
    San Diego based Trigild Inc. has been appointed receiver for 24 of the Bethany properties, including seven in the Phoenix area. Just 13 of the properties under Trigild’s supervision represent more than $500 million in loan defaults, according to Trigild President Bill Hoffman. Those cases are being handled by five different courts in Arizona, California, Colorado and Florida. Five other large properties in Phoenix are in receivership under 707 Management.
    Hobbs, the real estate broker, said he approached Bethany several months ago to inquire whether the company was interested in selling some of its properties after hearing rumors that the company was in trouble. He said he was told that the company’s portfolio contained more than 80 properties. But he said the company denied it was experiencing any financial difficulty.
    “We walked away scratching our heads, saying they either got their heads in the sand … or they don’t care about (thousands of) tenants,” he recalled. “Don’t tell me they are just going to let the ship sink.”
    Hoffman, the president of Trigild Inc., which is now responsible for Alante at the Islands among other Bethany properties, said the appointment of receivers by the courts should be seen as good news by tenants.
    "The tenants are going to be better off with us,” Hoffman promised. “They will see improvements very quickly. The properties will be clean, and functioning properly within a few days.”
    As a practical matter, a receiver has a strong incentive to keep tenants happy. They are the source of a property’s cash flow, and occupancy rate is a key factor in determining value. And by the second week of March, some upkeep issues had been addressed at the Bethany complexes. The Alante swimming pool was cleaned and trash pickup resumed. Trigild also is paying former Bethany employees who stayed on in the complexes, according to Hoffman.

    But by law, Hoffman said, the receiver is not liable for security deposits from renters who signed leases before the receivership went into effect.
    “There is no obligation for the receiver or the lender to give (tenants) deposits that they don’t have,” said Hoffman. If the deposits had been handed over to Trigild it would be different, he said, “but that owner (Bethany) has obviously spent that money or done something with it.”
    Chances that tenants will get back the deposit are slim, said Ed Valenzuela, executive director of the Arizona Fair Housing Center

  7. #7
    Gee, I pay $700 for a medical plan I can't even use - co pays are too high. How do I get the free stuff?

  8. #8
    Dragon I was thinking the same thing. I pay over $550.00 per month for insurance and my son's co-pays for his medications exceed $200.00 per month that is for preventative meds he takes daily.

    My diabetic supplies cost me $80.00 per month and with my high blood pressure and thyroid pill I speed over $130.00 for myself.

    Gee when do I get a hand out?

    I think I should I need to be an immgrant too.

    Hudson don't even think it. This is true and I have Federal Government Health Insurance but there are my co-pays. Want me to scan the bills?

    I have a bleeding heart for others and have been the recipient of the good will and selflessness of others but this country has laws for a reason so that we all abide by them.

    Laws are for the good of all. When people disregard the law for whatever motive or reason punishment must be enforced to deter others. Otherwise why should anyone, citizen, immigrant, etc.. bother to obey them?

    I'm not a lawyer like many, nor am I as intelligent and as well read but I think this is common sense here guys. I would extent a hand to anyone always.

    Great story, and true, In 1987, my daughter's father and I went to East Berlin (wall was still up.) The exchange rate made the american dollar seem like monopoly money. My daughter has two cousins the same age and we waited in line for hours to buy three baby carriages and dolls as presents. As we were walking through the square this little german girl was in awww as we passed by her and her parents. I understand enough German to know she wanted a baby and carriage too. Her parents explained to her they could not afford such a luxury.

    My husband and I looked at each other and I begged for us to give them the money! He said NO Robin they will buy necessities. I agreed but knew that it meant waiting in line for few more hours to buy another doll and carriage.

    Under the doll we put a $100.00 american bill. I believe in all my heart that this little girl who is an adult now and now lives in a free country will never forget us. Small thing but what an impression it made on her and her life. Treasured memory, one I am proud to say my husband and I were able to give to another human being.

    So many have struggled, worked hard to earn their way here. Those who lie, cheat and steal makes the honesty of those who played by the rules meaningless and they have a right to be bitter and trust me many they are, moreso the American people should be outraged. I know I have a few immigrant freinds that I call friend who are outraged.

