Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coming to Terms with My Bourgeois Psyche

Le Promenade Bourgeoise
Woodcut, 1910

Ever stood on a high cliff or bridge and thought what a thrill it would be to leap? That is akin to the feeling I have today as J. P. Morgan Chase has started the foreclosure process against Darryl’s and my townhouse. “Let them have the house; who cares?”  Thus the young, hippie, post-Beat, independent, anti-capitalistic core of my soul screams. Fuck big banks, conformity, and the materialistic establishment. Leap into the realm of those who have experienced foreclosure and give up being a property owner. Get back to your philosophical roots. Say yes to Marx, Camus, Ginsberg, and Beatitude.

Leaping from ownership into bankruptcy and the credit void would hardly be death. Perhaps it would build character. Chase has done nothing to deserve my loyalty, misleading us repeatedly over the past year, and starting foreclosure the very day after I told an executive that we can repay the loan and want a repayment plan. The entire loan modification plan started over a year ago by the Obama administration and managed by the Treasury Dept. has failed completely, causing people to fall deeper into debt rather than saving homes. The promise of a modification,  for which we ought to be eligible, has eluded us as the bank devised plan after plan that increased late fees and got us so far behind in past due amounts that it is a virtual miracle that we now have funds to reinstate the loan—assuming Chase does not throw in yet another road block.

We always seem to be the exception to everything. While most people have large first mortgages, we have a huge second mortgage or equity line twice as big as the first mortgage. Yet our payments on the second is one third of our scheduled payments on the first. And now, with Darryl’s new well-paying job, we have more than enough income to pay both easily after we are able to eliminate the past due balance and the needless (in my mind) attorney fees involved with stopping foreclosure.

For now, we shall keep the house, bring the loan current, pay the unfair fees, and continue to be bourgeois. My goal, nonetheless, is to attain retirement in the near future and to be free of debt and home ownership—unless we move to an eco-friendly cottage in Hawaii or similar home near the sea.

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, for the people and by the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master...Let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware."

- Mary Elizabeth Lease, 1890


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