With the infrastructure of America still scoring a “D+” by the American Society of Civil Engineers and needing $3.6 trillion in maintenance repairs by 2020, I find it ironic we are now going to spend $30 billion to militarize the U.S./Mexico border by adding tens of thousands of agents, hundreds of miles of fencing, and of course more surveillance equipment. An additional irony is that illegal immigration from Mexico is the lowest it has been in decades. Both these contradictions make it clear this militarization of the border is just another extension of America’s surveillance and security complex.
What Are We Protecting?
America’s once prosperous middle class was put on the chopping block decades ago by the corporate elite who have looked overseas for profits from cheap labor and the expanding middle class of developing countries like China. As of today, the U.S. middle class now ranks 27th in the world and the wages of American workers just recorded their fastest drop in history. There is a long list of social and economic signs illustrating America’s decay, and none of them benefit from an out-of-control military industrial complex that uses up more than half of every tax dollar. It appears to me that America’s spying apparatus is more about economic hegemony and controlling a possible unruly and impoverished domestic population than detecting the actions of any phantom terrorist.
All About the Benjamin$
The primary driving force behind the expansion of the military and surveillance complex is the corporate cash cow of government contracts:
Speaking about possibly the world’s most powerful man, General Keith “The Emperor” Alexander, ZeroHedge quotes from an article describing the amount of money and resources pouring into the construction of America’s cyber-industrial complex at his behest:
The degree of merging between U.S. state and corporate power have recently been revealed to be disturbingly far-reaching and abusive. As John Pilger points out, it is a modern day, high-tech version of classic fascism:
Preparing for Imminent Collapse
Now we get to where all this is leading. The military analysts are well aware of peak oil and climate change, both of which have been identified as national security threats. Both will bring down industrial civilization in the not too distant future, and the ruling elite are planing for the social and economic chaos that is to come. Not to worry… Disaster Capitalism will save us.
Mankind has constructed a global civilization dependent on such things as interconnected communication and computer networks, shipping and flight routes, international supply chains, just-in-time inventory systems, and an interwoven financial system. The fragility of the system to energy and climate shocks will increase as long as we are tied to a growth-oriented and fossil fuel-dependent economy. The collapse could literally come overnight the longer we resist change and push the biophysical limits of the planet.
One moment humans are “on top of the world”, and the next moment…
Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 masterpiece “Down by Law” with its rolling panorama of bleak pre-Katrina Louisiana, and distant, blank character stares suggesting inchoate malaise, effectively captured the unarticulated angst of the ascendant Reagan generation.
Like canaries in a coal mine, Jarmusch and other artists of the era anticipated the contemporary assault on class consciousness with pinpoint precision-decades in advance of the more cognitive punditry in evidence today.
This brings us to an interesting development in today’s post crash histrionics, which provides a conveniently compact diorama on display for all to view and interpret. We begin with what is intuitively obvious to any who care to observe, and that is the dynamic change in the character of the residential real estate market in most parts of the country, but especially evident in those areas hardest hit by the bursting bubble of speculative real estate.
This can be nicely cataloged by examining the infill areas of Southern California know as the “Inland Empire”.
Pre-2008 crash, these areas offered semi-affordable buying opportunities for homeowners priced out of the highly desirable coastal California markets, as well as respite for inner city residents looking to escape gang violence. Properties could be had for 1/3-1/2 of the price of a comparable dwelling in the more desirable areas near the coast and employment centers, but in return a 30-50 mile one way commute was extracted as compensation. In the era of $2/gal gas, this was deemed acceptable, especially as around the water cooler scuttlebutt yielded the notion that such a property could be bought and sold at a 50% profit 3 years later, with the proceeds used to buy a house closer to the employment centers thereby rendering the commute temporary.
This became a de rigueur business plan of many lower middle class workers, who one must acknowledge otherwise had a 1 in 10,000 chance in aggregating enough savings to achieve even a modicum of survivability in retirement.
I would make the case that the motivations were at the very least in line with the conventional bourgeoisie wisdom of bootstrapping one self’s upward in the social mobility chain by taking on some risk and making investments to better one’s life standing.
This explanation of course runs afoul of the current bourgeoisie narrative, which seeks to demonize those that participated in such shenanigans as irresponsible slobs and layabouts, lying on loan applications in a blatant attempt to defraud the salt of the earth folks in the financial industry of their hard earned capital. Because to concede that these people were simply following the time tried examples set forth by their more well endowed peers would be to point out structural cracks in a system that is perennially corrupt and unworkable.
