Social Security benefits should be going up, not the land-rent for seniors

Here’s yet another manufactured housing community getting royally screwed, “East Allen Township (Pa.) mobile home owners seeking protection from raising rents.”

Residents of the Greenbriar Village development say owner Equity LifeStyle Properties has been unjustly increasing their land rents, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Equity is the largest manufactured home community company in the United States and in some cases has increased land rents more than 100 percent in a year, said Randy Schaffer, the president of the Greenbriar homeowners association.

Manufactured home owners have no repercussions to take to combat rent increases, especially if the complex owner steeply hikes rents to drive out residents to sell the land for another purpose, Schaffer said.

“Landowners now have the legal right to price us out of our homes,” he said. “They now have the license and incentive to take our homes and are doing so.”

Greenbriar resident Tom Blackton has seen his monthly rent increase from $374 to $539 a month in the 10 years he’s lived there. Mobile home owners typically own their homes and rent the land they sit on.

“I can’t even sell it now because people would walk away if they found out,” he said.

… “Many people in this community are living on Social Security,” Blackton said. “People are hurting here.”

This is another reason we should be increasing Social Security benefits, instead of debating how much to cut them because if we don’t cut them now then there’s a chance that something bad could happen in the next 30 years and we’d have to cut them then.

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  • aunursa

    OT: Rumor that actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict will play Hattie in the Left Behind reboot.

  • This is shameful. This is yet another example of the monied class squeezing the poor for, I dunno, another Porsche. I don’t know what it is about the culture in this country, why we worship money and power, and forget that all that money has to come from somewhere.

  • AnonaMiss

    This is another reason we should be increasing Social Security benefits,
    instead of debating how much to cut them because if we don’t cut them
    now then there’s a chance that something bad could happen in the next 30
    years and we’d have to cut them then.

    I disagree. I mean not with increasing SS benefits, that’s potentially fine but I’d need to see more analysis of pros and cons and such – but I don’t think it follows from the “mobile” home story. Increasing benefits without increasing protections would just mean landlords would have to raise rents a little bit higher to drive people off their land to sell it.

  • DavidCheatham

    I don’t see how raising social security is supposed to stop this.

    The only way to actually fix this is to make this situation not legal. Either the land _and_ the mobile home should be rented, or neither should be. It should not be possible to rent people land for them to install permanent and expensive structures on. (That is normally called a _lease_, and is for a much longer time and operates differently.)

    There’s absolutely no reason that mobile home parks can’t be operated like subdivisions, where the company just sells off land and you either bring your own home or buy one through them, and then you pay home owner association fees for the upkeep of the place. The only reason they _don’t_ operate that way is that they are targeted at the poor.

  • For now, my position is that Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare should be totally defunded as soon as possible. This would result in much suffering, but would be worth it in the long run.

  • Lori

    You’re just trolling aren’t you? You want us all to get all up in arms about the fact that you’re evil because watching us jump amuses you, right?

  • AnonaMiss

    I hope you don’t consider yourself “conservative” for holding such a position. I hope you realize that this position in fact makes you a political radical.

  • I think the term is actually reactionary.

  • The laughter I get from most (though certainly not all) opposition here is the same type of laughter that I get from George Michael Grena when he tries to defend young-earth creationism with humor. It is laughter followed by facepalming. For examples of Grena’s humor and how I reacted to it, see the comments at

  • Lori

    Oh yeah. The obvious superiority of your ideas totally warrants you facepalming people here.

  • Speaking of the monied class

  • The_L1985

    How the fuck would killing off the poor and elderly create any long-term benefits to anybody who isn’t already rich?

  • Not “killing” them; having their lives subsidized with fewer taxpayer dollars. It would lower healthcare prices. Remember, almost half of healthcare spending in the U.S. is government spending.

  • Anon_Ymous

    Not being familiar with the commenter, I assumed zie was being sarcastic and eye-rolley. It just proves a version of Poe’s law, I guess… There is no position so absurdly cruel that *someone* doesn’t hold it :(

  • P J Evans

    And the government, *by law*, cannot negotiate drug prices or allow reimportation of drugs that were made here and exported. There are a couple of other things they’re barred from doing that also could lower profits for Big Pharma and Big Insurance, and raise the costs of Medicare.

    Have you ever considered doing your research *before* you make assertions about how your reactionary positions would improve life for the rest of us?

  • AnonaMiss

    Healthcare is a bad example even for your purposes/position. Remember the principle of herd immunity. Even if letting the poor go without treatment made good economic sense on a surface level (for the sake of argument), letting a bunch of people go around unvaccinated, with contagious diseases untreated, with mental illnesses unmedicated, would play absolute havoc with the rest of society for obvious reasons.

    Even if healthcare costs on a per-procedure level went down (which again I don’t believe, but for the sake of argument), you now have a shitload more cases because every food worker, janitor, and serviceperson who can’t afford treatment is a potential vector for infection.

  • I still support keeping children unvaccinated for non-medical reasons out of government-funded schools. Plenty of mental ill people do go unmedicated in the U.S.

  • AnonaMiss

    I still support keeping children unvaccinated for non-medical reasons out of government-funded schools.

    This is a meaningless statement, because as long as there are people with immune deficiencies, there will always be a medical reason for vaccinating anyone who might come within 12 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

    Plenty of mental ill people do go unmedicated in the U.S.

    I hope you’re not trying to imply that because this is already the case, it is therefore not a problem.

    I don’t think mentally ill people should be required to take even their prescribed medication unless they pose a danger to others. But not providing medication to those who pose a danger to others when unmedicated, because freedom, or some people already can’t afford it!, or not all illnesses can be medicated, or some of them won’t take it anyway? That’s idiotic.

    And of course a cost-benefit analysis would show that even when the person in question isn’t an obvious danger to others, there’s a fair swath of potentially-dangerous people which it would be more cost-effective to provide medical care for than for it to turn out that whoops, we were wrong, that person was dangerous after all!

    (This is assuming that providing medication is cheaper than the costs of institutionalizing them, which I don’t think is an unreasonable assumption.)

  • The_L1985

    So, if a child is too poor to afford necessary vaccines, you believe that the child should be denied, not only important medical treatment, but also the chance of improving his/her lot through education. Ditto children with anti-vaxxer parents, who certainly didn’t ask to be born to anti-vaxxers.

    That’s disgustingly cruel.

  • I agree that if effective medication of criminals is cheaper/more effective than the cost of institutionalization, then medication should be the preferred approach. However, I am not sure whether the effective medication of potential criminals has greater or lesser costs than the non-medication of potential criminals.

  • AnonaMiss

    Note the perverse incentive of your approach. Providing mental health care only for criminals encourages anyone who needs mental health care to commit a crime, in order to receive the care they need.

  • I nowhere wrote I am or was strongly opposed to the effective government-funded medication of potential criminals. I wrote “I am not sure”. I did not consider the perverse incentive, however, so I am glad you pointed it out.

  • AnonaMiss

    Sorry for the offense, and duly noted!