Sunday, December 09, 2007

"The Economic Rape of Cleveland"

If you aren't aware, there is an economic meltdown underway in America, particularly in our urban centers. There is a rot at the core of the system that preys upon poor neighborhoods and communities of color. The most recent sign of this meltdown is the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Sadly, my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio, is being ravaged more than any other in the nation.

Harry C. Alford from the Washington Informer recently wrote an interesting essay on the impact of this economic crisis in Cleveland. The article, "The Economic Rape of Cleveland," briefly explains how the sub-prime scheme worked:
This game broke all of the rules. It exaggerated housing appraisals to boost lending amounts. It eased credit rules to allow people who did not qualify for mortgages to get them anyway and pay the consequences later. Hedge fund investors fell into the same trick that made Enron famous. They fronted asset investments that were really poorly collateralized loans that would soon default and leave the investors holding the “bag.” Middle men brokers and package dealers ran these schemes for quick fees and cash. In the end, the investors and new mortgage owners would take the big hit.

He goes on to look at Cleveland as
a typical Chocolate City in regards to this matter. Cleveland, Ohio seems to be a perfect example. It’s a hardworking town with a strong history of neighborhoods producing some of the greatest American citizens. A black middle class was formed decades ago and is indeed an institution in this population center. Maybe this is why the subprime hustlers targeted Cleveland. It had plenty of established black property owners who could be exploited while the activity remained under the “radar” for a while.

In a devastating conclusion that should outrage us all, Alford writes:
There is one particular zip code in Cleveland that has over 1,000 present foreclosures. The neighborhoods in this part of Cleveland have become slums overnight and the blacks living there didn’t see it coming. It was fast and there appears nothing they can do. This city has been violated in every economic sense of the term. Their virtue has been quite lessened and the repair is not even imaginable. The elected officials, community leaders, chambers of commerce, etc. are lost in trying to find a solution to this devastation. All they can do now is stop the hustlers so that the present state can be termed the “bottom." But even doing this doesn’t mean that “which way is up” can be visualized anytime soon.

And then, plaintively:
Yes, the lovely city of Cleveland has been ripped off. There are other cities, counties and rural communities around the nation facing the same crisis. Greed and hustle coupled with bad policy and weak laws have hurt us miserably. Our children will pay the price and all we can do is start over once again. It hurts. t hurts real bad and will have a very long-term effect. Cleveland was raped. She was not alone. Lord, help us please!

This is the cost of conservative economics, people! These are real live human beings, devoured by large economic interests and then cast off in a seedy profit scheme that counted on their vulnerability... and relative invisibility to the rest of the nation. These white-collar criminals assumed no one would care in the end about these poor neighborhoods, about these communities of color. They believed no one would raise alarm or protest.

Well, now is the opportunity to prove them wrong... or right.

Is this the world you want to live in?
Is this the kind of economy we should countenance?

What will you do?
What will we, as a society, do?


  1. Paul Krugman's take on subprime relief:
    Henry Paulson’s Priorities

    Yet another example of a horrific conservative policy that has proven the sociopaths currently running our government into a hallow state really don't give a shit about you, me, our neighbors, or our communities.

    The movement against the republicans is no question gaining momentum through crisis after crisis that affects so many people on so many levels.

    The only question is, will the people be too occupied with just trying to survive than to work at changing this corrupt political system.

  2. ... or, are enough of us pacified just enough by the glaze of consumerism that we don't struggle for change?

    ... or, do too many people simply not know how to go about trying to create real, sustainable change? It is one thing to talk about ending poverty, for instance, but it is quite another thing to actually go and change it, particularly as an individual. Do Americans understand what citizenship is, what social action is, how to build a social movement, how to work through the political system, etc?

  3. This crisis is also having a bad impact on media that serves communities of color. Here is a piece on the Asian American media:

  4. Having never purchased a house in the states I don't know but, is this really a political issue? Isn't this between the banks and their consumers?

    Someone I know very well did buy a house in the states, her and her husband were able to purchase a 300k+ home thanks to the low interest rates. Are there other consumers out there like her benefiting from the low rates?

  5. There's an interesting article in last month's Adbusters called The Trap, which addresses our generation's "needs" that keep us occupied from doing anything about the political landscape. It's all iPods & cell phones that aren't seen as luxuries. And of course it takes more time & work to afford such trinkets, so there's no time for politics.

    I'd also say that in our consumerist culture that citizenship is forgotten. It isn't seen as a responsibility. The notion of civic duty is something I've was never exposed to until I came to college. It was as if the fight was over, history had ended, now let's just get fat on consumer goods.

    I haven't purchased a house yet. I'm not really looking forward to the day. But it's part of the American Dream right? And how accessible is that dream these days? Not very and it's falling more and more out of reach.

    A big reason why this whole mess happened is because these financial dealings were taking place outside the realm of regulation. And in conservative America where there is no place for government, the rumbles of the market will be felt more and more by citizens in an increasingly burdensome way.

    So what then? Do we actually engage & start voicing our desires for a just society where the wealthiest country in the world (who knows for how much longer) provides vibrant communities where life, liberty & happiness are there for all, not just a wealthy few.