So it goes something like this, if I do it and succeed, I shall be valorized, if you do the same thing and fail, it’s because you’re a dishonest layabout gaming the system.
OK, so now here is where it gets interesting.
The combination of rising gasoline prices, massive job losses and a real estate market in free fall meant that the “Inland Empire” was to become a major epicenter in residential foreclosures. To add insult to injury, the daily commutes to employment centers had become traffic nightmares, with a typical 40 mile commute taking 2 hours each way, so naturally private companies put in toll roads and toll lanes on state owned freeways and charged substantial toll fees to avoid this congestion.
As is well documented today, when 15 homes in a tract of 40 homes goes into foreclosure, no one else can sell their home either.
So guess what happens? Groups of institutionalized investors swoop in to buy these properties for pennies on the dollar, paying for them in cash as no realistic mechanism for property appraisal exists when such a large percentage of homes are in foreclosure.
All this anguish comes in pursuit of a modest home in the exurb of San Bernardino County, the epicenter of the Southern California housing crash. Plummeting values here sparked a vicious wave of foreclosures.
But it’s precisely because prices fell so far here that Sepe can’t buy a house now. In a sharp irony, many would-be homeowners in hard-hit markets can’t compete with a flood of all-cash offers from investors, some backed by Wall Street war chests.
So they’re missing out on the only upside of the real estate crash: historically low prices and interest rates.
The repeated rejections come despite Sepe’s solid qualifications: a stable job as a cell tower technician and a pre-approved home loan. He watches as houses hit the market, then get scooped up within an hour. He offered a battle metaphor to describe his plight.
“I am this little country,” he said. “And it’s like this huge country is coming and attacking my country, and I can’t win.”
No one thinks to consider this effect in terms of class consciousness, as the investors are of course valorized and the free market is commended for saving the real estate world in general, and those hapless former homeowners in particular. It is important to realize what is happening here, before our very eyes, and that is a.) the erasing and transference of an entire generation of home owners into permanent renters, and b.) the beginning of capital consolidation into the rentier class, effective displacing mom and pop rental property owners by big investment conglomerates like Blackstone Group and Oaktree Capital Management.
San Bernardino County, as well as two of its largest cities, Ontario and Fontana, stirred a national controversy when it recently considered — then shelved — a plan to use eminent domain to seize and restructure underwater mortgages. In a testament to the lasting effects of the crash, about 40% of borrowers in the region still owe more on their properties than they’re worth, according to mortgage tracking firm CoreLogic.
But a turnaround is well underway, thanks in part to deep-pocketed investors snapping up bargains with cash. The housing supply is now so tight that it’s common for home shoppers to put in 20 or 30 offers before securing a house, real estate agents say.
Aware of the destructive dynamic and further slide down the slope of income inequality, the county (with support from the State under Jerry Brown) put forth a proposal to seize the blighted properties under eminent domain laws, and then once owned by the county, to issue a county bond to provide funds at below market rates to loan back to the foreclosed homeowners allowing them to keep their homes.
Note the issue here is not so much below market loan rates, but availability of a lender (the county) to fill in for private mortgages, who will not loan under any circumstances into these blighted neighborhoods.
But of course this well meaning effort was drowned in the bathtub by the small gubymint crowd, you can well imagine the hew and cry of the conservative bourgeoisie when faced with such an obvious interference in the “free market”. Imagine the perceived travesty of a government entity intervening to prohibit free market evangelists from extracting their pound of flesh and smashing down an entire generation of the middle class back to the stone age and, I hope it goes without saying, perpetually converting these hapless suckers into a permanent revenue stream while they pay rent.
Private equity groups, including Oaktree Capital Management and Blackstone Group, have formed or partnered with companies dedicated to buying single-family homes. Unlike the flippers made famous by the housing boom, these institutional investors are in it for the long haul. They’re buying homes in bulk, then renting and holding them to reap long-term price appreciation.
Some of these private equity giants and Wall Street firms have employed former homebuilding pros and partnered with big apartment managers. Their plan is to transform the single-family home rental business, once a largely mom-and-pop affair, into a full-scale industry.
The Santa Monica real estate investment firm Colony Capital, founded by Tom Barrack, last year won an auction by the federal government to purchase 970 foreclosed homes in California, Arizona and Nevada from mortgage titan Fannie Mae for $176 million. Most of the California properties were in the Inland Empire.
