Living Within Our Means
[An older post, from the pre-Obama Presidency, of some thoughts about the current state of life in Tucson and future possibilities.]
Central Tucson neighborhoods, around where I live, are changing and I think there are some very serious repercussions for my fellow citizens, especially folks who don’t own their own home.
Some of the current rash of TV shows on HGTV are all about the purchase of a home, doing some low budget renovations, and then selling for a significant profit with a quick turnover of houses (I’ve only recently seen the term, “flipping” used to describe this practice.) There was also an article in a recent (early August 2005) in the Tucson Daily Star where the “flipping” term was also used.
I’ve seen this happen before, but back then was known as real estate speculation and the gentrification of lower end neighborhoods. I saw this when I lived in San Francisco back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Housing costs went through the roof and low income folks where driven out of blue collar neighborhoods, resorting to residing in extremely high-crime, intense poverty ridden neighborhoods.
Everyone has a right to decent housing: to be safe and have a sense of security. Does everyone have a right to profit at the expense of their less fortunate citizens?
There’s the mindset of living with what you have, living within your means, being happy with your present situation of a comfortable life. Do we need the bigger house? Do we really need to drive the bigger car? the luxury car? Do we really have to accumulate more stuff? No, we don’t! The advertisers on TV and radio aren’t looking out for our best interests or even give a rat’s ass about our well-being or level of indebtedness–they just want to push a product, only pay attention to their corporate bottom line.
Is the concept of living in manner of being happy with what we have un-American? Are we here as citizens so we can help increase the earnings levels on the stock market? Is it our responsibility to keep General Motors, Ford, Archers-Daniel Midland, Beatrice Foods in business?
What if we turned things around and decided that American citizens, the very people who live here (and I mean all the people: poor, white, people of color, the rich, the middle income), were the most important and not our government’s policies or our President’s (GW Bush) values (or lack, thereof.) Novel thought, what?