Margaret Schaut

One more conservative viewpoint on the world at large.

Surviving the Depression Strategy: The NEW Homesteading

Homeless by Banksy

Homeless by Banksy

The economic collapse, this new Great Depression, is afflicting States and Municipalities as never before also. New strategies are required for the citizens to survive this coming disaster, and set themselves up to succeed and prosper in the years to come.

Recently Rep. Marci Kaptur captured everyone’s attention by telling homeowners facing foreclosure to “Stay PUT.”

Readers of this blog will know that several months ago I recommended a similar thing, and as wonderful of an idea that this representative from Toledo has, I suggest that Americans begin taking this idea much farther.

I call it ‘The New Homesteading.’

Finally this year, the local municipalities are suffering so much from foreclosures, that they are beginning to realize that their interests actually lie with the CITIZENS, and NOT with the bankers, the investment class, the wealthy.

A few years ago I had a direct and very painful experience with the prevailing attitude of a local municipality when my house burned down to the ground. The city, in the habit of picking the carcass of every citizen, made sure that they got as much money as possible from my disaster- going out of their way to charge huge fees for unnecessary mowing & other stupidities; requiring things that were completely senseless but damaging to the re-building process and charging huge amounts of money for those things, refusing to negotiate reasonable rebuilding plans (like a smaller, more affordable house) and so on, and therefore finally the entire project was cancelled- my being tens of thousands of dollars poorer and the entire catastrophe becoming a total loss.

Worse, the authorities refused to hold the insurance company accountable to the insurance contract as written.

The State of Michigan, its politicians and its cities have long been in the pocket of the insurance companies, bankers and mortgage companies.

Now, however, as the cities see growing areas of wastelands in their towns- formerly occupied homes that no longer pay taxes, no longer use the utilities, no longer receive maintenance, because they are ‘owned’ by some vague financial institute through some vague financial instrument somewhere in the world, the cities are discovering that their best asset is what it always has been- its citizens.

I want to point out one very important thing here- one of the most FOUNDATIONAL aspects of wealth building and equality that ever occurred in these United States was HOMESTEADING. There were VAST tracts of land that were unoccupied, uninhabited, undeveloped, unproductive, and a growing immigrant population that was desperate to get a good start in this country- by the sweat of their brows, by their work and ingenuity.

The government, at that time set out a program of ‘homesteading’ whereby landless peasants could go and find a piece of unowned property, and if they developed it, after a certain length of time could lay claim to that property and become its owner.

The modern version of this is the ‘squatters laws’ that are on the books almost everywhere.

Up until now, the State would claim properties because of unpaid taxes, and sell them to the investing class for the tax money only, and the mortgages and liens on those properties would simply be void.

However, there is no longer an ‘investment’ class that is able or willing to take on ‘abandoned properties’, fix up and maintain them and offer them to sale to a population that doesn’t even have work enough to sustain them.

Just because the State SAYS it is ‘owed’ taxes does not MEAN that those taxes are ‘owed.’ There are altogether too many cushy tax breaks for the friends of any given administration that do not apply to the citizens at large.

How many times have you heard the scream to heaven by government saying ‘WE ARE LOSING MONEY to taxes that are OWED to us because people are …. buying stuff from another state… aren’t paying enough cigarette taxes…. have stopped vacationing here and we are losing tourists tax dollars…’

Let us be clear here. The STATE DOES NOT LOSE MONEY because they have failed to find enough ways to tax people! THOSE MONEYS WERE NEVER OWED TO THE STATE UNTIL THE LEGISLATION LAID CLAIMS IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE LAID. Sales taxes are not OWED until a person decides to purchase, for example.

In the boom times, the ‘state’ made YOU and every working American pay over half of their money in taxes. Rather than being in service to YOU, the citizen, YOU the citizen were enslaved six months of the year to a vampire government.

Properties that ‘belong’ to the State ACTUALLY belong to the PEOPLE who ARE the state. They belong to the citizens, to the taxpayers. All the infrastructure that supports these buildings was paid for by the taxpayers- infrastructure that is going to hell in a handbasket as the citizens lose their jobs and lose their incomes and no longer even qualify to pay taxes or stay in their homes because of the usury charged them- usury that the laws SHOULD have protected the people from in the first place.

It is time for the citizens to begin a NEW government policy of their own- the New Homesteading. Are you and your family homeless already? Go find a decent foreclosed house and move into it. Get it livable, see if you can find work. This spring plant the entire yard as a food-producing garden. Set out your garbage and recyclables for city collection. Enroll your kids in the area school. Turn on the cable and utilities. BELONG there.

Life is much more affordable with no mortgage payment, no insurance payments and no property taxes.

Homestead the place as Americans used to do.

Make the city, the state, and any ‘investor’ pay the expense of throwing you out, the expense of proper records, the lawsuits to evict or ‘foreclose.’ Do everything you can to transform the legislation in your new city to permit homesteading, to lift wasteful lawn requirements and home-based business restrictions. Demand the city permit animals besides cats and dogs so you can keep chickens, or goats or sheep.

There is a limit to how much any of these entities will spend, especially if there is a mass movement of citizens laying claim to the properties of this country that belong to them and no one else.

It is a true statement that possession is 9/10 of the law. It is time that it worked for the citizens and not the elites only.


  matt vega wrote @

Marcy Kaptur became a hero of mine during the ” Bail-out ” fiasco of last lear . Between her and Dennis Kucinich , I almost wish I lived in Ohio….almost . I’ll take her advice , and stay put in Michigan , where taxation and inept governance are the bane and birthright of all her citizenry .

Make way for the New Homesteaders !

  pasi arasola wrote @

Nice article, in Europe we have a more care taking gov then the US, and as right as Americans are in opposing taxes, the real issue is where does that tax money go. Americans don’t have a problem supporting the worlds largest prison population, they have a problem feeding hungry people. Go figure.
Scandinavians, with the worlds highest taxes were amazed to find out that they have 300% more chance to raise social class then “low tax” Americans. Where the money goes is at least as important as how much is taken.
In Finland we don’t have much squatting problems as the law guarantees housing for everyone, so if you can’t pay, they pay for you (food and pocket money too).
Preventive (problem reducing) methods seem so repulsive to Americans (war on terrorism, drugs, anti abortion etc), that I would be amazed if even poor working Americans would support squatters rights.
PS: The French have the most live squatting culture I encountered in Europe… I saw them take over schools closed for budget shortages, renting out rooms for nominal fees, parties, theatre, and street artists collecting funds for their collective. The gangster squats were more like something from new jack city…

  Annie wrote @

Vast tracks of land were unused and unoccupied? What about indigenous people? Are you saying that wilderness is unproductive? I would argue that without it there is no clean water, air, varied gene pool,etc.
I agree that squatting would be great to see. It is shameful that our country has many homeless and many empty houses.

  Margaret wrote @

It truly is shameful what has been happening with our country, and the plans being implemented are purely evil.

  Kolea Lani wrote @

Love it!!

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