It's a good thing I don't believe in conspiracy theories, because if I did I'd be tempted to think the entire subprime mortgage crash and the following "Great Recession" were engineered from the beginning as a long troll on private home ownership in America. Of course, I am sophisticated and smart enough to know that nobody would do that -- not because they are above doing it, but because nobody can think that far ahead anymore.
Still, according to this link
, the results are about the same as they'd be if it were some devious master plan.
There are three narratives to this story. One, the Conservative narrative, begins in the 1990s with President Clinton's push to drive up home ownership among Americans as a way to boost economies national and local, increase civic participation, and decrease crime, among other things (maybe some shadowy organization of goddamn HOAs bought Clinton, who knows). Of course, this was all a terrible and Socialist™ thing to do, because something something poor people with nice things something something, and the Conservatives were right because ten years later, a housing crash happened which proves poor people don't deserve nice things.
The "liberal" story starts around 2001 or so with the Banksters inventing a number of insidious financial instruments based on imaginary money that could only be realized through various legal and semi-legal forms of consumer financial fraud, the largest of these being the "Sub-Prime Mortgage," which if they were made out of anything physical would be confiscated at any airport for their tendency to blow up and break things. Eventually this game of American Roulette had to end in tears, and so it did in 2007 and 2008 with the collapse of the housing market. The Banksters knew it would happen, and they did it anyway, and that's why in 2009 the Democrats had them all arrested and put them in prison for a very long time. Or something.
But the third narrative, the one the lizard people and those aliens from Planet X don't want you to know about -- the real
story here -- is far worse than either one of those two tales of political and financial incompetence and botched altruism. This one starts all the way back in January 1977, the last days of Gerald Ford's presidency. See, Gerald Ford was an asshole. We know he was an asshole because he was a Republican. And he was feeling especially
dickish in January 1977 because he was about to be replaced by that wimp, Jimmy Carter. A president named Jimmy? What was the world coming to? Anyway, Soon-to-be-Ex-President Ford was intent on showing the ungrateful Americans who kicked his sorry ass out of the White House a thing or two. So he set in motion a series of bad decisions that eventually ruptured thirty years later like a disgusting time bomb made out of infected appendixes.
There are people who will tell you that the great engine of American prosperity and social stability has always been our "work ethic" or our "religion" or our "patriotism." These people are wrong. Actually, they're not only wrong, they are lying
, on purpose, and are most likely being paid by the Koch Brothers or the estate of Ronnie James Dio to keep those awful lies in circulation. In actual point of fact, the thing that keeps America from becoming some terrible third-world nation is our fierce belief in private property. It is our fierce belief in "I got mine, you got yours, and never the twain shall meet" that keeps us milling about our daily lives contentedly, producing and consuming and voting and donating. It is the idea that all of us having some "skin in the game" keeps us happy and committed to society that was the basis for Clinton's push for expanded home ownership, and that idea was right. It just so happens that Clinton's not-terrible idea fit into Ford's plan like a cigar
Ford's plan was brilliant in its subterfuge. He met quietly with a number of his fellow anti-taxers and pro-poverty douchebags in the GOP and Big Business™, and they set to work sewing the seeds of the biggest land grab and legal shakedown in American history. Details of the plan at this stage are few, but we do know that by the mid 90's, someone had gotten Clinton to push for this "Partners in the American Dream" program that virtually eliminated traditional barriers to home ownership like, um, being able to afford a house
. And in the decade or so the plan was in effect, banks fell all over themselves to mop up the veritable chemical spill of easy money being pumped out of government loan guarantees like sweet crude from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
That, of course, is where most coverage stops, more or less. Bad government encourages bad business, and all that. But the story is continuing today and nobody is really paying attention anymore. In the wake of the housing crash, newly vacated shards of the American Dream were, and continue to be, snatched up by multi-billion-dollar corporations. Now, this is probably just business on their part, but consider the implications for this new reality where Americans rarely live in anything even remotely resembling real private property. Compare the legal rights of a home owner to the legal rights of a renter. All the same liabilities and responsibilities exist, with none of the privileges.
America is now a nation of serfs and peasants, living in tenements and shacks put up by corporate lords and provided for civil use so long as we agree to 100 pages of demands in the form of a rental or lease agreement, including an agreement to forego things like your 4th Amendment rights while occupying your assigned domicile. Add to that the currently in-vogue practice of Civil Forfeiture
and what you have is a government which, at all levels, has built a hyperspace bypass right through the space formerly occupied by your rights as an individual.
And it's all thanks to Gerald Ford. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Richard Nixon
should still be the President, and this is why I am writing his name in for every available office this year and every election year, until the day I die.