(OP-ED) — The author of this post is a consultant to trial lawyers handling chain of title and foreclosure matters and thus, cannot render legal or financial advice. This post is for educational purposes only.
I was reading a news article in the local paper by a local columnist entitled, “There’s no place for you here …” The article basically pontificated that low and middle class workers cannot afford this area’s housing market. If what that columnist said were absolutely true (and I debate his viewpoints in so many ways), whose fault is that?
America continues to face a housing crisis that state governments could create a master plan to solve, yet nothing obvious and straightforward is being done. We all think that our elected congresspeople and senators in DC will do something about it, since the issue seems to be promoted as a national issue and not a state one. Not so in my book because it’s all become politically relative. Politicians simply say what the voters want to hear, whether what they say means anything or not. The system is rigged to favor the elected and not the body politic. We need to wake up and face that fact.
THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS CONTINUES TO FUEL THE HOUSING CRISIS … AND VICE VERSA
The “American Dream” has brought with it a ton of lobbying by the banks and their minions and history has shown us the “American Dream” has brought with it a ton of scandal, including the illicit manner that continues to happen in every county’s land records: manufactured assignments. This garbage is the by-product of Wall Street and its desire to make itself rich through securitization, off the backs of investors and borrowers alike. Because the laws that are legislated into existence seem to favor the banks and the oligarchs that run this country, a number of ideas are contemplated here:
- The politicians that run this country, BOTH Democratic and Republican, have notions in their head that they think they’re better than we are.
- Every two to four years, we all get to watch them smear each other on TV with negative campaign ads that frankly unzip the fly of dysfunctional governments at both state and federal levels.
- The two-party system rightfully caused this mess and the mess won’t stop until “the system of things” is changed in favor of the people and not in favor of politicians, who get to live out their retirement better than we Americans could ever have it, if we even get to retire.
Despite what you’re reading that is spewed from spoon-fed, government sources, fake news or not, foreclosures are continuing, whether in record numbers or not … and talk about a resolution to this mess is cheap in DC. With the CFPB (or whatever “new and improved” acronym they want to apply to this now-seemingly worthless bunch of bungling bureaucrats) being watered down, aggrieved consumers can now stop turning to the U.S. government for answers and resolution because it won’t be there for them.
Our problem is … we depend too much on government to be our savior because the government has a bad habit of promising everything, but not without strings attached. The banks have made sure of that. Thus, securitization is back in full swing again and the same people who got stung by the last housing crisis are the first in line to apply for their MERS-originated mortgages … rinse and repeat. Drink the Kool-Aid … rinse and repeat. People who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
This means more theft of homes, more trashed out and worthless chains of title and more shadow inventory being kept off the books, thus skewing the real numbers of what’s being illicitly taken … and taken for granted … maybe we don’t have a crisis after all … ahhh … but we do. And it’s not going away any time soon. As long as builders are building unaffordable homes (homes with a market value of over $250,000), this will force Americans to have to borrow more and drive them deeper into debt. This is the typical Catch 22 syndrome of the mistakes we made in the last housing boom. Until builders are reigned in or people stop drinking the Kool-Aid, it will be status quo in America. The state and local governments could change that, but they’re not doing anything worth mentioning.
THE “CLASS SYSTEM” GAP IS EXPANDING IN AMERICA
I live in a county where retirees (some with accumulated wealth) comprise better than 25% of the population. Home building permitting is at a standstill because of the backlog of builders coming back into the picture and the government has complete control of what these builders do, what they build and who they employ while building what they’re building. Because permitting is taking so long and counties are becoming more particular about construction and design issues as well as code enforcement, the cost of housing becomes the victim of cost overruns.
Only one “affordable housing” project has been contemplated for this area and surprisingly, the home builders who are continuing to build “upscale” housing are part of the debate to limit that type of housing because of the “riffraff” it brings with it. No one said anything about building “projects” here, as if that has some sort of negative connotation attached to it. These builders however seem to forget that if only the wealthy people can buy homes in this area and rents are too expensive to support the lower income and middle income families, there won’t be any labor force to accommodate the service businesses needed to wipe the noses (and asses) of the rich people. Yowsah! Yowsah! Yowsah! I’m perturbed by this, because I used to own/manage/work in the restaurant business for many years and I can tell you how unpleasant things can get when people who have money take people for granted who are just trying to keep up, absent the snobbish behavior. I must be a black man trapped in a white man’s body because there are days I wake up and I feel like a “slave to the riddim”.
