Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some people dig for the positive....

Las Vegas is falling apart. The economic crisis here is greater than in most of the nation--so bad that the Stake President has asked all the families in the stake to let him know what (if any) of their food storage they're willing to share. The economy here, built on tourism and construction, has been at a standstill for MONTHS--almost since we got here. Speculation is that Vegas getting greedy is what caused the severe reaction to the economic woes in the country (when it used to be so 'recession-proof'). They're saying that because the resorts changed their focus from 'cheap room/cheap food' to 'high end party like the stars', we became overly subject to the recession.

For whatever reason, the jobless rate here is unbelievably high (8%, not counting people who have given up, gone back to school, or tried to go freelance; and that counts as employed everyone who is working part-time or in jobs that don't pay enough). Construction is at a complete standstill, with tons of projects on the Strip completely put on hold, lots of condos and resorts sitting unfinished--seemingly indefinitely. The lady who helped us apply for Medicaid says she sees people coming in who have been carpenters for 30 years and never once been out of a job--and they can't get work. People who used to be in demand as construction supervisors can't find a job--any job.

Vegas was never really a safe place for construction workers to ply their trades, anyway. Vegas has a reputation for a reason, and as soon as the higher ups (the ones who claim to no longer be running things by organized crime....) figured out that the fines for doing shoddy work were less than the cost of doing the work to code, the rules went out the window, much to the Union's chagrin.

So this headline struck me as somehow....wrong.

From google news:

"Evidence of change: Six months, no fatalities
Las Vegas Sun - 14 hours ago
By Alexandra Berzon Twelve workers died in accidents at Strip construction sites during the first 18 months of Las Vegas’s current building boom - an average of one death every six weeks....
Unions: 6 months with no construction deaths good San Jose Mercury News"

22 articles are proclaiming the good news: the Unions win, and everyone is now safe.

Nobody is mentioning there have been no deaths because there is no work happening! I suppose that's one way to convince people things have changed for the better and Vegas cares more about workers than the bottom line, but really.... I wonder if the unions are really that stupid as to buy it.

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