I found this story on HuffingtonPost this morning. The basic story is one I have heard for years. Most cities have a policy of charging those who live outside the city limits for basic services. After all, city residents pay taxes to receive those services; non-residents don't. But a couple of comments reminded me of other stories I have read lately where even those who pay the taxes for the police, fire, and ambulance services have been charged fees for emergency responses. And, being in an historical frame of mind, I remember a case that hit the newspapers about 20 or so years ago concerning a Supreme Court decision. A woman who reported, repeatedly, being raped over a period of several hours sued because the emergency calls went unanswered sued because the police made the decision not to respond. The Court basically told her, and anyone else in a similar violent situation, that a police response was not a right no matter what the emergency involved. We have no right to police (or fire, or ambulance) services whether we pay taxes or not. And, with the budget cuts and layoffs, at least one California town's police chief has announced that the police will not respond to a long list of reported crimes. The rich will hire private guards while the middle class, what remains of it, will pay taxes and pray, and the poor will get help only if the other two classes are threatened. Don't you just love the Conservative vision of social justice? (update: I noticed that MSNBC has picked up this story. Their focus seems to be, to judge by the headline, on the fact that the city fire department showed up to fight the fire in case it spread to a neighboring property, whose owner paid the fee, but refused to fight it on the property where the fire started because that owner had not paid.)
And then there is this story, also from HuffingtonPost. I normally wouldn't have linked or commented because it concerns something I have commented on frequently enough before--the mortgage disaster ('mess' seems just doesn't seem strong enough) compounded by fraud, greed and, in some cases, ignorance. What I think is noteworthy is the connection the author makes to the procedures that led to the melt-down in the first place. The fraud continues. Nothing has changed. The Kleptocracy prospers and the rest of us pay for it.