The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Twelve Million Renters To Be Homeless Soon Because It Benefits the Rich

And so we are where knew we would be:

Nearly 12 million renters will owe ~$5,800 in back rent and utilities by early January.

This was predicted regularly: people lost their jobs, they got one $1,200 and improved EI benefits for a while, and that’s pretty much it. Eviction protection is nice, but it doesn’t pay the rent and ends. This was 100% predicted and predictable, your lords and masters knew it was happening and would happen.

Oakland Homeless Encampment

They could easily have stopped it, and chose not to. The Fed and Treasury and Congress bailed out rich people, and their wealth has skyrocketed. Meanwhile New York wants to put a tax of $3 on deliveries of anything but food and medicine to bail out the subway system; taxing the poor and middle class rather than the rich who made out like bandits.

The money to fix this is fairly trivial. 69,600.000,000 – about sixty-seven billion dollars. In context, the TARP bailout for rich people was 700 billion back in 2008. The Federal reserve, by some calculations, floated about 20 trillion dollars. Seventy billion isn’t even real money in the modern world.


(It’s my annual fundraiser (and has been lower this year, for obvious reasons) If you value my writing and can afford to, please consider subscribing or donating.)

It does help.


But when renters can’t pay rent, the landlords will go bankrupt, and the actual rich will buy up the properties. Meanwhile desperate unemployed people keep wages down and ensure that current workers will do anything they are told with no back talk, because they know there are way fewer jobs than workers. Win/win/WIN.

If you’re rich.

So, if you’re going to be homeless, or lose the property you rent, rest assured it’s in the cause of allowing the rich to control even more of the economy, gutting small and medium landlords and small and medium businesses (who have had to shut down, while companies like Amazon and large retailers make mint.)

Your leaders impoverish and kill you for money. That is all. Wouldn’t want you to think this is for no reason at all or because of incompetence. Your poverty and desperation does help somebody, and that’s why it is happening.





Why People Bully & A Better Way


Open Thread


  1. Zotter

    A small gripe, but if you using large numbers, pick a format and stick with it. The way you wrote this mixing full figures, with abbreviations, and also written out can make the 67 billion look larger than the 700 billion (which is obviously not the point.) This is nit-picking, but when using these sorts of figures, giving people a clear context is important (most people can’t picture a billion vs a million in their heads.) I rewrote it so you can see what I mean side by side:

    “The money to fix this is fairly trivial. 69,600.000,000 – about sixty-seven billion dollars. In context, the TARP bailout for rich people was 700 billion back in 2008. The Federal reserve, by some calculations, floated about 20 trillion dollars. Seventy billion isn’t even real money in the modern world.”

    The money to fix this is fairly trivial, about 67 billion dollars. In context, the TARP bailout for rich people was 700 billion back in 2008. The Federal Reserve, by some calculations, floated about 20 trillion dollars. 70 billion isn’t even real money in the modern world.

  2. As [my blog] name implies, I know a little bit about homelessness. There are many paths that get there, some of us were born to it, but this was not on my bingo card. For those who know what they’re looking at the increase in people living in cars the past few years; in vans, trucks w/campers, trailers, million dollar motorhomes… is a measure of how the economy has been, but this is mind-boggling to anyone with any experience. The general population just do not have the survival skills, it is foreign to them, alien, something that happens to ‘other’ people.

    Whatever you might think of the guy talking to himself down by the railroad tracks, he has a fundamental skill set these people do not. You turn a sizeable chunk of middle-class America out into the street and winter will easily go head to head with the covid on casualty counts. The only reason those tents are keeping the rain out is because they’re under a bridge.

    Winter is still coming.

  3. Hugh

    It’s pretty much a coin toss. Heads the rich win, tails the rest of us lose. I doubt that 12 million will become homeless. But Mitch et al will make it as painful as possible for as many as possible for as long as possible as they can.

  4. anon y'mouse

    looks like the High Street underpass.

    then again, it could be a number of them and High street would be too populated to try to sleep in peace.

    i grew up there. not a place to be poor in, and less and less so as time rolls on. family members cling on by their fingernails, literally relying upon slum lords with sub-market rental rates.

