Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rep. Miller Introduces the LEAVE Act

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 5:15 PM EDT

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) has introduced the Loophole Elimination and Verification Enforcement (LEAVE) Act, H.R.1196, which is a comprehensive immigration enforcement bill that would require the use of E-Verify for all employers nationwide, end the practice of birthright citizenship, prohibit states from granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens, increase the number of border patrol and immigration and customs enforcement agents, and assist local municipalities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, among other things.

Rep. Miller is a long-time champion for reducing overall immigration levels and was identified as a "True Reformer" during the mid-term elections. He also helped create the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus with House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).

The LEAVE Act was introduced with three original co-sponsors, including Rep. Myrick, Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas).

The LEAVE Act (H.R. 1196) would:

Prohibit dealings that assist or encourage an illegal alien to cross the border or remain in the United States.

Increase alien smuggling penalties including 3 and 30 year prison sentences, depending on the type of offense.

Uphold identification security by specifying what forms of identification may be accepted by the federal government or financial institutions. Accepted forms of identification include a Social Security card with a photo ID, a REAL ID Act compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card.

Require federal agencies to coordinate with states to develop an electronic birth and death registration system, which would reduce the number of stolen identities and help prevent Social Security fraud.

Mandate new fines and penalties for passport fraud. Make E-Verify (Basic Pilot program) permanent. Require all employees to be verified with the E-Verify program after four years of enactment.

Prevent illegal aliens from working in the U.S. Capitol Complex by prohibiting the House of Representatives and the Senate from awarding contracts to any contractor or subcontractor who does not participate in the E-Verify program.

Close the self-employed subcontractor loophole by withholding funds to a state or local government that does not require all business license applicants to comply with E-Verify. A company can currently hire a subcontractor to provide goods and services, bypassing the E-Verify process.

Prohibit states from issuing driver’s licenses unless they first verify citizenship or lawful immigration status. Require the SSA (Social Security Administration) and IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to share information related to the investigation and enforcement of no-match letters.

Prevent children born to illegal aliens in the United States from obtaining birthright citizenship. Prohibit an illegal alien from renting or owning a home, and make them ineligible for public and Section 8 housing. Specifically, applicants would be required to present an accepted form of identification such as a Social Security card accompanied by a photo ID, a REAL ID compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card in order to obtain a mortgage or apply for housing benefits.

Prohibit Social Security totalisation agreements that benefit illegal aliens, including the 2004 agreement between the United States and Mexico. Prohibit illegal aliens from receiving Social Security credit for illegal work in the United States.

Prohibit financial and nonfinancial institutions from accepting Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) or any other foreign-source of identification from an illegal alien, such as a Matricula Consular card. Forms of accepted identification include a Social Security card with a photo ID, a REAL ID compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card. These requirements also apply to the U.S. Postal Service’s “Dinero Seguro” program and the Federal Reserve’s “Directo a Mexico” program.

Prohibit states from granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens while U.S. citizens and nationals are excluded from the same benefit.

Reinstate the Secure Fence Act by requiring two-layered fencing along the Southwest Border by July 31, 2011. This amends provisions of the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill that has hindered construction of the border fence.

Add an additional 8,000 Border Patrol agents and 3,000 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents by 2015.

Affirm the right of state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws in the course of carrying out routine law enforcement activities.

Require the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to provide immigration enforcement training for state and local law enforcement officials.

Reimburse states and localities for costs associated with immigration enforcement by making grants available for equipment, technology, facilities, and other products that directly relate to investigating, apprehending, arresting, detaining, or transporting illegal aliens.

Make the Institutional Removal Program available to all states, which would expedite the deportation of criminal aliens after incarceration.

List all immigration violators in the (NCIC) National Crime Information Center Database.

Expand the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to include illegal aliens that have been convicted or charged with a crime.

Prevent the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from impeding border enforcement activities on public lands.

Prohibit the DHS and DOJ (Department of Justice) from making funds available to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens.

Comment:

Comrades, considering how much this bill will cut into Judeo-Capitalist profits, do you think it has a snowball's chance in hell? King Obama will NEVER sign it, and there's is no way that there would be enough congressional support to override a presidential veto.

This bill will do more to eliminate the illegal problem than any previous efforts. It doesn't go far enough, though. We need to round up these invaders and SEND THEM HOME! But since it won't get past the Oval Office, it doesn't matter.

It will, however be interesting to see the public's response when it is vetoed. Not that it will do any good. ZOG never has cared what the people want. It will just be interesting to see what happens - if they get to hear about it. Because of possible public outcry, the government may try to keep this as low-key as possible. All we can do is wait and see what happens.

BTW, I love the name of this bill: The LEAVE ACT. It's a message to the illegals to LEAVE!

Rep. Miller Introduces the LEAVE Act

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 5:15 PM EDT

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) has introduced the Loophole Elimination and Verification Enforcement (LEAVE) Act, H.R.1196, which is a comprehensive immigration enforcement bill that would require the use of E-Verify for all employers nationwide, end the practice of birthright citizenship, prohibit states from granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens, increase the number of border patrol and immigration and customs enforcement agents, and assist local municipalities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, among other things.

Rep. Miller is a long-time champion for reducing overall immigration levels and was identified as a "True Reformer" during the mid-term elections. He also helped create the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus with House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).

The LEAVE Act was introduced with three original co-sponsors, including Rep. Myrick, Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas).

The LEAVE Act (H.R. 1196) would:

Prohibit dealings that assist or encourage an illegal alien to cross the border or remain in the United States.

Increase alien smuggling penalties including 3 and 30 year prison sentences, depending on the type of offense.

Uphold identification security by specifying what forms of identification may be accepted by the federal government or financial institutions. Accepted forms of identification include a Social Security card with a photo ID, a REAL ID Act compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card.

Require federal agencies to coordinate with states to develop an electronic birth and death registration system, which would reduce the number of stolen identities and help prevent Social Security fraud.

Mandate new fines and penalties for passport fraud. Make E-Verify (Basic Pilot program) permanent. Require all employees to be verified with the E-Verify program after four years of enactment.

Prevent illegal aliens from working in the U.S. Capitol Complex by prohibiting the House of Representatives and the Senate from awarding contracts to any contractor or subcontractor who does not participate in the E-Verify program.

Close the self-employed subcontractor loophole by withholding funds to a state or local government that does not require all business license applicants to comply with E-Verify. A company can currently hire a subcontractor to provide goods and services, bypassing the E-Verify process.

Prohibit states from issuing driver’s licenses unless they first verify citizenship or lawful immigration status. Require the SSA (Social Security Administration) and IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to share information related to the investigation and enforcement of no-match letters.

Prevent children born to illegal aliens in the United States from obtaining birthright citizenship. Prohibit an illegal alien from renting or owning a home, and make them ineligible for public and Section 8 housing. Specifically, applicants would be required to present an accepted form of identification such as a Social Security card accompanied by a photo ID, a REAL ID compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card in order to obtain a mortgage or apply for housing benefits.

Prohibit Social Security totalisation agreements that benefit illegal aliens, including the 2004 agreement between the United States and Mexico. Prohibit illegal aliens from receiving Social Security credit for illegal work in the United States.

Prohibit financial and nonfinancial institutions from accepting Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) or any other foreign-source of identification from an illegal alien, such as a Matricula Consular card. Forms of accepted identification include a Social Security card with a photo ID, a REAL ID compliant identification card, a passport, or a USCIS photo identification card. These requirements also apply to the U.S. Postal Service’s “Dinero Seguro” program and the Federal Reserve’s “Directo a Mexico” program.

Prohibit states from granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens while U.S. citizens and nationals are excluded from the same benefit.

Reinstate the Secure Fence Act by requiring two-layered fencing along the Southwest Border by July 31, 2011. This amends provisions of the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill that has hindered construction of the border fence.

Add an additional 8,000 Border Patrol agents and 3,000 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents by 2015.

Affirm the right of state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws in the course of carrying out routine law enforcement activities.

Require the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to provide immigration enforcement training for state and local law enforcement officials.

Reimburse states and localities for costs associated with immigration enforcement by making grants available for equipment, technology, facilities, and other products that directly relate to investigating, apprehending, arresting, detaining, or transporting illegal aliens.

Make the Institutional Removal Program available to all states, which would expedite the deportation of criminal aliens after incarceration.

List all immigration violators in the (NCIC) National Crime Information Center Database.

Expand the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to include illegal aliens that have been convicted or charged with a crime.

Prevent the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from impeding border enforcement activities on public lands.

Prohibit the DHS and DOJ (Department of Justice) from making funds available to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens.

Comment:

Comrades, considering how much this bill will cut into Judeo-Capitalist profits, do you think it has a snowball's chance in hell? King Obama will NEVER sign it, and there's is no way that there would be enough congressional support to override a presidential veto.

This bill will do more to eliminate the illegal problem than any previous efforts. It doesn't go far enough, though. We need to round up these invaders and SEND THEM HOME! But since it won't get past the Oval Office, it doesn't matter.

It will, however be interesting to see the public's response when it is vetoed. Not that it will do any good. ZOG never has cared what the people want. It will just be interesting to see what happens - if they get to hear about it. Because of possible public outcry, the government may try to keep this as low-key as possible. All we can do is wait and see what happens.

