Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Debt

Looking into the "special assessments" on my property taxes, which I mentioned in the last post, I have discovered they are for "tree removal, scrap removal, and delinquent water charges." When I moved into the house in 2006, I cut down three scraggly black spruce, planted post-WWII, in a line like soldiers. I stacked the wood, returning to my house sometime later to find the city had come into my yard and took the wood, charging me $350. There is of course no record of what "scrap" was removed. The water charges total $677, or just about the same amount the city said I owed most recently, when they threatened to condemn my house.

Apparently, I owed that $677 as of 2009, and the city applied the charges to the property taxes in 2010. They opened up a "new account," though no one was living in the house and no water was being used, charging me $800, most of which I paid in the form of $1 bills, to prevent the condemnation order.

Basically, I turned my back on the house and the city, and the city took the opportunity to generate funding for itself. The bureaucracy kicked into action according to municipal code, and now I am extorted to the tune of $5000.

On a separate note, the partners and I have had a conversation about purchasing a property nearby, to open a permanent retail store. It's an older building, having had only one tenant, the inside full of ornate woodwork, mirrors and glass. A very unique property, ideally suited to what we have in mind. The owners of the building have signed a tentative purchase agreement with US Bank, somewhat contingent on US Bank receiving a favorable rezoning decision from the city. US Bank says they have no intention of razing the building, but you can bet money, should US Bank take possession of it, US Bank will destroy it. Minneapolis has a reputation for allowing the destruction of old, unique architecture of interest, to make way for four-square, mundane monstrosities. The more efficient design can be taxed at a higher rate.

US Bank, my readers might remember, charged me $800 in fees on $80 of overdrafts, sold the debt to a collection agency, and now I cannot open a checking account anywhere, or possess any bank card with a Visa symbol on it, which complicates a great many things for me in this credit oriented, automated culture in which we live. How does one pay ones bills these days without a credit card or checking account? This will be my fate for the next six years, even if I pay the debt. In fact, I have been told, should I pay the bill five years from now, my blacklisting will be extended seven years beyond that point.

If there is anything I can do to complicate the sale of the property in question to US Bank, I will do it. Historic preservation, anyone? What can a little guy like me do to embroil US Bank in the great gears of Bureaucracy? Of course, that will mostly create problems for the family that owns the building. US Bank would simply walk away from the sale. The family would lose the sale, and be stuck with a building saddled with an historic designation, forced to accept less, likely, than US Bank would have paid them. Are they willing to accept less, if it means saving the building that meant so much to their family? Once owned by US Bank, Government isn't likely to stand in the way of letting US Bank do what US Bank wants to do, especially if that means more money in Government's pocket.
Banks and the sky gods who control them constitute an untouchable class, free to purchase and destroy a beautiful building or landscape, free even to plunge the world's economy into a tailspin, at essentially no loss to themselves. All the assistance claimed by so-called "welfare moms" doesn't come close to matching the fiscal safety net constructed to keep sky gods from falling. The Fed didn't hand out the trillions of dollars it has conjured since 2008 to all of us, but to corporate entities controlled by sky gods. Trickle down? What, exactly, is trickling down? Condescension, which is hubris, which is deadly.

The Federal Reserve, Government at all levels and sky god financiers have built this Empire on credit. And now they are saying to the Middle Class, you will have to bear the bulk of the pain, if we are to get a handle on the nation's spiraling debt. Excuse me? Meanwhile, sky gods climb ever higher, evermore righteous in the belief that they are saviors, evermore certain they cannot fall.

I will not be there to catch them when they do. I'll be happy to teach them, when they are back on the ground, how to grow their own food. I will not grow it for them.

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