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Ghosts Of Hope n’ Change Past: Haunted Houses October 31, 2009

halloween_catDamn it feels good to be a renter. I may not have equity but every month I write one check that takes care of my rent, cable and electric bill. No assessments, no real estate taxes.

Halloween Eve I was all comfy, sitting by my light switch ready fireplace, bowl of microwave popcorn and dalmatian puppy in hand. The darkness of Lake Michigan could be seen from the window of my hi-rise apartment.  The original Amityville Horror was on television. Poor things, sinking all of that money into a house only to find that it harbors an invisible pig named Jodi and leaks blood just when you were planning the house warming to end all house warmings.

A homeowner is something I have never been. Afrocity moves around too much. When I have thought of it, watching the headaches that my condo owning friends had to endure was enough to scare me into being a lifetime renter.

Let’s just consider my failure to own as a Peter Pan/Wendy complex of sorts.  I can’t commit to a piece of property no matter how beautiful she is.

Perhaps my complex is a result of the trauma that follows homelessness. If I don’t own one I can’t lose it.

From this article in the Chicago Sun-Times:


Chicagoans taxes up 9 percent, Obama’s taxes up 1 percent

Obama’s bill barely edges up — but he still pays more than $22,000

October 30, 2009

BY Tim Novak

Many Chicago homeowners will see their property taxes rise sharply in the tax bills going out this week. But not President Obama. His taxes on his Kenwood mansion are up just 1 percent, records show.

Obama owes $22,456.43 in real estate taxes this year on his Kenwood mansion — $223.09 more than he paid last year, when he was running for president.

The median tax bill for city homeowners is up 9.6 percent.

That’s largely because the 7 percent exemption given to homeowners is being phased out.

But the president didn’t take that exemption during the last two years. So he’s not experiencing the pain of losing it, like most other Chicago homeowners.

Obama does pay more in property taxes than most politicians in Chicago and Cook County do, the Chicago Sun-Times found by examining online copies of the tax bills that Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas mailed out this week. But Obama’s seeing one of the smallest increases among Cook County politicians.


Sounds like the Obamas are on the treat side of the Chicago real estate tax trick.  I am posting a comments found at the article by a Chicagoans that obviously represents the “trick” side of things:

My property taxes went up 63%!!!! An extra $2600 a year!!!!”
Of course, you are not part of the elite……You are receiving…..”change.”

“Obama and all other politicians whose only answer is to raise fees and taxes should automatically pay the max. This is the same president who wants to fund health care off the backs of those who make the most money. They should follow their own logic and have to pay the most when they claim that they need more.”

“…maybe if Pres O had bought it for full market value instead of the Tony Rezko bargain basement price he would be paying his fair share,,,, And ya gotta wonder how many haven’t paid …”

“I am not a happy camper. My taxes went up a little over 30% – an additional $700 for the second installment. My house is upside-down and I can’t get refinancing, yet someone thinks it’s okay that I pay more tax for a house that’s gone down in value. People already in dire straits are only going to go deeper in the hole. I have to think hard about whether or not it’s worth it for me to keep this house.”


President Obama's Chicago Home. President Obama paid $1.65 million for the Kenwood mansion he and his family moved into in 2005. His real estate tax bill this year is $22,456.43 -- a 1 percent increase from last year. (Sun-Times file)

Maybe the treat part of “Change You Can Believe In” is coming a little later for those of you who were tricked into voting for the Great Pumpkinhead.

Little Devils

"Little Devils" cartoon by Stilton Jarlsberg at Hope N' Change Cartoons.

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7 Responses to “Ghosts Of Hope n’ Change Past: Haunted Houses”

  1. yttik Says:

    Kind of funny Afrocity, I’ve owned a home for years now. I dream of having an apartment. I think there is something to be said for the freedom that renting brings. You can pick up and move if you want. If you get tired of your place, you can find another and totally change your surroundings. Having a home is kind of like having a responsibility that keeps you tied down. There’s also all the stuff you accumulate when you own a home. Good grief, I never had this problem when I lived in apartments.

    LOL, don’t get me wrong, equity is pretty nice and renting is an investment that doesn’t grow. But it’s a trade off, you lose some freedom when you buy a house.

  2. manbearpig68 Says:

    It’s another well thought out tax system. How many Cook
    County residents are going to be reassessing their votes and paying a little closer attention to the lawmakers?

    Of course I may be wrong about that assumption that the people would actually do something about it. This is the place that loves to bitch about Daley but still keeps him in office for 20 years. They fully supported the presidential candidate and cabinet that came from the same system and still support them.

    Gee, I wonder what’s rolling around in 1,990 pages of health care bill. There couldn’t be anymore taxes on us floating around in that bill.

  3. joanelle Says:

    This is a riot Afrocity – thanks

    We rented for years, then we bought a house – we do like the yard, privacy and ability to do what we want with it. But yes, there are those extra expenses! 😕

  4. Peter Says:

    I’m glad I own a home on a little bit of property out in the country. I do not know what music my neighbors listen to. If I need to step out to call the dogs it doesn’t matter that I’m in my underwear, it probably wouldn’t matter to anyone but my wife if I forgot the underwear.

    As for taxes, I keep singing “Deep in the heart of Texas”. Our republican county government keeps the taxes pretty low.

  5. yttik Says:

    I think home ownership is great, but there’s no denying that it’s becoming more and more of a sham. Some people are taking out 40 yr mortgages. The fun of owning a home was in actually owning it, being able to pay it off and be done with it. That’s pretty much gone. Now instead of paying rent you are paying interest. People who actually do manage to pay off homes, now days often find themselves with a tax bill that is equal to what their house payments were, or even more. We have a property tax exemption in my county for elderly low income people for just this reason. They worked their whole lives to pay off their property and then the county comes along and declares their tiny property is now worth a million dollars and must be taxed accordingly. So actually owning something and being done with paying for it has become a bit of a sham. There are still ways to do it and to make money, but the ideal of actually owning something and having the freedom that goes along with no longer having any debt has faded away.

  6. Boots Says:

    I saw a blog post on a financial blog regarding home ownership vs. renting. The blogger was very much against ‘owning’ a home for many of the reasons you mentioned. As a ‘homeowner’ you overpay but think you are getting ahead because of the mortgage interest deduction, but he had done the calculations and showed this was usually not the case.

    His rule of thumb was this: If the monthly rent is say, $1,000. then the purchase price of the home should be no more than $100,000. Basically, if you multiply the monthly rent by 10,00 that should be your purchase price. If you pay more than that for the honor of ‘owning’ the home then you have paid too much. Using that yardstick most home owners have overpaid.

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