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Re: Earl Morgan's Corner: Our homes, our lives being shaken daily
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Times are getting tough as the U.S. economic engine winds down after a nearly a centuryand it is very important that the media collaborate on ignoring that issue lest political change acutlaly takes place.

Huistory has seen exactly that kind of denial from the collapes of the stock mnarket in 1929 though the 4 years that followed with the failure of major corporations, ehdless forecloures, banks and insurance companies failing.
All the while the media put smiley faces on the news.

Nothing changes. Public discourse is the LAST thing that capitalist America wants.

Posted on: 2008/9/17 12:24
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Earl Morgan's Corner: Our homes, our lives being shaken daily
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Our homes, our lives being shaken daily

Jersey Journal
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

O n a bright, sunny morning several weeks ago the whole sad, subprime mortgage debacle hit me in the gut as I watched from my bedroom window while the home of a neighbor was sold on the auction block.

As a small group of perhaps 20 people milled around, the auctioneer told the crowd through his bullhorn that he was in a hurry to expedite the proceedings because he had other auctions to conduct, one on Myrtle Avenue and another on Ocean Avenue.

The auctioneer, in that rapid delivery most of us are only familiar with from TV shows, began the bidding. The buyers shouted out their bids until a final figure was declared, sealing the sale of the property. The crowd started to thin.

I can't speak for the other neighbors who watched from their porches, but I couldn't help thinking that under other circumstances that could have been my home.

That auction has certainly heightened my awareness of the proliferation of "for sale" signs posted on gates and in windows of houses all over the neighborhood - which clash with competing signs advertising "luxury condos for sale" adorning so many nearly or newly renovated apartment buildings.

The sight of my neighbor's home on the auction block brought to mind frequent conversations I've had of late with friends and neighbors about another topic that strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners: the price of oil. And I'm not talking about the pain being felt at the gas pump. I'm talking about the cost of home heating oil.

After all, you can park the car and take the bus, Light Rail or the train. But how do you manage when you have to lay out nearly $1,000 or more a month to heat the house. And it's not just the homeowners. Tenants can expect to be hit with substantial rent hikes as landlords pass off the escalating cost of heating their buildings.

People are praying for a mild winter and taking care to insulate their homes, but that's not enough to lift the dread of the inevitable day when the oil bill arrives.

Pile on other day-to-day, bread and butter issues - healthcare, the ever-escalating price of food, and crime - and you have a plateful of problems for hard-working, blue-collar residents, the lifeblood of Jersey City and Hudson County.

A recent headline in The Jersey Journal, declaring that incomes are on the rise in Hudson County, elicited bitter chuckles in my neighborhood. "They must be talking about the people who are moving into all these condos the rest of us can't afford," one neighbor said.

It's been bandied about, during the current election cycle, that many of these worries are overblown, that the basics of the economy are sound. That's hard to believe when the country's top three automakers are asking for a $20 billion bailout, large investment banks are tanking, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the supersized institutions that hold nearly a trillion dollars of American mortgage debt, have been put into conservatorship.

Despite all this strum and drang, people continue to get up in the morning and go to work or to school with the hope and assurance that all these things will somehow work themselves out. Somehow, we hope, the people we elect and the muckety-mucks who helm the mammoth corporations charged with the task of keeping the wheels of the economy in motion will find solutions.

However, grappling with these issues is going to mean raising the public discourse above worries of who said what about putting lipstick on a pig.

Posted on: 2008/9/17 11:08
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