Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Permanent Housing Collapse?

The recent chaos that erupted when 30,000 people waited hours in the Atlanta, Georgia heat to receive applications for subsidized housing is a mere symptom of a worsening national problem.

The housing market appears to be on a never-ending downward spiral, with the much-discussed “recovery” always around the next corner.

The reasons that such a recovery is impossible at the moment should be obvious: millions of people do not have jobs; millions of others work only part time; millions more work fulltime but make very little money; and additional millions fear losing their jobs.

Under these circumstances, there can be no recovery in the housing market, which will continue to contribute to the broader depression-like economy in the U.S.

Interestingly, an op-ed article in The New York Times, entitled The 30 Year Prison, actually took these realities into account when analyzing the housing crisis. The 30 year mortgage is the cornerstone of the residential housing market, which allowed millions of Americans to become homeowners.

But the economic conditions that allowed such a mortgage are disappearing. According to the op-ed author, Katherine Stone, one crucial problem of the housing crisis is that “…today’s mortgages are designed for yesterday’s borrowers.”

Ms. Stone makes clear that “yesterday’s borrowers” are people who could expect to have job security and were paid a livable wage. Thus, 30 year Mortgages “…work well as long as homeowners have stable, long-term jobs that enable them to regularly make their monthly payments.”

“But these days such careers are increasingly scarce. Therefore, any effort to recover from the crisis must include more flexible mortgages that take today’s employment landscape, with its frequent job-hopping and episodic unemployment, into account.” (August 14, 2010).

Of course banks are never very eager to be “flexible” with loans.

Nevertheless, Ms. Stone is part of the recent wave of journalists and politicians who have discovered that there is a “new normal” in the U.S. economy, which will inevitably have profound changes on how millions of people live their life. If the economy continues in the same direction it has been traveling for the last thirty years, with the needs of corporate owners overriding those of the employees, the “new normal” will demand that not only housing, but many other aspects of life be changed to suit the long-term joblessness and low wages that politicians and businessmen would like to make permanent.

Adequate housing is a basic human right. But often basic rights take a back seat to corporate profits.

Sometimes these basic rights must be demanded. The right to decent housing, a job that pays a living wage, health care, and peace could all be easily achieved in the United States if the economy were arranged with this purpose in mind. Sadly, it is not. It will take a mass movement of working people to re-arrange the priorities of those in power, or to put different people in power, so that the country’s resources are directed to those creating the wealth, or in the most need of it.

Helping jump start this movement should be the priority of every working/unemployed person. The first mass demonstrations to achieve working-class demands will be held on October 2nd, in Washington, D.C. and in other cities. Local demonstrations, community forums, or town halls can be held locally to coincide with the larger demonstrations, thus amplifying our voices.

One demonstration will not be enough, but hopefully October 2nd will be the first step working people take towards empowerment, greater organization, and political independence. Once we learn to march and shout our demands in unison, greater goals can be achieved.

SHAMUS COOKE is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

Shamus Cooke is a member of the Portland branch of Democratic Socialists of America. He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail