For Sale: The American Dream

For Sale: The American DreamThe US' housing bubble burst nearly six years ago, but the worst may be yet to come. After a landmark settlement, the major banks have lifted a freeze on foreclosures and government relief has been too small to make a difference.

Public housing budgets have been slashed, leaving larger numbers of people with no place to call home. The line between home ownership and homelessness is growing ever more blurry, but neither President Barack Obama nor Governor Mitt Romney have made housing a major campaign issue.

Meanwhile, popular anger is rising over the perceived impunity of the banks and some have found innovative ways of fighting back in an age of austerity.

Fault Lines travels to Chicago and California to see how people at the frontlines of the crisis are confronting the collapse of the American dream.

Watch the full documentary now

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Ratings: 7.06/10 from 18 users.
  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2SR54RXAGKK2YE64KDGH7CD5TY viliux

    Nothing special. Just a reality

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNIWLD2N7KE6YWLCZBXZ5EC3RQ Yusiley S

    I've been on the brink of being kicked out of my house numerous of times. I was fortunate it never came down to having a visitation from a police officer even on those cases in which my family and I were far behind on payments. I guess the rules don't apply to those who live within the vortex known as the City of Hialeah (just ask your GPS to take you to the Walmart at Okeechobee Rd, it will take you in circles because Hialeah is special & disconnected with the satellites... aka as the Hialeah vortex) and the officials within this vortex are far more reasonable and understandable (kindred spirit) on the matter and give people many chances (this is why I believe Hialeah is one of the many visible alternate universes within this planet). I knew one elderly woman, who was over 10yrs behind on her mortgage payments and the city officials of Hialeah just let it slide. They sent out a police officer but he just gave her a notice. We never saw another officer or state official over her place ever after that. She still didn't pay, but the officers and such weren't going to harass or bother an old woman in her 70s over a home in which she was going to lose anyways after she died, so they let her live in it till she died. I know many states or cities aren't like that, but I just wanted to point out that this documentary overlooks at some cities, like Hialeah, which gives people chances to pay what they owe over their homes. They will kick you out if you are of a working age and state that you will not pay back at all. These people (home payment collectors or what have yous) will negotiate a price... money is money. They will get what they can from you. They prefer to avoid the mess of evicting people, fixing their homes and reselling the homes, so they will or can negotiate with people.... this was what my parents had done during the 90s. Not all cities in the U.S. just kick people or families out of their homes... left and right... as this documentary wants us to believe. If you state that you are paying or have proof that you are in the processing of paying the city officials will let you be. Again, I just want people to know that the cases shown in this documentary is true, but not for every single state or city within the U.S.

  • nosferat1

    No matter what times we live in, it's always the poor, the hard working and the nice people that get the short end of the stick. While others buy yachts,sports cars and giant mansions.

    These people get kicked out of their houses because the entire system screwed them...never a nice sight to watch, and it's not just the US, many other countries around the world including the EU, have the same type of problems. Entire countries are going bankrupt and people who worked hard for a living, never did anything bad to anyone, now end up on the streets begging for food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daveewer David Ewer

    Moving film about America's poor people. As the social activist said, "We could have bailed out the banks or the people - but we bailed out the banks..."
    It should be upsetting to see folk lose their homes, but the rich don't care, and Obama didn't care enough to actually do anything. This can't go on forever...

  • http://www.facebook.com/almanihowma Alma Elizabeth Vasquez Jr

    i heard there was like 40,000 empty houses in Baltimore that the city of Baltimore could not give away. it doesn't make any sense, if people don't live in those houses, rats and mice will, nature abhors a vacuum.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_H2MGSJ2G2VU4SAOQB623JKYIIM Far Spam

    Aljazeera produces documentaries so that it can later feed you its pro Israeli news!

