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March 23, 2007

Hammer Time

By David Glenn Cox

I accept that I'm not the best businessman in the world, and silly me I keep thinking of silly non-essential details like 2.1 million homes foreclosed with an average of four family members each is 8.4 million people out in the street! A population larger than many states in this country is losing or will lose their home in the next twelve months.


During the brutal reign of Pol Pot in Cambodia the massive amount of genocide and the poverty of the regime led to an ammunition shortage. Necessity being the mother of invention the Cambodians lined the prisoners to be executed up and gave them each a hammer and instructed them on command to strike the prisoners in line in front of them. When I first read about this my blood ran cold and I thought, hell I wouldn’t do that I’ll make you use a bullet on me its a small gesture I know, but if its all that you have. A bad horse trade is still better than having your horse stolen.

Yesterday while watching the financial news they were discussing the sub prime mortgage market crisis and its accompanying coming soon to a neighborhood near you the adjustable rate mortgage crisis. One of the analysts calmly explained that between the two we would probably see 1.1 million US foreclosures this year. The panelist asked “How will that affect the mortgage market overall?” Pass me a hammer! There are one million homes in some degree of foreclosure in America now and they are predicting 1.1 million more?

I accept that I’m not the best businessman in the world, and silly me I keep thinking of silly non-essential details like 2.1 million homes foreclosed with and average of four family members each is 8.4 million people out in the street! A population larger than many states in this country is losing or will lose their home in the next twelve months.

We see this as a long term problem but the losses are spread throughout the market so while we expect to see a down turn we think the market will recover in the next eighteen months, pass me a hammer please.

No concern or interest at all in men women or children or the marriages that will fail or the cost to society overall and believe you me there will be a cost. However a down turn in the economy might just prompt the fed to cut interest rates and that would mitigate the adjustable rate mortgage crisis. (panelist laughs) But if the economy turns down they’ll lose their job and not be able to pay the mortgage anyway! Pass me the hammer! Boy oh boy nothing funnier than people losing their homes.

When the sub prime story first broke and the market fell 416 points Chris Dodd chairman of the Senate Banking committee jumped in, Congress must step in an assist the mortgage holders to assure the stability of the markets. Sounds like Chris was more concerned about the markets than the homeowners. I wonder where his money is invested? pass me the hammer! As markets stabilized such radical talk about helping those in need was stilled. I’m sure brother Chris meant well, I recently heard Barney Frank on Bill Maher’s Real Time program and one of the panelist made a remark about the ineffectiveness of Congress and God bless his pointed little head he took offense. Ole Barn fell all over himself explaining how dedicated and hard working our public servants were. As the panel smiled and the audience laughed Barn soon figured out he had his truck stuck in the mud on that one and discretion was the better part of valor.

It reminded me of the two deer hunters dragging a buck back to their truck by its hind legs. Another hunter in the woods says, you know that would be a lot easier if you dragged it by the antlers. So they gave it a try and after another twenty minutes the hunter says, this ain’t working we keep getting further away from the truck. They truly think they are doing a good job either through ineptitude avarice or ignorance they don’t get it.

It doesn’t matter how you drag the deer if you never get him back to the truck, Pass the hammer.

In Venezuela they have cut poverty rate by 15% have expanded education imported twenty thousand doctors and sent their own students overseas to study medicine. Don’t tell me about ideologies I don’t care the results are what counts. In Russia they have cut their national debt in half this year they are getting the deer back to the truck.

Our system is so subverted and the media so contrived and compromised that those in Washington and the media live in an alternate reality. The furor over the Administrations firing of nine federal prosecutors, should Alberto Gonzales be fired? Yes, but not for that! He should be fired ,disbarred prosecuted and jailed. The architect of every slimy decision, wire tapping , torture, incarceration without trial, secret evidence, hear say evidence and should he be fired over the prosecutors? That’s like asking should Jeffery Dahlmer be prosecuted for over due library books, it’s ludicrous! Pass the hammer!

I could mention the Iraq war but that would be too easy so lets go for the less obvious and more ridiculous. The United States Congress is funding and building a wall across our border with Mexico while at the same time the President is planning to open the border with an interstate highway all the way to Kansas.

Why climb a fence when you can take a highway? How many times would you have to be hit in the head to think that’s a good idea? And just to sweeten the deal George signed a pilot project to let Mexican truckers drive nationwide on America’s highway and after a year he can decide whether to make it permanent or not . Pass the hammer! I wonder which way he will decide? Pass the hammer!

Yuck yuck a few thousand American truckers will lose their jobs and homes but the markets are strong enough to take it! Pass the hammer!

In my fifty years on earth I have worked on the road and I have traveled not to every state but it’s easier to name the ones I haven’t visited. Everywhere with out exception I have met nice people good people decent people. I’ve never been broke down on the side of road where someone didn’t stop to help and I’ve never slept outside if someone could help it. I never heard anyone of them express a desire to enrich themselves at the expense of one of their neighbors.

So, when I hear 2.1 million will lose their homes I wonder? Are those people I have known, that were kind to me? Will we as Americans do something about a government that treats them no better than cattle in a stockyard? Or will we just wait for our hammer? As for me I’ll take my bullet please.

Submitters Bio:
I was born and raised in Chicago in a liberal Democratic home my Grandfather was a labor union organizer my Father a Democratic district committeeman my Mother was an election judge. My earliest memories were of passing out Kennedy yard signs from the back of the car, late in 1962 we moved to Dallas and if it hadn't been raining that morning in November I would have been in Dealey plaza while my Father was sitting in the Trade mart. In 1965 we moved to Montgomery Al. and I witnessed the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1967 we moved back to Chicago and my sister was selected as a page for the Illinois delegation of the Democratic National Convention as you can Imagine she never made it inside the building. In 1972 my mother passed away and the family disintegrated, by age seventeen I was homeless.