  5. kråke

    Is there a squat movement? A rent-refusal campaign? Raids on the food-hoarders known as grocery stores and walmarts?


    The answer will show you how Homo domesticus americanus will respond.

  6. GlassHammer

    “the actual rich will buy up the properties” – Ian

    To be clear the property itself isn’t the goal, everyone involved wants capital flows not assets.

    The reason to keep the flow of capital in mind as opposed to the changing in asset ownership is that the gentrification scheme (the rich grabbing distressed assets in poor areas) usually has positive capital flow early on but later it falls off a cliff. The good money happens at the start, the rest is higher costs, value depletion, and debts.

    If you have ever seen gentrification of an area start then recede/regress you probably know what I am talking about. Basically, it’s very hard to keep a zone in a city/town built only for the rich going. The constant pushing of operating costs and rents creates razor thin margins for businesses that operate in a gentrification zone.

    Don’t view this as just a case of the rich taking advantage, it’s also an accelerator in the creation of economic dead zones. (Yes it takes awhile for that to occur)

  7. Gaianne


    Concise and direct.



  8. lazycat

    Guess voting for lesser of two evils worked out for these suckers huh?

  9. S Brennan

    For Fuck’s sake Ian; name names? A post without agency is 100% virtue signaling…
    sans any value added. Ian, I am starting to give up on you as I did EZ-Rah Klein, Josh Marshall et al back in the ought’s .

    You can’t even say say “Nancy Pelosi” for fear of alienating your donor base. That effing C-word refused a 1.8 trillion deal with Trump because, as “Hugh” said, she needed to “hold out for better” and this week[?], she settled for 0.9 trillion, in the process effing millions on UI because she saw a political advantage in fucking over the decent working-class Joe/Jane’s across the country. Those people need the money and you [and your crew] won’t lift a finger because you/they are “blue no matter who”.

    And yet Ian, you can’t even mumble the words “Nancy Pelosi” for fear of alienating your donor base. Shame on you! If you can’t do the right thing when it matters, it doesn’t matter if you are right!

  10. John Emerson

    I am part of Ian’s donor base and have no
    love at all for Pelosi, and I welcome Brennan’s offer to
    take his invective and shallow understanding elsewhere. Go for it, Brennan!

  11. Stirling S Newberry

    It was predicted. Now what?

  12. Zachary Smith

    Rich People control both US political parties, and on that account alone I can’t see the situations described above getting any better. Unfortunately, I can imagine them getting worse.

  13. Hugh

    Naming names Trump finally managed to kill more Americans in a single day than were killed on 9-11. This goes with the more than 7 months he and Mitch have been AWOL rather than coming up with a bill which would provide the aid Americans need. Instead they prefer to nickel and dime to the last minute putting 12 million of us at risk of homelessness. Don’t worry the Trumpers will invent a distraction/defense/lie about this because this is what they have been doing for the last four years.

  14. Ten Bears

    ~ It was predicted. Now what? ~

    As a practical matter, set aside the bullshit, boil it down to ones and zeros, balls on a brass monkey, it’s still a novel, a new virus. As a new viri go a relatively mild one, one with the exception of a few backward countries has been handled relatively well. I stand by my observations months ago that this is a trial run. I don’t think the trump-bug is the one that’s going to kill us all, but the next bug, wherever it comes from, may well be. Are we ready, or as ready as we can be, for it?

    Bare minimum: it’s a teachable moment.

  15. Stirling S Newberry

    “As a practical matter, set aside the bullshit, boil it down to ones and zeros, balls on a brass monkey, it’s still a novel, a new virus.”

    Well, no, it really isn’t. We have been predicting for a decade about this exact scenario. This is why vaccines were done so rapidly: it is part of the neoliberal economy. Make every gadget everywhere and you get all the flotsam and jetsam. In itself COVID-19 is novel but it comes from a very well-known source.

  16. Stirling S Newberry

    no spoilers

  17. Ten Bears

    Perhaps I was obtuse: we’re not prepared to deal with the real deal.

    But we might learn to be.

  18. Plague Species

    It was only a matter of time until we got the pandemic, any pandemic, on for REAL. They’ve been seriously practicing for it for more than two decades now and each time they ran an exercise, they failed miserably.

