A few days old, but worth a read if you missed it, It’s Time to Treat America’s Homeowners as Well as We’ve Been Treating Wall Street’s Bankers
But we are facing nothing less than a national emergency, with 10,000 Americans going into foreclosure every day and 2.3 million homeowners having faced foreclosure proceedings in 2008.
[ ]…Despite being treated like an afterthought, foreclosures are actually a gateway calamity: every foreclosure is a crisis that begets a whole other set of crises.
Someone loses his or her home. It sits vacant. Surrounding home values drop. Others move out. Squatters move in. Crime goes up. Tax revenues plummet, taking school budgets down with them.
Arianna links to this old fashioned investigative journalism piece by George Packer ( Yes there are a few good journalists out there), George Packer, A Reporter at Large, “The Ponzi State,”
In another community, Hamilton Park, the writer interviews a woman named Lee Gaither, whose only income came from Disability payments. She was facing eviction and planned to sell many of her possessions on eBay. Florida is one of the places where the financial crisis began. Gary Mormino, a professor at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, tells the writer that, “Florida, in some ways, resembles a modern Ponzi scheme. Everything is fine for me if a thousand newcomers come tomorrow.”
When the Malkinites and Limbaugh Republicans talk in abstract terms about not having to pay to bail out homeowners – all of whom according to the Right are in a situation of their own making – it is people like M’s Gaither they are talking about. Those ten thousand people that are going into foreclosure everyday – we’re to believe – are lazy schemers who are getting what they deserve. So much for Republican style populism – it is just like the old Republican populism, spending an extraordinary amount of effort finding scapegoats. Notice they are always the good decent folk who never do nut’n corrupt or mismanage the economy.
What makes the demand so striking is not only the suddenness but also the demographic that is seeking help. For instance, most of the newcomers that show up at Feeding America’s centers have been employed and have managed to survive dips in the job market. Many of them are couples and single parents who had managed without handouts.
Hunger is a significant problem, according to annual reports issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. Around 11 per cent of people live in households where they may not have enough money to put adequate food on the table – that’s 35.5 million Americans.
Among them are 11 million who say their situation is so grim they sometimes don’t eat for an entire day because they can’t afford to. Worse, hunger is an everyday reality for 12 million American children.
The Right has been telling America for years that those in such dire circumstances deserve to be. While simultaneously defending the right of Wall St to rake in unearned wealth – wealth that is built on the backs of American workers. Economics is a dry subject and gets arcane fairly quickly, but one thing never changes. The basic fact that you can start a business, have the next great idea, but unless its something you can do all by your lonesome, you will not build any wealth without good workers – why this simple admission – this simple humble acknowledgement of the way our economy works, escapes Conservatives remains a mystery.
Worst-Case Scenario 3 was “anger and discontent at home.” What they meant was gangs and civil war.
The tax rate would be “80, 90, perhaps even 95%… just to pay for what we’ve already spent money on,” said Moore. Celente predicted violent tax revolts. “The cities are gonna look like Dodge City. They’re gonna be uncontrollable. You’re gonna have gangs in control, motorcycle maurauders… just like Mexico.”
Note the lack of the word “may” or “might” or “possibly.”
The result, according to the experts, would be a rise of “bubba” militias. CSM Tim Strong (ret) predicted that the government would start arresting the good guys who were trying to protect their property. He said (using words of certainty), “The problem you have, Glenn, is you’ve got people that are gonna do the right thing, that truly protect the interests of the United States, to include their own, but they’re the ones that are gonna be apprehended for it because they did something to somebody that was not in compliance with what the US government – ’cause it’s easy to arrest a guy who’s gonna be orderly and conduct himself accordingly because that’s what our society breeds.” He predicted that “bubbas” would hunker down and start being anti-government as a result.
Beck dropped his “just wild and crazy brainstorming” pretense. With his trademark “golly gee” astonishment, he said average people “feel that the government – or they will in this scenario, and I think we’re on this road (my emphasis) – the government has betrayed the Constitution and so they will see themselves as people who are standing up for the Constitution… How long do we have before this becomes a crazy real scenario? …This is a scenario that would tear this country apart and, and, and, and spiral us into something that maybe we have never even seen before, including the Civil War.”
Retired CIA analyst Michael Scheuer even suggested that he approved of any ensuing Civil War. “I don’t think the founders ever considered that there would be a tyranny of incompetence but I think that’s what we’re facing. And ultimately, that’s the right of the American.”
80 or 90% tax rate? Who would bother to work eight hours a day at that rate. Never mind, common sense has never been prized by the Glenn Beck crowd. Its as though Strong, Beck and Scheuer have been trapped in a glacial cave the last eight years, Fox News “War Games” the Coming Civil War
What was most remarkable about this allegedly “anti-government” movement was that — with some isolated and principled exceptions — it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory. Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional — limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending — they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on.
They’re the same people who embraced and justified full-scale, impenetrable federal government secrecy and comprehensive domestic spying databases conducted in the dark and against the law when perpetrated by a Republican President — but have spent the last week flamboyantly pretending to be scandalized and outraged by the snooping which Bill Moyers did 45 years ago (literally) as part of a Democratic administration. They’re the people who relentlessly opposed and impugned Clinton’s military deployments and then turned around and insisted that only those who are anti-American would question or oppose Bush’s decision to start wars.
They’re the same people who believed that Bill Clinton’s use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom. In sum, they dressed up in warrior clothing to fight against Bill Clinton’s supposed tyranny, and then underwent a major costume change on January 20, 2001, thereafter dressing up in cheerleader costumes to glorify George Bush’s far more extreme acquisitions of federal power.
In doing so, they revealed themselves as motivated by no ideological principles or political values of any kind. It was a purely tribalistic movement motivated by fear of losing its cultural and demographic supremacy. In that sense — the only sense that mattered — George Bush was one of them, even though, with his actions, he did everything they long claimed to fear and despise. Nonetheless, his mere occupancy of the White House was sufficient to pacify them and convert them almost overnight from limited-government militants into foot soldiers supporting the endless expansion of federal government power. (emphasis mine).
When Bush told Congress that he needed $700 billion dollars in bail-out money for TARP, there was a little grumble from a few odd characters on the Right, but the majority of Republicans in both Houses voted for it, no Right-wing Tea Parties. Bush and Republicans ran up the largest debt in our history – no dire warnings about Civil Wars. As The Big Dog recently said, they’re on automatic – if Democrats are for it, the Right is against it, no thinking required. With very few exceptions the Right simply has no real guiding principles. They’re on record, they hope the economy gets worse, they hope President Obama fails and they’ve got a little sparkle in their eye at the idea of a Civil War.