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There goes the neighborhood

This is the beginning of what Kunstler and others predicted would happen to homes in America. The properties get foreclosed due to the bad mortgages, thieves strip them of assets, and then they become worthless, further eroding the property values of every house nearby. No security exists to prevent this from happening. To add insult to injury, the valuable metals stripped out of foreclosed and abandoned houses are promptly shipped off to China and India. Goodbye, precious resources. Goodbye, American middle class. Goodbye, prosperity.

Shards of broken glass outside the basement window of 31 Vine Street hint at the destruction inside the three-story home.

Thieves smashed the window to break in and then gutted the property for its copper pipes — a crime that has spread across the United States as the economy slows and foreclosed homes stand empty and vulnerable.

“They cut it here and then pulled it right out of the wall,” real estate broker Marc Charney said, pointing to broken plaster near a wrecked baseboard heating system in the 2,774-sq-ft home in Brockton, Massachusetts, a working-class city of 94,304 people.

Similar stories are unfolding nationwide as a glut of home foreclosures coincides with record highs in the price of copper and other metals.

Read the whole thing. Then go read Kunstler’s weekly prognosis. The bad stuff is just starting. Last night we had an unpleasant discussion at the dinner table about how one of our children had better learn to like pasta, because soon we’ll probably be lucky to have it every night for supper.