BTW, I love the name of this bill: The LEAVE ACT. It's a message to the illegals to LEAVE!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The absolute hatred and contempt for white people by the media and the Obama administration is on full view in this CNN segment.

CNN admits that California’s “whitest county is one of the most desirable places to live in the world.” Then CNN goes on to declare that the county must be integrated and needs an influx of non-whites. The Obama administration has decreed that the county is in violation of the 1965 Civil Rights Act by not having more non-whites.

Obama Orders California's Whitest County To Recruit non-Whites To Move There

The Council Of Conservative Citizens told you that Obama’s Soviet style forced housing decree in Westchester County, NY was only the beginning. Westchester County is 35% non-white. Despite the high number of non-whites, Obama’s goons declared that county was violating the Civil Rights of non-whites by having Jewish and Italian enclaves. The county was ordered to build low income housing and recruit blacks and Latinos to break up these crime free, homogeneous enclaves. While most whites were against it, few were brave enough to speak out. Several CofCC members were among the few who publicly protest the draconian, Soviet style action by the Obama administration.

Now the Obama administration wants California’s whitest, and nicest county to build low income housing and recruit blacks and Latinos to move there! This is the exact same policy carried out by the Soviet Union after their conquest of Eastern Europe. Populations were forcibly moved to break up the ethnic homogeneity.

The following is the definition of Genocide as defined by United Nations General Assembly. Violation is an International Crime, punishable by the International Criminal Court.

…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

– Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II

View video here: http://cofcc.org/2011/03/obama-administration-californias-whitest-must-be-forcibly-integrated/

Comment:

Comrades, this is one of Obama's ways of dealing with "White Flight". If a community gets too, ahem, "dark", many Whites move to a lighter one. Well, Emperor Obama is trying to make that impossible, by making certain we have nowhere to flee to.

It's one thing to make it illegal for Whites to prevent people of colour from moving into their communities, but to actually require them by law to go out and recruit minorities? THAT'S GOING TOO FAR!

I'm not going to go into a whole racial tirade. How many times has that been done, and what good does it do? It's like beating a dead horse. Besides, you already know the score. I just wanted you to be aware of this situation.

BTW, the ANP has a party comrade in Marin County. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a computer. He can get email through his phone, so I'm going to send him this article. It will be interesting to hear from someone I know who actually lives there.

Also, I'd like to thank Comrade Raymond Bxxxxxxx for sending this to me.

Dan 88!
The absolute hatred and contempt for white people by the media and the Obama administration is on full view in this CNN segment.

CNN admits that California’s “whitest county is one of the most desirable places to live in the world.” Then CNN goes on to declare that the county must be integrated and needs an influx of non-whites. The Obama administration has decreed that the county is in violation of the 1965 Civil Rights Act by not having more non-whites.

Obama Orders California's Whitest County To Recruit non-Whites To Move There

The Council Of Conservative Citizens told you that Obama’s Soviet style forced housing decree in Westchester County, NY was only the beginning. Westchester County is 35% non-white. Despite the high number of non-whites, Obama’s goons declared that county was violating the Civil Rights of non-whites by having Jewish and Italian enclaves. The county was ordered to build low income housing and recruit blacks and Latinos to break up these crime free, homogeneous enclaves. While most whites were against it, few were brave enough to speak out. Several CofCC members were among the few who publicly protest the draconian, Soviet style action by the Obama administration.

Now the Obama administration wants California’s whitest, and nicest county to build low income housing and recruit blacks and Latinos to move there! This is the exact same policy carried out by the Soviet Union after their conquest of Eastern Europe. Populations were forcibly moved to break up the ethnic homogeneity.

The following is the definition of Genocide as defined by United Nations General Assembly. Violation is an International Crime, punishable by the International Criminal Court.

…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

– Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II

View video here: http://cofcc.org/2011/03/obama-administration-californias-whitest-must-be-forcibly-integrated/

Comment:

Comrades, this is one of Obama's ways of dealing with "White Flight". If a community gets too, ahem, "dark", many Whites move to a lighter one. Well, Emperor Obama is trying to make that impossible, by making certain we have nowhere to flee to.

It's one thing to make it illegal for Whites to prevent people of colour from moving into their communities, but to actually require them by law to go out and recruit minorities? THAT'S GOING TOO FAR!

I'm not going to go into a whole racial tirade. How many times has that been done, and what good does it do? It's like beating a dead horse. Besides, you already know the score. I just wanted you to be aware of this situation.

BTW, the ANP has a party comrade in Marin County. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a computer. He can get email through his phone, so I'm going to send him this article. It will be interesting to hear from someone I know who actually lives there.

Also, I'd like to thank Comrade Raymond Bxxxxxxx for sending this to me.

Dan 88!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Future Bleak In Regards To Retirement

What Does Retirement Really Mean to You?

Knowing how you want to spend your retirement is crucial for knowing when you can afford to retire

Randy Myers

So you’d like to retire in a few years. What does that mean to you? Weeks at the beach? Daily rounds of golf? Globe-trotting? Or would you be content gardening, volunteering and visiting with friends and family near your home? Put another way, what’s a day in retirement really worth to you, and what will it cost?

Most people approach retirement with one question: Can I afford it? A better question: Can I afford it and still do what I want? If what you want is a front-row seat before your TV, fine. But if you want more, factor the associated costs into your retirement budget. Besides day-to-day living expenses -- food and housing, including taxes, utilities and maintenance -- don’t forget the following:

Vacations. Even retirees need an occasional break from the day-to-day routine. Renting a modest beach house for a week or going on a short cruise can easily cost several thousand dollars.

Health care. Without your health, the retirement you want may not be possible, so take care of yourself. The Employee Benefit Research Institute calculates that in retirement, a 65-year-old couple will need as much as $376,000 just to pay health care costs not covered by Medicare. Even if they’re lucky enough to have insurance from a former employer, they’ll still need as much as $235,000 to handle what’s not covered.

Recreation, entertainment, gift-giving. Golf and tennis, dinners with friends, weekend getaways, holiday and birthday gifts, a legacy for your heirs or favorite charities. All these cost money, and you need to budget for them.

Once you know how you’d like to spend your days, this simple three-step calculation will help you determine whether you have saved enough to afford it:

Multiply the size of your retirement nest egg by 4 percent -- the amount financial planners say you can withdraw each year, adjusting annually for inflation, without undue risk of running out of money. [What nest egg? Who can afford to save these days? -Dan]

To that result, add your expected annual income from Social Security and pensions.

From that sum, subtract your projected day-to-day living expenses, plus the cost of vacations, health care, and other discretionary expenses, for a year.

If the number you get is zero or, better yet, a positive number, you’re ready to retire. If not, you’ll need to work longer, save more, scale back your retirement plans, or undertake some combination of all three.

Fast Facts

1. More than two-fifths (41 percent) of Americans in the lowest pre-retirement income level will not have enough resources to cover even basic expenses and uninsured health costs after 10 years of retirement. [It will get worse, you can count on it. - Dan]

2. Almost half of all “early baby boomers” -- those now ages 56 to 62 -- are at risk of not being able to cover basic expenditures in retirement.

3. In 2007, the median value of 401(k) accounts for people under 35 years of age fell to $9,600, from $12,090 in 2004.

Randy Myers is a contributing editor for CFO and contributes small-business articles for MSN's Business on Main. He was a reporter and editor for Dow Jones News Service, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal Europe, and a contributor to Barron's. At Dow Jones & Co., he co-developed and became founding managing editor of A stock market newswire, Dow Jones Professional Investor Report (PIR).

Comment:

First of all, you younger comrades better stop that,"I'm 25 years old. I don't have to worry about retirement for a long time" crap. Even at 25, you need to prepare for retirement. Besides, one day you're 25 and working out, dating, rock climbing, and surfing. The next thing you know you're past 60 and retirement is right around the corner. I found that one out myself, comrades. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "What the hell happened to my whole life? I've become my father!"

That's not even the problem. The problem is that in these worsening economic times, who can save for retirement? The situation will inevitably worsen. As far as the Judeo-Capitalists are concerned, we can get ourselves a sign and stand at a freeway off ramp, for all they care. As for ZOG, even for the very few of them who do care, what can they do to help us without money? Our social systems are already overburden because of leeches and illegals sucking it dry.

National Socialism has a retirement plan. Hitler was deeply concerned about those who served ably and faithfully, and had reached the age of retirement. However, even if we had a National Socialist state, it's not all up to the government. We have to prepare for retirement ourselves. It is difficult to save, but every little bit helps. The time to start preparing is at 25, not 65.

Dan 88!

Future Bleak In Regards To Retirement

What Does Retirement Really Mean to You?

Knowing how you want to spend your retirement is crucial for knowing when you can afford to retire

Randy Myers

So you’d like to retire in a few years. What does that mean to you? Weeks at the beach? Daily rounds of golf? Globe-trotting? Or would you be content gardening, volunteering and visiting with friends and family near your home? Put another way, what’s a day in retirement really worth to you, and what will it cost?

Most people approach retirement with one question: Can I afford it? A better question: Can I afford it and still do what I want? If what you want is a front-row seat before your TV, fine. But if you want more, factor the associated costs into your retirement budget. Besides day-to-day living expenses -- food and housing, including taxes, utilities and maintenance -- don’t forget the following:

Vacations. Even retirees need an occasional break from the day-to-day routine. Renting a modest beach house for a week or going on a short cruise can easily cost several thousand dollars.

