Foreclosures loom this holiday season

Monday, December 3, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:00 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maybe, if you heard that the price of gasoline didn’t seem to prevent people from traveling during the Thanksgiving holidays, it would be easy to believe that the economy was pretty good. But if you stayed tuned in to the national news, you soon became aware of the fact that scores of Americans are likely to lose their homes to foreclosure in the coming year. It’s sad to think of all those families who will be spending their last holiday season in their own homes. The crisis in the housing market undoubtedly will continue to squelch the hopes and dreams of millions for a long time.

But, if anyone is expecting any of the presidential or congressional candidates to come up with some ideas as to how individuals can get out of this mess, they will probably be disappointed. Most of us are still trying to figure out how these people can be so out of touch with the citizens of this country with around-the-clock news spilling out over the airwaves. Do these people wear earplugs or what? You’d think that the law of averages would dictate that every now and then something would come out of their mouths that constituted a real issue.

I guess we’ll soon know if there are enough people with above-average incomes to support the housing market. Some are predicting that in some areas of the country, entire neighborhoods will be filled with empty houses. Maybe, the damage well be so severe that all of the free market advocates will learn once and for all that most profit-making institutions cannot be relied upon to regulate themselves and therefore government has to step in to prevent disasters such as this one. Every year seems to bring with it more evidence of mankind’s lack of self-control. I actually cringe when I hear people talk about getting government out of our lives. These people obviously are on drugs or live in la-la land. As the various segments of our republic become more entangled, I’m haunted by my friend’s prediction that our country will wind up as a dictatorship, because it will take a strong leader to straighten the system out. Unfortunately, history is on his side.

People of serious mind-sets can examine the various government agencies and find enough problems on the surface to recognize that we’re in deep trouble. How long do people think it will take to deal with the problems at Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Agency, the State Department, Immigration and Naturalization, the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Justice? Those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Many people are disassociating themselves from the two political parties and indicating a desire for a strong independent candidate. If no acceptable candidate emerges, I would expect that millions will sit this election out. Of course, that will benefit the two parties since the fewer citizens they have to please the easier they will have it. The lack of strong campaign finance reform is costing us big time. It’s going to require a lot of effort to wrestle our government out of the hands of the lobbyists. The question is, can we find enough people not caught up in their own personal nightmares who will be willing to wage the battle for the best interests of the country?

Dealing with the national debt and the trade deficit is going to require a superwoman or man. Hopefully, elements of the school lunch program have not been tampered with, as we would hope that government still works in at least one tiny area. Maybe, if the citizenry would use a one-day sit-down strike as a way of calling the country’s leaders to attention, do you think that might work? On the other hand, these politicians are so enamored with themselves they may not even notice. One can only wonder if the message was included in every headline of every one of the nation’s daily newspapers, would the leaders respond?

I suppose I’m especially affected by home foreclosures. For several years I sold real estate. On one occasion I had to inspect a home that had undergone foreclosure. The family apparently had not been given much notice and so the remains of their breakfast had been left on the table. I couldn’t clear my mind for long time of the image of the small bowl of leftover oatmeal and half a glass of milk that occupied one of the place settings.

The buying of a home is to experience a small part of the American Dream. Most of us grew up with that tidbit drilled into our thinking and would imagine that being forced out of one’s home is to feel violated and humiliated. The fact that you are one of millions offers little balm to soothe the wound.

For the sake of survival, many folks will let themselves drift through all the festivities associated with this time of year and hope that a miracle might save their homes from the auction block. In the meantime, those gigantic monthly mortgage payments keep adding up and the beat goes on.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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