    But Disaster Capitalism, neoliberalism falls under this umbrella term, is always in place to exploit any and all disasters at a moment’s notice, prepared or not. Hence the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

    Here’s a finance exercise for you. Pfizer reportedly invested $2 billion to develop this vaccine in record-breaking fashion. It’s an incredible feat that is yet to be properly vetted by independent scientists for its safety and efficacy. Company documents are not facts until the facts can be independently verified sans just taking the company’s word for it in a document. You can’t say “they wouldn’t lie” or “why would they lie?” There is overwhelming evidence that corporations have no qualms about lying. History says they do. ROI requires you lie, so you lie. ROI requires you kill people under the aegis of collateral damage, so you kill people and call it a day.

    Pfizer will require the $2 billion back and a chunk of additional change on top of that. I’m betting they’ll garner $1 billion on top of the $2 billion they invested. That’s rapacious exploitation borne on the backs of those who have no say in the process and who are the guinea pigs of what is effectively a massive vaccine trial masquerading as an effective vaccine campaign.

    Per that link, they, the wealthy elite, knew what was coming, i.e. a pandemic and any would do. They’ve known for several decades now and these exercises were done to help prepare for the day, and yet the same incredibly powerful and influential wealthy elite let McDonald Trump ascend to the throne and dismantle whatever apparatus they may have had in place, no matter how inadequate it may have been. Ask yourself, why would they do that? Why would they allow it. They had the power to eliminate McDonald in his tracks before he ever gained any momentum. They didn’t. They let the turd float to the top as turds are wont to do.

    I did note, McDonald in one of his recent insane speeches where he has taken credit for the vaccine mentioned that quite a few people have already taken the vaccine and yet that’s not what the media has reported. According to the media, those old folks in the UK nursing home, who fyi had no idea they were receiving a vaccine until they were wheeled down the hall to receive it at the last moment with the cameras rolling, were the first to get it. Did McDonald accidentally let it slip that the wealthy elite, the who’s who, have already inoculated themselves against COVFEFE-45? Maybe. If so, for how long have the who’s who been inoculated? It could be, and most likely is, McDonald is just throwing sh*t on the wall as is his wont, but sometimes he’s right like a stopped clock twice a day.

  19. Plague Species

    In absolute terms, taking the Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of getting the virus by just 0.71%. This is what 95% effectiveness means. No lie. The pharma companies are using statistical misperception and obfuscation to make these vaccines look like they are a cure-all panacea and they’re anything but. They hardly make a dent. The media and government are complicit in this. And yet despite this paltry unimpressive protection afforded by the vaccine, you will be required to take it once a year or maybe several times a year like diabetics have to take their insulin. They are building out a permanent revenue and profit stream and making it an industry like they’ve done with diabetes and cancer drugs.

  20. Ché Pasa

    It was predicted. Now what?

    Sterling Newberry

    It plays out, is what. Because not only have pandemics and their health and economic consequences been predicted, they have been gamed out in great detail. How this particular situation plays out is both known and unknown — known to the game players, unknown to the masses but easy enough to outline.

    First: action is policy, and the policy we are living and dying under is that we, by and large, will not be able to avoid getting sick and (some of us) dying from this virus. That’s policy that’s been in effect from the outset of the pandemic, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change much if at all under the Biden administration (should there be one.)

    Second: the virus is astonishingly targeted to affect the black, brown, poor, old, and sicker elements of the population, and it’s doing so with almost laser like precision. HIV-AIDS was targeted too. It’s the most remarkable thing. But very useful for ne0-eugenicists. And so it will be allowed to make its way through vulnerable populations relatively unchecked. The fewer of those people the better, no?

    Third: Lack of action can be policy as well, and the lack of action on any form of economic relief for the masses, and the highly confused reporting on “why” assures us that it is the policy of Our Rulers to let the situation worsen until… something. A breaking point? So far, that point hasn’t been reached. There’s no general strike among the “essential” workers. No general revolt among those who have been/will be evicted or those going hungrier and hungrier for lack of income. We don’t even hear of rumblings among the unwashed. Without some kind of work-stoppage or coordinated raids on food and supply storage and determined refusal to comply with orders to “get sick and die quickly” nothing need be done to alleviate the suffering, and by golly, nothing will be done.

