How did we get here, needing a $700 billion bailout plan? That is all the news everywhere, including every conversation. Looking at media, how do you understand this? The comments in online articles (ABC News Blog: Stephanopoulos: Paulson Fears Deal May Collapse), have some clues. It has become political. The dollar has shed 33% of its value in the last few years and "economists warn that our economy is experience its worst crisis since The Great Depression" some warn and the president sparks fear, coming on tv to explain it. The Paulson Report? The various transcripts are there on Google.
Some say it is unregulated derivatives. Some say it is consumers buying above their heads and using credit when they shouldn't. Some say it is executive pay. Some say it is loose lending practices, especially Fannie Mae easing credit in 1999 to aid mortgage lending (NYTimes). Some say it is greed. Some say it dates back to Robert Rubin and the Clinton Administration. Paulson says it is illiquid assets from loose mortgage lending. Books will be written to explain this complicated mess. It is very hard to understand, all these changes. Revolutions come in fits and starts.
The Acoma Pueblo (photo, left), the oldest continuously inhabited village in the U.S. (Taos Pueblo also claims that status) here in New Mexico, was once atop a nearby mesa over 1,000 years ago, according to Acoma legend, but now all there is on Enchanted Mesa is dust. The new Acoma village, hundreds and hundreds of years old, doesn't have plumbing or electricity or gas and it sits atop a high mesa. Sky City, as it is called, wasn't accessible by cars until the middle of the last century when Hollywood wanted to make films and created a road to the top. Port-a-potties line the cliffside and pickups truck up water and propane tanks sit outside the dwellings. Acoma and our latest houses -- the distant exurbs in the U.S. -- are lonely outposts.
The Boomer Chronicles wrote about a study released last week: 684,000 homeowners age 50 and older were either in foreclosure or delinquent on mortgage payments in the last six months of 2007. Homeowners age 50 and older represented about 28 percent of all delinquencies and foreclosures. The growing trend is that parents are living with their children - something I caught this week.
Empty houses sit in the exurbs. If they were adobe they'd turn to dust. Should everyone own a home in America, a piece of land? Is this capitalism's trajectory, our current critical moment?