Krugman at 4 a.m. — Home and Hearth

October 15, 2010

One of the key ingredients that formed the great “American Dream” was having your own home — king of the castle/manor/vast holdings.
So it was for years and years: Hard work, thrift and owning your own home.
And like dreams, daylight burned it all away.

During the last decade or so, US peoples by the thousands grabbed what they figured was a small chunk of that American Dream by buying their own home — the dream, however, was a lying-ass dream as the U.S. ranks 17th of 26 economically advanced countries in the number of citizens owning their own home.

(Illustration found here).

And a bust on home ownership — according to RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing service, a total of 288,345 properties were lost to foreclosure in the July-September quarter, up from nearly 270,000 in the second quarter, the previous high point in the firm’s records dating back to 2005.
Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the first nine months of the year and had been on pace to seize 1.2 million by the end of 2010.
Nearly 600,000 bank-owned homes are not yet on the market, which translates to one in 139 U.S. homes.

And now a buzz-meat home-foreclosure scandal that just won’t go away.
From the Columbia Journalism Review: Get it? The same Wall Street-created system that’s responsible for the paperwork foreclosure mess is the one that’s responsible for the families-on-the-curb Foreclosure Mess (not to mention the creation of the bubble in the first place and the key role predatory lending played in it). It’s feeding on itself. You don’t have one without the other.
An animal feeding off itself — a financial creepy.

A criminal creepy.
Via RawStory:

In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.
In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was.
Some couldn’t define the word “affidavit.”
Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property.
Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations about document fraud.

And those financial institutions will walk.

Paul Krugman with the NYT has a piece this morning about all this, and it ain’t pretty.
A couple of snips:

Now an awful truth is becoming apparent: In many cases, the documentation doesn’t exist.
In the frenzy of the bubble, much home lending was undertaken by fly-by-night companies trying to generate as much volume as possible.
These loans were sold off to mortgage “trusts,” which, in turn, sliced and diced them into mortgage-backed securities.
The trusts were legally required to obtain and hold the mortgage notes that specified the borrowers’ obligations.
But it’s now apparent that such niceties were frequently neglected.
And this means that many of the foreclosures now taking place are, in fact, illegal.

Reportedly, Ernest Hemingway said to never, ever use the word, “very” to describe anything, one should select an appropriate modifier — unless there’s piles and piles of shit nearby and Krugman recognizes the stench.

This is very, very bad.
For one thing, it’s a near certainty that significant numbers of borrowers are being defrauded — charged fees they don’t actually owe, declared in default when, by the terms of their loan agreements, they aren’t.

And don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out — hahaha.

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