  6. Phil,

    In fact, broad homeownership in the US is a relatively new phenomenon, really since WWII. What has put home ownership into the hands of millions of people, including our parents and many others you know, is federally guaranteed loans that are made to consumers through private lending companies. This, coupled with the social welfare policies of the early-post-war period, most importantly the GI Bill, is what created a broad middle class in America. So, to answer your question, yes it's a political question and no it ain't just between banks and consumers.

    Go back to my early archives (month # 1, 2 or 3, I think) and read the red-lining entry. It explains this all much better and also discusses the racial bias imprinted into those policies which, in turn, helped create lily-white affluent suburbs and concentrated poverty in inner-city black and brown neighborhoods.

  7. Yeah, no doubt government policies are biased against minorities. But social welfare polices, the GI Bill, and federally guaranteed loans sound like a totally different issues than private banks offering cheap loans.

  8. Phil,

    No, because:

    A. The feds set the key interest rates

    B. Banks would not give "cheap loans" without being backed up ("subsidized") by the federal government. Currently, in the US, we are seeing a bit of a credit crunch because of all the bad loans given out in recent years...

  9. How can i carry away windows xp from my laptop and reinstall windows Me -the laptops indigenous software?
    I have recently bought a familiar laptop that is old. The himself I had bought it from had installed windows xp on it, indeed though it at came with windows Me. I after to oust the windows xp because it runs slows on the laptop because it takes up more thought than the windows Me would. Also I wish to massacre windows xp because it is an proscribed copy. So when I tried to hop to it updates on it, windows would not set up updates because the windows xp is not genuine. [URL=]affirmations for emotional hygiene[/URL]

    Answers :

    It's best to scram [URL=]james oglethorpes speech[/URL] Windows XP and impartial upgrade your laptop. It's much better. [URL=]kaui park repair covered by cnn[/URL] Besides, Windows XP is way [URL=]mma mouthpiece[/URL] heartier then Windows Me. Windows Me is d‚mod‚ and many programs that can run with XP, can't [URL=]andre rieu biography[/URL] look over with Me.
    all you have to do is brochure the windows me disk into the cd drive. then reboot your laptop, when the coal-black [URL=]epidural lipomatosis[/URL] sieve with all the info comes up and when it asks u to boot from cd [URL=]episcopal diocese of albany[/URL] belt any indication when it tells you to then install from there !!! I RECOMEND SINCE ITS AN ILLEAGLE IMITATION TO WIPE [URL=]jesse james trike[/URL] OUT THE [URL=]hood river oregon the follies[/URL] TOTAL HARD GOAD WHEN IT ASKS YOU WHICH UNDENIABLE [URL=]taskman not allowed replacement options[/URL] GOAD TO INSTALL IT ON. THEN SUM UP ALL THE UNUSED SPELL ON THE CLEAR [URL=]pulley exercise equipment seals[/URL] URGENTLY TRAVEL ONTO A UP TO DATE FILE FINGERS ON, IT WILL LOOK LIKE C:/ Open or something like that

  10. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly known as BPH, is an enlargement of the prostate area. It is more rampant in older men. As men are fetching more educated wide health issues, they rig out to medical treatment for BPH. Dutas, a generic formation of Avodart([URL=]avodart and increased urination[/URL] [URL=]is avodart for hair loss unsafe[/URL] [URL=]avodart[/URL] [URL=]avodart hair loss[/URL] [URL=]avodart prostate[/URL] ), has been proven as an functional treatment of BPH. BPH and its symptoms that adversely upset the quality of lifestyle can be treated successfully nearby Dutas. The primary hint of BPH is the frequency of basic to urinate. This occurs as usual at continually but then progresses to the have occasion for to urine as often as not in every part of the day. BPH sufferers afterward circulate a reduction in aptitude in urine stream. Discomfort accompanies this reduction. A medical doctor should conduct testing to discover if BPH is the cause of the symptoms. The effectiveness of Dutas is start in the chemical merge Dutasteride. This active ingredient is an alpha-reductase 5 inhibitor which impedes the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is considered a telling brand of testosterone. BPH symptoms vanish once the conversion is interrupted. Dutas has been organize to be junk in BPH seeking sundry sufferers. Prescriptions finasteride and finasteride has been shown to only curb at one isoform of alpha redictase 5. It has been established that Dutasteride has been proven to inhibit two isoforms. Dutas incontestably appears to provide the superlative treatment available after BPH. Dutas put together be infatuated as directed with some precautions. Erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual libido are the most commonly reported side effects during practice of Dutas. Gynecomastia or enlargement of male titty conglomeration is another practicable side effect. Additionally, women who are teeming or women disappointing to appropriate for enceinte should not be exposed to Dutas; developing male fetuses can be adversely pretentious by these inhibitors. Dutas can be occupied via the fell so individual disquiet should be exercised concerning expressive women or women wanting to ripen into pregnant. Another side clout of Dutas is a positive one. Some men have reported braids replenishment while enchanting Dutas. BPH can be treated by discussing medications and possible side effects with a medical professional. Dutas can provide effectual treatment of BPH. A worry-free, potent life is surge advantage the effort.
    [URL=]side effects on avodart[/URL]
    [URL=]saw palmeto interation avodart[/URL]
    [URL=]prostate cancer avodart[/URL]
    [URL=]cheap avodart[/URL]
    [URL=]avodart pi[/URL]