And I’m not being facetious here. I’m one of the lower to middle class, just like most of you. Sure, I have my “American Dream” but it’s different from yours. I do not support the DC behaviors. Deep State is counterproductive to forward-thinking government progress because it seeks to disrupt change for the better. I do not support the two-party system because of what it’s done to America. I am non-partisan in my thinking here. I have to be. We all need to be realistic for the moment because our “spending habits” (Americans are deeper in credit card debt than ever before), which are created by the spending boom that occurs with “holidays” like Black Friday, fuels negative habit patterns that will drive lower to middle-income wage earners deeper into the abyss of debt and make them less likely to be able to even afford to rent because they’re too consumed with their “comfort zones” (what it takes to make us happy in the short term). Americans rarely ever save (unless they’re rich and they can afford to save) and most live paycheck to paycheck. What’s in your wallet? More month than the end of the money?
So if you were fortunate enough to have been born into wealth or accumulated it through investing and working smart, then you can certainly understand what might be in the mindset of that waitress or waiter that takes your order the next time you go out to feast at a corporate restaurant chain because all of the mom and pop operations have since become scarce due to the way our economy has made it unaffordable to start competing small businesses … and yes, not without strings attached … again.
Our state and local governments have played right into this scenario by not mandating affordable housing as part of their “master plan” (albeit Multnomah County/Portland, Oregon is attempting a stab at it) in subdivisions that still provide decent living standards for lower to middle income families with homes priced between $50,000 and 100,000.00! The success of that program remains to be seen. The days of the McMansion are gone thanks to the new tax laws that limit the amount of property taxes that can be deducted on a 1040 tax form. You can thank your DC bunch for that. Only the rich will be able to afford them … and with that … comes a whole different set of problems and risks.
Coupled with the foreclosure crisis, anyone attempting to buy shadow inventory at a discount risks legal battles (prolonged quiet title actions for example) that could prevent them from actually getting a bargain, unscathed. This includes investors that are trying to accommodate the poor in making housing affordable. There is going to have to be consideration factored in for rents, because what people will be able to afford will be way less than what the rich can afford.
There is further conflict in reports of whether millienials migrate to the inner city because of job growth or in the alternative, move out into “the ‘burbs” because of space and security. While one study says millennials can’t afford today’s housing because they don’t save, live from paycheck to paycheck, continue to rely on mommy and daddy when things get tough and are least immune from impulse spending … another study says they’re just fine if they want to move to suburbia and that most of them are, according to studies. The disinformation campaign isn’t helping matters much because it means more gobbledygook to wade through to get at the real truth.
The influx of foreign workers into this country isn’t helping our economy much because jobs are being created to accommodate those who will work for less. This is forcing the class system in America to widen because the rich are paying this influx lower wages so they (the rich) can make more money. Many workers who have migrated into the U.S. seek jobs that pay cash; thus, they pay no taxes, yet they get social security benefits and free health care, which someone else has to pay for. The two-party system sees this as a means to an end … to woo more non-citizens to become voters so they can vote for the “party”, who influences their choice. In the meantime, you saw what banks like Wells Fargo did to “encourage” migrant illegal aliens to open bank accounts. The banks are supported by the U.S. government. The servicers who work of the banks lie, cheat and steal in the name of the banks, taking property away from hard-working Americans using servicer-manufactured documents containing false and misrepresentative declarations.
WE HAVEN’T EVEN APPROACHED THE IDEA OF A CASHLESS SOCIETY YET
What the banks really want is a cashless society. Many in the U.S. government support this idea. Why?
- It’s a way to gain personal control of every hard-working American, forcing them to do transactions using a debit or credit card.
- Every transaction of the type identified in #1 is already being monitored by the U.S. government (FINCEN) and the private banking sector.
- It reduces the amount of goods and services sold and traded in the underground economy (or so they think). It would actually promote and increase (incentivize) participation in the underground economy, more in rural areas than in the major cities.
