Praise for Home Bulldozer Guy?

Tim Cavanaugh at Reason Magazine takes a look at the media response to a man who destroyed his house with a bulldozer because of an impending foreclosure.

Terry Hoskins, the Ohio man who destroyed his own home in a squalid fight among himself, his brother, and the bank to which he owed money on the the house and two other properties, is getting a full American Homeowner treatment in the media.

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Hoskins is in no way representative of the “out-of-work homeowners” who in President Obama’s words just need “help [to] find a way to pay their mortgages that works for both the borrowers and the lenders alike.” He was well above water on the $350,000 home. He claims never to have missed a payment on the house: RiverHills Bank is foreclosing because somebody, presumably brain-sucking space aliens, used the house as collateral for loans on some commercial properties Hoskins bought. And Hoskins’ defaults on his payments have little to do with the post-2006 real estate deflation. They spring from a 10-year legal battle that involved RiverHills Bank, the IRS, and Hoskins’ brother, a former business partner.

So I’m inclined to agree with WLWT commenter madcastler, who writes, “[D]on’t loan Hoskins any money. He will stiff you, destroy the collateral, and then go on the evening news and act like he’s a hometown hero for not surrendering the collateral to you as he promised. Of course, in reality, he is an immoral person who has just raised the cost of doing business for other entrepreneurs. I’m just warning you in case you actually believe in this guy.”

So a man who used his house as collateral for a set of loans, which he later defaulted on, is a sympathetic figure if he destroys that house to prevent the bank from getting some compensation for the money they loaned. He is seen as a hero standing up against “the Man,” or some such thing.

But as Cavanaugh asks, “If Frustrated Owner Bulldozes Home Ahead Of Foreclosure: Man Says Actions Intended To Send Message To Banks make a catchy hed and deck, why not Frustrated Taxpayer Flies Plane Into IRS Building Ahead Of Tax Day: Man Says Actions Intended To Send Message To Capitalists, Insurance Companies, CPAs?” I guess you’re a hero if you’re against the evil, capitalist banks, but not if you’re against the IRS (in addition to the evil, capitalist banks).

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