Reclaiming Independence: Discovering the Lost Duties of Leadership

Chapter 9 – Housing

There are several factors that indicate our economy is in decline, but nothing stresses this clearer to me than when reviewing the overall housing situation in the country. The American Dream was once predicated upon the foundation of homeownership; however, with a growing homeless population, shrinking homeowner population and expanding portfolio of real estate among investment companies, it seems we are moving further away from that dream than ever before.

As with all actions in our country detrimental to the American People, the events leading our housing market away from the public good are being orchestrated by elite actors responsible for most of our other problems. They’re the same elite paying for a national media apparatus that deceives the public with a state-sponsored, propagandistic approach to delivering facts. They’re the banks, pharmaceutical companies, defense contractors, pedophiliac “investors” and anyone else willing to throw the right amount of money at our current leadership in exchange for impunity throughout their endeavors. The people of our nation are both capable of and responsible for ending these conditions, but without action to defend our rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, things will not get any better. If we awaken and take on the challenges needed to overcome the elite’s suppression of the American People, I believe there are several measures our government would have no problem reaching a consensus on that create conditions in the housing market indicative of a prosperous and opportunity-filled nation.

The first, and easiest to initiate, is tackling the overwhelming problem of homelessness taking over major American cities. According to our own Department of Housing and Urban Development, it would cost us about $20 billion each year to end homelessness in America. That’s a fraction of what we spend in foreign aid, and a fraction of what we’ve given to Ukraine to fight a war against Russia we spent decades ensuring would happen. But aside from the fact that it’s totally affordable for us, I’m willing to argue that the economic development produced by ending homelessness would far outweigh the costs associated with it.

In addition to adequate mental health treatment, a redesigned education system, and an overall more positive disposition that a new wave of American leadership could bring, the culmination of these efforts will undoubtedly leave more Americans motivated and energized to seek out their own personal success. I challenge anyone claiming that ending homelessness isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially considering it’s not anything we’ve ever tried. Do we really accept that we are the greatest nation on earth when our streets are lined with tents, sidewalks smeared with fecal matter, and cities engulfed with the decay of broken lives used up and spit out by a broken system? At the cost of $20 billion per year, it would take 115 years to spend as much on homelessness as we spent on the war in Afghanistan, without ever discussing the economic progress removing 600,000 Americans from the streets would bring. To think this can’t be done is nothing more than hyperbole constructed by the same people who make all our bad decisions. Genuine American leadership would change this, period.

Ending homelessness will not solve our housing problems alone, because homeless or not, more Americans are finding the prospect of owning a home unobtainable, moving them further from the idea that they can achieve the American Dream. Leadership that is serving the needs of Americans will surely need to create programs that alleviate these pitfalls and offer meaningful opportunities to Americans while preventing corporate-driven, greed-seeking motives from obstructing them. A commitment to make home ownership a possibility cannot come alongside an opportunity for banks to reap the profits from that commitment, as that will only further ensue the ever-growing disparities of income and wealth our financial institutions create. Our federal government has a variety of tools to promote individual homeownership over corporate control of neighborhoods, we just need to collaborate on which of these methods best benefit the American People.

But regardless of what the government can do for you, we should ask what we can do for ourselves. I’m sure that the sustainability of any government program will become contingent upon our ability to incentivize more than seven million working-aged Americans not participating in the workforce to re-engage themselves into a profession. Our wealth as a nation does not ensure home ownership alone, rather our spirit of determination and results from hard work are what allow owning a home to be a staple of American life. Let’s find ways to reach out to the millions of Americans who have left the workforce prematurely and incentivize them to make the most of themselves once again. In addition to a redesigned educational system which can provide all Americans with the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that help them professionally, and corporate loan programs that incite new employee-owned businesses to form, we should begin to explore other innovative ways to reverse the downward trend in our labor participation rates.

Additionally, regulations to prevent institutional investors from flooding the housing market and driving up prices must also be put in place. We cannot live in a world where banks price ordinary Americans out of the housing market and then turn around to rent those properties to those same Americans who pay more in rent than their mortgage would have been while reaping none of the benefit from the equity in the home. Identifying exactly what programs to adopt and implementing them will take a collaboration of minds far greater than my own, which is why Americans from all corners of our country should be willing to stand up on behalf of the People to solve them.