- The U.S. government can simply take earned “credits” right out of peoples’ bank accounts any time it wants to, for taxes, child support, etc., leaving the individual with nothing to live on.
No one would want to migrate here after a move like that because illegals work for cash. If no one possessed fiat “cash” (M1) then privacy rights would be completely removed. By tapping into a bank account, the government could purposefully screw with anyone it wanted to, knowing exactly how much an individual is “leveraged”. How in the world do you think the writers of Enemy Of The State fathomed this story line? Do the writers know something we don’t?
When an individual can’t eat and feed his family because his “line of credit” or cash flow is suddenly cut off, what do you think will happen? A classic “have not” scenario. He takes from the “haves” by whatever means possible. You really want to live in a society like that? America is already ranked as one of the most dangerous places to live by Atlas & Boots and Forbes Magazine. A cashless society would make a bad thing worse because the police cannot stop random acts of violence when they themselves could become instant victims. No amount of deposited “fiat credit money” can stop a rebellion or even a full-scale revolution, which is what you’d have if the government insisted on going this route. The major cities would turn into blood baths. I’m not being paranoid here. Think about what you would do if you had to face this situation head-on. What would you do? After all, you gave the government your tax dollars and you voted for all of these politicians who loaded your “Government By The People” with hundreds of layers of bureaucracy, some of which has broken off and become a part of Deep State.
DO YOU SMELL SOCIALISM?
I majored in political science and journalism in college; thus, I posit the following scenario:
Imagine taking all of the money away from the rich and passing it around to all of the poor to fund the services necessary to accommodate the influx of non-citizens into America. The poor will spend through all of their newly-found gratis like shit through a goose (an old saying of Gen. George S. Patton) and will then expect MORE. Now there’s no future for American businesses because the wealthy will not be able to support their businesses and expand their businesses to accommodate more employees because they are broke (or taxed into non-existence), just like the rest of us. This is why socialism hasn’t worked wherever it’s proliferated because someone has to pay for the “nanny state”, which the government created with your tax dollars. Socialism begats authoritarianism, which begats communism. The result of communistic behaviors promotes crime (e.g. the Russian mafia, etc.) in order to circumvent and deliberately retaliate against government behaviors.
Everybody likes free stuff! However, someone has to pay for the services that illegal immigrants are receiving in this country. Someone has lost a job to an illegal immigrant. Someone died at the hands of an illegal immigrant. And more than 5,000 people are trying to get into this country illegally and the whole mess at the San Ysidro border crossing has been politicized to the point of nauseation. No one is a racist just because they are implementing the laws that are in place in this country. This is what the executive branch of our federal government was designed to do. Blame our founding fathers for even thinking that we should all be safe and secure and live in peace and freedom. Now I’m being facetious. Depending on which political party (of the two) you belong to, you see 5,000 new voters, voting towards socialism and getting free stuff, or you see 5,000 new voters sucking off the teat of America and at some point in time, someone will have to pay for it. But how?
INCREASING TAXES PROMOTES REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS
Yes … just like in America’s Prohibition Era, whenever taxes were increased, people went underground to survive and the shadow economy flourished. History has not changed. U.S. government economists (like Bruce Bartlett) and socialist think tanks are still trying to figure out how to bring the shadow economy under control so they can tax it … yeah, good luck with that. And who profits from all of this? The banks. After all, their “fed” is the one who keeps “loaning money” to the government, so it can continue to write checks its body can’t cash to support “nanny state” philosophies.
People seem to forget how history repeats itself. It further seems to me that we got into a war with the British over a 3% tea tax, right?
The big outcry at the time was taxation without representation. Think about the 23 taxes you pay on a loaf of bread and tell me that this country is not the frog swimming around in luke warm water. Unbeknownst to him, the master of the fire is turning the heat up to gradually boil him alive! Think about that the next time you have to pay for someone else’s direct benefit to your detriment (you’re broke again?).
