It is still the third rail of journalism. Like nobody is interested in corruption of our financial system and our entire political system. To the contrary, people are very interested and they know that the big banks have essentially taken control of our government — all three branches. People are voting with their feet. Nearly $11 Trillion is stuffed into mattresses or low interest safe accounts instead of going into equities and other potential investments that would stimulate the economy. People know the truth. And while most people could not define the terms used on Wall Street they still know that something is very wrong.
Politicians and the Press would serve the country far better if they were as persistent about Wall Street corruption as they are about running the Ferguson Story in Missouri. There is a connection there too as Ferguson was disproportionately hit with wild teaser, reverse amortization mortgages and extremely dubious foreclosures that were rushed through. All of that hurt the average wealth of any household in Ferguson and St Louis, exacerbated joblessness and lowered the already low median income of the residents — which only made the situation worse as home “prices” fell like a stone through the value of property based upon the median income index.
The climate was so adverse to those helping foreclosure victims that several of them literally left the state. The Banks had targeted the population that had the last time, the least education and the least sophistication with complex legal transactions and they got exactly what they wanted — a signature on a piece of paper that contained provisions that the signor would never have accepted if they knew. Missouri’s history of subjugation of minority groups is coming home to roost. The long-term issue is not Michael Brown, whose death was cruel and yet unfortunately the usual way of doing business in many communities. The explosion of violence and protests is only a presage of things to come.
When bullying of all sorts is regarded as unacceptable then justice will prevail. If the police officer does something wrong, he will pay for it. If the Banker does something wrong, he will pay for it. That day will come but in the meanwhile, people continue to benefit from the predatory tactics used in all forms of interaction between people in power and people who are viewed as powerless.
History has shown though that ultimately Thomas Jefferson’s statement is exactly true about the origin of power and government — it depends upon the consent of the governed. And if the consent is withdrawn, power is eroded. We have a democratic process in this Country that allows us to change government through our ability to vote. But our ability to change things with our vote is dependent upon the information we receive and that we understand.
That is where the government and the Press have failed us. We hear about vague allegations and accusations and settlements based upon those claims but we never hear the details. We hear of investigations where irregularities were found in the mortgage process and the foreclosure process — but the people who owned the homes whose files were reviewed by government investigators were never notified about the findings. Most of them were foreclosed while at the same time the government knew the foreclosures were fatally defective and to the detriment of the investors who thought they were buying valuable bonds issued by REMIC trusts and to the detriment of homeowners who would have been happy to settle the case on reasonable economic terms.
At some point, we are going to collectively ask the question “why are homeowners getting no justice and why are homeowners the ones who pay the most for the unlawful actions of the banks?” This isn’t about relief. It is about justice.
Filed under: foreclosure