Candidate for nation’s most statist pol, allowing for circumstances such as inherited societal proclivity towards (ugh!) democracy? Presenting Ald. Ed Burke (D-Chi), whose latest — in a long and distinguishing career, if not distinguished except ironically speaking — statist brainstorm is to seize underwater houses and condos. (this morning’s hard-copy Sun-Times, p. 50, Fran Spielman reporting: link is to on-line new lead of a.m. hard copy story).
Off-with-their-heads Ed, Red Queenie to his colleaagues (no? should be). Public housing here, 667,000 units masquerading as mortgages! A statist’s moist if not all-out wet dream. Seize the mortgages. (We can afford it, it’s not our money anyhow. Sound of eyebrows raising, like drawbridges or Michigan bridge at rip tide.)
“Steep discount” on loans at “fair-market value” to be determined by apparatchiks in city govt. What could be more fair? Serfs get new affordable mortgages from the lords of the manor, and the system works! (System? Seat of pants system if any.) In long, run we’re all dead, said Lord Keynes, he of the Bloomsbury crowd —sexual cut-ups all, by the way.
FHA not so sure about this mortgage seizure: something about “sound operations” and “taxpayer expense.” Oh? What are they? aldermanic Finance Committee members ask, turning to each other in shock and awe. What the hell is that FHA talking about? Then back each to his coloring book, or drawing board the expression is, shaking head at the mystifying gaucherie of that mysterious agency with its talk of “chilling effect” on market.
Mayor R. is not sure if he likes it. Wind not blowing strong enough yet to dry his wettened forefinger held at eye level, his best determinant for seat of his pants decision-making. But the first rule of statism is bound to win out, don’t just stand there, do something, or look like it.
(Besides, as Steve Bartin points out, “If this passes, the potential for corruption will be unlimited.” So who needs statism as a ruling orthodoxy?)