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Is There a Housing Cemetery nearby?

Recently, yet another friend confided that he was in the process of losing his house.  Sean and his wife had endured a grueling era of juggling three jobs and stashing evey penny, dime, and nickel for the down payment.  His daughter and son, five and seven, took their first steps, uttered their first da-da's, and performed their first finger paintings in this house.  Four years ago, when the Napa River flooded almost destroying the very modest three bedroom abode, Sean whisked his family into a rental, while he labored in the evenings after work, to re-build.  And re-build he did, upgrading and waterproofing the entire house.  Sean, worked deligently as an independent painting contractor.  He never had to advertise for the quality of his work and the integrity of his character paved his success.  He is a kindhearted, earnest man; a sincere friend, an involved  father, and a loyal husband.  A man that people clamor to-- not only because he is trustworthy--Sean is hilarious ( he could be a stand-up storyteller) and is guarenteed to make you laugh.  

With the sagging California economy, Sean's clients slowly began to drift into hibernation.  Projects were postponed or cancelled all together.  Slowly, the familys' meager savings began to evaporate.  Then came the fatefull blow--Sean's wife lost her teaching job hurling the family down into a spiral whirlpool of hardship.  And there was  no one, besides the bank, in a position to toss him a line or offer a hand to pull the family back on shore.  Sean approached the bank on several occasions, explaining his dilema.   He bargained, wrote a proposal, practically begged the bank to give him time.  Time to hoist himself out of economic despair.  But they (the Almigthy Bank) turned their hearing aids off, threw them away, and told my friend--sink to the bottom of the pool with the others.

Ironically, work began to pick up in little trickles, then suddenly like a sunami, Sean was inudated with old clients coming out of their resting caves.  He  now has enough work to keep him and another employee busy for a year.  But it's too late--the bank has given him a week to pack up his life, his children, and move on.  And what happens then to the house?  Does it get tossed in a heap with all of the other houses people have been forced to abandon.  Who will buy this house, for less than what Sean owes in back morgage?  Another family in the same boat?  It's too humble of a home for the elite unaffected folks floating through these tough times in their cash boats.  Is there any empathy left, any solace for the working family?  Who will compensate those like Sean, who have toiled for years to keep a home and when times are tough, they have their life yanked out from underneath them?  Where will all these empty houses with the ghosts of the living still lingering end up?

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Too true, Karen. And just

Too true, Karen. And just consider all the trillions of our tax money, some small portion of which could have gone to protecting millions of people like Sean with federal mortgage guarantees and refinancings, blown on giant banks and insurance companies. I enlarged on that theme here if you have time to kill: http://www.nossiter.net/WhatRecession.html

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Hi Joshua,
I am dashing to the city but would love to discuss (you have more knowledge in this area though, I'm sure)alternatives. Don't get me started about where our taxes go--I have to stay serene as I'm going to a yoga class! Thanks for the comment. I left you a note regarding your Politics, religion, sex blog.

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A tennis buddy took me to

A tennis buddy took me to yoga class once and although I couldn't do a single posture, I've never sweated so much in my life. Homeowner bailout discussion? Any time at all. There are so many ways to mitigate this catastrophe and none are being employed. Aargh.

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If you are new to yoga, the teacher/class is critical to your experience. I teach yoga classes and have taught private lessons as well--and not to toot my own horn--but, I work well with people's limitations and where they are at the moment. Recently, I taught a group of people in wheel chairs and they were so receptive and engaged. It was quite humbling, really. I was deeply moved by their willingness to try--- despite the fact they couldn't stand! So what are some of your suggestions regarding homeowner bailout? My thoughts (and perhaps they are totally naive) is give people options, like a time frame in which they can have lower payments, a grace period in order to get back on their feet. You obviously have a great deal of political insight--why are not logical solutions being used? Don't give up on yoga--it will give you an advantage in your tennis game.

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Too many years of tennis and

Too many years of tennis and squash abuse have left me about as flexible as a wooden plank so I might be a lost cause where yoga is concerned. My wife is a pilates fiend and I can't even begin to do what she does. But I'm sure you're right, increased flex would improve my game, so maybe I should try again. Biking is also good and I do do that... I bet you're a superb teacher.

The truly disgraceful thing about the foreclosure epidemic is that it could have been avoided. The sub-prime loans (which triggered the financial crisis which led to the recession which caused the collapse in home values and the unemployment which are responsible for most defaulted home loans)were a tiny fraction of the credit market. If the Bush people hadn't been so blinded by faux free market ideology, had stepped in and created a fund to buy and or guarantee all sub-prime loans, the crisis might never have happened. And if the Obama people had been less beholden to the big banks, and had created a government agency to buy and or guarantee all home loans, not just the bad ones, the financial system would have been saved at far less cost to the taxpayer. Also millions would have kept their homes. We can and should still create such an agency but now that trillions have been blown directly on the banks there's no political appetite for it. And thanks to right wing disinformation (all government is bad, government is trying to take over your life, etc.) voters are confused and don't see what's in their own interests. And few commentators even mention the subject. One exception is Robert Reich, who's worth reading about it.