Carrington Mortgage Holdings, based in Aliso Viejo, has partnered with Oaktree to buy and rent out single-family homes. Carrington spokesman Rick Sharga acknowledged that cash buyers have an advantage. But he said competition has helped revive a depressed market.
As promised, this neatly packaged diorama shows the full circle of exploitation and alienation of a full blown class war, in one easy to grasp trajectory:
– Financial capital consolidates and exploits the residential home mortgage market, securitizing these lousy loans for huge profits.
– When the boom goes bust, the same actors campaign aggressively to prohibit any mortgage relief, forcing widespread bankruptcies and foreclosures.
– The marketing arm of the financial capitalist spends tens of millions of dollars socializing the idea that these homeowners were and are morally deficient, and deserve no recourse. They are to be punished for their transgressions.
– These same financial capitalists with prey now firmly trapped then look for ways to further exploit their captives, and find examples in privatizing freeway systems to extract more revenue from commuters trapped in gridlock.
– The conservative and tea party fanatics interrupt their sheet-less Klan party long enough to advance the popular notion that further deregulation is needed, and demonize any government participation that might circumvent capital’s relentless desire to crush all but the few. In their capable hands, it becomes fashionable to decry government of any kind with a full throated call of Statism, and a groundswell is created to “restore liberty” and allow unfettered capitalism to thrive.
– Having discouraged any state intervention by conflating ideological association to diminished freedom, the mark is ready for the takedown. Large groups of investors swoop in with pennies-on-the-dollar all cash purchases of distressed properties en masse, displacing large segments of the population, and sometimes even renting the properties back to the original homeowner.
The upshot of this large scale displacement by capital effectively unwinds 70 years of New Deal and post WWII governance. State encouragement of home ownership was thought to be a useful means to ensure “skin in the game” for the working class, as in encouraging home ownership, labor strikes were thought to be less likely to occur with heady financial commitments hanging overhead, as well as community ties, might discourage labor activism.
They were right.
So this leaves a vulnerability and an internal contradiction, as large groups of former homeowners become permanent renters, they are disinclined to invest in the community, local economic spending goes way down (what renter will invest in the property?) impacting local business, and property crimes go way up as alienation and other side effects of visible and blatant exploitation percolate to the surface for the working class. Ironically, the size and magnitude of police state intervention will rise significantly as compared to the aborted eminent domain intervention, as now the upper middle class and general bourgeoisie will demand increased police (State) action to knock down property crimes and lawless behavior. Think police checkpoints and constant aerial drone surveillance of these communities.
The other effect as mentioned is the consolidation of the rentier class, wherein these large investment groups begin to “brand” the single family residence as part of a larger portfolio of related revenue streams, e.g. grouping big box stores nearby corporate owned rental developments in backdoor revenue sharing arrangements, eventually degrading to a truck system to more efficiently extract any remaining surplus from the working class. This large scale consolidation will bring the capitalist death spiral to small scale rentiers who own only a few rental properties, they will face exclusionary tactics wherein associated mercantilist outlets will give discounts to large company renters, but not to renters of the small independently owned properties. Further, the coercive laws of competition will be brought to bear on the independents, wherein access to community pools and other trinkets will be offered free or nearly free by the large corporate rent factories, and marketed as “lifestyle” destinations with corporate parties for renters only extending into the domain of social reproduction.
The demise of the independent rentier, or more aptly, the petite bourgeoisie, will follow almost as quickly as the former homeowner himself.
I’ve never seen such an avaricious society……John Adams
Far from the valorized notion of job creators, father figure capitalists and the land of milk and honey, Morris Berman rightly points out the roots of a system that demands one sell their labor power for substinence wages must of necessity- at some point- redirect to a swindle.
The mandate of selling one’s own labor power in a system that requires exploitation to function reduces the calculus of survival to one of two options:
1.) The availability of plentiful jobs with wages ratcheting upwards over the years, allowing the worker to attain financial independence through an eventual participation in rent seeking retirement.
2.) Hitting the big payoff, the mother lode, striking it rich-in other words achieving success at the envied goal of rich accumulation, usually through starting their own business, day trading or some other similar scheme of differential accumulation.
I suppose there is a third option, which is the life of crime, e.g. using criminal means to achieve sufficient accumulation to attempt to satisfy, in perpetuity, the need to sell one’s labor power for substinence. This is also the thesis that professional gamblers prefer, but as we shall see from this post, there is not much difference from these options and option # 2 above.
