Because most residents own their homes but not the land under them, they have the rights of neither renters nor homeowners. Rent control is rare in mobile-home parks. (Pismo Dunes’ owner managed to fight rent control in 2002 because of the park’s designation as an RV park.) But residents don’t really have the ability to move if landlords raise rents because moving a full-size manufactured home can cost as much as $25,000. Sometimes park owners can raise rates indiscriminately and even take over homes or sell the land under the park for another purpose. “A park in the hands of the wrong owner can be milked for income. The power is primarily in the hands of the landowner,” Tremoulet says.
Baby boomers aren’t going to retire the way their parents did. They are poorer and more likely to live alone. They can’t depend on pensions, and the real-estate bubble destroyed almost 50 percent of their wealth. Today one in six seniors lives in poverty, and that proportion is rising; the generation of Americans now facing retirement is so financially ill prepared that half of them have less than $10,000 in the bank.
The coming swell of retirees will strain our current system to its limits—in terms of not only health care, but also incidental things like road signs, which are hard for drivers over 65 to read in a majority of American cities and towns.... One of the biggest questions facing the nation with regard to aging boomers is: Where are they going to live?
Last year was really a dual victory: for environmentalists—who supported increases in auto fuel efficiency; and for the U.S. oil industry, which had been hoping to drill its way back to relevance. With such a turn of events, you might think, then, that the two sides could work together. We are at a moment when the two immovable objects of demand and supply have shifted in a positive direction for everyone—and yet the climate is breathing hot air down our necks, and U.S. industry is at a competitive disadvantage because we use more carbon dioxide per dollar of GDP than Europe or Japan. We could combine energy conservation with new supplies to make a win-win. Instead, we are stuck in a bipolar discussion that casts fracking as either a panacea for the economy or as death to the environment.
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