By Maya Salem
Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart takes a deviant, anomie approach towards residential foreclosures. On Thursday October 9, 2008 Mr. Dart ceased evictions on foreclosed properties claiming that mortgage lenders maintained a false consciousness unwilling to acknowledge that they too are part of the blame. Bankers refusing to bestow a sociological perspective on a rapidly progressing issue among Americans said Dart was breaking the law. Tom Dart’s whole purpose was to prevent innocent tenants whose landlords were in the foreclosure process from being homeless.
“These mortgage companies only see pieces of paper, not people, and don’t care who’s in the building,” Dart said.
This typical story line features a societal paradigm where passion and nurture overcomes cultural capital. American citizens have grown accustomed to the “material culture” lifestyle, whose increased collection of paraphernalia is never sufficed. The Sheriff’s praxis on this whole matter was middle class subjects were lured into purchasing overpriced property through predatory lending. The people of our country are convinced that they can climb into an elite socioeconomic status simply by owning larger homes, thus ignoring the status inconsistency created by spending out of their means. One can see the faults in this closed system process or rather the dysfunction they have yet to incur. The bureaucracies offer easy access loans with hidden high interest adjustable rates while extending the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of the affordable 3-year fixed rate arm. Prior to the downfall of the real estate boom, this short term, low priced monthly payment enticed citizens into assuming the property could be flipped and profitably resold before the unaffordable adjustable rate kicked in. Bank innovators were trained to persuade consumers into experiencing the “real estate dream.”
Foreclosures are quickly becoming a social crisis affecting the economy by extreme measures. Cook County’s predicted foreclosure rate was likely to exceed 43,000 homes this year alone. That would be 43,000 unpaid mortgages in one county alone, hence affecting the stability of the lenders and banks. Financially unstable banks influence stock market negatively. Not only does it affect the stocks, it causes an induction of job layoffs, less people working would mean a decline in sales, a fluctuation in commodities, property value decline due to a surge of bank owned homes and quite a few other detrimental factors. Overall, a negative chain reaction is produced causing the whole country to suffer.
Although Tom Dart’s compassionate act of heroism towards his citizens may be noble, it does not solve the problem. Yes, people get an extended stay in their homes, but for how much longer? Our community as a nation needs to work together to provide a solution for this incoherent problem. And saving the rich is not one of them.