With foreclosure season just getting underway in the economy as the housing bubble has begun its unsurprising collapse, it bears some thinking about the current state of the middle class of America, which has been the hardest hit by the drops in housing values. Record foreclosure rates, a record credit bubble, and predatory lending and financial practices dominate the current economic climate, while many homeowners are finally beginning to wake up to many of the discrepancies between what they expect from their government and the market, and what they are actually getting.
The record foreclosure rates were a direct result of the wild inflation that was used to stimulate the economy after the tech bubble burst in 2000 and the events of 9/11/2001. The Federal Reserve created massive amounts of money, literally flooding the banks with this cheap liquidity created out of nothing. The banks, in turn, lured in every consumer who could sign their own name and was intelligent enough to lie on a mortgage application (but was not intelligent enough NOT to lie), giving out trillions of dollars of loans with introductory interest rates on houses that were worth far less that the amounts loaned. Everyone in Suburbia had a house worth half of what they bought it for, paid for with a mortgage payment one-half what it would be in a couple of years, a couple of SUVs that cost them $20.00 in gas to drive to the nearest strip mall, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of promises to repay money that had not even existed until they agreed to pay it back.
And then, when every homeowner knew their home would double in value in a few years and they would be able to borrow more money to pay back what the loans they already had - it all collapsed. Incredibly, borrowers who had no income could not afford to make payments, and the banks finally caught on to that eventuality, long after the point of no return. Energy prices increased, homeowners lost jobs and faced medical problems, and multinational firms ate up local jobs, shipped them overseas, and returned them in the form of Wal-Mart greeter positions to be staffed by the elderly and desperate.
Representatives of the government and celebrity/government wannabes/has-beens have brought their false promises and hollow threats and aimed them directly at the companies they helped put in power and whom they gave the opportunities to abuse consumers. Let the Federal Reserve create an enormous credit bubble and then make filing bankruptcy more difficult. Allow banks to lend out ridiculous sums of money that they knew would never be paid back, and then suggest the Federal Reserve be put in charge of overseeing the lending industry.
Now that it is abundantly clear that Americans have been encouraged, tricked, and propagandized into spending every dollar they earn on borrowed consumption, what options are left? For most consumers, it seems to be continued consumption to the breaking point, often ending in foreclosure or bankruptcy after trying to work more or take on a second job or sell assets, or simply losing faith in the entire system and looking for some way to escape the fate that has been decreed for them, or even more simply wishing for the government's help and a free handout. Once they have borrowed all they can with impossible promises to pay back the debt, the next logical step is simply to ask for money with not even a requirement that it ever be paid back.
So, what is the government doing to protect their constituents? Well, so far this year, all we have had is diversions as entertainment, playing catch-up from previous years of abuse, and actions that are in defiance of the will of 90% of the American people. Oh, and the continuance of a couple of wars that 70% of the American people are now against.
There have already been numerous presidential candidates debates for an election that is a year-and-a-half away. What a great way to keep everyone focused on Hillary, Obama, Giuliani, McCain and all of the other corporate spokespeople and away from the fact that all of these candidates have been bought out by the very same companies enacting the financial devastation on homeowners and consumers right now. Sometimes the easiest place to hide dozens of conflicts of interest is right out in the open, on TV, twenty-four hours a day. Will we have our first Socialist woman president or our first Authoritarian thug former mayor? Stay turned for 18 months and find out!
The Democratic Congress has also been looking into such matters as the firing of judges by the Bush administration for potentially political reasons, while the Bush administration has done everything they can to prevent anyone from associating the word “accountability" with their acts. They have even gone so far as to declare the vice president's office as above the law and not a part of the Executive Branch of the government, a decision which the implications of would have clearly reminded the founding fathers and framers of the Constitution exactly what kind of tyranny and unaccountability they had just won their freedom from. But this is all just political maneuvering on each party's part and another bit of diversion, just as the Amnesty Bill for illegal immigrants, a bill that nearly 90% of Americans are against, is one of the last nails in the coffin of American sovereignty before dissidents from the American Union who are not carrying their Real ID cards are bussed along the NAFTA superhighway from one Halliburton detention center to another.
Furthermore, to the war. No Congress in recent history was elected with a stronger mandate from 70% of the American people than the Democrats were to “End The War. ” Just stop the war, stop funding it, bring the troops home, and get out of Iraq. The peoples reward for giving the Democrats control of Congress? A big fat check with no strings attached was written to allow the administration to keep on funding the war indefinitely: more killing of American soldiers, more carnage of Iraqis and by Iraqis, and more contracts for the government's favorite companies.
Where did they get this money from, and who gave it to them? They certainly did not get it from the American people, who specifically instructed the Democrats to end this expensive, needless war. And here is where we come back to where we began. The government authorized the no-strings-attached check, sent it to the Federal Reserve; and the Fed, once again, created the money out of nothing to be given to the administration to wage a war of aggression on the people of another country who do not want us there.
The last time, and every time, we have allowed the Federal Reserve to print the money, nothing has happened to prevent the resulting bubble from inflation and speculation. Once the bubble bursts, it is the middle and lower classes that suffer the most from the rampant inflation and loss of jobs. These are the very same Americans who dutifully elect politicians to protect them from abuse and who continue to trust in the inherent goodness of America, but who are so often betrayed by the very people they elect and the very businesses that they patronize.
In all fairness, there is a lot of goodness in America, and the messages of personal freedom and liberty are still very powerful, both domestically and internationally. But when psychopaths and cowards are put in powerful government positions, then psychopathy and cowardice will begin to corrupt and alienate the system from the people who created the government to act in the best interests of the country. When these same psychopaths and cowards leave government, only to be replaced by other psychopaths and cowards, and join private businesses, the corporatocracy that exists now at the highest levels of government are given free reign to continue the abuse and propagandization of the people.
The current problems that homeowners face, whether it be job insecurity, high medical costs, or even foreclosure, will not be solved by free handouts from a monolithic government that will protect consumers from predatory businesses. The businesses became predatory at the will of the government and by the same people who used to work in government, now work in government, or will work in government in the future. Homeowners have only themselves, their own families, and their local communities that may be willing to help them face the systemic problems and find solutions that benefit everyone and keep wealth in the family and community.
This is not a pessimistic message, but possibly the most liberating one of all. Instead of relying on a government that has continuously proven itself to be untrustworthy and predatory in nature, people are given the freedom to affect and alter their own lives, without having to wait for a change. Change does not come gradually, by small steps every few months. Change occurs in great leaps and bounds, and the most significant change a person can make is simply to take responsibility for his or her own life.
The ForeclosureFish.com website helps homeowners learn how they can stop foreclosure on their homes through nearly one dozen different methods. By having as much knowledge of the foreclosure process as is reasonably, foreclosure victims can find out how they can take back control of their homes and work within their local community to find individuals and institutions that are willing and able to prove assistance. Visit the ForeclosureFish.com website today and start learning how to save your home from foreclosure: http://www.foreclosurefish.com/