The Foreclosure Suicides

| 12/9/2008 1:06:19 PM

Desperation over the financial crisis has driven some of the economy’s most unfortunate victims to suicide. The New Yorker recently profiled Addie Polk, a 90-year-old widow from Akron, Ohio, who shot herself after a police officer showed up to assist in the foreclosure of her home. Polk survived the self-inflicted wound, and was rushed to a local hospital to recover. When Dennis Kucinich caught word of Polk’s situation, Peter J. Boyer writes that the Ohio congressman sprang into action, talking about her on the floor of Congress and pressuring Fannie Mae to forgive her debts. Many others around the country haven’t been so lucky.

“Rates of stress, depression, and suicide invariably climb in times of economic turmoil,” Nick Turse wrote for Though much of the evidence for the rising suicide rate is anecdotal, Turse provides a long list of suicide attempts in response to the economic downturn. Instead of the high-flying Wall Street executives who played the stock market and lost, most of these stories involve the nation’s poor who have lost their homes.

12/11/2008 2:59:12 PM

That's a sweet thought, Joseph, but who is going to cover the taxes all those seniors would no longer be paying? It's reasonable to give some protection to the very neediest, but not the majority. As more and more boomers retire, who's going to bear the burden of funding society if they're all given a free pass? Most seniors are not destitute and don't need or deserve handouts. They already have Social Security and Medicare. Did you know that children have higher poverty rates than seniors in the USA? That's the real tragedy.

Joseph S Guadagno (AKA Dajo)
12/10/2008 11:25:32 AM

This sort of thing should not happen in America. A 90 year old woman should not lose her home regardless of her ability to pay back taxes. All seniors should be secure in their homes so they can live out their last years with diginity. There should be a law that freezes dwelling taxes upon retirement or at the very least be based upon the senior dweller's ability to pay.

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