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How Homeownership Turned Into Slavery

At the very outset of America's republic, the Framers rightly anticipated the dangers inherent to any form of government which pits the rights of people against the rights of property. James Madison communicated his observations on this threat in October of 1788, stressing that "the bulk of the people" ought first to be sufficiently invested in property, or the prospects of the rights of property, with still a sufficient interest in the rights of persons. 

Madison sharply described the inevitable power to be suffered at the hands of those "not interested in the rights of property." In his observations he warned that "one of two things cannot fail to happen" in such a clash of interests: "either they will unite against the other description and become the dupes and instruments of ambition, or their poverty and independence will render them mercenary instruments of wealth." Madison then concluded that, "In either case liberty will be subverted; in the first by a despotism growing out of anarchy, in the second, by an oligarchy founded on corruption." 

As it turns out, Madison has proved rather prescient in his estimation of the risks attending such a conflict, as Americans have indeed come to suffer the power which slid into the hands not interested in the rights of property. It is in just this manner that government, not without cunning, turned homeownership into slavery. It turns out that Madison was precisely correct in declaring that, in the interest of the rights of property, "Liberty not less than justice pleads for the policy" which seeks to guard each interest against the unwarranted influence of the other.

One of the great misdeeds in contemporary politics has been the intentional cheapening of money to drive higher real estate prices. This has come not only at the expense of the currency and savings, but with added risk and higher costs in the form of higher purchase prices and higher taxes alike. Herein we find one of the single greatest misdeeds of our time: the conning of the public into accepting as their tax liability some arbitrary percentage of the appraised value of their home — or any other asset, for that matter. 

From an economics point of view, the cost of government is nowhere a function of the cost of real estate; nor does it stand to reason that any person or family, having been saddled already with the higher purchase price, should also stand to pay more in the way of taxes. 

Indeed, insofar as government is tenable in any form, no person or family ought to be saddled with any greater liability than that which is assumed by each of their neighbors; that is to say that the liability ought to be rightly apportioned. Contrary to the popular misconception, which is one devoid of merits on its own, one’s ability to spend more on a property needn’t imply his ability to pay more in taxes. On the contrary, he is more often than not left with considerably less in the way of expendable income because of his inordinately expensive mortgage. Of course, let us not forget, he’s condemned to carry this mortgage in the first place because of the artificially low rates of interest which make it altogether impossible for the saver to keep up with the prices of real estate and other costs of living. 

Of course, this is no accident at all, as the government is squarely behind this initiative as well, which condemns the people to perpetual work, indebtedness and risk-taking in a viscous cycle which induces their enslavement. They are made to work more in order to pay those higher prices and to make up for the loss of purchasing power; they succumb to debt just to purchase essentials like property; and they accept risk in the form of stocks and bonds, as well as their own mortgages, as they seek to enjoy their lives and protect themselves from the scourge of inflation. 

As the government sees it, an indebted populace is far easier to control, and there is no better place to swindle the public into debt than homeownership: after all, homeownership is the most fundamental aspect of life and family, and one for which any people anywhere will suffer virtually any indignity just to keep it. For this reason, the property tax is a most cruel and insidious imposition, and one whose risks are often overlooked by so many who are easily hypnotized by percentages and academic justifications, and others still who are otherwise distracted by the implied appreciation of their homes. 

Whereas newer homebuyers might appear wealthy for their ability to afford such expensive homes, they have merely committed themselves to stricter terms for homeownership: as opposed to prior generations who paid an average of four times annual household income, our contemporaries pay on average more than six times their annual household income, more than fifty percent higher than their predecessors; and this is a time when both parents are in the workforce, as opposed to the predominately single-income households of prior generations. 

Ironically, even despite this, the politicians still claim that women are better off having been “liberated” from their domestic duties: instead of laboring for the benefit of their own families, they now work for CEOs, stakeholders and conglomerates, and according to the politicians and political activists, they are all better off for it. According to them, this is progress.

This means that both parents are so busy working to subsist that their children are taken to daycare centers so that their parents can afford to shelter, clothe and feed them; this means that their children are brought under the care of "professionals" instead of keeping them in the care of the ones who are biologically predisposed to love and nurture them. This means that, in addition to the financial burdens, the children bear the brunt of the consequences in the absence of their parents, who are seldom around to love, nurture and teach their children. Instead, by forces ill-understood and, as they see it, far beyond their control, the parents outsource all of these functions to people whom they don't even know and whom they can't possibly trust, so that their children may stand a chance to do the same.  

I posit that this vicious cycle is the direct consequence of taxation: whether upon income or property, or through debt or inflation, it implies taxation all the same. By whatever name and whatever channels, it has proven to destroy families and the very fabric of society. No other tax in particular, however, is any more fundamentally destructive than the one which seeks to fleece the public for merely owning a home. Under this arrangement, the homeowner is forever liable, as he cannot escape the penalty imposed by government which threatens to seize his property in the event that he fails or refuses to pay. By definition, no one can truly own a home under this arrangement. 

