Clearing House" -- --
people once owned our democracy. We elected
“representatives” to run it for US. Have you noticed?
Somewhere along the way we lost our democracy.
foreclosed by wealthy and power elites that corrupted our
“representatives” who literally sold us out. Our homeland
was foreclosed right in plain sight. Sure, we citizens
still reside in the USA, but we no longer own our
democracy. We pay rent through our taxes. But we no longer
have any equity. Our democracy is owned by the rich, and
their partner foreign elites and governments, which is why
in a strict sense it no longer is a democracy, but rather a
day aristocrats – an apt terms considering the many
political dynasties in our ruling class - maintain the
charade that America is still a democracy by letting us
vote. They also give us many freedoms to distract us from
our dire political conditions. They’re smart, so they limit
our choices to the main parties that constitute the
two-party duopoly. Even smarter, they convert consumer
spending (that they spur) into economic inequality, making
them, the rich, even richer and everyone else, all of us,
Trump says we hardly have any middle class left. He ought
to know. Lou Dobbs says there is a war on the middle
class. He does not say what would only depress his
audience, even more. We the people have already lost the
war. We have a large Upper Class, for whom prosperity is
real, and an expanding Lower Class, for whom economic
slavery based on compulsive borrowing, debt and spending is
all too real.
Lost Democracy Ownership
born into American citizenship or sworn into it have
inherited a democracy debt – a kind of political mortgage –
that requires payment, not in dollars, but in engaged and
responsible citizenship, ensuring that those elected to
manage the government do so in the public interest. People
like Thomas Jefferson told us about the burden placed on
Americans. But paying our democracy mortgage has declined
over the past fifty years.
postulate that the decline started after World War II with
the advent of urban sprawl, speeding up with accelerating
suburban sprawl. Now, political divisiveness coexists with
sprawl on steroids, with gated non-communities of McMansions
for the Upper Class. As to the politics of sprawl,
Americans traded democracy ownership for home ownership.
They stopped paying for democracy through engaged
citizenship and started paying for compulsive consumption.
True citizenship was replaced by social isolation and loss
of social capital as people cocooned themselves in their
private space where they could gratify themselves with more
and bigger possessions.
sprawl and all the enabling automobile addiction, roads and
chain stores, the power elites knew exactly what they were
doing. They made Americans time poor and too tired to be
politically active. Through distraction based on borrowing
and spending they suckered Americans into defaulting on
their democracy debt. Democracy was foreclosed, without any
notice letter being sent to us. Ownership was transferred
to the rich and powerful elites sitting atop the corporate
state and, not coincidentally, making tons of money from
land development and home building. Wal-Mart was elected
brings us to our current new twist on Foreclosure USA.
Millions of Americans have experienced, or will soon
experience, foreclosure on what once was hyped as the
cornerstone of the ownership society – they are losing their
homes. The bursting of the housing bubble is often talked
about in terms of slower home sales and lower prices. The
latest data: In September, the number of existing
single-family homes sold dropped 14.2 percent, compared to
September 2005, and the median price dropped by $5,000.
something much worse is happening and accelerating in
virtually every community in all the states. In a
delusional democracy with delusional prosperity we now are
witnessing the proof that the ownership society is also
delusional. Apparently no one has told George W. Bush.
4 percent of America's mortgaged homeowners might lose their
homes to foreclosure in coming months, one of the nation's
largest lenders predicted recently, as those homeowners find
themselves trapped by heavy debt and the housing slump.
That's four times worse than the historical average of 1 in
100 mortgaged homeowners who fail to keep up payments. First
American Loan Performance, a mortgage-data company based in
San Francisco, says overall the national foreclosure rate
has climbed 27% from a year ago with an estimated $110
billion worth of homes expected to go into foreclosure. Rick
Sharga, a vice-president at RealtyTrac, said recently "Over
a trillion dollars is going to readjust in the next 15
months. We had almost 850,000 foreclosures last year and we
are at 913,000 through September." He predicted that
national foreclosures could hit 1.2 million to 1.3 million
by the end of this year. Guess George W. Bush has not heard
about this, only about great economic growth.
probably have heard about the incredible amount of sprawl
housing growth around Las Vegas. But not this: The number
of foreclosures in Nevada has more than tripled in the past
year and jumped 83 percent since May. Nevada recorded 2,016
foreclosures in August. That was 83 percent more than in May
and 255 percent more than in August 2005. Foreclosures are
rising at a faster rate in Nevada than the rest of the
country, where they are up 24 percent since May. In
California, foreclosures increased 43 percent since May.
what about the ever-sprawling Sunshine State? Florida has
one new foreclosure filing for every 254 households, more
than four times the national average. Foreclosure activity
in the third quarter of 2006 rose by 14 percent compared to
the second quarter of the year. It was 39 percent higher
than the same period last year.
about the Northeast? In Massachusetts, 1,812 new
foreclosures were initiated in August, which is 72 percent
more foreclosures than August of last year, and 266 percent
more than in August 2004. The July to August increase was
34 percent, making it the largest month-to-month increase in
the past three years. When comparing foreclosures during
the year ending Aug. 31 (15,309), to the previous year
(10,517), foreclosures increased statewide by nearly 46
Nationally, in August, 115,292 new properties were listed on
the database of online foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac, a 24
percent increase over the level in July. More
significantly, RealtyTrac currently lists 650,000 properties
nationwide in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, up from 75,600
just one year earlier, when the Gulf Coast was devastated by
Hurricane Katrina. The volume of bank seizures is immense.
