Property Tax: Death of the “American Dream.” ~ Richard Phares

Via elephant journal
on Jun 2, 2012
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Photo credit: Richard French

Property tax has always been a burden for most homeowners—but I still don’t know why they are using that word when everybody knows that the only owner of homes and everything else is the government.

Yet, far from solving this ordeal for low and very low income families, the public administration has increased taxation even more although the property value has dropped and keeps dropping in every corner of the nation.

Illinois counties like Dupage, Cook and lately Will have raised taxes so high that many people have been and are still being forced to sell their homes before losing them.

A roof of their own and the supposed “American Dream” have turned into a nightmare for the majority of the population who can hardly make ends meet.

These families are being outraged by local and state administrations that seem to be blind to the actual financial hardship that ordinary people are going through every day.

The average worker’s wage ranges from $7.50 to $10 an hour.

Only a few jobs, usually highly-qualified professionals like doctors, lawyers or scientists offer a large source of income.

This working class segregation is causing discrimination between those who can afford large and luxurious houses (usually more than one), and those—a majority—who can hardly pay for what real estate jargon calls a “starter house,” (a generic two to three bedroom single family house, most of the time delivered partially finished by the builder.)

Long-time deprived areas like Joliet have recently become a target for people escaping from Chicago’s high property taxes and harmful and dangerous environment.

The booming of housing development in these areas relatively close to the metropolis has brought the attention of Will County avid and greedy taxing authorities. Local administration has seen a great opportunity to get profit out of this situation by demanding more money from taxpayers.

As an example, the Troy Township School District in Joliet has been systematically doubling the property tax since 2004.

Joliet had become the largest growing area in the USA, according to public records. However, little or nothing has been done to avoid or to relieve this abusive and unrealistic taxation burden.

Joliet and other suburbs have little or no public transportation at all in most areas. Besides, people living in the newly developed outer areas (about 12 miles from the city)need their own means of transportation to even buy groceries.

All that money is only being used ultimately to stuff the already large bank accounts of the government officials.

The administration clearly takes good care only of itself while ignoring the unbearable situation of an increasing number of families that have only one member—generally the father—as their only source of income.

The unstoppable property tax increase along with the bad economic situation worldwide with lay-offs, lack of employment, high price of gas and other basic needs including food, are not just killing the “American Dream,” but also making life even more nonsensical and meaningless.

Most people buy a house to raise their children and so that they have a decent roof to live under. The existence of a property tax contradicts the concept of “private property” by giving the government and the bank the right to take the house that was “purchased with money” and for which the “owner” has a deed or sales contract (what is equal to a sales receipt)

Then, what is it? Is it your house or the government’s house?

To have a place to live is not a privilege but a right of every human being.

However, the greedy attitude of governments—not just the US government, but governments worldwide—has long killed this right, or the so-called “American Dream.”


Richard is a zoologist, graphic designer and writer. Worked for several publications in Chicago and local newspapers. Active member of the United States Humane Society and other charitable associations advocating for animal and human rights. Apolitical, agnostic and all other possible A’s. Likes animals, nature and technology (in good hands). Dislikes stupidity, ignorance, all kinds of powers, any religion, all privileges and social prejudice.


Editor: Jamie Morgan


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8 Responses to “Property Tax: Death of the “American Dream.” ~ Richard Phares”

  1. Ira says:

    "To have a place to live is not a privilege but a right of every human being." How does a human being "own" a piece of the earth? Just because another human being or a legislative body produces a piece of paper, a "deed," that this or or that particular swatch of the planet may be temporarily inhabited by this or that human being doesn't mean it's a right or a privilege. When the country of America was founded, named after it's great leader, mapmaker Amergio Vespucci, only white Christian male property owners had the right to vote and thus they paid taxes to support publics such as roads, school, and a standing army. The states levied the property taxes to which you are referring primarily raise revenues for our abysmal public school system. Do you think that your "starve the beast" Republican, "small government" attitude will improve our school system and lead to future great minds? Or should all schools be privatized and 12 year old children whose parents cannot afford school should be put to work or put into labor camps? If you think that property ownership is a right then you may want to pull some your high school history books out of the closet and take a another look.

  2. yogi henry says:

    To Ira:
    Richard states the reality of “now” with regard to property taxes and real estate values.
    You disrespect his ‘story’ and call him names. (i.e. republican, small government attitude). You offer no positive solutions only ego based criticisms. I agree with Richard that the American Dream is to own your own home. It has nothing to do with your egoist platitude of asking how anybody ‘owns a piece of the earth’. You know that he is not writing about that or asserting that. What good does your false accusation/s bring to the discussion? I can’t think of any. Why such a mean and “superior” attitude? As an aside, if you re-read your history books as you tell Richard to do; you might re-learn that unfair taxes levied by the English government led to the Revolutionary war. So, you might actually thank Richard for speaking his truth; perhaps more like him will address this alarming taxation situation.

  3. Mark Ledbetter says:

    I see Ira's point, and also Richard's. As a "starve the beast, small government" type, how 'bout if I step in with a compromise position? What if we handle prop. taxes like we do with income taxes? We're only taxed beyond a certain amount of income. What if we were only taxed beyond a certain amount of property? Then any family could own enough land for a very small house (which is really all you need) tax free. You'd have to let landlords rent out apartments tax free, too, in order to keep rents down and to promote ecologically superior apartment living.

    Also, Ira, those poor parents who can't afford education for their kids? Part of the reason they can't afford it is property taxes which raise the cost of renting just as much as they raise the cost of buying. Another part is the fact that basic education is way more expensive than it should be, which is what tends to happen to things supported by guaranteed cash cows like property taxes.

  4. […] state collects taxes in order to pay for a myriad of things such as public education. What would be the consequence—the real cost—of cutting funding […]

  5. John says:

    A property tax bill was mailed to my street address. USPS this year decided to not deliver (not to forward to PO boxes either) mail to street addresses in this town. Thus my property bill was returned to the awful US government. Those kind of lazy folk discarded the bill as undeliverable yet knowing that they are billing the owner for the exactly the same property that the bill was mailed to. No second attempt was made to deliver the bill nor to contact the owner. Now the owner had to pay late charges at no fault of the owner (me). Screw the government, leave them to die its own slow death. Moving to a country without property taxes. Yes, such countries do exist!

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  7. CKN says:

    I think it is unconstitutional to raise property taxes to the extent that people cannot afford them, especially when this funding is supporting greedy government. Why should government, or any public help position, have the privilege of a pension, when the rest of us working in the private sector have long given up on that promise? Why are we paying property taxes to support government spending millions on constructing brand new low income housing in a forced integration effort? This is more like a dictatorship than a democracy. The list of corrupt spending goes on and on.
    What are we going to do about it? Clearly, unless there is some serious push back – nothing will change.

  8. Yes, I highly supposed with you that property tax has always been a burden for most homeowners and you have described in such issue in a very nice way and I'm really impressed to read about this topics. Thanks mate.