Departed, have left no addresses
--The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot
I'm sitting down by the highway
Down by that highway side
Everybody's going somewhere
Riding just as fast as they can ride
--Your Bright Baby Blues, Jackson Browne
Meanwhile we pursue our endless wars to shed our grace on the sandbox nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we can't seem to give houses away in our blighted-but-once-thriving city of Detroit (Detroit House Auction Flops for Urban Wasteland):
Despite a minimum bid of $500, less than a fifth of the Detroit land was sold after four days.
The county had no estimate of how much was raised by the auction, a second attempt to sell property that had failed to find buyers for the full amount of back taxes in September.
The unsold parcels add to an expanding ghost town within the once-vibrant town known worldwide as the Motor City.
The number of houses in default in Detroit has more than tripled since 2007, and is expected rise. The homes being auctioned represented only the 2006 foreclosure rolls, well before the worst of the economic downturn (GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy this year.)
The number of U.S. homes in foreclosure rose to 938,000 in the July-September quarter, up 5% from the previous quarter (U.S. Foreclosure Filings Rose in Third Quarter). Combined with unemployment rates at a 26-year high, foreclosures are projected to hit 3.5 million this year. Funny thing to have happen on the way to a rosier economy, news of which greets us each day in the papers.
Even if the homes were given away, the poor and underemployed would not be able to cover the maintenance and taxes; that's how this mess started in the first place. Well, perhaps it is some solace that we are kicking about trying to improve some wasteland, somewhere. So Detroit withers away. Buh-bye.
On an upnote: We hear cycling among the ruins in Detroit has become something of a biker's paradise. You see, the lack of civic activity provides for untrafficked boulevards. Broken glass can be a problem, but if you outfit your mountain bike with Kevlar Panaracers, you should be o.k. Weapon suggested.
Why doesn't real estate in Kabul and Baghdad suffer such indignities of neglect? Perhaps if the denizens of Detroit formed proper militias, the U.S. government would turn their sights there, and do more than sympathize with the abysmal plight of our citizens.
Where will Toledo, Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and Detroit get the funds to update their dilapidated infrastructures? Where is the Coalition of the Willing which will save our citizens?
The financial institutions of America are as brutal to the American dispossessed as the Taliban are to the average Afghan citizen.