The Lie of Home Ownership and other myths of the Supremacy of Modern American Life.

One of the hallmarks of the ‘American Dream’ is home ownership. The phrase “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” originally meant life, liberty and the pursuit of property. (Or so we were taught in my college government course)

But I would argue that it is a myth. It isn’t really true.

Lets say you buy a house and over the years you get it paid off early. So now you feel it is truly yours and you no longer have to pay the bank. You have a deed that states that house and bit of dirt it sits on is your personal property. You still have to pay the government to actually have the right to own it. If you don’t, the government can seize it. Even thought you OWN it. It used to be that the local government could seize it to put a road through as well. But that law has changed. Now they can seize it if they want to build a mall there or if they want to put in a country club.

Ultimately, this means you DON’T really own anything. Despite what you paid to get that piece of paper saying you own it. At least you got a tax break on it. Oh wait, no. Romney wants to take that away. So you will no longer get that deductible on your taxes, which is about the only reason, anymore, that they say ‘owning’ is better than renting. 

At least if you rent, Renters insurance is less costly than home owners insurance and if you need something fixed, you just call maintenance and you don’t end up with a repair bill. 

Seems to me, renting is now the way to go.

Basically, home ownership is more like having a feudal estate.  You don’t ‘own’ the land, it is loaned to you by the government for you to manage for them.  And then you send in a portion of what you earn from the land in ‘taxes’ to the king.  Only people don’t usually ‘work’ a lot that a house sits on for income.  So you pay income taxes on the work you DO do and then you pay property taxes from the same work income. 

Wow.   I think those feudal landowners’ probably had it better.  They only paid one tax.  They just had to fight for their lord when war happened.  Oh yeah, we do that too.  Sometimes through volunteer service and sometimes through a draft.  And, sometimes, people who volunteered and served their term of service are not allowed to leave when their time is over.  So maybe they were still better off back then.

At least we have better medical treatment.  Although, for an industrialized, first world nation, we have the worst rates for easily prevented death from asthma.  We also have a strangely high infant mortality rate from other preventable deaths (from conditions that should have been preventable).  This is because medical costs are so high that people don’t go to the doctor for things that don’t look, seem, or sound serious at the moment.  Not like other industrialized countries with nationalized health care and people can go to the doctor for things more often without going into bankruptcy (even thought many people who lose everything because of medical dept actually have health insurance).  So while we have better medical treatment it is too costly for people to access it.  Lets call that a null.  So feudal people are still better off.

The working conditions were not great.  At least we have that better.  Well, if you can find a job.  And if it has a good health package.  And if it has high enough wages.  Even all those added together, we actually work more days a year, have less days off.  So we have better tools and equipment and work conditions but we work more and have less time for ourselves.  I might call that a wash too.

I guess the freedom to live our lives the way we want and no one telling us how to live.  Nope. We don’t even have that.  The GOP is trying to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights and religious people are trying to tell people who they cannot marry.  Which is a bit a change from the king being able to order certain knights or lords or marry their daughters to other certain knights or lords.  Still, it is one person dictating who can or cannot marry. 

Finally, I’ve found one thing in which we have going better for us than in feudal times.  We live longer.  That’s about it.

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