Hillary’s House (or one reason I’m voting for Bernie Sanders)

Photo by Edward Clark, Jr.

Here I am with my Bernie sign, standing on the sidewalk in front of this beautiful, historic house in Guildhall, Vermont, just one lot away from my own residence.

Oh, except the house–as you can sadly see–is not so beautiful anymore.  That’s because it’s been in foreclosure, sitting empty since 2009.  It’s the first thing you see when you drive across the bridge from New Hampshire into our little village.

For our neighbors, a married couple who once lived here, the road to foreclosure was rapid and devastating.  There was a job layoff, unemployment, low wage work, a divorce, and then, foreclosure.

The wife repeatedly begged the lender to re-negotiate the terms of the loan so that she could stay living here and caring for the house.  Repeatedly, the lender refused.

Perhaps the lender preferred to sell the house, to make more money.  That would make sense, I guess.  But it hasn’t been sold.  It has deteriorated badly, and been vandalized. I have never seen a for sale sign outside.  Occasionally during summers, someone comes and mows the lawn. (Word on the street is that the lender, upon foreclosure, loaded the house heavily with insurance, let it languish and fall into disrepair, and now submits periodic claims for damage which allow them to collect big bucks).

What does this sad story have to do with Bernie?  Well, actually, it has more to do with his opponent Hillary Clinton.   The house went into foreclosure within a year after the now-infamous housing and foreclosure crisis of 2008.   In the fall of 2008,  Congress determined that the big banks and lenders were “too big to fail.”  There was a long and passionate debate about whether the government should bail out the banks–in short, whether to give those banks and lenders a giant welfare check.  In the end, on October 1, 2008, TARP was passed, and the banks were bailed out.  Senator Bernie Sanders, who is now running for President, was the only member of our Congressional delegation to vote against that shameful bailout.   He refused to support a bill that would bail out Wall St criminals, but do nothing to help regular homeowners.

Where did Hillary Clinton stand?  Unlike Bernie Sanders, she supported the bailout of the lenders.  But more important, as we now know, Mrs. Clinton has deep and long-standing ties to the same financial institutions which devastated our economy, and were rewarded for it with taxpayer dollars.  Her ties to Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers are well-known.  She now refuses to come clean with the American people as to what she said in speeches for which she earned upward of $650,000.

This is why I call it the Hillary House.  And this is one reason why I am voting and campaigning my heart out for Bernie Sanders.