Health care. Without your health, the retirement you want may not be possible, so take care of yourself. The Employee Benefit Research Institute calculates that in retirement, a 65-year-old couple will need as much as $376,000 just to pay health care costs not covered by Medicare. Even if they’re lucky enough to have insurance from a former employer, they’ll still need as much as $235,000 to handle what’s not covered.

Recreation, entertainment, gift-giving. Golf and tennis, dinners with friends, weekend getaways, holiday and birthday gifts, a legacy for your heirs or favorite charities. All these cost money, and you need to budget for them.

Once you know how you’d like to spend your days, this simple three-step calculation will help you determine whether you have saved enough to afford it:

Multiply the size of your retirement nest egg by 4 percent -- the amount financial planners say you can withdraw each year, adjusting annually for inflation, without undue risk of running out of money. [What nest egg? Who can afford to save these days? -Dan]

To that result, add your expected annual income from Social Security and pensions.

From that sum, subtract your projected day-to-day living expenses, plus the cost of vacations, health care, and other discretionary expenses, for a year.

If the number you get is zero or, better yet, a positive number, you’re ready to retire. If not, you’ll need to work longer, save more, scale back your retirement plans, or undertake some combination of all three.

Fast Facts

1. More than two-fifths (41 percent) of Americans in the lowest pre-retirement income level will not have enough resources to cover even basic expenses and uninsured health costs after 10 years of retirement. [It will get worse, you can count on it. - Dan]

2. Almost half of all “early baby boomers” -- those now ages 56 to 62 -- are at risk of not being able to cover basic expenditures in retirement.

3. In 2007, the median value of 401(k) accounts for people under 35 years of age fell to $9,600, from $12,090 in 2004.

Randy Myers is a contributing editor for CFO and contributes small-business articles for MSN's Business on Main. He was a reporter and editor for Dow Jones News Service, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal Europe, and a contributor to Barron's. At Dow Jones & Co., he co-developed and became founding managing editor of A stock market newswire, Dow Jones Professional Investor Report (PIR).

Comment:

First of all, you younger comrades better stop that,"I'm 25 years old. I don't have to worry about retirement for a long time" crap. Even at 25, you need to prepare for retirement. Besides, one day you're 25 and working out, dating, rock climbing, and surfing. The next thing you know you're past 60 and retirement is right around the corner. I found that one out myself, comrades. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "What the hell happened to my whole life? I've become my father!"

That's not even the problem. The problem is that in these worsening economic times, who can save for retirement? The situation will inevitably worsen. As far as the Judeo-Capitalists are concerned, we can get ourselves a sign and stand at a freeway off ramp, for all they care. As for ZOG, even for the very few of them who do care, what can they do to help us without money? Our social systems are already overburden because of leeches and illegals sucking it dry.

National Socialism has a retirement plan. Hitler was deeply concerned about those who served ably and faithfully, and had reached the age of retirement. However, even if we had a National Socialist state, it's not all up to the government. We have to prepare for retirement ourselves. It is difficult to save, but every little bit helps. The time to start preparing is at 25, not 65.

Dan 88!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Real Estate Crisis Continues To Worsen

The American Dream Has Become A Nightmare

By ADAM GELLER
updated 3/27/2011 12:24:10 PM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There's only one way in to Windy Ridge — across freight train tracks that zipper up the subdivision on three sides. Living room windows offer views of a cardboard box factory and a Pepsi bottling plant. It's an unlikely place to come looking for the American Dream.

But to appreciate Wigena Tirado's bond with this neighborhood of 133 vinyl-sided starter homes planted on a mostly treeless slope, listen to how she got there.

Tirado, a divorced mother of four with a degree in social work, moved to North Carolina in 2003 searching for a job and counting on a Section 8 low-income housing voucher to cover most of her rent. She moved out of her first home after finding a bullet hole in the front door. She fled the next rental, too, after it was burglarized at 2:30 on a weekday afternoon.

By then, Tirado was teaching at a daycare center. She jumped at one mother's suggestion that she rent the house across from her own.

The three-bedroom house, white with blue shutters, sat on a new street with lots awaiting construction. Tirado liked her neighbors. Her biggest doubt was raised by cards that arrived in the mailbox offering help in battling foreclosure.

Tirado's landlord told her not to worry. But in early 2007, a Mecklenburg County sheriff's deputy rang the doorbell.

"What did you do?" Tirado quizzed her son, John, then 13. The problem, though, was Tirado's house. The owner was in foreclosure and the family had to be out by April.

"I will not be moved from here," Tirado told the bank, offering to buy the place. She had no idea what she was getting into.

Four years later, the nation is finally coming to terms with the gambles and gross errors that pushed the economy, and neighborhoods like Tirado's, over a cliff.

But how do you go about reversing the damage the mortgage disaster has done to families and neighborhoods? Where do you even start? On that afternoon, Tirado's questions went only as far as how to stay put in the house at 4625 Palm Breeze Lane.

And so the battle for Windy Ridge began.

Petri dish of larger experiment

Windy Ridge is a small petri dish in a much larger experiment. Across the country, officials and non-profits are trying to stabilize neighborhoods pummeled by foreclosures — most visibly by buying vacant houses with nearly $7 billion approved by Congress.

In Charlotte, where Windy Ridge followed a nearby subdivision, Peachtree Hills, as the first to undergo triage, it's too soon to know how such efforts will work long-term. But it is already a story worth examining for lessons.

In 2000, a developer bought 38 acres in northwest Charlotte and laid out a subdivision shaped like a saxophone. Nearly all the lots were purchased by a local company, Barber Builders.

Barber built houses — all single-story and sold at a top price of $109,000 — for families with modest paychecks. But a review of county property records and interviews with buyers and residents show Windy Ridge was marketed to investors as an opportunity for steady rental income, with many purchasing multiple homes in quick succession.

Luther Rankin, a former city street maintenance worker who has lived in the subdivision since 2003, recalls being mildly surprised by the age of the property owner who arrived in a new BMW to show him a rental. Only later did Rankin realize his landlord owned four others.

"Who gives that kind of money out to at most a 30-year-old unless your daddy is Donald Trump?" Rankin says.

"Volume was good, so if somebody wanted to buy more than one house we were more than willing to sell it to them," says W. Freeman Barber Jr., who sold the building company about 6 years ago. "Of course, we had no idea of the implications."

Barber said he offered volume discounts to investors who bought multiple homes, but delegated marketing to real estate agents working on commission.

Many investors signed up tenants with federal Section 8 vouchers, given to low-income families to cover rent in the private market. Keith Wesolowski, who bought five houses, said a sales agent presented the subdivision as "newly constructed houses you can use as rental properties and here's Section 8. Here you go."

Early arrivals recall a neighborhood full of potential. Chris Youmans, who moved in with his wife in 2004 with a rent-to-own deal, said he was encouraged to see other black, working-class families in nearby houses. Joana Madruga, an Atlanta investor who bought four houses, recalls the homes and newly seeded lawns as beautifully kept.

It didn't last.

Break-in

Months after Madruga took title, somebody broke in and ransacked three of her houses. The Youmanses' landlord went into foreclosure and the couple lost roughly $5,000 of rent that was supposed to give them an equity stake. They moved to a second house down the street, determined to make a go of it.

By the time Tirado moved in, more investors had stopped making loan payments. But it wasn't until her house went into foreclosure that Tirado made a connection between chronic problems — streetlights gone dark because of unpaid homeowners' fees, frequent break-ins, yards littered with trash — and the mortgages to absentee landlords that were the neighborhood's foundation.

The bank wouldn't sell to Tirado because of a weak credit record. But she stayed when a new investor bought the property.

Many people sought the American Dream in starter homes here. But in this and a neighboring subdivision is a bitter lesson in how the mortgage disaster of the last few years came about.

She went to Homeowners' Association meetings, though she didn't own. She called police repeatedly to report the sound of break-ins, though the lack of streetlights made it difficult to know which house the thumps were coming from. In 2007, police investigated 38 break-ins in Windy Ridge, with 32 more in 2008.

"All of Morning Breeze looks like a war zone," Tirado e-mailed the homeowners board in 2008, with a house-by-house breakdown of grass that needed cutting and trash piling up.

Charlotte police asked Tirado to head up a neighborhood crime watch. Allies like Fausto Alfaro, a guard at the Mecklenburg County Jail whose family bought the house across the street, stepped up calls to police and e-mailed prosecutors when those arrested for break-ins in the neighborhood went on trial.

When Officer Brent Hartley drove through the subdivision, Tirado waved him down at curbside. The police were paying more attention, she knew. Still, sometimes she felt like an army of one.

Subdivisions in decay

In late 2007, staffers in Charlotte's department of neighborhood development, studying data on local foreclosures, focused their attention on fast-decaying new subdivisions.

"To get out in suburbia and to start seeing the same kinds of things you normally see in an inner city neighborhood, it was something that was totally unexpected," says Stanley Watkins, then the department's director.

The highest concentration was in two new subdivisions on the city's northwest side: Windy Ridge and Peachtree Hills, a neighborhood of mostly two-story homes with similar problems.

City officials were working on an action plan when Watkins got a call from Evan Covington-Chavez of the Center for Community Self-Help, a non-profit lender based in Raleigh, N.C., looking for a neighborhood where it might turn the foreclosure tide.