Great wealth unexplained is often the accumulation of a series of crimes and illegalities undiscovered, from insider trading to market manipulation, monopolies and official corruption, occasionally mixed in with sheer dumb luck and ruthless disregard for the law.
That is why the wealthy are rarely the great artists, athletes, or inventors who they hold up as the example of excellence to which they can hardly presume. The modern wealthy generally create nothing except a climate of injustice, fraud, and corruption.
When times are good, as in the period of most of the 19th and early/mid 20th century, when labor is relatively scarce and wages relatively high, option 1 provides passable solace to the American middle class worker. From about 1970 onward, roughly coinciding with the onset of neo-liberal capitalism, we have toggled to a relative surplus of workers with the onset of cheap labor in the Far East. Now we have too many workers competing with a highly discounted foreign labor pool, with entire industries “offshored” to China with the easily anticipated resultant of a hollowed out community structure left behind, with insufficient tax base to support itself.
In addition, the capitalist mode of production has at the same time affected a massive maldistribution of wealth, wherein entire segments are using accumulated profits for rent seeking endeavor, extracting as much money from the economy as fast as possible with no regard to the consequences. So we have vast numbers of affluent and wealthy individuals with no place to invest with consistent returns, as the low hanging fruit of reliable investment opportunities for this class has been consumed by simply too much wealth chasing too few investment opportunities.
The intersection of these two phenomena goes a long way to explain our current situation, how we got here and why we are not likely to leave. Of course, all of this has been written and discussed previously ad nauseum, but for me, the puzzling question is why do people go along with what must now be for most, a clear case of cause and effect?
Even a cursory look at income and wealth distribution shows a 3σ distribution of income, in statistics this means that 99.6% of all income is captured with average value of some $22,500 in annual wage earner income. None of the values within this 3σ distribution of income is sufficient to satisfy the basic objective of achieving enough of a “nest egg” to catapult oneself into a comfortable retirement, given the current FDIC insured interest rates typically used for most retirees.
The conclusion- you must be a statistical outlier to achieve financial independence, you must somehow, against all odds, land in the 4σ-6σ range of incomes, which is to say .4%-.0001% of total wage earners. These are the probabilities of lotteries, hence my declaration to “The Lottery of the Middle Class”.
Why do vast numbers of people accept a system of forced exploitation with such small numbers of possible positive outcomes? It is a near statistical certainty that you will die with insufficient money to take care of yourself and family-even after 30 or 40 years of labor- why roll the dice on this almost certain bust?
The answer lies partially in Marx’s theory of class consciousness, and to be sure, if times are good and sufficient standard of living upgrades are provided, usually through technology, then people are not likely to dig too deeply into the underpinnings of probabilities. But when times are not good, when a labor surplus is apparent, and when even so called “guaranteed” rates of return are fast evaporating, what then?
Sociology has shown us that class consciousness is not all it was cracked up to be, it turns out Americans don’t necessarily begrudge others –in fields other than their own- the realization of outsized incomes, profits, and wealth. On a street where all the residents are plumbers, the house on the end of the street owned by an attorney is not criticized, under the presumption that he has more education, more experience, and has taken more risk-supposedly- to the furtherance of his “well deserved” wealth. After all, each plumber had the option to choose a field in law, goes the rationale, and instead went in to plumbing, and you reap what you sow, so to speak.
So this is part of it. And class consciousness is also a part of it too.
But increasingly, it is becoming evident that other factors are influencing the relative success of others within our immediate frame of reference. Many freshly minted law school graduates can’t get a job. Many “blue chip” trades and vocations cannot get work- at all. So something is wrong with this narrative, and this specter of doubt and confusion intersects nicely with the emergence of pop culture figures in professional sports, reality TV shows, and other public spectacles of wealth and accumulation.
This leads us to the lottery mentality, the barely conscious realization that we had better come up with some huge and rapid “winnings” if we are to propel ourselves into the outlier category, and achieve financial independence.
The specific reaction to this notion varies by income stratification, but the underlying themes are always the same, get rich, get rich quick, and get it at the expense of someone else. But for this to work, we need the lottery equivalent of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, we need a tacit acceptance of the necessity of exploitation, as we need to allow it’s existence- at our expense-until such time as we can harness the very same exploitative skill sets against someone else to benefit ourselves.
For those in the middle to upper middle class, this usually means some type of business scheme, a Walter Mittyesque flight of fancy that the intrepid entrepreneur will someday cook up a batch of Kettle Korn or beef jerky to sell at the local swap meet, or who has an invention of a Pet Rock or similarly useless contrivance with no redeeming social quality. These fanciful daydreams are part of the illusion, the faintly obscure vision that within all of our grasp is the Big Reveal, that golden idea that will launch us into the glorious world of senseless accumulation.