Foreclosure.com, another online tracker of distressed
properties, currently lists more than 1.27 million
properties in some stage of foreclosure, bankruptcy, or bank
auction. Approximately 5,000 properties are added to the
listings each day.
Getting behind in
mortgage payments is one thing, called default. It's
estimated that nearly 20 percent of homeowners in default
earlier in the year lost their homes to foreclosure in the
third quarter. That's a more than a three-fold increase over
last year, when the default-to-foreclosure rate was only 6%.
Meaning: People are having a harder time coming up with
cash to cover mortgage debt. Guess Bush has not heard about
things going to get worse? You better believe it. Industry
forecasters recently estimated that more than $200 billion
worth of adjustable rate mortgages will "reset" at higher
rates in 2006 and more than $1 trillion will reset in 2007.
This situation, compounded by the expected slowing of the
economy and the down housing market, which includes a
growing inventory of unsold homes, will almost certainly
push more homeowners into the foreclosure process.
Despite a lot of talk about the mortgage issue and warnings,
Americans are still diving in. Are they falling for the
economic hype coming out of the White House? Incredibly, 39
percent of new mortgages in the first half of this year were
non-traditional, high risk mortgages compared to an average
2 percent over the last decade.
Consumer debt burden is ballooning. Statistics from the
Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the personal savings
rate has been running in the red for 16 months.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve recently found that
consumer debt has outpaced, by 18.7 percent, the amount of
income left after the payment of bills each month, meaning
that for millions of families the cost of living is
substantially higher than their monthly incomes can
accommodate. Guess Bush has not heard about this.
enormous portion of the total personal debt is mortgage
debt. Since 2000, mortgage debt in America has doubled,
approaching $9 trillion. This year, $400 billion of this
debt is coming due in the form of mortgage readjustments.
Research firm LoanPerformance forecasts another $1 trillion
in mortgage debt will come due next year as the rates on
millions more loans reset, sending individual monthly
mortgage payments hundreds of dollars higher, or even worse.
one, not unusual, case in the Washington, D.C. area, a
family started with a “teaser rate,” just $1,700 a month.
They thought it was fixed, but it wasn't. Rising interest
rates and deferred interest have now ballooned that payment
to $3,700 a month. They can't pay it, and they're not alone.
They will lose their home. Credit counselors say they're
getting 10 times the concerned calls they used to.
Elites Conned Us
has this come about? Clever elites running and ruing our
country discovered all kinds of ingenious ways to sell
mortgages to Americans still believing in the American
dream. They had help from the Federal Reserve. So called
unconventional or exotic mortgages were crafted to lure
people in and make billions of dollars for the financial
sector. The whole trick was to get home buyers to pay as
little as possible initially. No cash down, no payments
toward the principal and low adjustable interest rates were
the main ways to pump up the housing market (the bubble)
and, therefore, the whole economy. Yet another gambit was
to give mortgages to people that really could not afford
them, making them pay higher interest. These
"sub-prime" mortgages create a
debt to income ratio that is out of whack, which means
mortgage payments that take too big a chunk of income. When
interest rates rise and other costs of living creep up,
people quickly sink and drown in debt.
The maximum percentage
for household debt which would include a mortgage, credit
cards and car payments is supposed to be around 36%. But
now many homeowners find themselves paying most of their
income – more than 50 percent – to their mortgage,
especially after those monthly payments increase sharply.
And they are going up because of rising interest rates,
which is happening as wages are at best stagnant and other
costs of living are rising. Once, homeowners in a hot
housing market could refinance and take money out. In fact,
from 2001 to 2005, they took out $500 billion in cash from
their home ATMs. This propped up consumer spending as wage
incomes stagnated, keeping the economy looking good. Now,
with home values declining, they can find themselves forced
to pay a lot more or lose their home.
at the larger picture. In 1980 household debt, including
mortgages, car loans and other borrowing, was $1.4 trillion.
Guess what it was in 2005? It had skyrocketed some 745
percent to $11.8 trillion. In 1980 credit card debt totaled
$69 billion. Guess what it was in 2005? It had mushroomed to
an amazing $1.8 trillion - a 2,500 percent increase! In 1980
credit card debt was just 5 percent of household debt; by
2005 it had jumped to 15 percent. This has happened when
people also got suckered into risky mortgages.
Maintaining consumer spending has been the chief economic
goal of the plutocracy. And to keep it growing it required
Americans to be convinced that they should borrow more and
go into greater debt. What kind of political leaders would
want to do this to their citizens? The worst kind: Democraps
and Republicrooks. Corrupt politicians care more about
making corporations profitable and the rich richer. Economic
inequality is like a cancer. They are willing to destroy
the middle class on behalf of elites and the Upper Class.
is the next installment in Foreclosure USA? Our enormous
national debt owned in large measure by foreign interests
can foreclose whenever they wish. Just as we the people
lost our sovereign control of our nation, so too will our
corrupt government lose sovereign control. With
globalization, so heralded and hyped by New York Times
elitist and plutocrat Tom Friedman, moving forward, American
sovereignty will surely be foreclosed. Thus ending the
Foreclosure USA saga.
can we do to stop Foreclosure USA? Will electing Democraps
do it? I doubt it. We the people must take back our
ownership of our democracy. With too little political
choice, our votes will not do the job. Our money is more
powerful. We must politicize consumer spending. We must
have some radical, dissent-driven leadership from true
progressives to send signals to the tens of millions of
disgruntled Americans to cut their discretionary spending to
achieve specific` political reforms.
and greed have ruined our country. Money and citizen
re-engagement can save it.