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May 01, 2013

The banks wrongfully stole at least 4 million homes from Americans in 2009-2010 alone

And because of the amazingly awful settlement deal the government worked out with the biggest banks, these people whose homes were stolen from them will be paid about $500 each. Review Finds 4 Million People Wrongfully Foreclosed On | Video Cafe
Once again, the banks are given a pass for their criminal behavior, while homeowners are given the shaft: 4 million people wrongfully foreclosed on. Can they get their houses back?: Imagine you are a homeowner who has made your mortgage payments on time. Or pretend for a moment that you have been informed you are entitled to relief or promised a modification. Now, imagine that in spite of all that, you receive a foreclosure notice, which the bank follows through on. That is the reality for the 4 million people the banks wrongfully foreclosed on between 2009-2010. Tuesday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve announced the beginning of payments for some of those people whose homes were wrongfully taken from them.

The Ghetto is Public Policy: Buying a home on contract

White people over the decades have invented many sneaky, devious methods for leeching away any wealth that black people (and other minority groups, but mostly black people) manage to accrue. Contract housing in Chicago and Detroit was one of the harshest and most damaging ways to do this. It was a scam where black home buyers were tricked into buying a house where the price was never actually known. "You own it when I feel you've paid enough," was the basic gist. And a single missed payment meant eviction and a total loss of all equity accumulated. I read once that in Detroit in the 1950s and early 1960s, homes were flipped every 18 months by unscrupulous white real estate agents to black families who just wanted a piece of the American Dream. The Ghetto Is Public Policy - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
I spent the last week interviewing men and women, and the children of men and women, who bought their homes on contract in Chicago during the 1950s. Contract buying sprang up in Chicago after the federal government effectively refused to insure mortgages for the vast majority of black homeowners, even as it was insuring the mortgages of white homeowners, and encouraged banks to redline black and integrated neighborhoods. The import of mid-20th century housing policy -- along with private actions (riots, block-busting, contract lending, covenants) -- has been devastating for African Americans. Buying on contract meant that you made a down-payment to a speculator. The speculator kept the deed and only turned it over to you after you'd paid the full value of the house -- a value determined by the speculator. In the meantime, you were responsible for monthly payments, keeping the house up, and taking care of any problems springing from inspection. If you missed one payment, the speculator could move to evict you and keep all the payments you'd made. Building up equity was impossible, unless -- through some Herculean effort -- you managed to pay off the entire contract. Very few people did this. The system was set up to keep them from doing it, and allow speculators to get rich through a cycle of evicting and flipping.

401(k)s are just terrible

It's a 401(k) world and it sucks.
Here's the essential shape of 401(k) as a backbone of the retirement system: — Poor people get absolutely nothing. — Wealthy people who would have had large savings anyway get a nice tax cut that offers no meaningful incentive effect. — For people in the middle, the quantity of subsidy you receive is linked to the marginal tax rate you pay—in other words, it's inverse to need. — A small minority of middle-class people manage to file the paperwork to save an adequate amount and then select a prudent low-fee, broadly diversified fund as their savings vehicle. — Most middle-class savers end up either undersaving, overtrading, investing in excessively high-fee vehicles or some combination of the three. — A small number of highly compensated folks now have lucrative careers offering bad investment products to a middle-class mass market based on their ability to swindle people. Congratulations, America!

April 30, 2013

KFC fires woman just because she's homeless

Good news though, after news broke about what a sack of dicks KFC was being she was offered a job driving a hospital shuttle. Balloon Juice -- Worked Over Something Awful
A Tupelo woman hired earlier this month by a KFC was fired Monday after the franchise owner discovered she’s homeless. Eunice Jasica has been staying at the Salvation Army lodge since early December after losing her job, her car and her home. The nonprofit organization requires its residents to seek employment daily and, upon finding it, to pay for lodging and start saving for a place of their own. Jasica said she had been job hunting for months and was relieved to find work on March 11 at the KFC on North Gloster Street. A document signed by that location’s general manager on March 12 confirms Jasica had been hired to perform “prep work” and would receive a paycheck every two weeks. But when Jasica reported for duty Monday, franchise owner Chesley Ruff withdrew the job offer upon learning she lived at the Salvation Army. “He told me to come back when I had an address and transportation,” Jasica recalled. “But how am I supposed to get all that without a job?”