But statistics are unkind to the dreamer, the probabilities of any of these “ideas” propelling the prospective entrepreneur into the outlier categories is slim indeed. In a world were aggregate demand has been obliterated by a near complete loss of disposable income, and private debt has choked off any semblance of borrowing for such trinkets, the “market” for many of the useless doodads is non existent. And of the more substantial contributions to society that might garner realistic revenue, such as a new pharmaceutical compound or medical device, the squadrons of scientists needed and tens of millions of dollars of capital required relegate any substantive ideas to the universe of monopoly scale corporations.
Like the gleam of the Powerball Lottery MegaMillions, the pull is too great and the desperation too profound to ignore. So the Faustian bargain of turning a blind eye to the accelerating exploitation intrinsic in the capitalist mode of production is undertaken with a sigh and a shrug of indifference, for someday, it will be your turn. To deny the exploitation is to quit 5 minutes before the miracle has happened, to close off any avenue of the Walter Mitty fantasy, because if no one else gets it, than neither do you.
At the other end of income stratification, the lower class, we see a strikingly similar protocol, these actors are quite a bit more likely to buy an actual lottery ticket, preferring to dispense with the tedium of writing a business plan. Or perhaps it is to aspire to professional sports, or a reality TV show, or perhaps a rap star. All with statistically similar outcomes. But surprisingly, the mnemonic of the Donald Trumps of the world, haranguing and extolling those to bootstrap themselves off the dole into the riches that capitalism offers does trickle down to the trailer parks and tenements of the world.
Nowhere is this sad and pathetic prophesy more humorously portrayed than the outrageous Canadian television show (now off the air) Trailer Park Boys. Filmed as a faux “mockumentary” this show, which ran 7 seasons in Canada (and sporadically on American cable) was brilliant in its over the top portrayal of life in a trailer park. Dismissed by some as just crude humor (and be warned it is crude and profane in the extreme) the opening scenes of bucolic wonder with golden sunsets and neatly manicured yards, children playing on the swings all goes very, very wrong. The characters represent what it looks like when a community either cannot- or will not- sell their labor power and cannot exist in a normative society. The characters are perennially down market, no education, no social mobility and no future, they bond together under a thick haze of alcoholism and drug use, the show uses side splitting humor as salve to an extremely pathetic covalence, with the characters unable to differentiate between petty crime and legitimate commerce, as the differentiation is reduced to shades of barely discernable grey.
At this level of stratification the difference between a “business” that involves stealing shopping carts for scrap metal is no more or less noble than a Harvard graduate selling financial derivatives.
Stripping away any overture of intellectual loftiness, absent any academic commentary, the Trailer Park Boys reduce those bucolic sunsets into the banal vision of life on the fringes of Capitalism- and expose a nation of swindlers and hustlers, relying on a lottery to survive.
Dateline 1981, Orange County, CA and what was to become ground zero for global mortgage fraud, perpetrated by the likes of Angelo Mozilla, nicknamed by the media Agent Orange for his decadent fake (and very nearly orange) tan of the criminal overclass, we begin with the nascent dawn of Reagan’s “Morning in America” on the cusp of the soon to break Savings and Loan Crisis.
The scene was a 2 ½ hour drive to a nondescript 3 bedroom tract home in Huntington Beach, about a mile or two from the ocean. It was the parent’s home of a fellow college student who was taking advantage of their parent’s vacation to host a party, replete with backyard keg and the requisite single light bulb lamp nearby to prevent spills.
With all the irony of the two working parent hierarchy of the times, the homeowners were so busy with their jobs that neither had time to go to the beach, the dreary patina of tract home living had quietly subsumed the idealism of living near the beach.
This was not lost on the college aged son, who upon learning that the house would be vacant, promptly released word of the party. We arrived to the house after the considerable drive, and found amplifiers and a drum set already assembled in the living room, with microphone stand at the ready. After mingling aimlessly for an hour or two amongst the preppy college students with Izod shirt logos and sweaters with arms carefully folded around their necks, the cacophony of Bob Seger and the “Silver Bullet Band” began to grate on our nerves.
There is only so much you can take, but we knew something they did not-there was to be a special guest.
