From the Front Lines of Chicago

(As I mentioned in my Anatomy of a Hate Mail post a few days ago, the vast majority of emails I get from Slopers are really nice. Below is a fine example, which I got last night. I received the author’s permission to publish it, with the provision that I remove the person’s name. It is an eye-opening first person account of what’s going on out there…….Tim)

Hi Tim,

I know you’re busy, so I’ll try to keep this short.  I just wanted to say:

1.) You are awesome.  I look forward to reading your posts every single day.

2.) Everything you say about the U.S. economy jibes with my experience as a real estate investor in Chicago.  The vast majority of my tenants are low-income (their rents are mostly subsidized by our fine government), but a couple make a decent living and reside in luxury condos downtown.  Based on what I’ve seen during the past 5 years that I have been doing this, I completely agree that our financial system is totally, utterly screwed.

No matter what their personal situations or how great their intentions are, all my tenants fall short in some way; they either pay late, not enough, or not at all.  And/or they don’t honor their obligations as tenants.  ALL of them.  You would be amazed by how many sob stories I hear on a daily basis.

Please keep in mind that my low-income tenants are not living in ramshackle buildings where they need to huddle in the corner for warmth; no, many live in homes with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and whirlpools (this is how investors attract renters in this area these days, after paying close to nothing for the properties themselves).  Mind you, some of these are people pay NOTHING in rent every month. 

They also pay almost nothing for food, utilities, and medical care.  Yet despite having pets, flat screen TVs, cable, and gas-guzzling cars, they somehow can’t afford the $395 move-in fee (I don’t require a security deposit in order to avoid a potential lawsuit, which would result from not following the Chicago Landlord/Tenant Ordinance precisely and which many shark lawyers would happily take on) or light bulbs or mousetraps or batteries for the smoke detectors. 

If they agree to maintain the yard, they expect you to provide a mower.  Signed leases mean nothing to them.  Nothing.  They don’t seem to care who provides the resources which allow them to stay home all day waiting for their government checks to arrive in the mail.  They don’t seem to think about the many, many, many people out there just like them, creating this unbelievably huge, unsustainable economic imbalance.   They have mastered the art of throwing tantrums and threats until they get what they want, and they seem perfectly content contributing nothing more than carbon dioxide and votes for their favorite democratic Presidential candidate on Election Day.  And of course, their favorite democratic Presidential candidate is happy to indulge them.

What I find so alarming is that these folks are multiplying like rabbits. (This is another way to pass their time while waiting for their government checks, which will now be bigger thanks to the imminent arrival of another CO2 producer.)  And that they are so incredibly…big.  They consume way beyond their means, like almost every other red-blooded American.  I personally don’t understand why anyone needs to debate the existence of “bubbles” when he needs to look no further than a rear end nearby (or in a 3-way mirror, as the case may be).  We literally have “ass(et) bubbles” e v e r y w h e r e.  If the U.S. is indeed headed toward another Depression, all I can say is:  the country could sure use a diet.

Oops.  I hadn’t planned on writing for so long or sounding this mean.  I guess I needed to vent.  The stock market is way too high, and I’m grumpy.

Anyway, hats off to you!  I felt compelled to write this after reading one of your posts yesterday (“Anatomy of a Hate Mail”), so I wanted to tell you that your more intelligent customers clearly adore you.  I also thought sharing my perspective may be at least marginally informative, since it’s somewhat unique. {personal information redacted}

{Name Redacted}

P.S. I do realize I enable the system by participating in this entitlement program.  This is one of the reasons why I am tormented.

P.P.S.  To be fair, my tenants are generally good-hearted people.  (That is, when they don’t act like Chucky-like 2 year olds.). If you do post my message, I would like to add that people don’t just spend beyond their means, but they also spend beyond the government’s means.  How the government can possibly justify this kind of spending is beyond me.  Totally bogus.


via Zero Hedge Tim Knight from Slope of Hope

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