Is there a point in the future where the investor class, having reduced everyone else to poverty, and thus lost them as a source for further wealth, will have to turn on one another and begin cannibalizing one another to satisfy their insatiable desire for wealth and accumulation? Where is it written that the happiness and security of the few can only be secured by the misery of the masses?

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More background:

Before the housing crisis of 2008 financial firms, low interest rates, & steadily increasing home prices convinced many people to take out loans with incomprehensible terms and/or other unadvisable mortgages & home equity loans. When the crash came (due to Wall Streets fraudulent repackaging & marketing of these “financial products”), too many people not only lost their home, they lost their nest egg as well as access to the mortgage market.

The dollar was also cheap, setting the stage for wealthy foreigners and financial firms (all flush with cash) to move into a “buyers market”. Deep pockets & cash bids meant these buyers could outbid individual American buyers.

Repubs led the objections to bailing out Americans after the crash, but “Centrist” Dems (in particular Laurence Summers!) played their part in aiding only the banks.

The “media” advised individuals to be fiscally prudent & Repubs convinced the country that it was all Obama’s fault if they had been forgotten.

For a long time many individuals were frozen out of the mortgage market as the banks no longer wanted to finance home buying.

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Sep 5·edited Sep 5

Glad to see an article on this topic which is a HUGE issue that goes largely unreported and unacknowledged.

Referring back to yesterday's piece about tax rates, note that it's not necessarily individual tax rates that have the largest impact - its a variety of complex tax laws that affect funds, offshore funds, hedge funds, private equity, CDOs CLOs and other structured vehicles. How the private funds industry works to enable the ultra rich to invest and control large assets depends on a variety of legalities but always involves intense tax analysis and planning.

Foreign investments in us real estate were for a long time disfavored and subjected to an onerous tax regime, FIRPTA. All pooled investment vehicles before 1996 were eligible only for a limited exemption and, before the NSMIA law of 1996 made various kinds of concentrated investments (not only in real estate) much less practical and profitable, limited leverage and investor structures that could be used, etc

Since 1996, the growth and activities of private investment funds have had enormous impacts on all of these things, and have barely been recognized by any media, given the private nature of the hedge fund industry. This is a huge, huge topic. It really goes directly to the heart of the most powerful people in this country, and it is largely uncovered and unaddressed by the media.

Another point should be noted - some huge portion of Americans live in condos and coops, forms of joint ownership that have their own nuances and problems. These forms of joint ownership are governed by laws that are sometimes antiquated and impractical, and in many cases are enacted and administered to meet the needs of developers and real estate industry players rather than owners.

Condo laws have been modernized in many states, but in a state like New York, you have condo laws that are antiquated, and you have all kinds of problems that are already addressed in California and Florida, but have been left the side by the New York lawmakers. Again people just don't realize how the laws sometimes operate to deprive owners of any real remedies, or allow boards and management firms to insulate themselves and deprive owners of the democratic voting rights that they are supposedly entitled to under their ownership documents.

Debra Goonan is an independent journalist covering the condo and coop industry and shows all the ways that these popular forms of ownership deprive owners of fundamental rights and concentrate power in the real estate industry. Debra is a really interesting person and writer and while I find some of her work to be somewhat right wing in its orientation, she has articles published throughout the country and is truly a great journalist and has published a lot of really interesting and informative information in this area.


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I was researching where the Russian oligarchs stick their money, apparently they are big on American real estate also. They just have to use phony people to buy up the properties like maybe.... Trump types? There is not much money to be made in Russia and the same with Saudi Arabia if you are not into oil. Now China has our manufacturing base so they're doing pretty good, but we aren't.

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It will not happen under ur current corrupt political-financial form of government, but what could be done to redress this situation would be to reinstate the older rules and tax structure for corporate-held real estate, making it decidedly unprofitable for banks and large investors to hold large groups of houses, which many of them would try to sell, driving down prices. It would also be necessary to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which protected us from the depredations of the banks until Bill Clinton signed the law repealing it - less than 10 years later, Wall Street crashed the global economy.

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Something that could have been mentioned is the suppression of wages under the supply-side neoliberal political regime - Reagan through Trump..... According to a study done by the RAND Corporation, neoliberal economics have pushed $51 trillion from the working and middle classes up to the 1%, over the past 40 years. If workers' wages had kept pace with increases in productivity over those years, the average US worker would be making about $85,000-$90,000 a year. One can only imagine how strong our economy would be, and how much smaller our national debt would be, if that were the case.....