They settled on Peachtree Hills. The city finished sidewalks, stepped up policing and building code enforcement and worked with residents to build a viable homeowners' association. Its most visible triumph came last summer when, thanks to a private grant and 300 volunteers, the neighborhood erected a new playground.

Self-Help tried turning renting families into owners. But banks ignored their calls, letting homes go to investors at auction. So the group changed plans, buying and rehabbing 30 homes and reselling to responsible owners.

On a recent afternoon, Self-Help's Donnetta Collier leads the way through her Peachtree portfolio.The worst is a two-story with windows missing and holes punched in the drywall. But the same floor plan sparkles around the corner, where a chandelier hangs in the dining room and Collier has stocked an upstairs tub with olive oil chamomile bath soap.

"It's a great starter house. It really is. You've just got to find the right people," Collier says.

But Self-Help, which expected a commitment of a few years, now expects a turnaround to take longer. Attendance at homeowners meetings has dropped off. And home prices are falling.

"The goal is to stabilize the neighborhood," Covington-Chavez said. "We started that happening and it felt really good to see we were able to make a difference, but then the second wave of foreclosures came in and sort of knocked us back down to reality."

Habitat steps in

In Windy Ridge, Wigena Tirado and her neighbors were at last getting some allies.

Early in 2009, city officials asked the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to take a role in the battered subdivision. Habitat, drawing primarily on federal money, bought 10 houses and so far has matched families with seven. But, just as Self-Help found in Peachtree, relying on grants with restrictions left it unable to keep pace with investors.

To prevent such scenarios, the federal government reached an agreement with mortgage lenders last September to give neighborhood stabilization grantees a first look at foreclosures before investors can buy them.

"In retrospect, maybe we should've borrowed some money to make it happen quicker," says Bert Green, Habitat's executive director.

Meanwhile, the city cracked down on landlords who were not caring for houses. City crews shored up some backyards, trying to combat erosion. Tirado's Crime Watch, feeding information to police, paid dividends. Break-ins dropped from 32 in 2008 to 6 in 2009 after the arrest of three men, one from the neighborhood.

The subdivision drew the attention of Janni Sorensen, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor who had spent years organizing residents in poor, but much older, neighborhoods in East St. Louis, Ill.

Windy Ridge is a "neighborhood built to fail," says Sorensen, pointing to factors ranging from its site between railroad tracks and lack of communal space to the concentration of absentee landlords and poor renters.

With a grant from the city, she hired a graduate student, Liz Shockey, to organize residents and assigned other students to do fieldwork in the subdivision.

Shockey worked to build the homeowners' association and with Alfaro as president, Windy Ridge replaced its management company. She and Tirado organized movie nights for neighborhood children, and UNCC recently brought in 140 volunteers to pick up trash.

The neighborhood still has eyesores like the house on Morning Breeze with plywood masking its windows. But the number of vacant homes has declined, to 22 in the most recent survey by UNCC students. Sorensen is intent on finding money to buy one of the empty houses and turn the site into a playground.

Still, the neighborhood's diehards run up against what Shockey calls "Windy Ridge burnout." The Alfaros have their house on the market. Last year, the Youmanses found a house they could buy, but in another neighborhood. Then, in September, Tirado moved out, fearing her landlord was headed for foreclosure.

Months before, city officials named Windy Ridge the city's "most engaged" neighborhood. But tax notices this spring confronted owners with figures showing their homes are valued at little more than half their original prices. Break-ins quadrupled to 27 last year.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Alfaro says. "Sometimes I know I made a mistake."

But then he points out the new shrubs at three nearby homes bought by Habitat. Two doors up, Andre Knight, a cook at a sports bar, recounts how he visited every afternoon to water the fresh sod while Habitat's crews brought the house back to life. He picked out the teal paint for the master bedroom and chose the carpeting.

"The lord says you ask for what you want, to picture it in your mind and you design your own ideas," Knight says. "That's why I knew this house was meant for me."

Future of the American Dream

Does the American Dream still have a prayer in Windy Ridge?

For the subdivision to succeed will take more than one homeowner or one house. Nobody understands that better than Tirado. She still calls Palm Breeze "my street" and shouts greetings to the neighbors. A few weeks ago, she signed on as the subdivision's first-ever property inspector.

In her new apartment, Tirado leaves the shades open and the light floods in. There's a swimming pool and a racquetball court. But the battle for Windy Ridge keeps drawing her back.

"Over here it's nice," she says, "but it's not a family."

Comment:

Comrades, there are two simple words for what happened in this neighbourhood: Greed and irresponsibility. The combination of greedy banksters and investors, and irresponsibility of homeowners.

I don't need to remind everyone of the greed of heartless banksters, nor that of investors who prey on the misfortunes of the working class like financial vultures. All they care about is profit, and making money WITHOUT having to work. We all know the evils of capitalism.

But we're partially to blame as well. Everyone SHOULD have the opportunity to own their own home, but in this corrupt, rotten, profit-driven society, it isn't a right, it's privilege you must be able to afford. If you can afford to make the payments now, but not in five years when the interest rates readjust much higher, then you can't afford that house. COUNTING on getting a raise, promotion, or a better job before that happens is gambling, and it is plain irresponsibility.

I have a business associate who has a gambling problem. He's the type of guy who will bet on ANYTHING. Now this may shock you, but sometimes he bets more than he has. Now when he wins, that's OK. But when he loses - well, you get my meaning. And he loses more than he wins. He's irresponsible, just like many home buyers. Buying a home now, counting on doing better financially in a few years is a gamble that you'll probably lose.

Comrades, one of the most important parts of National Socialism is responsibility. Never bite off more than you can chew, and never gamble your family's future. The cards are stacked against the White Working class. The non-White and immigrant working class have government programs to help them out that are not available to us. As National Socialists, it is up to us to set certain standards of responsibility and good sense. Part of that means living within your means. We all want a better life, but until we can affect major change in the current system, certain things will always be out of our reach. Living within your means, means accepting this. Our day will come, but until it does, we must act like responsible citizens at all times.

Dan 88!

Real Estate Crisis Continues To Worsen

The American Dream Has Become A Nightmare

By ADAM GELLER
updated 3/27/2011 12:24:10 PM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There's only one way in to Windy Ridge — across freight train tracks that zipper up the subdivision on three sides. Living room windows offer views of a cardboard box factory and a Pepsi bottling plant. It's an unlikely place to come looking for the American Dream.

But to appreciate Wigena Tirado's bond with this neighborhood of 133 vinyl-sided starter homes planted on a mostly treeless slope, listen to how she got there.

Tirado, a divorced mother of four with a degree in social work, moved to North Carolina in 2003 searching for a job and counting on a Section 8 low-income housing voucher to cover most of her rent. She moved out of her first home after finding a bullet hole in the front door. She fled the next rental, too, after it was burglarized at 2:30 on a weekday afternoon.

By then, Tirado was teaching at a daycare center. She jumped at one mother's suggestion that she rent the house across from her own.

The three-bedroom house, white with blue shutters, sat on a new street with lots awaiting construction. Tirado liked her neighbors. Her biggest doubt was raised by cards that arrived in the mailbox offering help in battling foreclosure.

Tirado's landlord told her not to worry. But in early 2007, a Mecklenburg County sheriff's deputy rang the doorbell.

"What did you do?" Tirado quizzed her son, John, then 13. The problem, though, was Tirado's house. The owner was in foreclosure and the family had to be out by April.

"I will not be moved from here," Tirado told the bank, offering to buy the place. She had no idea what she was getting into.

Four years later, the nation is finally coming to terms with the gambles and gross errors that pushed the economy, and neighborhoods like Tirado's, over a cliff.

But how do you go about reversing the damage the mortgage disaster has done to families and neighborhoods? Where do you even start? On that afternoon, Tirado's questions went only as far as how to stay put in the house at 4625 Palm Breeze Lane.

And so the battle for Windy Ridge began.

Petri dish of larger experiment

Windy Ridge is a small petri dish in a much larger experiment. Across the country, officials and non-profits are trying to stabilize neighborhoods pummeled by foreclosures — most visibly by buying vacant houses with nearly $7 billion approved by Congress.

In Charlotte, where Windy Ridge followed a nearby subdivision, Peachtree Hills, as the first to undergo triage, it's too soon to know how such efforts will work long-term. But it is already a story worth examining for lessons.

In 2000, a developer bought 38 acres in northwest Charlotte and laid out a subdivision shaped like a saxophone. Nearly all the lots were purchased by a local company, Barber Builders.

Barber built houses — all single-story and sold at a top price of $109,000 — for families with modest paychecks. But a review of county property records and interviews with buyers and residents show Windy Ridge was marketed to investors as an opportunity for steady rental income, with many purchasing multiple homes in quick succession.

Luther Rankin, a former city street maintenance worker who has lived in the subdivision since 2003, recalls being mildly surprised by the age of the property owner who arrived in a new BMW to show him a rental. Only later did Rankin realize his landlord owned four others.

"Who gives that kind of money out to at most a 30-year-old unless your daddy is Donald Trump?" Rankin says.

"Volume was good, so if somebody wanted to buy more than one house we were more than willing to sell it to them," says W. Freeman Barber Jr., who sold the building company about 6 years ago. "Of course, we had no idea of the implications."

Barber said he offered volume discounts to investors who bought multiple homes, but delegated marketing to real estate agents working on commission.

