Josh, why do you do what you do?
And, more importantly, how can that help me?
Everyone of us are dealing with what I call the “Hedge Fund Society” … the society making its money by sucking the lifeblood from the rest of us.
The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%
TIME Magazine has an excellent article, “The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure“, that caught my eye this morning, and it does a lot to explain what I am seeing on the ground … over and over and over and over.
The mortgage debt servicing industry, and the consumer debt servicing industry, have become a massive system for taking as much money out of the economy – meaning you, me and everyone you know – and sucking it upward to the hedge funds, who are owned by a very small minority of the country.
Taking Care of Individuals
You know, when the Great Recession hit and I started fighting in the trenches against the servicing industry, the Courts that were assisting the banks efficiently process claims and foreclosures, a judge asked me: “Mr. Denbeaux, I applaud your effort, but why do you fight so hard for people who haven’t paid their bills?”
I was a bit shocked. Actually, the idea that someone in power and authority over my client’s lives would have such a stupid position – doubly stupid because the Great Recession was caused by the lending industry’s violations of common sense and its inability to pay its bills – that I was dumfounded for a moment.
My first reaction was to go native Jersey: “What are you talking about? You think my clients are the bad guys in this story? They took out a mortgage … it is the banks that destroyed my client’s income and now are trying to take his house, too!”
But I did not say that.
Not because of a sense of decorum or professionalism (although I really should work on both of those things) but because the real truth came to me in a moment of perfect clarity.
And I expressed the issue in that moment in a way that I have repeated over the years: “Judge, how many little league coaches need to lose their homes before communities start to unravel?”
Micro vs. Macro
You see, most people – most judges, lawyers, homeowners, everyone – think small. They think: How does this affect me, mine, my family, the people I know?
But it is the larger issues that make us a society.
I have said before, in other newsletters, videos and blog posts – and in person if you have got me blathering on about it – that I win my cases because I fight micro … the financial system is huge (or, if this were translated to Jersey yuge), and they are very, very good at taking money from lots and lots of people simultaneously, but not very good at all at dealing with single homeowners, represented by quality counsel who have serious claims.
I might fight micro, but I am always, always thinking big picture. I see the hedge funds and their owners stealing money from my clients, my family, my friends every day. All the time.
Over a beer with a friend (oh, those were the days, right?), “Josh, my wife told me that the mortgage company charged us $15 last month, for nothing. We are not late on the mortgage … it just showed up last month. What gives?”
And of course what gives is … us. The finance industry just stole $15 that month from my friend. And God only knows how many other people.
It adds up.
Part of the Larger Issue
But that is just a small example. Most people, me included for sure if I did not know how to fix their wagons for stealing even a nickel from me, look at it and shrug. Maybe they make a call and get the runaround, but then little Emily fell over and is crying, or Billy punched his friend … or dinner isn’t going to cook itself and the fee just gets paid and life goes on.
The larger issues are the wholesale violations of homeowner’s rights. I have had to go to the Supreme Court of New Jersey to win the argument that homeowners are allowed to enforce modification agreements against the bank. The New Jersey Supreme Court! Why on earth did it take the Supreme Court of New Jersey to get involved and get this blatantly obvious legal issue right.
And the answer is, of course, that this system of taking money and pushing it up to the 1% is pervasive. It affects our courts, our legislators, our leaders. And this TIME Magazine article really makes the point, and makes a further point that not only is it wrong in that we are taking from ourselves to feed a small group at the top, but that this system is actively harming us as a nation. As U.S.
It’s Your Right. It’s Your Obligation. Push Back!
And to sound melodramatic or too corny here but fighting back against the finance institution making your life miserable … it is not just your right, it is your obligation. You owe it to yourself, to your neighbors and family … to everyone around you. Push back to protect your family, but push back as hard as you can to try to stem the tide just a little bit.
That $50 TRILLION that has been taken from us is causing so much pain to so many people. Let’s try to go get some of that back.
So what do I do? I fight back. Family by family. House by house. Homeowner by homeowner. Consumer by consumer.
One case at a time. It is all we can do, but we can do it. And together we can help you move towards a strong financial future.