Did you catch Joelle Farrell's Philadelphia Inquirer story about the budget troubles Radnor Township is facing? Radnor, one of the region's richest municipalities, is renting out part of its building and laying off workers to make ends meet as tax revenues erode in this economy. Same story in Camden, although more drastic, where the economy is forcing a mass layoff of city workers, police and firefighters. Same story nationally, according to the U.S. Labor Department 's report earlier this month.
Government hiring dropped by 11,000 in November, with local government shedding the most jobs. Modest federal hiring and state hiring could not offset the 10,000 jobs lost by local governments in November, excluding education. It's been a pretty dramatic decline recently, but there's been a steady erosion, according to government statistics. The prior month, 13,000 jobs were lost. Federal recovery money delayed these layoffs, but now that's gone and so are the jobs.
I talked to Joelle this morning and she said that some reader called her and started laughing hysterically at the thought of Radnor Township having financial woes. Listen, as someone who sent my kids to Philadelphia public high schools, I understand how people can be resentful when another place seems to have so much money. But would that reader dare call up one of Radnor' laid off trash collectors and laugh?
That's the thing about these policy stories and these twists and turns. However macro it might be, in the end, there's someone, in this case, some Radnor trash collectors, who are out of work. And that's personal.