On October 19th, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that he will not be enforcing any eviction notices, until banks send him affidavits saying that their paperwork is in order, and that these eviction notices are accurate.
“This is so outrageous and these poor families are being put through this day in and day out by people that don’t do their jobs.” Dart said. “It’s so hard for me to stomach these people because this isn’t just their bike we’re taking away or their car. It’s their house” continued Dart.
This suspension happens in the wake of Bank of America, GMAC/Ally Financial, J.P Morgan/Chase and other banks announcing last week that much of the paperwork they had on foreclosures was missing, wrong, or even forged. Those banks suspended foreclosures until they could get their paperwork in order. On Monday, Bank of America announced that they are now ready to being foreclosure proceedings once again.
Not enforcing foreclosures is not new for Tom Dart. Two years ago, Dart refused to enforce foreclosure on apartment buildings in Cook County. His reasoning was that why should renters be forced to leave because their landlords had financial problems. The enforcement resumed once banks put procedures into place that ensured that people who had paid their rent weren’t being evicted. But, that was a policy that made sense. This newest embargo does not.
First, let’s look at why this foreclosure paperwork scandal was such a potentially bad crisis. The housing market ran red hot for 15 years. Housing values and property values skyrocketed. This was all because of a witch’s brew of easy money lending, forced by the Federal government through the Community Reinvestment Act, and pushed by the Federal Reserve Bank and their low prime interest rates. Add to that Adjustable Rate Mortgages, low to no money down, buying and selling these really bad mortgages and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backing all these loans, and you had a recipe for disaster. All of it done in the name of social engineering and giving the little guy a break. It forced property values to go much higher than what they truly were worth. The market was artificially inflated.
Now that the market has collapsed, one thing we need to have happen is to get an accurate picture of how much property really is worth. One way this happens is through foreclosures. The banks foreclose, take possession of the property, and will sell the property for whatever they can get. This process will give the real estate market a true idea of what homes are really worth, sans the inflated market. Without foreclosures, there’s no way to get the market back to where it should be.
The people that took out these sub-prime or, ARM, low or no money down mortgages knew full well that they may not be in a position to afford them. What is worse, so did the banks. And, beyond that, the Federal governments made the banks do it. This entire mess is the result of taking away the concept of personal responsibility. At a certain point, the law is the law and Sheriff Dart’s job is to enforce the law. He does not get to choose which law he gets to enforce and which one he does not.
What Sheriff Dart is doing is nothing more than political pandering. By stopping foreclosures, he looks like he’s taking on those mean, evil, “Mr. Potter” run banks. He makes himself into the knight in shining armor, riding in on the white steed to save these poor innocent families! Never mind that he’s thinking about running for mayor! Never mind that this makes him look really good in neighborhoods hit hard by the mortgage mess. Tom Dart is here to save you from yourself!
The mortgage mess is the result of the elimination of personal responsibility. It is the result of the “consequence – less” society that the American Left continues to promote. Foreclosures, as unappetizing as they may be, are the only way to inject personal responsibility back into the market. And, only in that way, will we truly be able to figure out where we are, and what we need to do get back on our economic feet.