Live in Your Escalade

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
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At least 16 Detroit houses up for sale on Sunday sold for $30,000 or less.

A boarded-up bungalow on the city’s west side brought $1,300. A four-bedroom house near the original Motown recording studio sold for $7,000.

“You can’t buy a used car for that,” said Izairi. “It’s a gamble, and you have to wonder how low it’s going to get.”

Detroit, where unemployment runs near 14 percent and a third of the population lives in poverty, leads the nation in new foreclosure filings, according to tracking service RealtyTrac.

This article is a hoot. I drive through the hood each day on the way to work, and indeed the houses in the city are – for the most part – ready for a good wrecking ball. However, the story doesn’t mention the really good part…….the part about the $20,000 houses with the new Cadillac Escalade or Hummer sitting in the crumbling driveway and a satellite dish in the window. Hey – that Hummer payment comes first, you know. Then Direct TV and the latest Sony plasma. The Detroit area – and not just the city – leads the nation in foreclosures right now because it is saturated with irresponsible, high-time preference ding-dongs wherein the culture is such that personal priorities are given to cars (with the full DVD system, of course), hair, nails, TVs, clothes, shoes, multi-amped subwoofers, Coach purses, and the like. The hell with the house payment. They know they got 6 months until they get their asses kicked out.

Now some anecdotal facts. I have a family member who lives in Wayne County, just about a mile north of the Deeetroit line. He works for the city he lives in, and knows for a fact that the sludges across the street have had their water shut off due to a small fortune in unpaid water bills. So you know what? He and his wife will see these neighbors cart in big plastic jugs of store-bought water almost daily. Along with that, they will bring in huge bags of carry-out food every day – a sign that they probably don’t cook. They can afford the carry-outs, but the hell with the water bill. And of course, the first question that comes to mind is……what do they do for toilet facilities? Your guess is probably spot-on, as disgusting as it seems. But people do live like animals. Screwed-up priorities perhaps? escalade2.jpg

His neighborhood was once beautiful: right on the border of the Grosse Pointes, with brick houses, perfect lawns, large yards, and impeccable houses built from the 1920s onward. The house directly next to him was abandoned by the owner last year – the value dropped so fast on it that his home equity became negative as he tried unsuccessfully to sell it. Of course he just walked away and left it for the bank. These empty houses litter the neighborhood, and they sit there for months or years before the banks even move to auction them. They are too awful for even an auction.

I tell you, while I drive through the shithole each day it is shocking to see neighborhoods of one burnt-out block after another where there are an amazing number of expensive cars (Hummers, Escalades) tooling through the hood or parked out in front of the few businesses that remain. Nice cars abound and the houses are auctioned for a price that is cheaper than the nearest Dodge Magnum with leather seats.

High time preferences (fucked-up priorities) produce a declining civilization and these ramshackle lifestyles we witness in the inner city. These bums are parasites to us all.

Link from Billy Beck.

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