Many investors signed up tenants with federal Section 8 vouchers, given to low-income families to cover rent in the private market. Keith Wesolowski, who bought five houses, said a sales agent presented the subdivision as "newly constructed houses you can use as rental properties and here's Section 8. Here you go."

Early arrivals recall a neighborhood full of potential. Chris Youmans, who moved in with his wife in 2004 with a rent-to-own deal, said he was encouraged to see other black, working-class families in nearby houses. Joana Madruga, an Atlanta investor who bought four houses, recalls the homes and newly seeded lawns as beautifully kept.

It didn't last.

Break-in

Months after Madruga took title, somebody broke in and ransacked three of her houses. The Youmanses' landlord went into foreclosure and the couple lost roughly $5,000 of rent that was supposed to give them an equity stake. They moved to a second house down the street, determined to make a go of it.

By the time Tirado moved in, more investors had stopped making loan payments. But it wasn't until her house went into foreclosure that Tirado made a connection between chronic problems — streetlights gone dark because of unpaid homeowners' fees, frequent break-ins, yards littered with trash — and the mortgages to absentee landlords that were the neighborhood's foundation.

The bank wouldn't sell to Tirado because of a weak credit record. But she stayed when a new investor bought the property.

Many people sought the American Dream in starter homes here. But in this and a neighboring subdivision is a bitter lesson in how the mortgage disaster of the last few years came about.

She went to Homeowners' Association meetings, though she didn't own. She called police repeatedly to report the sound of break-ins, though the lack of streetlights made it difficult to know which house the thumps were coming from. In 2007, police investigated 38 break-ins in Windy Ridge, with 32 more in 2008.

"All of Morning Breeze looks like a war zone," Tirado e-mailed the homeowners board in 2008, with a house-by-house breakdown of grass that needed cutting and trash piling up.

Charlotte police asked Tirado to head up a neighborhood crime watch. Allies like Fausto Alfaro, a guard at the Mecklenburg County Jail whose family bought the house across the street, stepped up calls to police and e-mailed prosecutors when those arrested for break-ins in the neighborhood went on trial.

When Officer Brent Hartley drove through the subdivision, Tirado waved him down at curbside. The police were paying more attention, she knew. Still, sometimes she felt like an army of one.

Subdivisions in decay

In late 2007, staffers in Charlotte's department of neighborhood development, studying data on local foreclosures, focused their attention on fast-decaying new subdivisions.

"To get out in suburbia and to start seeing the same kinds of things you normally see in an inner city neighborhood, it was something that was totally unexpected," says Stanley Watkins, then the department's director.

The highest concentration was in two new subdivisions on the city's northwest side: Windy Ridge and Peachtree Hills, a neighborhood of mostly two-story homes with similar problems.

City officials were working on an action plan when Watkins got a call from Evan Covington-Chavez of the Center for Community Self-Help, a non-profit lender based in Raleigh, N.C., looking for a neighborhood where it might turn the foreclosure tide.

They settled on Peachtree Hills. The city finished sidewalks, stepped up policing and building code enforcement and worked with residents to build a viable homeowners' association. Its most visible triumph came last summer when, thanks to a private grant and 300 volunteers, the neighborhood erected a new playground.

Self-Help tried turning renting families into owners. But banks ignored their calls, letting homes go to investors at auction. So the group changed plans, buying and rehabbing 30 homes and reselling to responsible owners.

On a recent afternoon, Self-Help's Donnetta Collier leads the way through her Peachtree portfolio.The worst is a two-story with windows missing and holes punched in the drywall. But the same floor plan sparkles around the corner, where a chandelier hangs in the dining room and Collier has stocked an upstairs tub with olive oil chamomile bath soap.

"It's a great starter house. It really is. You've just got to find the right people," Collier says.

But Self-Help, which expected a commitment of a few years, now expects a turnaround to take longer. Attendance at homeowners meetings has dropped off. And home prices are falling.

"The goal is to stabilize the neighborhood," Covington-Chavez said. "We started that happening and it felt really good to see we were able to make a difference, but then the second wave of foreclosures came in and sort of knocked us back down to reality."

Habitat steps in

In Windy Ridge, Wigena Tirado and her neighbors were at last getting some allies.

Early in 2009, city officials asked the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to take a role in the battered subdivision. Habitat, drawing primarily on federal money, bought 10 houses and so far has matched families with seven. But, just as Self-Help found in Peachtree, relying on grants with restrictions left it unable to keep pace with investors.

To prevent such scenarios, the federal government reached an agreement with mortgage lenders last September to give neighborhood stabilization grantees a first look at foreclosures before investors can buy them.

"In retrospect, maybe we should've borrowed some money to make it happen quicker," says Bert Green, Habitat's executive director.

Meanwhile, the city cracked down on landlords who were not caring for houses. City crews shored up some backyards, trying to combat erosion. Tirado's Crime Watch, feeding information to police, paid dividends. Break-ins dropped from 32 in 2008 to 6 in 2009 after the arrest of three men, one from the neighborhood.

The subdivision drew the attention of Janni Sorensen, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor who had spent years organizing residents in poor, but much older, neighborhoods in East St. Louis, Ill.

Windy Ridge is a "neighborhood built to fail," says Sorensen, pointing to factors ranging from its site between railroad tracks and lack of communal space to the concentration of absentee landlords and poor renters.

With a grant from the city, she hired a graduate student, Liz Shockey, to organize residents and assigned other students to do fieldwork in the subdivision.

Shockey worked to build the homeowners' association and with Alfaro as president, Windy Ridge replaced its management company. She and Tirado organized movie nights for neighborhood children, and UNCC recently brought in 140 volunteers to pick up trash.

The neighborhood still has eyesores like the house on Morning Breeze with plywood masking its windows. But the number of vacant homes has declined, to 22 in the most recent survey by UNCC students. Sorensen is intent on finding money to buy one of the empty houses and turn the site into a playground.

Still, the neighborhood's diehards run up against what Shockey calls "Windy Ridge burnout." The Alfaros have their house on the market. Last year, the Youmanses found a house they could buy, but in another neighborhood. Then, in September, Tirado moved out, fearing her landlord was headed for foreclosure.

Months before, city officials named Windy Ridge the city's "most engaged" neighborhood. But tax notices this spring confronted owners with figures showing their homes are valued at little more than half their original prices. Break-ins quadrupled to 27 last year.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Alfaro says. "Sometimes I know I made a mistake."

But then he points out the new shrubs at three nearby homes bought by Habitat. Two doors up, Andre Knight, a cook at a sports bar, recounts how he visited every afternoon to water the fresh sod while Habitat's crews brought the house back to life. He picked out the teal paint for the master bedroom and chose the carpeting.

"The lord says you ask for what you want, to picture it in your mind and you design your own ideas," Knight says. "That's why I knew this house was meant for me."

Future of the American Dream

Does the American Dream still have a prayer in Windy Ridge?

For the subdivision to succeed will take more than one homeowner or one house. Nobody understands that better than Tirado. She still calls Palm Breeze "my street" and shouts greetings to the neighbors. A few weeks ago, she signed on as the subdivision's first-ever property inspector.

In her new apartment, Tirado leaves the shades open and the light floods in. There's a swimming pool and a racquetball court. But the battle for Windy Ridge keeps drawing her back.

"Over here it's nice," she says, "but it's not a family."

Comment:

Comrades, there are two simple words for what happened in this neighbourhood: Greed and irresponsibility. The combination of greedy banksters and investors, and irresponsibility of homeowners.

I don't need to remind everyone of the greed of heartless banksters, nor that of investors who prey on the misfortunes of the working class like financial vultures. All they care about is profit, and making money WITHOUT having to work. We all know the evils of capitalism.

But we're partially to blame as well. Everyone SHOULD have the opportunity to own their own home, but in this corrupt, rotten, profit-driven society, it isn't a right, it's privilege you must be able to afford. If you can afford to make the payments now, but not in five years when the interest rates readjust much higher, then you can't afford that house. COUNTING on getting a raise, promotion, or a better job before that happens is gambling, and it is plain irresponsibility.

I have a business associate who has a gambling problem. He's the type of guy who will bet on ANYTHING. Now this may shock you, but sometimes he bets more than he has. Now when he wins, that's OK. But when he loses - well, you get my meaning. And he loses more than he wins. He's irresponsible, just like many home buyers. Buying a home now, counting on doing better financially in a few years is a gamble that you'll probably lose.

Comrades, one of the most important parts of National Socialism is responsibility. Never bite off more than you can chew, and never gamble your family's future. The cards are stacked against the White Working class. The non-White and immigrant working class have government programs to help them out that are not available to us. As National Socialists, it is up to us to set certain standards of responsibility and good sense. Part of that means living within your means. We all want a better life, but until we can affect major change in the current system, certain things will always be out of our reach. Living within your means, means accepting this. Our day will come, but until it does, we must act like responsible citizens at all times.

Dan 88!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Medicare Fraud Epidemic


By MERRILL GOOZNER, The Fiscal Times
March 10, 2011

Medicare could wrench as much as $70 billion a year in savings by cracking down on fraud, experts told Congress this week. But the key is preventing scam artists and fake firms from doing business with the senior citizen health care program in the first place — not chasing them down after the fact.

