by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
If we understand property taxes as a “lease from the local government for the right to gamble on another housing bubble arising,” we see “ownership” in a different light.
We’re constantly told ours is an ownership society in which owning a home is the foundation of household wealth. The concept of ownership may appear straightforward, but consider these questions:
1. If the house is mortgaged, what does the homeowner “own” when the bank has the senior claim to the property?
2. If the homeowner owes local government $13,000 a year in property taxes, what does the homeowner “own” once they pay $260,000 in property taxes over 20 years?