Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slumburbia - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com

Dirty flags advertise rock-bottom discounts on empty starter mansions. On the ground, foreclosure signs are tagged with gang graffiti. Empty lots are untended, cratered with mud puddles from the winter storms that have hammered California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Nobody is home in the cities of the future.

Although I don't agree with the piece's conclusion:

Come see: this is what happens when money and market, alone, guide the way we live.

(Not surprising from this source.) This bubble had it's origin in government action, not inaction. It all started with pie in the sky housing programs started by the government with the premiss that all a poor family needed was home ownership (of course I don't consider that I own a home until I've finished paying the mortgage on it) to start this roulette wheel spinning. Turns out too many people put their chips on red, and it came up black, this time.

If you think there were no winners in this game you would be wrong. Construction companies made payroll, gave raises and probably hired people during the building phase. People who owned (or partially owned via a mortgage) suddenly found their houses worth a lot more than they should be as people played musical chairs. People sold their old homes and bought new ones, and if they were wise, kept the monthly payments within their means. People sold in high priced areas and moved to lower priced areas, paid cash for a new house and still had money left over. People RETIRED on the backs of this ponzi scheme.

But there were many losers, and most of them the people the government claimed it wanted to help. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you? What's the government going to do "for" you next?

Place blame however you wish, and your vote costs nothing (or does it?). But how will you place your bets next time?

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