The bad signs include canceled sales tax holidays, dark street lights, the reappearance of gravel roads, and the elimination of every one of your city’s employees.
Most of your neighbors believe social security is mirage. According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, three-fourths of young workers—ages 18 to 34 (guess they’re using the term “workers” loosely, because it’s rare to been in your teens and have a job)—and 60% of adults don’t expect there to be enough money for them to get a social security check when they retire.
Your roads are being de-paved. In states such as Michigan, Ohio, and North Dakota, local governments are finding it too expensive to bother putting more asphalt onto crumbling, pot-hole-infested roads. So instead of adding more blacktop, they’re grinding up the old asphalt and converting the roads back into gravel, which is cheaper to lay out and maintain, per the WSJ.
Your traditional back-to-school sales tax holiday is canceled. That’s the situation in Georgia, where officials have decided to end the annual practice of granting shoppers a no-sales-tax weekend in the summer. Why was it canceled? The state is facing a $2 billion budget gap, and doesn’t want to miss out on revenues generated by sales tax—not even for a single weekend.
Empty lots and abandoned buildings represent 10 square miles of your city. This is the case in Flint, Michigan, where the thrust of one visionary’s plans to save the town revolve around demolishing thousands of dilapidated and abandoned homes.
Your state’s public college tuition is skyrocketing. Check out U.S. News & World Reports’ infographic to see if your state’s universities financial pressures qualify as “high” or “very high.”
One-fourth of your fellow citizens have sub-600 credit scores. That means their finances are so screwed up they’re categorized as poor risks for lenders. Before the recession, 15% of Americans had FICO scores of 599 or under. But now,
25.5% have dismal scores under 600.
One-third of your town’s streetlights have been turned off. That’s what they did in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they’ve also taken drastic cost-cutting moves such as removing trash cans from public parks, closed museums and pools, and cut weekend bus service.
When you tell people where you live, they inevitably respond by asking, “Why?” Proud residents of Detroit answer that question.
Every one of your city’s employees has been laid off. Maywood, California, has gotten the attention of the NY Times and the WSJ for doing just that—getting rid of its police force, school crossing guards, street maintenance crews, City Hall staffers, the whole deal. All of the work has been outsourced to the country or nearby towns to save costs. And, according to early reports, most residents seem to prefer the change, and not only because it will save them money, but because the outsourced workers are doing the jobs better.