It was foreclosed by wealthy and power elites that corrupted our "representatives" who literally sold us out. Our homeland was foreclosed right in plain sight. Sure, we citizens still reside in the USA, but we no longer own our democracy. We pay rent through our taxes. But we no longer have any equity. Our democracy is owned by the rich, and their partner foreign elites and governments, which is why in a strict sense it no longer is a democracy, but rather a plutocracy.
Modern day aristocrats an apt terms considering the many political dynasties in our ruling class - maintain the charade that America is still a democracy by letting us vote. They also give us many freedoms to distract us from our dire political conditions. They're smart, so they limit our choices to the main parties that constitute the two-party duopoly. Even smarter, they convert consumer spending (that they spur) into economic inequality, making them, the rich, even richer and everyone else, all of us, poorer.
Donald Trump says we hardly have any middle class left. He ought to know. Lou Dobbs says there is a war on the middle class. He does not say what would only depress his audience, even more. We the people have already lost the war. We have a large Upper Class, for whom prosperity is real, and an expanding Lower Class, for whom economic slavery based on compulsive borrowing, debt and spending is all too real.
People born into American citizenship or sworn into it have inherited a democracy debt a kind of political mortgage that requires payment, not in dollars, but in engaged and responsible citizenship, ensuring that those elected to manage the government do so in the public interest. People like Thomas Jefferson told us about the burden placed on Americans. But paying our democracy mortgage has declined over the past fifty years.
I postulate that the decline started after World War II with the advent of urban sprawl, speeding up with accelerating suburban sprawl. Now, political divisiveness coexists with sprawl on steroids, with gated non-communities of McMansions for the Upper Class. As to the politics of sprawl, Americans traded democracy ownership for home ownership. They stopped paying for democracy through engaged citizenship and started paying for compulsive consumption. True citizenship was replaced by social isolation and loss of social capital as people cocooned themselves in their private space where they could gratify themselves with more and bigger possessions.
Which brings us to our current new twist on Foreclosure USA. Millions of Americans have experienced, or will soon experience, foreclosure on what once was hyped as the cornerstone of the ownership society they are losing their homes. The bursting of the housing bubble is often talked about in terms of slower home sales and lower prices. The latest data: In September, the number of existing single-family homes sold dropped 14.2 percent, compared to September 2005, and the median price dropped by $5,000.
But something much worse is happening and accelerating in virtually every community in all the states. In a delusional democracy with delusional prosperity we now are witnessing the proof that the ownership society is also delusional. Apparently no one has told George W. Bush.
Up to 4 percent of America's mortgaged homeowners might lose their homes to foreclosure in coming months, one of the nation's largest lenders predicted recently, as those homeowners find themselves trapped by heavy debt and the housing slump. That's four times worse than the historical average of 1 in 100 mortgaged homeowners who fail to keep up payments. First American Loan Performance, a mortgage-data company based in San Francisco, says overall the national foreclosure rate has climbed 27% from a year ago with an estimated $110 billion worth of homes expected to go into foreclosure. Rick Sharga, a vice-president at RealtyTrac, said recently "Over a trillion dollars is going to readjust in the next 15 months. We had almost 850,000 foreclosures last year and we are at 913,000 through September." He predicted that national foreclosures could hit 1.2 million to 1.3 million by the end of this year. Guess George W. Bush has not heard about this, only about great economic growth.
You probably have heard about the incredible amount of sprawl housing growth around Las Vegas. But not this: The number of foreclosures in Nevada has more than tripled in the past year and jumped 83 percent since May. Nevada recorded 2,016 foreclosures in August. That was 83 percent more than in May and 255 percent more than in August 2005. Foreclosures are rising at a faster rate in Nevada than the rest of the country, where they are up 24 percent since May. In California, foreclosures increased 43 percent since May.
And what about the ever-sprawling Sunshine State? Florida has one new foreclosure filing for every 254 households, more than four times the national average. Foreclosure activity in the third quarter of 2006 rose by 14 percent compared to the second quarter of the year. It was 39 percent higher than the same period last year.
How about the Northeast? In Massachusetts, 1,812 new foreclosures were initiated in August, which is 72 percent more foreclosures than August of last year, and 266 percent more than in August 2004. The July to August increase was 34 percent, making it the largest month-to-month increase in the past three years. When comparing foreclosures during the year ending Aug. 31 (15,309), to the previous year (10,517), foreclosures increased statewide by nearly 46 percent.
Nationally, in August, 115,292 new properties were listed on the database of online foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac, a 24 percent increase over the level in July. More significantly, RealtyTrac currently lists 650,000 properties nationwide in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, up from 75,600 just one year earlier, when the Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The volume of bank seizures is immense. Foreclosure.com, another online tracker of distressed properties, currently lists more than 1.27 million properties in some stage of foreclosure, bankruptcy, or bank auction. Approximately 5,000 properties are added to the listings each day.
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