The Upside of Down

Housing Prices

Thanks to Jordon Cooper, I get a few statistics about how shockingly bad the housing crisis is in the United States at the moment. While the median house price in America remains at around $175,000, some particularly depressed areas, like Detroit, have hit rock bottom:

Home values across the country have taken a tumble. Nationally, the median home price is $174,000. But in Detroit, the average is only $7,000


Some mortgage holders are so desperate to get property off their books, they are practically giving houses away. Some houses have even sold for $1.

The thing is, when prices get that low, houses suddenly become a lot more affordable for people who previously thought home ownership was impossible. More than that, home ownership becomes possible, mortgage free. And as a result of Detroit’s historically low housing prices, housing sales have soared.

January sales are up 37 percent over last year with 1,000 homes sold last month alone.

Those are people like young single mom Sofia Hawkins who’s found her home sweet home.

She got a home for $1,100. Can she even believe it?

“No, not really,” she said. “It was a good deal.”

And now she now owns a three-bedroom house for just twice what she used to pay each month in rent.

Now think about this for a minute. Ms. Hawkins and her children not only have a roof over their heads, they own it. Moreover, they own it completely. There are no mortgage payments for them to worry about. Other than the costs of upkeep and property taxes, they get to keep the money that they paid in rent in their pocket. And they’d have to go a very long way before anything could happen that would result in them losing their home.

While the situation is undeniably tragic for those who had to sell their home (or were foreclosed), I’m thinking that while Ms. Hawkins still has to work to keep her kids fed, she’s still won a lottery in a very substantial way. She’s had a major expense taken out of her budget, and she knows where she and her children are going to sleep tonight. And the same is true for possibly hundreds of families who have stumbled onto these conditions.

Imagine for a moment what’s going to happen when Detroit comes back — and in the grand scheme of things, this is a safe bet; you can’t keep cities down forever. What sort of city are we going to build, with a substantial portion of the homes within it are not only owner-occupied, but mortgage free?

As cloudy as the economic future of the United States is, this is quite a silver lining.

Republicans in Glass Houses

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (Republican) is given the task of replying to President Obama’s statement on the economy. Among his bon mots:

Who amongst us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have on things we do — we do not need?

Chet Scoville has the answer:

Answer: the Republican Party, which blew a multibillion dollar surplus into a multibillion dollar deficit in a mere eight years.


In short, if Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package and deficit spending represents “generational theft”, just what describes what the Bush presidency, aided and abetted with a Republican House and Senate from 2002 to 2006, did?

I have to ask: does Bobby Jindal know he’s lying and not care? Or is it something pathological that’s blocking his ability to reason?

Mel Gibson’s “The Colonel”

And now for something completely different, I give you: Mel Gibson’s next historical epic:

Hat tip R.J. Anderson.

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