At a series of congressional hearings, officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services insisted that they are beginning to scrutinize new providers coming into the program, rather than waiting to chase down fraud until after it’s paid the bills. “We are going to keep out the bad guys without making things worse for honest providers, and cut off payments for things that should not be paid,” Peter Budetti, director of program integrity at CMS, told a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. “We want to move from the pay and chase mode to preventing fraud.”

Budetti cautioned, though, that most of the funding for a new electronic screening software that could help identify fraudulent providers was contained in the 2010 health care reform law, which most Republicans on the Hill are seeking to repeal.
The growth of Medicare fraud could undermine the major source of funding for the new health care reform law.

Republicans responded that the limited measures in the reform bill don’t go far enough. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the latest government fraud prevention effort would eliminate just $5.8 billion in improper payments over the next decade, or less than 1 percent of expected fraud, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said last week at a hearing of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on government oversight. The legislation “left a lot of suggestions by Congress and other government agencies on the cutting room floor,” he said.

The Obama administration has clearly stepped up the government effort to combat Medicare fraud that began under the Bush administration. Its fear: If left unchecked, the growth of Medicare fraud could undermine the major source of funding for the new health care reform law. The administration hopes to raise about a half-trillion dollars over the next decade through greater efficiencies in Medicare to help fund coverage for the uninsured.

To combat fraud, it has sought more money for the special interagency task force that investigates providers who abuse the system. For instance, last month Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of 111 company executives, doctors and other health care providers in nine cities in what government officials called the largest ever federal crackdown on health care fraud. The charges ranged from submitting claims for medically unnecessary treatments to receiving kickbacks for referrals to billing for toenail removals that were never done.

New Approach to Root Out the Problem

Last year, the federal task force arrested 931 people and won 726 convictions in illegal billing schemes worth more than $2.3 billion, a 23 percent increase over the previous year, officials said. In 2010 it also recovered $4 billion through non-criminal penalties levied on Medicare and Medicaid providers who made improper claims to federal and state agencies.

But that approach — going after fraud and abuse after it occurs — will never root out the problem, experts testified. “If we had a better prepayment detection system that was coupled with a post-payment ‘pay and chase’ approach when necessary, you could significantly cut back the fraud and abuse problems,” said Craig H. Smith, a partner at Hogan Lovells U.S. in Tallahassee, Fla. He previously headed the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which ran the Medicaid program in a state often considered “ground zero” for health care fraud.

Providers selling Medicare durable medical equipment like motorized wheelchairs and fraudulent billing by home health agencies are major abusers of the system, especially in areas with huge senior populations like south Florida, southern California and the New York-New Jersey metroplex. Foreign criminal syndicates, often based in Russian, Eastern European and Latin American immigrant communities, are sometimes involved in the schemes.

Smith testified that Florida’s Medicaid program compiled a solid record in eliminating fraudulent providers from that program, even as the scam artists flourished in the Medicare program. “We were very strict about who we let into the program,” he said in an interview with The Fiscal Times. “They sometimes filed a court challenge or an administrative challenge, but that has pretty much been unsuccessful.”

The story was completely different in Medicare, he said, where as long as you have the requisite qualifications, Medicare rubber-stamps applications to become a certified provider. “Unless someone has a clear black mark against them, a health care fraud conviction, you’re largely enrolled,” Smith said. “If they try to kick you out of the program, you have administrative appeal rights.”

A recent HHS inspector general’s report identified 400 durable medical equipment suppliers without storefronts. When Medicare sought to expel them from the program, most filed successful appeals. A number were later swept up in the task force’s fraud investigation, Smith said.

Fraud isn’t limited to public programs. Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, which is backed by the insurance industry, estimated insurance companies’ fraud investigation units earn a six-to-one return for every dollar spent on rooting out fraudulent billings. But they have an easier challenge since they are usually dealing with a limited set of providers in a single state or region, whereas Medicare is dealing with $500 billion a year paid out to tens of thousands of providers across the country.

Technology Offers New Hope

Software developers are competing to sell CMS technology that can identify patterns of fraud, similar to the software now in use by credit card companies that can identify when a card’s pattern of use differs markedly from past experience. There appears to be bi-partisan support for that approach.

“The credit card industry handles $2 trillion a year in transactions, almost as much as the health care industry,” said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., at Wednesday’s Homeland Security hearing. “Yet credit card fraud is a fraction of one percent. I’m shocked that the government can’t do it better.”

Other experts like Sara Rosenbaum, chair of the health policy department at George Washington University and a former HHS official, encouraged Congress to also look into insurance industry fraud, even though it only accounts for about 10 percent of the increased costs attributed to health care fraud.

She cited false marketing by Medicare Advantage plans and the false underreporting of “usual and customary fees” paid by insurers to out-of-network physicians. This leads to higher out-of-pocket payments for individuals in those plans.

In January 2009, then New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo reached a $50 million out-of-court settlement with UnitedHealth Group after receiving hundreds of complaints that the company used its own Ingenix subsidiary instead of independent research to determine actual out-of-network fees.

Comment:

Comrades, I'm sure you all know that social-service fraud is an institution these days. There's so much fraud going around, ZOG couldn't possibly keep up with it all. From illegal aliens, people faking disabilities, it's rampant in this country. This is one of the reasons the system is near to collapse.

This article did say one thing I believe in. We must find a better way to prevent fraud, rather than finding these cheats AFTER the damage has been done. Craig Smith is correct when he said we need a better fraud detection system. The credit card industry handles $2 trillion a year. That's more than the national debt! That's nothing less than an obscene amount of profit for the banking vulture. But that's another story.

Handled properly, and without generating massive profits for both the healthcare and insurance industries, this country can have affordable healthcare for literally pennies a day. It can also be a sort of pay-as-you-go system. If you're single with no children, you pay less, because you're the only one in your household using it. Fair is fair. I shouldn't have to pay a cent for my neighbour's children. It's been done before. I don't need to mention where, do I?

Unfortunately, it will never happen in our corrupt system. The credit card companies are not being defrauded, just ZOG, who passes on the expense to us. Indeed, the credit card companies are probably paying government officials NOT to look too hard at fraud as it will cost them quite a bit of their disgusting profit.

Until we can establish a National Socialist state, this kind of corruption will NEVER cease. There's too much money involved. From the insurance companies cheating us of our hard earned money, to doctors who charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their services. I mean doctors are highly trained professionals, but no one should be making hundreds of dollars per hour, period.

With the state of things now, younger people had better start worrying.

Comrades, it's up to us - to all of us to make our dream a reality. If we don't do it ourselves, no one else will. SO LET'S GET ON WITH IT!

Dan 88!

Medicare Fraud Epidemic


By MERRILL GOOZNER, The Fiscal Times
March 10, 2011

Medicare could wrench as much as $70 billion a year in savings by cracking down on fraud, experts told Congress this week. But the key is preventing scam artists and fake firms from doing business with the senior citizen health care program in the first place — not chasing them down after the fact.

At a series of congressional hearings, officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services insisted that they are beginning to scrutinize new providers coming into the program, rather than waiting to chase down fraud until after it’s paid the bills. “We are going to keep out the bad guys without making things worse for honest providers, and cut off payments for things that should not be paid,” Peter Budetti, director of program integrity at CMS, told a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. “We want to move from the pay and chase mode to preventing fraud.”

Budetti cautioned, though, that most of the funding for a new electronic screening software that could help identify fraudulent providers was contained in the 2010 health care reform law, which most Republicans on the Hill are seeking to repeal.
The growth of Medicare fraud could undermine the major source of funding for the new health care reform law.

Republicans responded that the limited measures in the reform bill don’t go far enough. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the latest government fraud prevention effort would eliminate just $5.8 billion in improper payments over the next decade, or less than 1 percent of expected fraud, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said last week at a hearing of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on government oversight. The legislation “left a lot of suggestions by Congress and other government agencies on the cutting room floor,” he said.

The Obama administration has clearly stepped up the government effort to combat Medicare fraud that began under the Bush administration. Its fear: If left unchecked, the growth of Medicare fraud could undermine the major source of funding for the new health care reform law. The administration hopes to raise about a half-trillion dollars over the next decade through greater efficiencies in Medicare to help fund coverage for the uninsured.

To combat fraud, it has sought more money for the special interagency task force that investigates providers who abuse the system. For instance, last month Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of 111 company executives, doctors and other health care providers in nine cities in what government officials called the largest ever federal crackdown on health care fraud. The charges ranged from submitting claims for medically unnecessary treatments to receiving kickbacks for referrals to billing for toenail removals that were never done.

New Approach to Root Out the Problem

Last year, the federal task force arrested 931 people and won 726 convictions in illegal billing schemes worth more than $2.3 billion, a 23 percent increase over the previous year, officials said. In 2010 it also recovered $4 billion through non-criminal penalties levied on Medicare and Medicaid providers who made improper claims to federal and state agencies.

But that approach — going after fraud and abuse after it occurs — will never root out the problem, experts testified. “If we had a better prepayment detection system that was coupled with a post-payment ‘pay and chase’ approach when necessary, you could significantly cut back the fraud and abuse problems,” said Craig H. Smith, a partner at Hogan Lovells U.S. in Tallahassee, Fla. He previously headed the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which ran the Medicaid program in a state often considered “ground zero” for health care fraud.