TAXING APPROPRIATE SOURCES
Colorado and Washington State have discovered just how much extra revenue the recreational marijuana business brings in. The federal government however, ironically doesn’t want to allow marijuana businesses to have bank accounts that the government can get legitimate tax gains from. The irony of it all is that banks are great sources for laundering drug money, aren’t they? When people who buy controlled substances like marijuana use cash they’ve taken from their pocket or their bank account, give it to a drug dealer in exchange for pot, who then uses those funds to go out and buy basic necessities to live on and spends the cash right back into the mainstream economy … that money ends up getting deposited into someone else’s bank account at some point in time down the road. Yet, those in government that have created all of this “reefer madness paranoia” legislation seem to believe that the banking system Uncle Sam borrows from (and then spends it like a drunken sailor) plays no part in it; thus, the government shouldn’t be held accountable, even though it provided the vehicles and the mechanisms in which buying drugs is facilitated. People pay for drugs with cash … not a debit or credit card. Any cash can be “laundered” no matter what source it came from, even if legitimate. Our foolish government could be taxing pot sales at all levels but the politicians won’t listen to the voters, will they? And that’s just one area that the politicians who allegedly run this country aren’t listening to … or if they are listening … they don’t care and they vote the way they want to vote. If they want to keep pot illegal, despite what the voters want, they’ll keep pot illegal. This is another prime example of the way our government is to blame for its failure to counterbalance revenue shortfalls.
THE “CLASS SYSTEM” GAP FUELS THE CRIME RATE
And just when you thought that a cop shooting an unarmed “African-American” wasn’t bad enough, I still maintain that when you displace a family on the street … and the head of household runs out of options, you end up with more murder-suicides, suicides, death by cop and crimes against property when the system can ill afford to maintain law and order in the present day as it is … all because the local government, which has every means to change the environment in every one’s favor, still wants to make its “master plans” cater to those who can afford it. It doesn’t matter what race, color or creed you are! The biggest mistake facing America today is allowing the class system “gap” to widen. By allowing the class system gap to proliferate throughout America, the scales could tip to the point that when there’s nothing the “have nots” won’t do to take from the “haves”, we’ll end up in another civil war (regional in nature, maybe) … and it’s our state and federal politicians that have widened this gap … so they can come in and play nanny state. The widening of the gap promotes the idea that socialism will fix it, which is false (if you’ve studied economics).
When it comes to a prime example of how easy it would be for civil insurrection to occur, visit an area that’s been placed under martial law (you may not see eye to eye with me on this). Here’s a mild example … go into any hurricane-affected area and see how the government treats the locals. Why was Blackwater brought into New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina? To prevent armed insurrection … because that’s where the city was headed. Anyone who has been through the “Superdome” experience can attest to that. When disaster strikes, what’s the first thing the “have nots” do? Loot! It never ceases to amaze me that “have nots” would grab TV sets while looting a disaster area when the electricity is out. You can’t eat or drink a TV. You really think the pawn shops are going to accept stolen merchandise, just so you can have a cheeseburger? The “have nots” come in every race, color and creed. If they have no money and they’re hungry, what do think they’re going to do at the first opportunity? (I’ll let you figure that one out.)
When the 2008 financial collapse occurred on Wall Street, then-Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson was calling congressmen telling them that if they didn’t bail out the banks, martial law might have to be declared. You see how the government’s mindset behaves when a disaster strikes. Hence, TARP was created. Even more sadly, most government employees believe everything their government tells them! That’s how the government gets more support for its nanny state policies!
THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT BASICS IN LIFE: FOOD, WATER, SHELTER … AND A WAY TO MAKE A DECENT LIVING
If you’re employed in any one of these first three areas, you will always have an income because everyone needs these three things to survive in America. This is no longer the American Dream but the American Nightmare. Anyone living under substandard conditions will agree with me that the family unit is in jeopardy. Tempers flare because of lack of money or the sudden shift in any one of the basic three things needed to survive, which includes being displaced from your home. I wrote about this in Clouded Titles.
Now that I’ve painted a minuscule picture of “the ghost of things to come”, we need to take a stand (at least on our own behalf) to take all of these factors into consideration … and then do something civil about it.
