Housing Crash Laid Bare a Divided America: Strong Towns Featured in National PBS Film Release

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In addition to Marohn, Owned employs a mosaic of speakers to tell its story, from a retired police officer, to real-estate investors, to black neighborhood activists in Baltimore. Policy analysts take their best shots at deconstructing the financial house of cards built on flawed mortgage instruments introduced 25 years ago. Those bad bets exacerbated the commodification of housing and took down the global economy. 

The 2008 crash is autopsied thoroughly in Owned, but the film does some of its best work with humor, including an exchange quoted from the 1970s TV sitcom hit The Jeffersons. “If we can’t pay cash, we do without,” Louise “Weezy” Mills Jefferson tells a loan officer who has asked for her non-existent credit references. “Shhh….What are you saying?” he cautions, “That could ruin the entire American economy. I mean where would this country be if we didn’t all owe more than we can pay back.”

In addition to the “Owned” Zoom discussion, Strong Towns invites readers who want to explore this topic further to find more resources on the Action Lab page.

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