Indeed, after another stultifying hour, a beat up van pulled up out front, and three guys wearing surfer shorts and tee shirts came inside and plugged in their guitars. They played but three songs, and this was one of them:
Afterwards, they abruptly left. In the vacuum left behind, there was a palatable unease, sweaters were nervously adjusted, no one really said anything. Someone put the Bob Seger album back on, which thankfully was put out of its misery with the elliptical trajectory of an angry beer bottle.
Forward to 2008, high rise office towers with names like “Dieco”, “Countrywide”, and “Indy Mac” prominently displayed, which housed platoons of tens of thousands of mortgage workers who filled these towers every day. Their “products” were mortgages and refi’s, doling out money to whoever had a pulse and a desire to own a piece of the American dream, then securitizing these phony loans to sell off to pension funds and other unsuspecting investors.
The well publicized financing arm of the mortgage crisis gets all the attention, but behind the scenes we have something much more interesting occurring. To illustrate, we again go to the epicenter of all that went wrong in the mortgage cum real estate biz, Orange County, CA.
To enable the construction of vast numbers of new homes that will serve as the collateralization of these new dollars to be leant, we need institutional infrastructure designed to encourage inventor participation and insure equity growth. In other words, we need giveaways.
With infrastructure too big a charter for small independent developers and investors, a new entity emerged, that of the Master Planned Community. Usually dominated by large regional landowners with significant political connections already in place, they began in earnest to create circumstances favorable to large scale tract development, a process that was prototyped with the first large scale master planned community in the ‘70’s (Irvine, CA), and then rapidly ported to other states and counties.
In California, Prop 13 limits the amount of YOY property tax that can be assessed. But to grow and develop hundreds of thousands of new homes, this requires infrastructure, such as schools, utilities and roads. In the first major attempt to privatize large swaths of the public domain, a bond mechanism legislation called “Mello-Roos” was enacted, enabling developers to externalize all of the infrastructure costs onto the homeowners in the form of a tax supplement, which is not governed by Prop 13. It is very nearly impossible to buy new construction in CA without falling under this forced bond payment. It is often very near 100% of the standard (mandatory) State property tax. The bonds are nominally for 20 years, but most homeowners will tell you they never go away, constantly renewed with no redress for residents.
This privatization sets in motion the walling off of entire communities, and in so doing, of course some type of privatized governance must be constructed and imposed on the new homeowners so as to “protect their investment”. This is done in the form of an H.O.A, or homeowners association, who govern and regulate the homeowners under a privatized army of volunteers, enforcing a Byzantine set of rules and regulations. They do so by collecting the H.O.A dues, which can range up to $800-900/month in some communities, paid monthly by each homeowner, and it should be noted that failure to pay will result in forfeiture of your property.
The bylaws and regulations that are administered by the H.O.A are published in a lengthy document (usually several hundred pages) listing all the infractions that can result in a penalty being assessed. They govern what color you can paint your house, what contractor you must use for painting your house, how neat your yard must be (mandatory landscaping) strict architectural rules (no changes allowed) and incredibly, how long your garage door may remain open during the day, how long your trash cans may remain on the street after pickup, and strict “lifestyle” provisions.
If you violate any one of the hundreds of regulations, you will be assessed a fine, and if you fail to pay the fine, you will forfeit your property. To enforce this, a group of volunteers usually “walks” the neighborhood, clipboards in hand, to note any and all infractions that can result in fines being assessed.
Hell hath no fury like a HOA privatized government volunteer with clipboard in hand and hard hat jauntily worn, the stern gaze of compliance ready to stare down errant homeowners foolhardy enough to think their carbon copy “Plan B” faux Mediterranean air conditioned nightmare is their castle. The lender has collateralized 30 years of any and all possible equity appreciation in the form of a mortgage, the HOA has established a privatized, regulation filled “government” that under the guise of mutual contractual consent has put in place rules and regulations that no public government on earth would get away with, sublimely forfeiting many constitutional protections (such as due process), including specifically forfeiting the ability to file homestead claims on your own property (protection for the primary residence from creditors in the event of a personal bankruptcy), the authoritarian noose of end stage capitalism begins to tighten the slipnot of compliance around the necks of the middle class homeowners, who almost universally wave their tiny flags and shout liberty, down with government, and up with free markets, blissfully unaware just how far down the river they have been sold.
Home ownership was originally advocated at the national level in the late ‘40’s just after WWII as a means to give the middle class a “stake” in their future, but mostly to discourage civil unrest under the principle that property ownership was an impediment to middle class organization of anti-establishment activities.