Monday, October 06, 2008

Gutting Homes After An Economic Disaster

Kudos to Clay for finding this hard-to-watch video about the realities of the foreclosure crisis.

"They must be in great despair."


Pistolette said...

It is sad to watch, yet I really have trouble sympathizing with people who take on irresponsible debt so they can live in a McMansion full of crap. This is American materialism at its worst. People in this country need to learn how to live within their means and enjoy the things they DO have.

E said...

How do people in this country learn how to live within their means, Pistolette?

I think it's a lot to expect people to have the kind of perspective that would allow them to overcome every marketing mechanism that they're bombarded with from the moment they perceive language to the day they die.

The reality is that GOP deregulation policy purposely permitted banks to take advantage of people. I agree that individuals made really bad financial decisions but only because the regulations protecting people from the impulse to bite off more than they could chew were gutted.

E said...

I've always wanted our public school systems to teach personal finance, for one.

Pistolette said...

"How do people learn to live within their means?" Is that a trick question? How about not buying more than you make, and besides 400k mcmansions, that includes iPods, HD television, or going out to dinner every single night. Dear hell, would the world come to an end if this spoiled brat country had to cut back a bit for a change? I'm really glad the minimalist and green movements are taking off a bit. Hopefully a few people will learn how to live stress-free lives not based on reckless overconsumption before this handbasket meets hell.

You really think it's a lot to expect people to think for themselves and stop acting like victims of everything? It's called personal responsibility. When people become completely dependent on the government (be it left *or* right wing) to save them from themselves, then fascism takes over and classical liberalism is lost.

Anonymous said...

"The Inland Empire"
That is where our recovery Czar Ed Blakeley has been building his subdivision.

alli said...

pistolette, it's real easy to rant about personal responsibility. it's much more difficult to do the tough thinking and craft policy solutions that actually fix the macroeconomic conditions which have brought our economy to the brink.

i'll take the deep thinking over the pointless ranting, for one.

for example, real wages have stagnated for over 30 years, while the average CEO makes over four hundred times what their most poorly-paid employee makes. if you work for 30 years, see no increase in real wages, while all the benefits of economic growth go straight to your boss - yeah, you're going to rely on credit just to pay the bills.

when the economy grows, everyone should share in it. the only way that will ever happen is with strict governmental regulation and oversight. capitalism unchecked is fascism.

roseanneluvr said...

have you read the article in this month's harper's about this process? i recommend it.

Clay said...

The two biggest ultimate causes of bankruptcy in this country are divorce and hospital bills.

I agree with you totally about living within your means, but where does that come in when you have a medical crisis that destroys your finances? Where does the responsibility lie when a marriage fails?

Remember, too, that this stuff was pushed hard from the bottom (realators and loan originators who got paid on a commission basis), all the way to the very top (George W. Bush's "ownership society").

As much as people want to jump on Pistolette, though, there is a very broad values-shift that's happened. Just a few years ago, it was considered "unpatriotic" to live within your means. You weren't "supporting the economy." People loved showing up their neighbors. It wasn't enough to keep up with the Jones. You had to humiliate their children.

E said...

I don't think discussions of personal responsibility are off limits at all but I do think it is the last conversation to have in what is a complex, cross-disciplinary problem. I think that too often, 'personal responsibility' can be a branded stock response that overlooks a whole litany of structural problems by simply reducing everything into a matter of individual agency when really that's just one piece out of a thousand in a puzzle as complex as the current economic crisis.