America faced the loss of over one million homes in 2010, not from an earthquake, flood or tsunami, but from it’s own banking system. Foreclosure filings reached nearly three million, continuing their rise, and are expected to do so through 2011. In Nevada, one in eleven housing units faced a notice.

The causes of the “mortgage meltdown” are common knowledge at this point – careless lending, securitization and a fundamentally unhealthy economy. None of these choices were made by working-class America, nearly all by bankers, investors and government officials. And while those officials were able to “bail out” many failing banks and corporations with public money, very little went to simply stop people from losing their homes.

This is far from surprising for America. These economic shockwaves are hitting an already traumatized population. Though America is the world’s richest nation overall, it also has some of the worst poverty in the industrialized world. These folks are already dealing with one of the sparsest social safety nets in the industrialized world (the only one without public Health Care etc), waves of crippling globalization-related shutdowns (the Rust Belt), the Wal-Mart and suburbanization of their cities and economies and a mind-blowing military budget. Foreclosures are the last thing the American Populace needs.

Any day now, Julian Assange is threatening that the next big Wikileaks release will be from inside a “major American bank”, and claims to evidence of an “ecosystem of corruption”. For those who’ve lost homes since the “meltdown”, these revelations will probably not be taken well.

It’s only a matter of time before North America begins to see the kind of “austerity” – related riots and rebellions which have rocked Europe for the past few months. The blatant greed and corruption shown by governments, banks and corporations can no longer be hidden behind a compliant press – we are far too connected these days. And if this makes life uncomfortable for those who’ve embezzled billions from the public, then they have only themselves to blame.

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