But aside from anything regulations can do, I have another notion that could help reach housing solutions while taking our environment into perspective as much as it considers the economy. I am a huge advocate of modern-day micro-farming and believe its economic and environmental impacts are integral for our proper adaption to the 21st century. I believe properly constructed housing developments could create such enormous benefits which redefine the idea of home living and urban development for our society entirely. Much like I consider China in thirty years with half its population, I also think of the United States with half more than we were thirty years ago. Undoubtedly, new urban environments will develop, but where will they be, and how will they be constructed? There is room for innovation when it comes to urban development in the future, and with all we know today it should involve sustainability.

Regardless of where you live, there are reliable, sustainable, efficient, affordable methods of growing both food and livestock throughout the year, despite the seasons. There are differences in achieving this depending on where you live in the country, and maybe you can’t always grow everything everywhere; however, no matter where you live, things could be incorporated into the infrastructure near your home that provides your family with fresh, locally sourced food in an environmentally friendly way for less than you pay for your groceries.

For example, I’m confident that in Florida, with ten full acres of usable land, seven solar-powered homes could be built in a way that has zero environmental impact at a cost comparable to traditionally built houses. Additionally, the remaining acreage could be engineered to provide all the dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, fish, and nearly every fruit or vegetable with limited exceptions, necessary to support the dietary needs of twenty-eight people. From the energy consumed to the waste produced, virtually all of it can occur, and be dealt with, in the confines of those ten acres. Using technology along with techniques such as aquaponics and micro-pasture rotations, the prospect of a future America consisting of connected neighborhoods, each capable of their own reliance, is not as outlandish at it may seem on the surface.

Considering what so many people pay in homeowners association fees each year, Americans are already spending the money it would cost for neighborhoods like this to function. HOAs are the legal entity best equipped to formalize neighborhoods such as these, and for those Americans paying five or even ten thousand in fees per year, you’re already contributing to an effort with an operating budget capable of pulling something like this off. And if you calculate the electrical savings of renewable energy, the providence of fresh and reliable sources of food, and a more independent lifestyle, there is a wide array of motivations for Americans to seek out a new lifestyle like this.

I believe the success and growth of these micro-communities could begin to snowball into positivity rather quickly, creating a much-needed shift to our economy. The expansion of more communities would help decentralize the mass production of food, replacing it with a web of supply able to accommodate shortcomings in more local, direct ways. Perhaps a series of ten independent neighborhoods could collaborate and establish a central location where the aggregate collection of production within the confines of their land was compiled for the free access of any of the 280 people living within those ten neighborhoods. And once they do collaborate, perhaps those ten neighborhoods could begin engaging in beneficial ways with another group of neighborhoods. Maybe they grow so large as to form new schools, hospitals, and businesses along the way; all hopefully owned by their employees within, providing each with both purpose and accomplishment. Maybe it could even help us become happier Americans who, in turn, establish better lives for those around us and make tomorrow better than it is today.

These are dreams for sure, but they are dreams we can reach if we realize our potential and follow through on our responsibilities as a nation together. If we realistically consider how to end the cruel and ecologically harmful practices of food processing, let’s also be willing to consider what it will take to implement the proper systems that ensure durability in our food supply. If we realistically consider the environmental implications of our energy consumption, let’s also be willing to consider what it will take to produce viable sources of energy in ways less harmful to the environment, including nuclear considerations. If we realistically consider the pollution caused by an overloaded transportation grid, let’s also be willing to consider what it will take to alleviate the overload of that system. If we realistically consider the reliance that we’ve established upon an unreliable system destined for failure, let’s also be willing to consider what it will take to build new systems capable of delivering us prosperity into the future. The truth is, having a positive outlook of America despite its condition is already a dream. But success also derives from dreams, and I encourage each American to find ways to dream a bit more, maybe then we can start having some realistic conversations.

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