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Debt has become a national epidemic.
We, individuals, are slaves to the myth of universal home ownership, and the debt that comes with it. You don’t own your house. Only a part of it. And if you’ve paid it off, the community still owns it. Don’t believe me? Quit paying your property tax (a form of rent). The very term “real estate” comes from the Spanish “re-al” which means “royal land.” No one owns land free and clear in the USA.
We, as a nation, are slaves to chronic government debt. We have started to think of it as normal.
The United States of (Neo) Slavery.
We, as a society, are buying more than we produce, creating a trade imbalance which…you guessed it….enslaves us at all kinds of levels.
When our real (adjusted for inflation) wages don’t go up, they push credit cards on us to keep demand for goods and services up.
We are a debtor nation of debtors.
When the bubbles burst (and the gold bubble could be next), we are left “owing our souls to the company store” with no means to pay it back.
Hardly a way to live up to the ideal of “The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
My grandfather and my father-in-law, the two people in my family who rented (rather than bought) homes, for most of their lives, died richer than anyone else in our clan. They only bought homes when they retired–and paid cash.
Paying interest (along with paying taxes) is pouring money down a black hole.
And the tax credit on mortgage interest is a joke, unless you are really, really bad at math. If you think it’s a good deal, please, I beg you, never go to Vegas. I hear, all the time, “I don’t want to pay off my house because I would lose my deduction.” Good Lord. Go ahead and continue to pay more interest than you will ever get deducted from your taxes. Every month.
It happens to churches too. I have actually heard the phrase: “If you are serious about mission you will take out a mortgage on your church property.” The Crystal Cathedral is collapsing in a morass of 8-figure debt.
We lethally destroyed the British army at Yorktown, and won our freedom. We took a HUGE blood-hit as a nation to free our African slaves. We hit the beaches, facing machine gun nests and barbed wire, at Normandy to free Europe.
Only to enslave ourselves.
The government, in the early 21st century, made it far too simple to go massively into debt and the result is the Great Recession. Today in LA, tens of thousands of people are gathering outside a sports arena to get help with mortgages they cannot pay. It’s a huge nut to crack every month.
My cynical side believes that perhaps those in charge in the 1930′s were tired of labor unrest and demonstrations. So they made it (too) easy to buy a house, knowing that those with endless mortgage (Latin-French for “until you die”) payments were less likely to hit the barricades in protest. Big mortgage payments would keep us docile.
Ever notice how the unrest of the late 60′s and early 70′s was calmed with a deluge of easy-credit plastic cards? I owe, I owe, so off to work I go….
Debt is out of control in America.
We need a national makeover.
As I read the Bible, I am struck by the frequency with which people walked to Jerusalem (several days journey, usually), celebrated a festival (multiple days), and walked home.
Wedding receptions took days, not hours.
Since the industrial revolution, America has become a sweatshop. We have less holidays and time off than virtually any other leading nation.
Please hear me, I am all for hard work. I love working and have no retirement plans.
However, we are human “doings” and not “beings” in America.
We see the elimination of Sunday blue laws (which mandated rest even for minimum wage folks) as “progress.” Sunday used to be so restful.
Lately, even on our few holidays, everything is open. This is a good thing?
We are becoming an engine that runs 24/7.
And our vacation times are all individual–we don’t share calendars. In Israel, everyone went to festivals together. It was social. Collective.
Don’t have a plan to fix this–just wanted to raise the issue.
What are your thoughts?
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