U.S. Needs Immediate, Indefinite Moratorium on Foreclosures
The foreclosure process is being systematically misused by the banking sector to manipulate books filled with “troubled assets” and to put institutional short-term solvency ahead of the long-term interest of the nation’s communities, people and the wider economy. This is demonstrable, and can be fixed, if we start to take seriously the simple fact that we need to stop foreclosures now, until such a time as the banking sector can do business without depending on extractive evictions to close gaps in its accounting.
What, precisely, is the manipulation that is so worrying, and which we need to prevent in order to restore fiscal and financial sanity to our economy? It is the manner in which major financial institutions have come to see the lender-borrower relationship as an entirely one-sided affair, in which borrowers sign away virtually all basic rights and lenders can use leverage, coercion and a numbers game, to make sure that in the exchange of goods and services, wealth always flows in one direction.
In a depressed market, this puts borrowers (homeowners) at a flagrant, and disturbing disadvantage. Without any plan whatsoever to provide some humane solution to families facing hard times, banks facing hard times simple extract wealth from those families, and use the extracted wealth to cover up the bad bets they have made.
The same institution that seeks to punish in the most inhumane way those who have sought to have a good-faith relationship with them, for having anticipated higher income than they have been able to muster, did the very same thing and finds itself in the very same crunch. The only difference is that the individual borrower is thrown out on the street, while the institutional borrower (borrowing from other banks and directly from taxpayers, including those being thrown out on the street) is able to gloss over the problem, using someone else’s wealth.
A financial system in which the people who make the system work are left with no options and no rights, with no ground to stand on and no way out of mounting hardship, is not a system for financing a dynamic market of exchange in a democratic society, but rather a broken mechanism that undermines the health of the whole in service of narrow interests. Such a dynamic cannot promote healthy capital investment or the growth of a solid, vibrant, democratically empowered middle class.
Over the last three years, we have seen clear evidence that major financial institutions took taxpayer funds, through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), also commonly called “the bank bailout”, only to invest that money in repairs to the bottom line, bonus payouts and the direct funding of unjustified profits and dividend payments. The money was not generally used to repair the mortgage management process, to secure borrowers that were now underwater because the banks had overvalued the market and overestimated the potential for real capital return.
That taxpayer money was absorbed into the banking sector, without the benefit flowing to those who fund the banking system. And, it was taken on top of the loans that are taken every day by banks from the Federal Reserve, as instruments for doing business, and as a means of subsidizing what is often a faulty approach to allocating resources, investing in the future, or asset-building—shoring up families and communities against economic unraveling.
We need a moratorium on foreclosures, because they are not economically justifiable, they are not financially justifiable, they are not justifiable in terms of their impact on the fiscal health of any level of government, and because they are working like a cancer to undermine economic recovery, impede the restoration of the middle class, and degrade the future potential of our communities, our children, and our nation.
The foreclosure process, as it has been deployed, over the last several years, has morphed from a rational tool for maintaining a healthy credit-based housing market into an instrument of imbalance, promoting undemocratic manipulations of economic reality, useful mainly for building dangerous pathologies into the credit markets. This is, in part, why lending has not recovered even as profits in the banking sector have.
When financial institutions become accustomed to numerical improvements in their accounting from unjustified borrowing, aggressive lending and fee structures and a lender-centered foreclosure process, the pathologies built into the system make it less likely those institutions will provide real value to the wider economy. Just as power corrupts, so does easy cash, and so we need to take seriously how vitally important it is for out banking system to require banks to earn the money they label as profit.
There are vital and irrevocable differences between deposits, holdings, assets, earnings, profits, gambles and accounts receivable, and just as individuals are required to distinguish between the different values of those different kinds of financial phenomena, banks must be accountable for the fundamental differences between and among the respective values of those distinct phenomena.
The foreclosure moratorium should:
be indefinite in length, and universal;
be accompanied by comprehensive federal investigations into the manipulation of asset valuation, lending projections, profit statements and the foreclosure process, by financial institutions;
remain in place until such a time as the housing sector has begun to work for people, families and communities;
be focused on preventing any foreclosure anywhere from being a manipulation designed to cover bad financial planning by lenders.
Second instalment of the Bitten triptych; a work that uses the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ fable as a rough framework to explore werewolfism as a metaphor for female puberty. Like the lupine transformation, adolescence leads to the development of androgenic hair and visible bodily change. Fertility is heralded by the menstrual cycle; whose pattern is traditionally linked with the phases of the moon. Of course, the latter is also associated with so-called ‘madness’ (anger and antisocial moods). The works investigate the development and maturation of young girls and raise questions of choice and consent, moratorium and foreclosure; but delve into the mind of the wolf as well as the ‘curse’ takes hold.
This book deals with the sexual aspects of growing up. The book opens from the middle and has a 'girl side’ and a 'wolf’ side.’ It is meant to look like the pages from the two sides have been removed and stitched together to create a new narrative. Needles were once seen as a sexual symbol (because they have an eye that can be threaded); and the book tries to reference some possible pathways that the girl could have taken with her sexuality – that is, being passive or proactive.
Identity formation, adolescence, and you, Danny Fenton.
a post about Danny Fenton figuring out who he is
A few weeks ago, Mod Carrie (catalystofthesoul) and I got into a good-natured argument about what Danny Fenton’s life looks like after high school. I have dreams about him going on to be a literature major in college, focusing on American science fiction– he could never become an astronaut but he could sure as heck read about them. Carrie informed me, point blank, that, according to most fanon, he doesn’t go to college. Ever.
After I got over the urge to write a college au where Danny is in fact a lit major, I did some thinking and I realized that Danny also probably thinks he won’t be going to college, that the rest of his life is going to be ghost-hunting heroics and dying young. In true psychology-major form, my next thought was, “Wow, that sounds a lot like identity foreclosure”. More adolescent psychology under the cut.