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How to End the Foreclosure Crisis Now

I have watched the foreclosure crisis grow, from when it was only a possibility discussed in hushed tones in diaries on obscure (and not so obscure) blogs, and dismissed by the traditional media as a bogeyman that would never come to pass.

I have watched as the executives of mortgage companies and banks and downstream buyers of all sorts of derivatives derived from mortgages – particularly the toxic ones – raked huge fees, costs, expenses, and other income of all types and descriptions off the top.

I have watched as numerous minority borrowers got stuck with mortgages on terms less favorable to them, and more favorable to the lenders, than those given to similarly situated white borrowers.

I have watched as state consumer protection laws were systematically dismantled, preempted or ignored by the federal government, this exercise of power bought and paid for by the mortgage lenders who had been regulated, and their predation held in check, by those same state consumer protection laws.

I have watched as the same executives who ran their companies and the economy as a whole into the ground, gambling not only on their companies’ futures but also betting ours, not only continued to hold their overpaid jobs, but collected bonuses that were often many times the average person’s yearly income, for their performance. They were rewarded abundantly for losing money.

I have watched all this, and much more. And I have seen enough.

We can debate about how it came to pass until the cows come home, and we should so we can figure out how to prevent it from happening again. But, as the book says, to everything its’ season.

And now, it is time to do something about it.

I propose that we end the foreclosure crisis, now. And I propose the method to be a nationwide mortgage strike.

People who have been tenants in big cities, particularly places with strong landlord-tenant laws like New York, know all about rent strikes. The landlord doesn’t provide heat in the winter, or hot water, or fails big-time to keep the place clean and get rid of the rats, or the ceilings fall in from leaks he doesn’t fix, or he lets intolerable conditions continue. After long enough, the tenants are justified in withholding their rent in a rent strike, and continue withholding it until the landlord alleviates the problem.

Some people only understand when you fuck with the money they think is their money. The mortgage companies and the bankers and the bonus takers who are whining about not getting more than they deserve, and who complain that they’ll lose employees if they don’t shovel them boatloads of cash (as though anyone is quitting a Wall Street job voluntarily these days) are people like that.

So, it’s time to fuck with the money flow. Just don’t pay on time next month, and the month after that, until we get the changes we want.

Tomorrow or the day after: what we want.

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