Providers selling Medicare durable medical equipment like motorized wheelchairs and fraudulent billing by home health agencies are major abusers of the system, especially in areas with huge senior populations like south Florida, southern California and the New York-New Jersey metroplex. Foreign criminal syndicates, often based in Russian, Eastern European and Latin American immigrant communities, are sometimes involved in the schemes.

Smith testified that Florida’s Medicaid program compiled a solid record in eliminating fraudulent providers from that program, even as the scam artists flourished in the Medicare program. “We were very strict about who we let into the program,” he said in an interview with The Fiscal Times. “They sometimes filed a court challenge or an administrative challenge, but that has pretty much been unsuccessful.”

The story was completely different in Medicare, he said, where as long as you have the requisite qualifications, Medicare rubber-stamps applications to become a certified provider. “Unless someone has a clear black mark against them, a health care fraud conviction, you’re largely enrolled,” Smith said. “If they try to kick you out of the program, you have administrative appeal rights.”

A recent HHS inspector general’s report identified 400 durable medical equipment suppliers without storefronts. When Medicare sought to expel them from the program, most filed successful appeals. A number were later swept up in the task force’s fraud investigation, Smith said.

Fraud isn’t limited to public programs. Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, which is backed by the insurance industry, estimated insurance companies’ fraud investigation units earn a six-to-one return for every dollar spent on rooting out fraudulent billings. But they have an easier challenge since they are usually dealing with a limited set of providers in a single state or region, whereas Medicare is dealing with $500 billion a year paid out to tens of thousands of providers across the country.

Technology Offers New Hope

Software developers are competing to sell CMS technology that can identify patterns of fraud, similar to the software now in use by credit card companies that can identify when a card’s pattern of use differs markedly from past experience. There appears to be bi-partisan support for that approach.

“The credit card industry handles $2 trillion a year in transactions, almost as much as the health care industry,” said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., at Wednesday’s Homeland Security hearing. “Yet credit card fraud is a fraction of one percent. I’m shocked that the government can’t do it better.”

Other experts like Sara Rosenbaum, chair of the health policy department at George Washington University and a former HHS official, encouraged Congress to also look into insurance industry fraud, even though it only accounts for about 10 percent of the increased costs attributed to health care fraud.

She cited false marketing by Medicare Advantage plans and the false underreporting of “usual and customary fees” paid by insurers to out-of-network physicians. This leads to higher out-of-pocket payments for individuals in those plans.

In January 2009, then New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo reached a $50 million out-of-court settlement with UnitedHealth Group after receiving hundreds of complaints that the company used its own Ingenix subsidiary instead of independent research to determine actual out-of-network fees.

Comment:

Comrades, I'm sure you all know that social-service fraud is an institution these days. There's so much fraud going around, ZOG couldn't possibly keep up with it all. From illegal aliens, people faking disabilities, it's rampant in this country. This is one of the reasons the system is near to collapse.

This article did say one thing I believe in. We must find a better way to prevent fraud, rather than finding these cheats AFTER the damage has been done. Craig Smith is correct when he said we need a better fraud detection system. The credit card industry handles $2 trillion a year. That's more than the national debt! That's nothing less than an obscene amount of profit for the banking vulture. But that's another story.

Handled properly, and without generating massive profits for both the healthcare and insurance industries, this country can have affordable healthcare for literally pennies a day. It can also be a sort of pay-as-you-go system. If you're single with no children, you pay less, because you're the only one in your household using it. Fair is fair. I shouldn't have to pay a cent for my neighbour's children. It's been done before. I don't need to mention where, do I?

Unfortunately, it will never happen in our corrupt system. The credit card companies are not being defrauded, just ZOG, who passes on the expense to us. Indeed, the credit card companies are probably paying government officials NOT to look too hard at fraud as it will cost them quite a bit of their disgusting profit.

Until we can establish a National Socialist state, this kind of corruption will NEVER cease. There's too much money involved. From the insurance companies cheating us of our hard earned money, to doctors who charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their services. I mean doctors are highly trained professionals, but no one should be making hundreds of dollars per hour, period.

With the state of things now, younger people had better start worrying.

Comrades, it's up to us - to all of us to make our dream a reality. If we don't do it ourselves, no one else will. SO LET'S GET ON WITH IT!

Dan 88!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Birth Rate Among Native-Borns Declining


By BLAIRE BRIODY, The Fiscal Times
February 7, 2011

This is the second piece in a series that will examine the impact of a potential baby dearth in America. The recession is pushing the birth rate down, women are waiting longer to have children and the cost of raising a child is skyrocketing. Fewer babies means fewer young people to support an aging population , threatening already-strained social programs. Has America’s baby bubble burst?

Meet Mrs. Hoffmann’s dream family: three children, each two years apart, two girls and a boy. She’d work from home in their three bedroom home in a quaint New Jersey suburb, her husband commuting to New York City. She’d have it all — the house, the husband, the fulfilling career, and a bustling household of children playing tag in the manicured front yard. It’s the iconic vision of the American Dream. But last year, Hoffmann’s dream evaporated. After much deliberation, the Hoffmanns decided they couldn’t afford a third child. They could barely afford the two they already had.

Whether it’s hospital costs, diapers, day care, or the ever increasing cost of a college education, children are expensive, and getting more so. Due to the recession, couples are starting to consider the financial realities having a family — for many, that means downsizing or skipping out on baby-making altogether.

Three Strikes Against Children

The birth rate has dropped over 8 percent since 2007. Women are having an average of 2.01 children over their lifetime, below the population replacement rate of 2.10 (a number that was holding steady before the recession). If the downtrend continues, it could create a small workforce supporting a large aging population with less revenue for the expensive tax-funded social programs seniors depend on.

In addition to the rising costs of children, women are marrying later and waiting longer to have children, lowering their chances of conceiving, and facing staggering fertility treatment costs when they get there. With all these forces compounding, it’s possible the birth rate will continue to fall even after the economy recovers — a shift that has undermined the social systems and economies in many developed countries, including Japan and Italy. Right now, the birth rate in the U.S. appears to be teetering on the edge of a cliff, ready to nosedive at any moment.

How Much Is That Baby in the Window?

In 2009, the Department of Agriculture estimated the total before-college cost of raising a child was $286,050 — about $11,700 per year today, and $21,600 a year by the time they’re 18. With college, the cost nearly doubles, not to mention the costs many parents face during a recession, when their college grad shows up at their doorstep expecting to move back in. Housing and child-care were two of the biggest expenses, 31 percent and 17 percent respectively, and 50 percent higher for those who live in urban areas. The U.S. is becoming more urbanized every year — 90 percent of the population is expected to live in cities or suburbs by 2050. For a newborn in New York City, the average family spends up to $16,250 per year on child-care alone.

Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc., writes, “From the moment the self-pregnancy test confirms the happy news, the sales pitches begin: a shower of catalogs hawking the very best in organic onesies; lavender-scented diaper creams and designer rubber duckies; a never-ending cascade of DVDs and baby classes that promise to make your child smarter, socially adept and bilingual before age three … Time-strapped mothers and fathers are the perfect mark for the mammoth ‘parenting’ industry.”

Linda Milkes, 41, from Basking Ridge, N.J., and her husband originally wanted children, but couldn’t imagine adding a $286,000 bill to their expenses. They ultimately decided to remain childless. “We have a pretty decent lifestyle, we enjoy going out and doing things and traveling when we can,” she says. “I remember hearing from years back that it costs about $100,000 to raise a kid, not counting college. Once I heard that figured updated to $250,000, I was like, ‘Oh man, there’s no way we could afford this.’”

Many Americans want more children than they actually conceive and deliver. Surveys show that 26 percent of Americans say three children is ideal, 46 percent say two — only 3 percent say one child and 3 percent say zero. Yet birth data tells a different story. A whopping 18 percent of women now have no children, up 80 percent since 1996, and some 20 percent have one child. The average is still two, close to replacement rate, but as Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What to Do About It says, “If the average woman has to have 2.1 kids [to replace the population] and 18 percent of women are having no kids over their lifetime, then women who do have kids have to have a whole lot more than two.”

Wrinkle Cream and Fertility Pills

Back in the 1970s, the average age of a woman’s first birth in the U.S. was 21. Today, it’s 25 — and higher for states like Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, where it’s 27. Although the birth rate declined in 2009, it actually rose for women ages 40 to 44, the only age group to do so. Celebrity moms over 40, like Jane Seymour and Madonna, make it appear effortless to get pregnant at this age, but when women wait until they’re in their 30s and 40s to have children, the chances of conceiving drops dramatically and they’re more likely to use fertility treatments. In vitro fertilization in the U.S. will set you back some $15,000 with each attempt — more than any other developed country. In addition, many babies born through IVF and other methods are premature, increasing the initial health care costs for the child.

“We have a generation of people who are taking longer to get established,” says Judith Daniluk, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who specializes in childbirth trends. “It used to be, ‘Get out of high school, get your university degree, hook up with a partner, get a home, have kids.’ We’ve probably pushed that by about eight to 10 years. By the time a couple gets the things they need in place to parent, they’re into their late 30s.”

A Shifting Lifestyle

With more women working, childbearing has become a difficult choice, especially at a time when two incomes are essential. “As more and more couples, including those who have economic resources, both end up pursuing careers, that luxury of being able to have one parent stay home and raise the kids is just not a luxury that many people can afford anymore,” says Daniluk. Yet, it doesn’t make financial sense for both parents to work if the majority of one partner’s paycheck goes to childcare. Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilibert, who is childless by choice, said, “I didn't think I had the support to both have [kids] and continue on this path that was really important to me. I wasn't married to a man who wanted to stay home and raise kids. So ...”

