Monday, December 26, 2016

Water We Waiting For, Con't

The Trump regime wants to "Make America Great Again" and envisions "millions" of new jobs created by long overdue infrastructure investments that Republicans blocked year after year because we "can't afford it" despite the fact that interest rates have been at record lows.  The real reason is that America had to be punished for daring to elect a black President, and Republicans were more than happy to do so.

But there's a new circus in town, and Republicans suddenly want to invest hundreds of billions in crumbling roads, leaky and toxic water mains, structurally failing bridges, and badly-needed sanitation projects.  If you're wondering what the catch is (besides obvious racism) just ask the folks who stand to rake in trillions over the years from profiting off of your water, electric, and toll road bills: Wall Street venture capital firms who want to become our new utility companies.

Nicole Adamczyk’s drinking water used to slosh through a snarl of pipes dating from the Coolidge administration — a rusty, rickety symbol of the nation’s failing infrastructure.

So, in 2012, this blue-collar port city cut a deal with a Wall Street investment firm to manage its municipal waterworks.

Four years later, many of those crusty brown pipes have been replaced by shiny cobalt-blue ones, reflecting a broader infrastructure overhaul in Bayonne. But Ms. Adamczyk’s water and sewer bill has jumped so much that she is thinking about moving out of town.

“My reaction was, ‘Oh, so I guess I’m screwed now?’” said Ms. Adamczyk, an accountant and mother of two who received a quarterly bill for almost $500 this year. She’s not alone: Another resident’s bill jumped 5 percent, despite the household’s having used 11 percent less water.

Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring

No matter what happens in these public-private infrastructure partnerships, Wall Street will always get paid, and taxpayers will always get the shaft.  And if you don't pay up?  Wall Street gets to repossess your home.

Water rates in Bayonne have risen nearly 28 percent since Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — one of Wall Street’s most storied private equity firms — teamed up with another company to manage the city’s water system, the Times analysis shows. City officials also promised residents a four-year rate freeze that never materialized.

In one measure of residents’ distress, people are falling so far behind on their bills that the city is placing more liens against their homes, which can eventually lead to foreclosures.

In the typical private equity water deal, higher rates help the firms earn returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent, more than what a regular for-profit water company may expect. And to accelerate their returns, two of the firms have applied a common strategy from the private equity playbook: quickly flipping their investment to another firm. This includes K.K.R., which is said to be shopping its 90 percent stake in the Bayonne venture, a partnership with the water company Suez.

In other words, Wall Street wants to do to public works what they did to the real estate market 8 years ago.  And the Trump regime is raring to go to see Bayonne replicated in every city in America.

The New Deal is ending.  The GOP government no longer will provide any basic services for Americans.  Everything, from roads to schools to water to power to retirement to elder care, will be subject to profit margins.

And those who can't pay will be dealt with under the power of the state.

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