  • lstcaress

    the houses have been stripped bare and vandalized, the plumbing gutted by people looting the metal pipes to sell for scrap. it's disgusting that the banks foreclosed and then left them abandoned. i suppose they can write it off as a loss and stick the burden on the american public, huh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Gros/1267365077 John Gros

    The rich cared that's why householders were not bailed out. Home ownership is the beginning of crawling out of poverty and the rich don't want competition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sameuel.salazar Sameuel Salazar

    Food for thought if we really want to make a change then a "silent revolution " is needed.What I mean by this is that if you as the individual consumer do not like the way a bank runs its operations and you bank there then close your account and see how long that bank stays open without you or anyone else banking there(a run on the banks Wells,JP Morgan,Bofa) a little revolution goes a long way in changing how things are done. We as the consumers have the power and ability to make changes is we really want to. The question is do we really want to?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sameuel.salazar Sameuel Salazar

    I agree with you 100%. To bad people do not realize the simplicity of it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Francisco-Canales/100001205221850 Francisco Canales

    Only us be able to stop this economic catastrophe. I have the solution. If you are interest, please send me an e-mail and be part of the solution.

  • batvette

    24:00: There will be no "economic recovery". Everything is cyclical. Empires rise, empires fall or crumble. Those of us living in cities see life in some ways appears the way it always has, but it's hollow. People aren't spending. You can hear a pin drop most evenings, in places where there used to be people out laughing, living. Used to be, if you wanted to work, there were jobs. Nobody is hiring, and if they are it's for a position that wouldn't cover your living costs before housing- just food and utilities, gas to get to work is a stretch.

  • seamus watson

    Is that what cops are now, revenue collectors. They are supposed to protect the innocent, not the corporations.

  • seamus watson

    All the top politicians have 2,3 4 or 5 houses. They cant empathize with you. They don't care.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    The problem seems to lead to the same place. The banks. The people can't get the banks to help with the problem. The government can't seem to get the banks to help with the problem.
    Sooner or later the banks will become the targets of revolt. You would think they would realize that and do something more effective.
    I guess the people will simply have to stop waiting around and deal with the problem themselves and the banks will have to suffer from their inaction.

  • noequick

    Another documentary that sort of glosses over the real issues, but doesn't go deep enough. Lots of time spent talking to displaced homeowners, one man even says "occupying our foreclosed homes isn't legal, but it's moral."

    Really? Moral? Not bothering to know the first thing about your first or second mortgage, failing to pay, losing your home, and then crying "It's not fair" like a dumb child is moral?

    That's the real problem with this country. Most people are m*rons and corporations/banks are by definition evil (they only exist to make profit, they are not good) and exploit them too easily.

  • henrymart81

    This sucks. Don't buy stuff you can't afford. I don't agree with any bailouts, but yes we should've bailed out homeowners before banks. At least that way, although banks still would've ended up with the money, the homeowners' debts would've been reduced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tin.luu3 Tin Luu

    The Top 1% dont give a ^^^^, this is why its time for a change!!
    the whole system is designed to fail (money etc), the governoment knows it, they pump up the credit bubble and inflated the house prices....
    I believe through social media (Face book etc), the world can unite to form ONE new world governoment ......NO more War!!
    the one thing that scared me the most, Our world popluation is on a rise to " an exponential rate". But yet
    Our Australian Gov is encouraging us Aussie to have more children by giving us incentive (throwing money at us) have more kids...WHY the ^^^^ are we having more kids went the world is over popluated?????? WHY???
    Give other people a chance to come to Australia and enjoy our beautiful Country...

  • fender24

    sounds like a good dream....

  • fender24

    Dr. Martin A Larson "The Historical fight for honest money in the U.S" read it and spread it.
    We have to change back to the constitutional system Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers wanted. Banks got too much power today and see what happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-C-Tripp/100000521066522 John C. Tripp

    There never was an American Dream, it's always been a nightmare.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ABN37MIPRDMRW3UX3U3LJOVLSA manfruss

    It's all about consumption. Western civilization has been built upon consuming. If everyone started to only buy what they need, and save their money, you will see economic collapse. Therefore, they don't want you out of debt, to save money, to accumulate wealth yourself, that would destroy the economy as we know. Jobs gone, businesses put out of business, banks with slim profit margins, and angry share holders. Spiritual solutions to economic problems with be the only way to solve these issues.

