I happened on this, and I thought I'd share yet another non-obvious angle on things going wrong. I don't know how you guys can stand how good I am to you.
It's about an hour, but here are some highlights. The short version is that home owners associations are independent powers, with extraordinary abilities to screw over home owners. Local governments are complicit with the HOAs. One of the consequences is that in a bad economy things get worse.
Libertarian ideas get blamed (in some detail), but so does Obama, I think for believing that money can be pulled out of the economy here and spent there and somehow things will get better.
Speaking of libertarianism, apparently the laws inspired by Kelo (that private property can't be taken by a government to give or sell to a private interest) are dead letters-- the claim is that more such takings are going on.
The general idea is that some sort of collective action by homeowners is needed (approximate quote: "Elections are the least disruptive form of collective action"), but exactly what the collective action is supposed to aim at is not defined. Maybe that information is elsewhere on the site.
A flaw in a lot of a libertarian thinking is that there's no sense of process-- an honest free market is supposed to just happen. Once you see a flaw like that, you start seeing it everywhere (and occasional examples of the opposing virtue). These guys seem to think that good government can just happen.
HOAs are compared to Nazis and to the Soviet Union, but I think the closest analogy is those corrupt small town governments in John MacDonald novels, including some violence. I'm sure a good mystery novel or three could be written about murder committed by an HOA. Are there any?
Why were the contracts written so that it took 2/3 of the homeowners to change provisions, when it's nearly impossible to get that many to show up, let alone vote in the same direction? Originally, the fear was of all the crazy homeowners. *sigh*
Anyway, the 2/3 provision meant that the homeowners couldn't get rid of the (eventually Federally unenforceable) racial restrictions, so judges completely set aside the contracts, meaning that the HOAs had even more power.
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