European Politics

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter
Europe at its worst
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It won't be long until another EU country gets to take the "Most Cocaine Use" crown.
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
We'd badmouth Bulgaria more, but nobody there is probably reading this anyway.

Anything you want to tell them? :p

The thing about Germany is true, and actually a topic there. Liberals just can't get over the fact that most Germans don't want to take a credit to buy a house because they don't like to be in debt. Why don't they like to be in debt? Because they observed what happened in the US housing crisis and are worried that they might get in trouble if they can't pay off the debt anymore. Why are they worried that they might not be able to pay off their debt anymore? Because secure jobs are getting increasingly rare. Why are secure jobs increasingly rare? Because of Liberal politics. Huh.
I was just wondering about that statistic. Is low home ownership necessarily a bad thing? It depends how stable and affordable renting is, I suppose, but the crazy world of widespread speculative property investment, unsustainable property price rises, and negative equity, can be pretty destructive. It's not restricted to the US, either.
 

Perun

After the war?
Staff member
I was just wondering about that statistic. Is low home ownership necessarily a bad thing? It depends how stable and affordable renting is, I suppose, but the crazy world of widespread speculative property investment, unsustainable property price rises, and negative equity, can be pretty destructive. It's not restricted to the US, either.

That's the weird thing: As a German, I have always felt that home ownership isn't a thing. I have known only very few people who were home owners, despite growing up in the upper middle class. And of those people, nobody built or bought a house on credit, but on savings. Comparing this to the way many people got royally screwed in the US housing crisis, I always felt that this was a tried and tested way of doing it right. Yet, there is a plethora of analysis of why German people are unlikely to be home owners, oftentimes explaining it as some sort of outlandish freak show, sometimes using a condescending tone and digging up random elements from Germany's economic history that have nothing to do with anything, to explain that Germans have some sort of cultural trauma with debt. Really? It's weird that we don't want to end up owing 200% interest rate to a bank on the other side of the world that we never even heard of? Look at how fucked up the credit system in the US and elsewhere is. If this were a proper way to run an economy, then we shouldn't even have names for things like bad banks, credit swaps or zombie credits. Why are the Germans the ones who are being liberalsplained? We should be the ones to condescend to American home owners!
And yet, liberals in Germany want to push things harder towards how they are in America. Why? Because if more people buy stuff they can't afford, more companies can produce things for prices people can't afford, people need to take more credit so credit givers can cash in on interest, and in the end the only ones benefiting are those who have money in the first place. I think that in future times, historians will fill volume after volume trying to understand how the people of our time fell for the obvious lie that debt is good, how our entire economy and the lives of countless people were based on this lie and how, somehow, we not only managed to convince ourselves that this system works despite overwhelming evidence that it doesn't, but even that there is no alternative to it.

tl;dr: Debt sucks, I don't get how people can think otherwise
 
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Deleted member 7164

Guest
Brigs and Perun, for example I didn't have an option because we don't have the long-term rental thing here, at all. I was already living in rented places for 4 years before I decided to get a bank loan and buy a place. I paid 4 years of rent, monthly amount which is comparable to monthly credit you'd pay if you got a bank loan to buy that same place.

So you do what's best for you under the conditions. Renting out for long term is problematic because owners can make big and easy money on short term rentals. They usually rent out for students outside summer, and then pack your shit and leave on 1st of July because he's going to make your complete monthly rent in a day when rich travelers arrive. Flipside is the relative increase of financial security for people that go in debt to buy a place (like me), some shit happens and I lose my paycheck, I can still move out and rent this place to take care of the debt.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I have zero interest in owning a house, personally. I'm not interested in the concept of doing what maintaining a house requires.

Here's the problem, though. Renting is a way of separating upper and lower class, and it is a method of wealth transfer. Personally, I think most people should want to buy. Mortgages aren't bad things, for the same reason that debt for a country in general isn't a bad thing.
 
