Leave the rich alone!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010 @ 10:04 am | Economy

But watch out, because you might lose your home anytime, even if you’ve been playing fair, if the bank says so (and it doesn’t have to prove anything). This is the America of two sets of rules:

We *know* that the rich will, on a personal level, get away with it — even if their company is “punished”, no-one who got rich by title fraud will be impoverished, there is almost no chance that anyone will go to jail, and if one or two *do* go to jail it will be a really, really nice place by jail standards.

Yet, even though legal title to the properties has been tangled and obscured, we know who is in actual possession: the people living in the houses. What is the downside of letting them continue to live there? They may not have a clear legal right to live there — but at the moment no-one else does, either. Unlike everyone else involved in the process, the residents have a direct, personal, and tangible interest in the properties, because they need a place to live.

What are the moral, legal, and social downsides to letting defaulting residents stay in possession? Why is it so important to punish them directly and tangibly, when the powerful people who set up this whole mess will never be directly punished?

Does the fact that we all know the faceless powerful will get away with it make us more determined to punish the powerless? Am I wrong to assume that they *will* get away with it — does one of you have a reason to think that anyone in the financial industry will actually end up hurting in a way that hurts?

The burden of proof for evicting somebody should be staggeringly high. Loans can be negotiated, principal can be negotiated, and kicking someone out should be the absolute last resort. But, folks, it isn’t, because in the end you’re just a financial unit, a number to be gamed like any other.

-hw

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