This election season the sheer amount of information available is overwhelming. After my morning news update I head over to Brewed Fresh Daily and Psychobilly Democrat to get a read and concise summary on the hot issues of the day. It should come as no surprise that predatory lending is often at the top of the list.
It is also not surprising that this issue is on Obama’s radar. Mark Alexander, Senior Adviser to Obama’s campaign, will attend will attend the City of Cleveland’s Fighting Foreclosure and Abandonment Forum the day after the debate. To bring home the importance of this issue Psychobilly Democrat points us to photographs of a devastated Slavic Village on erieblu’s blog.
The photos are grim to be sure, but what caught my eye was erieblu’s very poignant “TOTAL DISCLOSURE”
i myself have lost my house, although not in a cleveland urban area. IN 2002, i bought my dream home in Lakewood after saving for 10 yrs and steady work history for several years( not easy for an artist in cleveland) one yr after 911, six months after buying my home my spouse & i found ourselves laid off and scrambling for jobs with incomes we had worked so hard to achieve…after yrs of working EIGHT different jobs since then, we finally lost it to the sheriff exactly five years from the day we got the key..
you cannot work with the bank or a nice nonprofit to help save your home with payments you can’t make with no income….no job-again, today i am laid off, homeless with no prospect of a real job for a college educated white kid who busted her ass trying earn a slice of pie from this american dream flavored dessert.
i have two cokes left, a borrowed computer & a busted painful ankle……so,right now i feel for this neighborhood, these people who also left what they had because you got nothing
She tells the story that proves that this is not just a “lending crisis.” Subprime lending is not why erieblu no longer has her home. She no longer has her home because she and her husband no longer have jobs. And that is the problem.
When jobs move offshore everyone suffers. Years ago in a bar in Youngstown, Ohio a friend of mine predicted that NAFTA would be the downfall of the middle class. He was right. He reminded me of this last week as he a related an even more chilling tale. We had been talking about, what else, jobs. I am looking for one. I told him about an advertisement on Craigslist directed to lawyers, selling offshore legal work done by lawyers – in India. I told him I was stunned that what I studied, paid dearly for and was licensed to do by the State of Ohio, could be replaced by lawyers not licensed to practice law in the United States.
He told me he had an even better story. He had been to the Emergency Room late one evening. He needed an X-ray. When he was told that the radiologist left at 11 pm. He asked when the xrays would be read; the nurse casually replied, “oh, we transmit them to India electronically and they are read there.” I checked and it is true; hospitals have been doing this for years.
I was dumbstruck.
So what are we, the educated middle class, to do? We did all the right things, we studied hard, worked hard, paid our taxes only to find our daily work gone. The desperation in erieblu’s post is heart wrenching and she speaks for many of us.
Poverty is working it’s way up our society. The middle class, the innovators, the men and women whose work provided the daily beat of life to this country, is disappearing. What is left is a rarefied class system. If you get to the top you hold onto it at any price, and if you fall from grace for whatever reason, getting out is almost impossible.
I read once that it takes a first class intellect to bring change; you must believe both the absolute gravity and hopelessness of the situation at the same time you believe you can change it. I want to believe Obama possesses this quality of intellect.
So Obama, if you are listening trade, bankruptcy, credit reporting and banking reform must be accomplished in short order, all while convincing American business to bring the jobs home. We are dying here in the rust belt.
And to erieblu, I applaud your courage in putting it out there. Thank you.
This post is also available on mybarackobama.com.