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When I see faces of the homeless, I see virtually all white folk. And can't help but wonder how many of those are Trump humpers, Republicans and conservatives.

I wonder if anyone has done a study..

I think I know why you don't see many homeless blacks, because minority families, black, Asian, Hispanic, tend to take care of their own, if it means crowding families into one unit. Unlike Caucasians who close the door and/or put the elderly and disabled into institutions.

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Shameful, these greedy sycophants are shameless. We seem not to learn from history or do the greedy learn how it was done and our repeating history. All of the politicians repugs and dems have carried on

Reagan policies but put lipstick on the pig. Get rid of all those old farts. Yes, Biden is giving some lip service and action but hardly enough to speak over the repugs lies

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Excellent piece. Thanks for laying all this out so I could share it. There’s a deep lack of understanding of how we got here.

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Some extreme measures need to be taken because the situation is so out of control and has been left that way for so long as you point out so clearly. A joint task force at federal, state and local levels is required. Here are some of the reforms that should be considered:

• Prohibit foreign ownership of single-family dwellings. Permit such investment in commercial real estate only

First, on moral grounds. Many of these foreigners are drug lords or super rich tax evaders. Also, they take advantage of the political stability in the US and contribute nothing to US society.

• Prohibit corporate ownership of single-family dwellings. As you have pointed out, cash rich hedge funds are outbidding working families.

• Tax extractive methods of investing in single-family homes that do not contribute any value.

Tax house flipping profits at 100%

Tax long-term land speculation at 20% per year to force immediate use.

• Change bylaws at the local level to permit more affordable and multi-unit housing so workers can buy homes close to the places where they work.

Although some of these seem extreme, it is better to put them forward. They are not socialist. Prohibiting multi-millionaires from combining their assets in hedge funds so the average American family cannot buy a home is not essential to capitalism.

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Maybe we who earn less than 50,000 in semi retirement should just follow the snail’s example. Our diminished economic wherewithal gives us no way to make up for GOP engineered inflation and no where to go but downhill in our dotage. Forget dignity. It curbside with a plastic cup if your health permits since you cannot afford healthcare in America. The message is just give us what we’ve worked all our lives for and die.🤬

While succeeding generations often regard us with envy, ageism and derision the truth is many of us from the silent generations and boomers did our very best to make it better but we’re blown away by the backlashes and dark money politics of those who succeeded us in political power from “trickle down” fork-tongued Ronny Raegan to Populust tell them what they want to hear liar DJT and his gang of neofascist double speakers

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Land is still cheap out in the desert. Buy a couple acres and park an old motorhome or trailer there,about 6 months out of the year and then move up to the mountains and try to find a spot up there for the summer. Hopefully you can work from home or are retired. And your motorhome doesn't catch on fire or break down. Build yourself a community with a big septic tank in the middle, and haul your own water, with solar panels, and have a good sane community, growing your own food, it is about as good as it gets and as cheap as it gets. Just keep pouring on the elastomastetric covering or white paint and it should last your lifetime if you fix all the leaks.

The future for people living under capitalism looks a lot like the dark ages on steroids, to me.

What could go wrong with a bunch of young healthy males full of testosterone being in charge of who lives and who dies? Please, don't answer that!

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These are predators we are dealing with whether they are individuals or collective "investors". We absolutely have a right to govern their actions.

"What the market will bear" is being used in real estate, loans, and with big pharma; it's literally killing people. I don't even want to think about all the suicides that have been a result.

It really is sad that things had to get this bad before communities decided to have a discussion on what is right and wrong concerning homelessness, but that is happening. In the process, they need to understand we must deal with the predators as a root cause along with mental illness and drugs. Americans can act like their hands are bound by the free market, but that's just right-wing bullshit. Time to take charge!

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We need government investment in public housing without the pitfalls that have plagued it in the past such as maintenance neglect and punitive rules for drug use etc. It should be at various levels beginning with halfway houses with social workers on hand to find assistance for the addiction and mental illness to single family homes or even homes for extended families. They should form communities with adequate services. Eventually they could be privatized as residents could afford to buy them. Regulation of the housing market? You betcha!

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