Sunday reading: Life in sub-prime America

Written By: - Date published: 1:29 pm, July 26th, 2009 - 7 comments
Categories: blogs, economy, housing, International - Tags:

Exiled Online, a US site, has excellent coverage of the recession and the sub-prime crisis from a ground-level view. Yasha Levine moved to Victorville an ‘exurb’ of LA (100 miles from LA centre) to experience the crisis first-hand. His reports are a must read – well written, well researched, hard hitting (hope you’re not too sensitive to some strong language), and his conclusions are in stark contrast to the ‘greenshoots’ mantra the corporates are peddling. Below, I’ve picked out some of the salient points but you should really read the full things. Couldn’t capture all the atmospherics in these summaries.

If reading ain’t your thing, check out the two vids I’ve embedded.

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Post 1 My name is Yasha and I live in a McMansion…Victorville is what they call an ‘exurb,’ one of thousands of new sub-suburban sprawls all around the country built for poor Americans. To flocking homeowners, Victorville must have seemed like a glorious reaffirmation about everything good and right about American values, a place where the poor could finally afford a home of their own.

Instead, it turned into just one more slaughtering ground in the the biggest scam of the century, a place where tens of thousands were lured to be ripped off and set adrift…part of a complicated system of speculator fraud meant to do only one thing: transfer money from the lower-class suckers straight into executive bonuses. For that they needed a constant supply of fresh meat, and Victorville performed exceedingly well. In 2007, a year in which five million Americans migrated to shitholes just like this, Victorville was the second-fastest growing one of them…

The low-class suckers caught up in the dream of home ownership at the height of Victorville’s housing orgy got burned pretty badly. There’s just no way a sane person would keep paying a hyper-inflated mortgage even if they had the money to do it. In 2007, even as the housing market roared, Victorville started collapsing. Property values dropped to way below 2001 levels as people started fleeing their toxic investments, giving Victorville some of the highest foreclosure rates in the state…But there was no sign of anger or outrage, or even a hint of bitching. Everyone I ran into seemed completely oblivious to the class rape that’s sweeping this town.

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7 comments on “Sunday reading: Life in sub-prime America”

  1. Good thing we have a metropolitan urban limit around Auckland to help avoid this kind of thing….

    ….although Flat Bush could be the next Victorville if things crash hard enough….

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    The beginning of the end of sprawl based development. Rising transportation costs will finish off the job started by the sub prime crisis. Good bye also to the car based shopping mall.

    • So Bored 2.1

      Cant wait actually Zaphod, car based suburbs are a blight and wont outlast cars at all. Hope you read Kunstlers column, this article pretty much backs ups what he is saying. Whats amazing is that this is not a left or right issue as both sides will be caught in the trainwreck, but that outside of the Greens nobody can even concieve that there is an issue.

  3. One of the upsides to peak oil in my opinion.

  4. Akldnut 4

    Unbelievable – makes you shiver to think it could happen here

  5. lprent 5

    I read that a while back. It is a terrifying lack of planning. How to cause structural economic poverty.

  6. Charlotte 6

    What a chilling read. I’m left with a sickly feeling in my stomach!

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