  • bringmeredwine

    What you're describing sounds like the situation here in Canada (Ontario), but some people are using their credit cards to buy EVERYTHING, even their groceries and utility bills.
    The world has gone mad!

  • bringmeredwine

    We have very strict rules for applying for a mortgage in Canada, so we have avoided the big foreclosure crisis; but people are still trying to live way beyond their means.

  • magarac

    Theres nothing wrong with that dream. Its the waking up thats the problem.

  • magarac

    Strange how that old woman still has a mortgage on her home after living in it for 45 years.
    Shouldt there be a will to pay back the money you loaned.

  • Morthund

    Yeah, your'e absolutely right.

    If you get duped by a system that you get brought up being told to trust, then you should simply accept your fate as a "m*ron" and lie down and die.

    And perhaps hope to be born into the next life as someone like you, who is not one of "the real problems with this country" and is obviously not like "most people".

    Or encumbered with superfluous empathy nonsense.

  • DOMINIQ

    Both of you guys are right. If our educational system taught us more about big life decisions like mortgages, car loans etc. and if corporations were more accountable for their actions we wouldn't be in this mess.

  • Ajene Farrar

    Most people aren't educated enough to understand subprime mortgages unless a more knowledgeable person explains it to them. That's why they trusted the people "helping" them find homes to not dick them over. If you are not highly educated and you work and tend to a family for most of your life, it is going to be much more difficult for you to grasp complex financial systems than it would be for a "brilliant" mind like the above commenter. News flash: knowledge, access to that knowledge, and familiarity with mortgages and banking are privileges that not all people share with Internet commenters perched atop their high horses all day.

  • Jesper Hagberg

    Well that's all great. The issue at hand is really that the regulations differs from state to state, so in some states it's not really possible for city officials to let stuff like that slide. Simply because it isn't their decision and they never even catch wind of what's going to happen. I(as a Swede) have a hard time understanding how it came to be that different states could have different laws on housing and money lending the way that they do in the US, especially since owning your home was always a central piece of the american dream. It seems to me these laws and rules should be set by the government and they should be the same all over the US. I also have a hard time understanding why the government would put all it's mone right into the banks, for them to consume basically. I think the country and the people would have been much better off if this money was used to buy houses that were being foreclosed on and then just sub lease them to the people currently living there. Or maybe just buy their debt and let people pay back as much as they could, straight to the government. That way millions of homes could have been saved by the money that now just fed your top 1%

  • Rampage

    Share holders should all be left with the dept, so the working class can have money in their savings account, after all they worked for it.

  • Rampage

    So Americans cant view a movie about America???

  • Badnews Bear

    funny how that works! not that the gubbermint would allow banks and corporations to influence education...

    also if they taught that stuff, school wouldn't be so fracking boring!

  • Tim Chisholm

    Here in Vancouver, I've watched people pay for a chocolate bar with a Visa Gold Card. On the subject of "m*rons", I wouldn't describe us as m*ron's but as sheeple...in varying degrees. Keep us fed, entertained and drugged with all sorts of distractions courtesy of the 500 channel universe and we'll keep consuming. I speak from personal experience.

  • Tim Chisholm

    You really have to hate it, when those Arabs keep giving us pro Israeli news.

  • Tim Chisholm

    Careful what you ask for. We've invited the world to come and experience Vancouver... twice with Expo 86 and 2010 Winter Olympics. Both times our housing prices shot up and are now ridiculously through the roof with aid of off-shore investors. How are Sidney housing prices, I wonder?

  • Tim Chisholm

    I, as a Canadian, living next door to the U.S.A. for over half a century and having been exposed from an early age to their daily barrage of marketing and philosophy on consumerism, also have no idea where the logic is in any of this.

  • Tim Chisholm

    I thought it was a fairly even handed report. But then I'm a Liberal Canadian. LOL!

  • cyberfrank

    such a bank scam! so irresponsible!