People in borrowed houses shouldn’t throw stones

As someone whose parents emerged from [an] underprivileged childhood — one inner city, the other rural — into the suburban middle class, I can appreciate the pride of having achieved economic prosperity, including home ownership.

However, their experiences and teachings also imparted a more valuable lesson: the acknowledgment that most of us are only a few lost paychecks away from the precipitous slide into dire, or at least less comfortable, financial circumstances. I would urge Mike Lewis ["Poor and Poorer," Aug. 18, Xpress] to reconsider his laments and encourage him to broaden his perspective.

Unless he and all his supposedly besieged neighbors truly own their homes, i.e. owe nothing on their mortgages, I advise him not to throw stones at those who, whether by choice or financial imperative, do not saddle themselves with inordinate debt in pursuit of an increasingly meaningless status symbol.

— Sarah Almodovar
Asheville

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10 thoughts on “People in borrowed houses shouldn’t throw stones

  1. little sister

    “I advise him not to throw stones at those who, whether by choice or financial imperative, do not saddle themselves with inordinate debt in pursuit of an increasingly meaningless status symbol.”

    Wow, a permanent home for one’s family is nothing more than a ‘meaningless status symbol’? Readers, let that sink in.

    Almodovar’s distinction between owning a home outright and a long-term obligation to a mortgage is false. In both cases the home owner pays the property taxes that underwrite the City’s and County’s contributions to ‘affordable housing,’ sidewalks, public transit and the other services the local governments provide to their citizenry.

  2. JWTJr

    “Wow, a permanent home for one’s family is nothing more than a ‘meaningless status symbol’? Readers, let that sink in.”

    Even Barney Frank is admitting now that everyone being a homeowner is a flawed plan.

  3. dhalgren

    What she (Sarah) is saying is that if you have a long term mortgage, you’re not much better off than a person who rents…if you don’t own it, you ain’t all that!

    “Even Barney Frank is admitting now that everyone being a homeowner is a flawed plan.”

    jr., your value judgements are a dead giveaway of your teabagger mentality. Barney Frank is an accomplished, intelligent, well educated man who’s name should not be on the lips of someone like you. In fact, your inferences are an insult to thinking people everywhere. Let that sink in!

  4. bobdurivage

    If a mortgage company can’t produce the deed, they have no proof of ownership. Most can’t because the mortgages are bundled with oodles of other high-risk paper. I heard a high-ranking economist say to stay in the house and pay no more than fair market intrest(if you can). Without a deed, the mortgager has no right to forclose.

  5. little sister

    dhalgren:

    Read again. No way to dispute the author referring to home ownership as a ‘meaningless status symbol.’

    It’s certainly her right to express her bitterness toward home owners but it still sounds rather narrow and stereotyped and not at all helpful in tackling Asheville’s land use problems.

  6. dhalgren

    “Wow, a permanent home for one’s family is nothing more than a ‘meaningless status symbol’?”

    Nothing is permanent, everything ends, and everyone dies. And by the way she’s not expressing bitterness towards homeowners, she’s merely pointing out that many of them are a few paychecks away from being out on the street and therefore just as vulnerable as any renter might be. Home ownership is a meaningful status symbol?! For many it is. When a house is not a home…

  7. Betty Cloer Wallace

    TIME magazine’s cover story this week (Sept. 6, 2010) is Rethinking Homeownership: Why owning a home may no longer make economic sense.

    “Home, Not-So-Sweet Home”: For decades, the government promoted homeownership as the cure for what ails us economically and socially. But does a nation of cul-de-sacs lead to the American Dream or to a paralyzed, debt-ridden labor force?

    “The Case Against Homeownership”: Buying a house is supposed to make us better citizens, better investors, and better off. But that American Dream may well be a fantasy.

  8. Piffy!

    If poor people are allowed to own their own homes, then how will the rich feel superior?

  9. Piffy!

    [b]“Wow, a permanent home for one’s family is nothing more than a ‘meaningless status symbol’?”[/b]

    A permanent home is not permanent when the bank will always own it.

  10. little sister

    hipster: “A permanent home is not permanent when the bank will always own it.”

    While ‘meaningless status symbol’ is the operative in this argument, you also might want to do some research on mortgages. They have terms. 15 years; 20 years; etc. When the mortgage is paid off, bank liens are removed from the deed and ownership is wholly transferred. The bank does not ‘always own it.’

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