    We have American children suffering, living in inadequate environments and yet the resources to help our own have been fraudulently abused, which means their is no money left for our nations children, families who struggle to survive.

    Take a drive through the coal mine region of West Virginia if you don't believe we have American children living in inhumane conditions.

    I see so many intelligent people here. I have read for hours and hours previous posts and have a good idea what the general consensus is here. Please remember to extent a helping hand to Americans who are here struggling and have no charitable organizations to assist them in their plight. Maybe we all should work together on a project and help a group of Americans to learn how to apply for welfare, yes born American's who are to iliterate to read or write, or perhaps have no transportation.

    Again help those immigrants that the system has failed due to error, or an honest/innocent mistake they may have made on an application. One typo or incorrect answer isn't grounds to squash an immigrants opporutunity to be legal in our nation. So continue to be here and help them.

    But google who is there to help an illegal immigrant remain in this country then look and see what resources are available to victims the victims of illegal immigrants who commit fraud, or American citizens who truly need the benefits being extended to those who have broken our laws willingly and knowingly and are robbing our nations born citizens of Government assistance. Illegal immigrant will have thousands of resources to utilize or contact for guidance and help. Should the same be true for the American Citizen?

    A few of you have been very kind to me here and I am very appreciative. Other's have judged me harshly and that is unfair and something I notice you do not do to the illegal immigrant who enters this forum seeking help. Should I be treated with any less respect? Yes, I was stupid, ignorant and believe me I will pay all my life for one stupid mistake. But I assure you in my life I've helped many people, people I've never met and did with a loving heart.

    My daughter's third grade teacher was a catholic nun she was the first person from India I had ever seen. Believe it our not people I was 18 years old before I ever saw a person of color in real life. I grew up in Pasadena, MD. Sister Thomasina and I still talk to this day. She was telling me how poor the children in India are and how desperately they needed school supplies. I took one paycheck and bought supplies and mailed them, they went by ox the area was so rural. But they arrived. However, the following paycheck I donate to a program for American born children who needed assistance. Balance your skills, compassion, and knowledge. Don't give it all to some and not think or share with others.

    If I have offended anyone it is not my intent but as Hudson says and it infuriates me at times "facts are a stubborn thing, etc"

    These our the facts as I see them through my eyes and life experiences. Thinking of my dearest friend HeySue (not sure of the spelling), oo dear I can still taste her kalbi, lol, we lost contact I spent 6 months locating them after her husband decided to get out of the Army. But I eventually found them and it wasn't easy or cheap but the joy it brought to her family and mine was priceless.

    My best friend could not have children. While working at Anniston Army Depot in 1990 I knew a supply clerk who was an elderly lady raising her grandchild. I arranged for my best friend Robin to adopt this child and it was an open adoption so the grandmother still remains the grandmother and not a parent at her age. I could go on and on. So do ask yourselves, other than helping on this forum what have you done to help another fellow American? If you don't remember then please go out and in some small way offer whatever hope, help, or skills you have and let our born citizens know they matter and have worth too.

  9. #9
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by dragonlady:
    Gee, I pay $700 for a medical plan I can't even use - co pays are too high. How do I get the free stuff? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Then maybe you are paying too much for the type of medical insurance you have.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

  10. #10
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Hudson don't even think it. This is true and I have Federal Government Health Insurance but there are my co-pays. Want me to scan the bills? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Robin,
    I am well aware of medical costs. Tacrolimus is one of the most expensive medicines out there from qualified medical providers (read not from the internet advertising gimmicks). Also remember, with diabetes, you have it good now. Imagine a world wehre there was no blood glocose machines, no diet coke, dieit Dr. Pepper or Diet Pepsi, weight watchers and Jenny Craig were only fads, and health food choices were extremely limited. And it was not that long ago Ms. Robin.

    As for the U.S. health care system, it is one of the best in the world, but we do pay the most out of pocket expenses of any industrialized nation. If you truly want to understand the issue, read this and this.

    Hospitals and hospital systems have alternatives, such as indigent forgiveness, if one qualifies. This could be a USC or an immigrant, legal or illegal. It just depends on the nature.

    but you will also be surprised Robin of the number of people who do not pay and have insurance. This is just one factor that drives up cost, not to mention new technology, regulation, and malpractice premiums.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

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