I have an uncle. His name is Sam.
Sam owned an amazing apartment building on a highly productive piece of property.
Thirty years ago the most wealthy residents convinced Sam that they could take better care of the property than he could if only he would reduce their rents by 50 to 110 percent.
Sam, in exchange for the rent reductions, agreed to hand over a lot of responsibility assuming it would be a win-win situation for everybody involved.
The roof is leaking.
The ground floor apartments are flooded.
The plumbing is so bad that some residents are poisoned by their tap water and some can light their tap water on fire.
The floors in the hallways are crumbling and often cause harm to the people moving along them. There are even large holes in places.
The security systems have all mostly failed or are inadequate so there are dozens of people living in apartments that aren’t on the lease and strangers seem to come and go as they please.
The building’s wiring is old, under-maintained and can barely support the load that the increased number of residents put on it. There are power outages often.
The productive property around the building that used to provide much of what the residents needed has been paved over for parking or taken over completely by the enterprises of the wealthy.
People live in the stair wells.
Screens are torn.
Carpets are stained.
Walls have angry holes in them.
The wealthy residents only spent the money to maintain their own apartments which are even more exquisite now than they were thirty years ago.
Sam has done what he could (sometimes some really shady shit) to keep things going but is struggling so much that he has to apply for low interest credit cards just to pay the interest on the building’s second mortgage.
Now, after having failed to follow through on their promises, the wealthy residents blame my uncle Sam for all of the problems. They spend a not-so-insignificant portion of their gigantic incomes convincing the not-so-intelligent portion of the residents that the lies about Sam are truth.
Some are even suggesting that the only way out of the mess is if Sam is fired completely so that the enterprises of the wealthy residents (the free market) can take on all of the responsibility.
What would you do if you were my uncle Sam?