    It’s the kind of social experiment we haven’t seen in a long time.

    Welcome to the future.

  21. John Emerson

    An addendum: small landlords will go bankrupt and be bought out by deep-pockets players, but so will small restaurants and small entertainment venues. Basically everything will be franchise, though some franchisers will probably make some attempt to preserve the original character of a successful place, while milking it dry.

    My brother spent 20 years building a successful restaurant from scratch, with a small inheritance and one small backer but also a lot of high interest loans. He’s still in debt though he’s paid off the worst loans, but his survival is month-to-month.

  22. Olivier

    Ian, where did you pull that 12 million figure from? Sources, please! Working with data from property managers, Wolf Richter arrives at a very different figure: only 1.36 million at-risk renters. Still a very large number but almost 10x less. See

  23. Hugh

    We have the resources and the duty to ensure that every member of our societyhas food, housing, education, healthcare, an income, and a job if they want one, You may think that all this is outrageously too much. But consider that there are 330 million of us and it would take less than half of those currently employed to achive this. Currently employed 150 million. Workforce needed for a just and equitable society, 50 million-75 million. Consider too that the workload of those employed could be split up among us. That is even those working would work a lot less.

    Instead we suffer in a hellhole run by greedy criminal morons.

  24. Hugh

    You know, Olivier, there are these things called search engines and you could just google what you want to know. One report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the University of Arizona predicted that 6.7 million Households or about 19 million people faced eviction when eviction bans expired at the end of the year. 12 million Americans would lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. So yes, I suppose you could say that Ian used the wrong number. It’s 19 million, not 12 million evicted.

    CBS has an article from the end of November on this: “Nearly 19 million Americans could lose their homes when eviction limits expire Dec. 31”

    On August 7, on the other hand, the Aspen Institute estimated that 30-40 million faced eviction.

    “The COVID-19 Eviction Crisis: an Estimated 30-40 Million People in America Are at Risk”

    You can look these up. I didn’t give the direct links to avoid mod.

  25. gnokgnoh

    Olivier, Richter’s data are for market-rate housing. The overall picture, including low-income renters is much more dire. Richter’s article is explicit about excluding subsidized or low-income housing.

  26. Ian Welsh

    The link in the article goes to a twee, that tweet includes a link to the Washington Post article which says 12 million. I link the tweet because the newspaper has a paywall.

  27. Hugh

    Well, this article from three days ago by the Heather Long of the tweet and Washington Post says,

    “Nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, Moody’s Analytics warns. ”

  28. Hugh

    BTW the WaPo article contains this quote from Mark Zandi, a guy I seldom agree with but do here:

    “’It’s much better for Congress to err on the side of helping too much than too little,’ said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.”

  29. Ché Pasa

    So far, Congress refuses to help in any way. Let that sink in.

  30. Hugh

    Ché Pasa, the original relief bill the CARES Act was signed into law by Trump on March 27. I’ve been saying there’s been no action since for the last 7 months. It’s actually 8 1/2 months now. And this inaction was a deliberate decision by McConnell to do nothing that would make Democrats look good before the election and to force through the smallest, least helpful bill he could after the election.

  31. Ten Bears

    The Republicans in Congress refuse to help in any way. [fixed]

  32. Ché Pasa

    If only it were just intransigent Republicans thwarting aid. Dems are quite as adept at it too. Nah, it’s the entire governing class.

  33. dbk

    Whether it’s 12 or 19 million renters threatened with eviction (we’re not really sure at the moment what the upper limit of distressed renters is), the prospect is absolutely overwhelming. Right now, something around half a million people are officially unhoused (i.e. out on the streets, in the parks, etc.) on any given night/day in t he U.S. – and the various social service agencies tasked with supporting them can’t cope with that number.

    Multiply it by 24 or 38 – or by 5 or 9, whatever – and your head spins.

    All this is coming (a) during the ongoing pandemic; (b) during a period of imminent economic collapse for states and cities, given that it looks like there will not be another coronavirus relief bill before the next Administration, and it’s utter chaos in the making.

  34. Ché Pasa

    Some current estimates place the number of potential evictions come January at 20-40 million. Not just renters.

    And still, nothing is done…

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