D

Deleted member 7164

Guest
Yeah but flats don't require that kind of maintenance. I couldn't own a house for the same reason...
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
That's the weird thing: As a German, I have always felt that home ownership isn't a thing. I have known only very few people who were home owners, despite growing up in the upper middle class. And of those people, nobody built or bought a house on credit, but on savings. Comparing this to the way many people got royally screwed in the US housing crisis, I always felt that this was a tried and tested way of doing it right. Yet, there is a plethora of analysis of why German people are unlikely to be home owners, oftentimes explaining it as some sort of outlandish freak show, sometimes using a condescending tone and digging up random elements from Germany's economic history that have nothing to do with anything, to explain that Germans have some sort of cultural trauma with debt. Really? It's weird that we don't want to end up owing 200% interest rate to a bank on the other side of the world that we never even heard of? Look at how fucked up the credit system in the US and elsewhere is. If this were a proper way to run an economy, then we shouldn't even have names for things like bad banks, credit swaps or zombie credits. Why are the Germans the ones who are being liberalsplained? We should be the ones to condescend to American home owners!
And yet, liberals in Germany want to push things harder towards how they are in America. Why? Because if more people buy stuff they can't afford, more companies can produce things for prices people can't afford, people need to take more credit so credit givers can cash in on interest, and in the end the only ones benefiting are those who have money in the first place. I think that in future times, historians will fill volume after volume trying to understand how the people of our time fell for the obvious lie that debt is good, how our entire economy and the lives of countless people were based on this lie and how, somehow, we not only managed to convince ourselves that this system works despite overwhelming evidence that it doesn't, but even that there is no alternative to it.

tl;dr: Debt sucks, I don't get how people can think otherwise
I don't know about Germany but in my country you can only start buying a house, if there's certain income/stable financial basis. That doesn't mean you need to be rich. Nor does it mean that you will get in the red numbers immediately. It simply means that you have years to pay for the house. There are various ways to do that. So, regularly spending money for your own house can take a while, e.g. 30 years. What has the fucked up US credit system to do with stable European economies? Nothing. In America I assume everyone can buy a house, without the slightest financial backing. Everything is on credit. That's not the case in our countries I bet, or at least I am sure that it should be stricter. All to see that people do not get into financial trouble. One needs some security, and banks are stricter than ever since the crisis to give a loan. As long as someone can pay and wants to pay, there's nothing bad happening. In fact: something's good is happening in the end: you own a house that is worth money.
 
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Deleted member 7164

Guest
^ If you can get the banks to keep the interest rates on sane levels, then yes.
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
The issue I have is really with property ownership being championed by politicians and pundits as the way everyone should go, and the alleged property ladder promoted as a means to self-betterment and a comfortable retirement, even though a fluctuating and unsustainable state of the property market can destroy everything. They ignore the fact that a significant number of people will never be able to afford to buy through no fault of their own, and ignore the fact that many people will fall foul of dabbling in property investment, even if they're trying to be sensible about it. Owning a home to live in isn't the same thing as constantly buying and selling property to make money.

In areas/countries where property ownership is more about relatively short term speculative investment than having a place to live, it results in house prices being artificially inflated every time a house comes on the market. That in turn pushes rents up to bordering on unaffordable, because private landlords need to cover their repayments or outlay, and even cheaper houses get further out of the reach of the young or anyone slightly less than well off (and I don't necessarily mean 'poor'). The same politicians are hesitant to do anything that might lower house prices - like create more social housing - because then the owner-occupants, backyard investors, letting agents, estate agents and financiers who capitalised on their advice will lose out. Half the population becomes reliant on ever-increasing property prices, the other is having every last drop squeezed out of them because they can't do anything else. When even people who rent very basic accommodation end up in debt to pay for tenancy deposits and other letting charges, the entire system looks very shaky for everyone involved.

As I understand it, the problem in the US was people being encouraged/allowed to take out home buyers' finance they could barely afford, setting them up for financial ruin should anything happen to the economy or their own personal finances. Falling house prices then wipe out the investments that other property owners have come to rely on.
 

Perun

After the war?
Staff member
I don't know about Germany but in my country you can only start buying a house, if there's certain income/stable financial basis. That doesn't mean you need to be rich. Nor does it mean that you will get in the red numbers immediately. It simply means that you have years to pay for the house. There are various ways to do that. So, regularly spending money for your own house can take a while, e.g. 30 years. What has the fucked up US credit system to do with stable European economies? Nothing. In America I assume everyone can buy a house, without the slightest financial backing. Everything is on credit. That's not the case in our countries I bet, or at least I am sure that it should be stricter. All to see that people do not get into financial trouble. One needs some security, and banks are stricter than ever since the crisis to give a loan. As long as someone can pay and wants to pay, there's nothing bad happening. In fact: something's good is happening in the end: you own a house that is worth money.

I was talking about the very real desire of German liberals to make things as in the US.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
And Spain's Senate has approved taking over Catalonia from the regional government.

I have a bad feeling about this.
 

RTC

Libera et impera!
This seems eerily reminiscent of Bosnia. Europe has enough problems going on as it is, it really does not need this.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
The Norwegian TV channel TV2 were a bit careless with their illustration about the Catalan independence issue:

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This of course caused Twitter to come up with comments like "Will Spain use §155 on Portugal as well?"
 
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