This arrangement by government is one part of a web of lies, deception and coercion which enslaves the public wherever they go, whatever they elect to do, and however they intend to survive. Even where the people seek the humblest of occupations, a meager subsistence, and a tiny plot of their own, they are brought into the fold as servants to the status quo. 

The most basic of human ambitions is to build and to own one's own home, and to thereby raise one's own family. Politicians from time immemorial are aware of this ambition, and they have sought everywhere to exploit it. At no other time in the history of the world has any government ever been more successful in fleecing the people of so much with so precious few taking notice. Like a magic trick, the government has been busy fleecing the public while convincing some fraction of them that they are getting richer, and still another that they're entitled to some of the loot. 

In the case of homeownership, the renters are all too eager to see the homeowners assume the brunt of the taxes. As they see it, the homeowners are wealthy enough to pay them. Of course, the renters pay little mind to the fact that they might be homeowners one day, nor do they busy themselves with the fact that their landlords pay their taxes only upon collecting their rent; nor are they troubled by the fact that property taxes, those based on appraised market value, inherently discourage development and dampen the supply of housing units, thereby increasing rental prices. The renters aren't concerned with the future, nor the finer details, in keeping with the nature of people who have nothing invested in it. Of course, in the face of the consequences, they are just as incredulous to the results of their preferred policies: problems they have (through government) created, compounded, or condoned. When any policy or set of policies should fail, they are always ready to demand solutions from government, assumed to possess the means, the intelligence, and the incentive to oblige. Meanwhile, government is often just as clueless and almost always uninterested in solutions, especially to problems of its own creation or beneficial to its interests.

It is for this reason that government seeks to fill its constituency with desperation, hostility and the dregs of society. It is for this reason that government seeks to impoverish the people, to stoke division, and to keep them bickering amongst themselves. In this climate, the people will be ready to punish their enemies through their government, which stands ready to pummel them all. In this case, the government has laid siege to homeownership, where the soul of humanity and the principles of life, liberty and property are at stake, all so that government can exploit it for the benefit of those ignorant to the consequences. 

In driving higher real estate prices, the government and the central bank have selected the winners and the losers: they have committed to higher prices to protect the haves at the expense of the have-nots. This isn't to say that they haven't distributed some of the loot to the have-nots, but they've distributed only enough to keep them asking for more, or to otherwise keep them quiet. Meanwhile, the ranks of the middle class shrink as the divide between the rich and the poor widens to the satisfaction of the political elite who prefer it that way. After all, this is precisely where the politicians want the middle class: weak and outnumbered. And this is why they keep pounding the table for democracy: not because they believe in it on principle, but because they know it'll keep them divided and that they'll eventually have the numbers. 

The assault upon homeownership is just one of the many ways that government has guaranteed its stranglehold over the people. In their control over property as well as income, combined with their control over the common currency, the politicians can virtually increase taxes at will. With the benefit of so much control, they can increase taxes without the people even noticing. They can, as in the case of homeownership, drive real estate prices higher to induce more debt, more speculation, and more tax revenues to boot.  

This essentially subjects homebuyers to prices driven by the government’s monetary policy, which thereafter stands to subject them to still another set of prices expressed as a percentage, of the government’s choosing of course, of the total purchase price. In this way, the government cheapens the currency, which negates the value of savings; it causes higher prices, namely in stocks, bonds and real estate; and it stands ready to cash in upon their every sale. This is one of the greatest deceits of the modern era, and one so esoteric that scarcely any person will even dare to investigate, let alone question its legitimacy. 

For these reasons and more, taxes, wherever they are to be suffered and unopposed, ought only to be tolerated, not accepted; for tolerance may at least keep the people alert to further abuses, whereas their acceptance will invariably form the basis for more of the same, until such point is reached that the government asserts itself as the rightful owner of all property, whereby any part left for the enjoyment of the taxpayer is regarded as a form of charity from the government. 

As this author has already illustrated, the most pernicious form of this kind of abuse is directed at property at the behest of newfangled rights and entitlements, more aptly termed extortion. This kind of liability is lifelong and unavoidable; whether sick or otherwise unable to work, or whether one prefers to subsist on the product of his own land instead of seeking employment or engaging in commercial exchange, he cannot elude the government which threatens to dispossess him of his property upon his failure to pay. 

The distinction, then, between property tax and slavery is a matter of form, as they function just the same. The difference, of course, is the proximity of the slave to his master, the chances of his escape, and the opportunity to win his freedom. In either case, each is expected to work for his master, and it is at the master's pleasure only that the subjects enjoy any part of the product of their labor. Ultimately, for those in control, it's not a question of whether man ought to be in chains, but whether he ought to know who holds the keys. Ironically, through government the master has convinced the taxpayers that they own their land, whereas the slave is under no such illusions. 

A clever ruse, government has swiftly turned homeownership into an instrument for perpetual enslavement; and by its own designs, the people are so busy keeping up, so distracted by cheap entertainment and propaganda, so preoccupied in their petty disagreements, and so fearful of bucking the conventions, that they live merely to survive. All the while, little did they know that, in their quest to survive they were erecting or otherwise condoning the very institutions that would continue their own subjugation.


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