Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
A few weeks ago (I think, based on the date of the page), 60 Minutes did a segment on the housing crisis and especially how it is affecting Cleveland. The video is embedded below, but for those of you in Google Reader or a similar platform, it probably won’t show up, so if it doesn’t, click here to watch it.
What I find most disturbing about this video is how banks and institutions have walked away from these homes at the same time that whatever residual value is left in the neighborhoods is provided by those families who are underwater and financially struggling, yet see paying their mortgage as a debt of honor. In other words, just how everyone else used to look at things.
I’ve seen a lot of writing about how the financial crisis, the Ponzi schemes, the insider trading deals, the special favors and cronyism are eroding the “high trust” nature of our economy in ways that could affect its functioning for a long time to come. It isn’t hard to see this happening. Sooner or later the people who operate on traditional good faith principles of deal making are going to realize that such a high percentage of America operates on purely the personal cost/benefit calculus of the now that anyone who does things “the old fashioned” way is a chump. I hope it doesn’t come to that.