Death by Foreclosure | Occupy America
This is a link-filled article about the emotional toll of foreclosure and hard economic times. Suicides, depression, anxiety, emergency room admissions, and general human misery. I have spent some time in foreclosure court recently, including volunteering to explain the process to rooms full of unrepresented people who are facing foreclosure. As everybody knows, the number of foreclosure cases (nearly all mortgage foreclosures) has multiplied and shows no sign of leveling off--in fact, in many counties it is certain to increase for at least the next two or three years. The stress on these people is enormous, but nobody in government seems to do more than pay lip service to that fact. The Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress have been far more concerned about banks than people who are losing their homes. Across the nation, the much-ballyhooed mortgage robo-signing settlement is being gobbled up by states to balance their budgets: "In Texas, $125 million went straight to the general fund. Missouri will use its $40 million to soften cuts to higher education. Indiana is spending more than half its allotment to pay energy bills for low-income families, while Virginia will use most of its $67 million to help revenue-starved local governments. Like California, some other states with outsize problems from the housing bust are spending the money for something other than homeowner relief. Georgia, where home prices are still falling, will use its $99 million to lure companies to the state."
I am wondering if this is part of a larger picture: a US population that is increasingly stressed-out, depressed, angry, and fearful. We have developed a lifestyle in which most of the things we do involve automated and dehumanizing interfaces with large institutions. These interfaces are frustrating and often intrusive, and involve little or no human interaction. Banking is increasingly online. Buying groceries? Scan and bag your own. Buy gas? Pump and pay yourself. Calling the doctor for a test result? Wait half an hour to get through the voice mail system to a human being. And order your prescriptions online, please. On the job, support staff are being fired in droves and instead we are now doing everything ourselves using computer interfaces that were designed by computer geeks for computer geeks. I could go on, but everybody knows this.
Homeowner and condominium associations probably should be seen as part of this trend toward dehumanized social functions. We have replaced informal neighbor relationships and public local governments with a corporate institution that tends to be intrusive, expensive, impersonal, and often incredibly frustrating.