How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream, by Aaron Glantz
Growing up with tales of the American Dream pouring out of books, TV, and radio so steadily that the psyches of many young Americans are imbued with the belief that if you worked hard, you would grow-up to be a successful adult—owning a home and having a spouse, 2.5 children, and a dog—or a close variation.
However, life doesn’t always match your dreams. The fabled home and family lifestyle of yore is growing ever more inaccessible. Author Aaron Glantz lays out how real estate robber barons—“homewreckers” as he calls them–have destroyed the American Dream by hoarding affordable houses, fleecing the government, and increasing the wealth gap exponentially.
If you have noticed the startling lack of affordable homes for sale to first-time buyers on the market
today, you are not alone. Glantz carefully examines the shift from people owning homes, to Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) amassing thousands upon thousands of low-priced homes and hoarding them as rentals.
The reader follows the journey of a federal whistleblower from the time of her father’s death through her
mother’s tragic demise due to Alzheimer’s. Her experience frames the battle that ensues, tracking her fight against the homewreckers on behalf of masses of swindled Americans.
We learn of the backroom deals that created the ultra-wealthy heads of hedge funds familiar today. We know their names: Steve Mnuchin, Tom Barrack, George Soros, J.C. Flowers, B. Wayne Hughes, Steve Schwarzman, Peter G. Peterson, John Paulson, Jamie Dimon, Joseph Otting, John Thain, Wilbur Ross, Jared Kushner, and of course Fred and Donald Trump.
Until I read this book, the interconnectedness of their tactical maneuvers was hidden in the swamp. In a true piece of jaw-dropping investigative journalism with well documented sources, Glantz masterfully lays bare this ingenious scheme.
Glantz exposes how these homes were swindled away from their owners through real estate-based financial schemes. He delves into the devastating and misleading reverse mortgage fiasco, designed to siphon the wealth individual families have built through home ownership over decades, then moves to the home loan crisis that allowed the same actors to manipulate the market in their favor. Glantz shows how even if investors made a bad business deal, they would still win. These homewreckers “…took advantage of a rigged system, buying so low that they risked comparatively little, especially when we, the taxpayer, agreed to pick-up their losses.”
To truly understand the depths of the disparity our country now faces, we must go back past the current pandemic and the mass of foreclosures that led to the bank bailout in 2008 and past the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s. We have to go all the way back to the causes of the Great Depression and what was done to heal the country from amoral backroom deals that bankers made during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Glantz takes readers along the path of deregulation and opportunistic practices that led to the present-day massive wealth gap. He uncovers the racist practices inherent to the governance of our country and the systematic withholding of wealth from certain portions of our population.
Glantz shows how few repercussions there are for those who engage in elder abuse, racist and predatory lending practices, misuse of government subsidies, dismantling of regulations and market manipulation. Instead, greed is rewarded. This helps explain the support for Trump by those who were positioned to extort money at levels previously thought unimaginable with him at the helm.
This book is an eye-opening read that’s worth every moment spent exploring its pages. It makes you wonder what else might be buried in a COVID relief bill or the military budget that will allow these “homewreckers” to steal more from the American people.
Aaron Glantz is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a two-time winner of the Peabody Award. As an investigative journalist, Glantz diligently follows every lead to understand how current events came to be.
Ilana Smith is an avid reader and traveler who has laid down roots in Lacey, WA.