Wednesday, October 08, 2008

SHADES OF A BYGONE ERA

You might have noticed that the economy is in serious trouble right now. Forget the Dow, and try to get banks to lend to each other, and to others for a change. Sheesh. The banks seem to have gone from a bizarrely reckless disregard for loan risk to a bizarrely paranoid risk analysis.

Anyway, in a news story that seems like it is out of the Dust Bowl or something, Crain's is reporting that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has ordered his deputies to stop taking part in evictions where the property has been foreclosed on. In other words, if you are a bank foreclosing in Cook County, you are going to need to find someone else to be the muscle for evictions.

I can hardly believe that. Dart says that too many of these evictions have been renters who paid rent, but had the building foreclosed on from under them. That is a tough break, but the man who is theoretically the top cop in Cook County seems to have thrown his lot in with them. What is really interesting about this is that Dart is undoubtedly someone's boy (that's how it works in Cook County) and it is unlikely that he would do something like this without there being some agreement above him in the food chain.

I wonder if this sort of populism that we will see sweep the nation. You can imagine why people would be afraid for the entire system if the police start enforcing laws that are "right" instead of "the law" but it is also hard to fault Dart for thinking evictions like this are bullshit. We shall see. We shall see.

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