Victims Turning Away From — Not Towards — Politics
One of the puzzles — at least to me — is why millions of people who’ve been the most harmed by the housing bust haven’t created more of a groundswell for political reform.
Or just plain accountability.
Yes, I’m aware of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Movements.
And yes, I know that “it’s complicated,” and everyday Americans find finance mind-numbingly boring.
But try naming a single national political leader who is identified with reforming Wall Street, or simply holding those most responsible accountable.
(Sorry, President Obama’s State of the Union address doesn’t qualify him. The person who comes closest is arguably Massachusetts Senate hopeful — and famously non-head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — Elizabeth Warren).
A Pox on Both Parties
The partial explanation?
According to The Wall Street Journal, the housing bust’s biggest victims are too preoccupied just trying to survive:
People . . . who have faced, or gone through, foreclosure uniformly say the experience so consumed and upended their lives that they had little time to deal with anything else.
Mercedes Coviella, a 40-year-old clerical temp who is still going through the process, says she and her husband separated due to the stress, leaving her a single mother of two. “I’m so busy with my day-to-day duties that I haven’t had a chance to watch the [GOP] debates,” says Ms. Coviella, a Republican from DeBary. “I honestly don’t have any clue what anyone’s talking about now.”
Such upheaval makes it hard to gauge the political effect of the housing crisis. Those ensnared by it share an antipathy toward the banks. And they say they fault both parties for failing to resolve the mess and favoring the interests of Wall Street over those of homeowners.
–Arian Campo-Flores, “In Florida, Politics Begins at Homes“; The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 30, 2012)
No doubt there’s a lot of truth to that.
But here’s betting that the electorate’s latent (and not so latent) anger towards big banks and Wall Street is such that someone, somewhere yet emerges who’ll figure out how to tap into that politically — if not this election cycle, then the next one.
Hopefully, they’ll just be doing it for the right reason(s).