I find it best to research one of the basic first three areas and find a niche within it. I know a lot of people that are resellers for survival foods. I know fewer who have actually now resorted to truck farming (it’s also an underground economic niche and can be very profitable) and I used to help pay my mortgage payments on my first home with a hen house full of laying hens (eggs are great barter material too). In order to accomplish all that, you might think “country”. There is a lot of unrestricted land out there and folks living in these areas tend to think a lot alike (they don’t like big government) … something the U.S. government doesn’t like. Whatever the government doesn’t like is probably a great thing for America because anything that happens in the hinterland benefits the local economy, not DC. All of the possible changes you could employ to affect a positive outcome for your local economy are a good thing, even if you’ve been foreclosed on and have to start over again. There are areas of the country where land is still cheap and food production is in demand. Even in WWII we had “Victory Gardens”. Flea markets are a great source of networking! Food trucks can also be a profitable business if run right, albeit you’ll be facing permitting issues and health regulations.
I cannot believe that people have actually run afoul of the law for harvesting rainwater. However, it’s a great source of income. Who would have ever thought that putting water in a plastic bottle and selling bottled water would ever work? Whoever did is making a killing now because the well hasn’t run dry and the merchants have made the bottled water industry a necessity of life, even if it means you have to dispose of something that’s not biodegradable. With our water supplies / groundwater becoming contaminated (see Flint, Michigan), water filtration systems is also another big business that the wealthy certainly can afford. Even smaller supply, pour-over systems sell well during hard times. Man cannot live without water … so getting into any business that involves the production or supply of clean, potable water is a good thing.
Your PLAN B might include doing what I did in buying a tract of land, owner finance. My payments were $222 a month for 10 years. Even on a fixed income, pulling a used mobile home out onto a tract of land works, especially if it’s paid off. I used an investment return to pay for getting set up on 3/4-acre mortgage free. Just to show you I’m not kidding, see below (front and back yard). I was only 40 minutes from Austin, Texas!
This is what mortgage-free living can look like, if you have a PLAN B that you can start up on a small budget without having to get a mortgage. Anything relative to setting up shelters for people on unrestricted land out in the country is a good thing. We had German Shepherds roaming the property so we never had to worry about break-ins. It cost me less than $15,000 out of pocket to set up! You could even do it for less with a little creative thinking!
It is amazing what you can find out there to live in, it’s peace and quiet country living … and you could put your property into a trust for asset protection to keep it away from the money-grubbing banksters or debt collectors trying to collect on judgments! Sure, it’s not a McMansion, but it’s home and it’s a stress-free environment! It’s also far from the madding crowd … so in the event of unrest, you’ve got more time to plan and react if you need to. Anything connected to real estate … agents, brokers, investors, developers, storage sheds, portable buildings (which can be converted into housing) and cabins … can be profitable with a little marketing. Any carpentry skills become a real plus!
MAKING A DECENT LIVING
Retirement is NOT a part of my vocabulary. I don’t see what the big rush is to retire anyway, given the fact that the government would like you to wait until you’re 70 to start drawing Social In-security. Besides, any business worth having means that an entrepreneurial spirit is probably alive and well and is driving the business forward. If you’ve lost your regular job (or you think you might lose your job), this is the time to start planning for your future. An active LLC or incorporation costs next to nothing to set up and consulting businesses (like mine) take a lot less money to start up. There are books out there that have oodles of information in them on how to start your own business. Find something you’re good at and go for it. Don’t turn a negative foreclosure into a pity party. Use it as your learning curve and don’t make the same mistake next time. Examine what caused you to get into the mess in the first place and then … go out and do just the opposite. The banks may hate you … but hey, mortgage free living is really where it’s at! Being self-employed means taking home more of your paycheck NOW and not having to wait on a tax refund from the government, which has been operating in the negative since 1933. It’s also another great way to live without borrowing! Being creative about it is what I find most rewarding. As an afterthought, only create these entities if you have the means to keep track of their accounting and tax filing status.
Retraining in later life is not as bad as it sounds, even if you’re disabled. As long as you’ve got brains, there’s a consulting position out there or a desk job that will pay you a decent living with little up-front investment. Thinking positive in this day and age is hard to do. There’s so much negativity around. The idea behind all of what I’ve just stated in my foregoing diatribe is designed to get your inner sanctum churning because the times, they are a-changing, again!