This story is unbelievably damning. The Washington, DC, city government sells small debts for property tax to private investors. The investors are empowered to go immediately to court to foreclose on homes worth orders of magnitude more than the property tax debt. The investors are also empowered to bill the homeowners for the legal expenses incurred in trying to take their homes away. If the homeowner can't pay the exorbitant legal bills on top of their sometimes quite minor original property tax owed (with interest), the home is sold, and the investor who purchased the lien gets everything. Not just collecting the original property tax owed. Not just collecting interest on the original property tax owed. Not even collecting only those things plus their own exorbitant legal fees incurred trying to take the home away. Everything. The entire value of the home.
The one small "reform" that has come to this despicable system is that the relevant bureaucracy has recently chosen, of its own kind graciousness, to stop selling liens that were originally less than $1000. But that could change at any time. It was just "to manage the caseload."
Those hardest hit in these situations are elderly people or mentally disabled people who don't understand what is going on or who are already in nursing homes. If they don't have someone sufficiently on the ball to manage their affairs, the whole situation can snowball and result in the loss of the home. In a case highlighted in the story, the son of a man with dementia eventually discovered that his father owed $317 to the city and paid it, but the home was taken anyway, because the son couldn't afford the additional $5000 in legal fees charged by the company that had bought the lien.
I really don't much care whether I might seem to be "agreeing with the liberals" on this one. This is heinous injustice. Let the liberals feel angry because it is taking the homes from the poor. Let the conservatives feel angry because it's a collaboration between government and private investors to take homes from the most vulnerable. Let us all be angry because the laws permitting it are manifestly draconian and wickedly unjust.
Why cannot sensible reforms be put into place? Beats me. The people of DC should be pounding on the doors of their councilmen to demand them, though. Let's call it a bipartisan issue. For once. But get it fixed, people, right away. If this doesn't count as oppressing the poor as prohibited in many-a Bible verse, I don't know what does. And let's just say that God frowns on that and promises to avenge it.