Young, Educated, Indebted Americans Unable To Purchase Homes
1 year ago
Is this their "New Normal"?
Based upon a 2011 report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), non-seasonal vacant properties have increased. The study says, “[These] properties have increased 51 percent nationally from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010, with 10 states seeing increases of 70 percent or more. High foreclosure rates have contributed to the additional vacancies.”
Since many Americans have defined the “American Dream” as owning a home, the high number of foreclosures has led to a new level of political consciousness about wealth and power in the United States. This is most evident in the message about growing economic inequality conveyed by Occupy protesters, a movement which began in lower Manhattan on September 17, 2010 and quickly spread across the nation and eventually the globe. Moreover, many critics believe the banks should be held accountable for actions they took that led to the U.S housing crisis, which began to crumble in 2008.
[ALSO READ: Can The Occupy Movement Survive The Winter?]
In late January, for instance, MoveOn.org urged Americans to sign a letter to President Obama about bank fraud. The petition expressed urgency, stating, “Reports are out that in the next 48 hours, President Obama could make the call on whether to hold Wall Street accountable and open an investigation into the banks' role in the housing crisis, or agree to a sweetheart deal that lets them off the hook.” (On January 19, 360,000 Moveon.org members signed a similar petition, asking the President to investigate).
In President Obama’s State of the Union speech, he responded to these demands and said he planned to create a new Federal Crimes Unit. He added, “I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.”
On top of this highly tense situation and the political awareness that has spread across the country about the role the banks played in the housing crash, there is another interrelated crisis: the student lending crisis. In 2012, outstanding student loan debt will surpass $1 trillion. In addition, young, educated people have borrowed more than previous generations.