With the rise of birth control, some wonder if young women are becoming more disconnected with fertility and child-rearing. Gone are the home economics and family planning classes (and few women were sad to see them go). Women want control and freedom in their lives — something children can impede on. “Having kids is such a huge financial responsibility, and once you’re in it, you’re stuck, and you have to do whatever you’ve got to do — maybe work extra hours or take a second job, just to provide for your kid. It just takes away freedom,” says Milkes.

With all of these forces intersecting, the dip in the birth rate since 2007 starts to look like the beginning of a new era – one with smaller families and smaller workforces. “It’s important for people to remember how anomalous the baby boom was,” says Longman. “The long-term trend [for the birth rate] has been down down down.”

Correction, Feb. 15, 2011: This piece originally stated that Judith Daniluk is a psychologist at the University of Calgary in British Columbia. She is a psychologist at the University of British Columbia.

Comment:

This is our fault for allowing it to happen. Girls are now pushed from childhood into having a career, rather than a family. Indeed, many women actually look down on the concept of having a family, and doing housework. Current societal attitudes teach them that it's beneath their dignity, so to speak. Added to the fact that so many people believe that two incomes are necessary. They're right, if your goal in life is to have as many useless gadgets made in China cluttering up your house, like HD TV's, Blue Rays, fancy computers, Blackberrys, I Pods, expensive SUV's, and vacations to Acapulco and Hawaii.

This does not apply to the so-called "working poor". If you have a low paying job, you probably do need two incomes.

Comrades, people need to put things into perspective. The most important thing is the family, not plastic crap from China. This is one of the reasons immigrants from Third World Countries are out breeding us. They place more value on the family than most Americans. In the very near future, not only will Mestizos outnumber Whites, but immigrants, and the children of immigrants will outnumber those of us who have been here for generations.

If we don't return to the old values, it will soon be all over for the White race.

Birth Rate Among Native-Borns Declining


By BLAIRE BRIODY, The Fiscal Times
February 7, 2011

This is the second piece in a series that will examine the impact of a potential baby dearth in America. The recession is pushing the birth rate down, women are waiting longer to have children and the cost of raising a child is skyrocketing. Fewer babies means fewer young people to support an aging population , threatening already-strained social programs. Has America’s baby bubble burst?

Meet Mrs. Hoffmann’s dream family: three children, each two years apart, two girls and a boy. She’d work from home in their three bedroom home in a quaint New Jersey suburb, her husband commuting to New York City. She’d have it all — the house, the husband, the fulfilling career, and a bustling household of children playing tag in the manicured front yard. It’s the iconic vision of the American Dream. But last year, Hoffmann’s dream evaporated. After much deliberation, the Hoffmanns decided they couldn’t afford a third child. They could barely afford the two they already had.

Whether it’s hospital costs, diapers, day care, or the ever increasing cost of a college education, children are expensive, and getting more so. Due to the recession, couples are starting to consider the financial realities having a family — for many, that means downsizing or skipping out on baby-making altogether.

Three Strikes Against Children

The birth rate has dropped over 8 percent since 2007. Women are having an average of 2.01 children over their lifetime, below the population replacement rate of 2.10 (a number that was holding steady before the recession). If the downtrend continues, it could create a small workforce supporting a large aging population with less revenue for the expensive tax-funded social programs seniors depend on.

In addition to the rising costs of children, women are marrying later and waiting longer to have children, lowering their chances of conceiving, and facing staggering fertility treatment costs when they get there. With all these forces compounding, it’s possible the birth rate will continue to fall even after the economy recovers — a shift that has undermined the social systems and economies in many developed countries, including Japan and Italy. Right now, the birth rate in the U.S. appears to be teetering on the edge of a cliff, ready to nosedive at any moment.

How Much Is That Baby in the Window?

In 2009, the Department of Agriculture estimated the total before-college cost of raising a child was $286,050 — about $11,700 per year today, and $21,600 a year by the time they’re 18. With college, the cost nearly doubles, not to mention the costs many parents face during a recession, when their college grad shows up at their doorstep expecting to move back in. Housing and child-care were two of the biggest expenses, 31 percent and 17 percent respectively, and 50 percent higher for those who live in urban areas. The U.S. is becoming more urbanized every year — 90 percent of the population is expected to live in cities or suburbs by 2050. For a newborn in New York City, the average family spends up to $16,250 per year on child-care alone.

Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc., writes, “From the moment the self-pregnancy test confirms the happy news, the sales pitches begin: a shower of catalogs hawking the very best in organic onesies; lavender-scented diaper creams and designer rubber duckies; a never-ending cascade of DVDs and baby classes that promise to make your child smarter, socially adept and bilingual before age three … Time-strapped mothers and fathers are the perfect mark for the mammoth ‘parenting’ industry.”

Linda Milkes, 41, from Basking Ridge, N.J., and her husband originally wanted children, but couldn’t imagine adding a $286,000 bill to their expenses. They ultimately decided to remain childless. “We have a pretty decent lifestyle, we enjoy going out and doing things and traveling when we can,” she says. “I remember hearing from years back that it costs about $100,000 to raise a kid, not counting college. Once I heard that figured updated to $250,000, I was like, ‘Oh man, there’s no way we could afford this.’”

Many Americans want more children than they actually conceive and deliver. Surveys show that 26 percent of Americans say three children is ideal, 46 percent say two — only 3 percent say one child and 3 percent say zero. Yet birth data tells a different story. A whopping 18 percent of women now have no children, up 80 percent since 1996, and some 20 percent have one child. The average is still two, close to replacement rate, but as Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What to Do About It says, “If the average woman has to have 2.1 kids [to replace the population] and 18 percent of women are having no kids over their lifetime, then women who do have kids have to have a whole lot more than two.”

Wrinkle Cream and Fertility Pills

Back in the 1970s, the average age of a woman’s first birth in the U.S. was 21. Today, it’s 25 — and higher for states like Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, where it’s 27. Although the birth rate declined in 2009, it actually rose for women ages 40 to 44, the only age group to do so. Celebrity moms over 40, like Jane Seymour and Madonna, make it appear effortless to get pregnant at this age, but when women wait until they’re in their 30s and 40s to have children, the chances of conceiving drops dramatically and they’re more likely to use fertility treatments. In vitro fertilization in the U.S. will set you back some $15,000 with each attempt — more than any other developed country. In addition, many babies born through IVF and other methods are premature, increasing the initial health care costs for the child.

“We have a generation of people who are taking longer to get established,” says Judith Daniluk, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who specializes in childbirth trends. “It used to be, ‘Get out of high school, get your university degree, hook up with a partner, get a home, have kids.’ We’ve probably pushed that by about eight to 10 years. By the time a couple gets the things they need in place to parent, they’re into their late 30s.”

A Shifting Lifestyle

With more women working, childbearing has become a difficult choice, especially at a time when two incomes are essential. “As more and more couples, including those who have economic resources, both end up pursuing careers, that luxury of being able to have one parent stay home and raise the kids is just not a luxury that many people can afford anymore,” says Daniluk. Yet, it doesn’t make financial sense for both parents to work if the majority of one partner’s paycheck goes to childcare. Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilibert, who is childless by choice, said, “I didn't think I had the support to both have [kids] and continue on this path that was really important to me. I wasn't married to a man who wanted to stay home and raise kids. So ...”

With the rise of birth control, some wonder if young women are becoming more disconnected with fertility and child-rearing. Gone are the home economics and family planning classes (and few women were sad to see them go). Women want control and freedom in their lives — something children can impede on. “Having kids is such a huge financial responsibility, and once you’re in it, you’re stuck, and you have to do whatever you’ve got to do — maybe work extra hours or take a second job, just to provide for your kid. It just takes away freedom,” says Milkes.

With all of these forces intersecting, the dip in the birth rate since 2007 starts to look like the beginning of a new era – one with smaller families and smaller workforces. “It’s important for people to remember how anomalous the baby boom was,” says Longman. “The long-term trend [for the birth rate] has been down down down.”

Correction, Feb. 15, 2011: This piece originally stated that Judith Daniluk is a psychologist at the University of Calgary in British Columbia. She is a psychologist at the University of British Columbia.

Comment:

This is our fault for allowing it to happen. Girls are now pushed from childhood into having a career, rather than a family. Indeed, many women actually look down on the concept of having a family, and doing housework. Current societal attitudes teach them that it's beneath their dignity, so to speak. Added to the fact that so many people believe that two incomes are necessary. They're right, if your goal in life is to have as many useless gadgets made in China cluttering up your house, like HD TV's, Blue Rays, fancy computers, Blackberrys, I Pods, expensive SUV's, and vacations to Acapulco and Hawaii.

This does not apply to the so-called "working poor". If you have a low paying job, you probably do need two incomes.

Comrades, people need to put things into perspective. The most important thing is the family, not plastic crap from China. This is one of the reasons immigrants from Third World Countries are out breeding us. They place more value on the family than most Americans. In the very near future, not only will Mestizos outnumber Whites, but immigrants, and the children of immigrants will outnumber those of us who have been here for generations.

If we don't return to the old values, it will soon be all over for the White race.