I just thought I’d recap what is usually one of the main grievances cited against Wall Street, and indeed often mentioned as a prominent justification for Occupy Wall Street. The following is what seems to have happened to a lot of Americans who seem to be (as a result) highly P.O.’ed. Now, you’ll notice that the way I tell the story is not how you usually hear it.
But, I think it’s more accurate.
What May Have Happened To You, The Aggrieved, Downtrodden American “Homeowner” (1990s-present):
1. Some Chinese or German people used their savings to buy you a large, relatively-newly-constructed house. 4-5 bedrooms. 2-car garage. Nice yard. Granite countertops. Nice neighborhood. Nice schools. Sure, you chipped in a small portion of the purchase price (maybe), but it was mostly bought by the Chinese and/or Germans and given to you to live in with your family.
2. In return for having them buy you a house, you signed a contract. It promised to pay such-and-such interest on such-and-such schedule, and so forth.
3. Some time later, around 2007-2009, you decided to stop paying. Maybe you checked Zillow, decided you were ‘underwater’, got really depressed and convinced yourself there was ‘no point’ in continuing to pay. Or maybe you lost your job and became cash poor, genuinely unable to meet the payments laid out by the principal/interest schedule you’d agreed to. Maybe something in between.
4. You stayed in the house, not paying either mortgage or rent. But the bank has such a backlog of REOs that it hasn’t been able to kick you out yet.
5. Meanwhile, you got mad, AT THE BANK. For, like, bothering you about paying stuff, and not letting you not pay stuff (I guess). And now you go out and ‘occupy’ your nearest urban center, because well hey, the banks are so greedy and have wronged you so much. You know, by funneling money to you from other people, so as to buy you a house (step 1) that you would have never afforded on your own, but which you’ve been living in (step 4) ever since.
Evil banks for getting you a house! And poor you! Poor, poor you. The banks, the greedy people of the world, and everyone else have really wronged you. (The totally, supposedly, non-greedy person, who got a nice large new house to live in, one they couldn’t really afford.) I mean after all, all you wanted to do was to “buy” a house with other peoples’ money and not pay them back, with no consequences. You totally have the right to do that.
I do not own (or “own”) a house, and I keep up on my rent. But yes, you people with McMansions you “bought” who have stopped paying mortgages, go on complaining and whining and bitching and moaning about how tough you have it and how everyone else has wronged you with their greed. You’re really earning my sympathy.