We often talk about the disconnect between what the heart wants and what the brain tells us to do. It has always been something that I had recognized, but was able to reconcile most of the time.
Do you ever have your brain battle your morality? It is definitely something I struggle with. Logic tells me that A should not be, while my morals/ conscience tells me that it is not “right” to go with logic.
The latest dilemma comes from a piece of news I read about evictions. You might know that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had been announced earlier in the year that evictions were banned. Now, as we approach the end of the year, the topic is back on the table. Can we start evicting people?
To begin, I have to say that I am very thankful not to have been economically affected by the virus. I still have my job and so does my partner. We are definitely blessed. Even though I know of some people who have been let go, the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances are still working where they used to before the pandemic. Not being able to work can have devastating effects on our lives, our body, and our soul. Combine that with a pandemic, and you have the potential for a truly dire situation.
Another thing that I realize and keep in mind is that not everyone is able to save money even during their working time. We all have different circumstances. However, I always urge people to plan for the unexpected. You might not predict when the disaster will strike, or what it is going to be, but you can try and prepare for it as much as you can. Trust me – the unexpected WILL happen. You might not have believed me a year ago, but I hope it is much easier for you to believe in that now. If you are working (or collecting governmental funds), there is always some way to save some. It does not have to be a lot of money every single week. But, even a little here and there will make a difference when you ned it.
With all that being said, let us tackle the moral quandary from the article I linked above. First of all, while some people might think that the eviction ban was put in place out of mercy for those that are unable to pay due to loss of income, the real reason is a health concern.
What that means is that they are worried that some people that are quarantining, after being evicted, will go and infected others with the virus. Moreover, they are concerned that these people would end up in crowded places, where the likelihood of contracting the virus is greater than at their private home.
When I first heard about the eviction ban at the beginning of the year, back when I thought the virus would “go away” within a couple of weeks, I thought it was a great idea. There is no denying that COVID-19 caused a lot of chaos. I thought that giving people, who have been directly impacted (loss of income, sick with the virus), some time to figure things out was a good idea. However, I am not so sure anymore.
Apparently, all you had to do was to print out a form and sign it, stating you were unable to pay rent and that you have sought help from the government. You might call me jaded, but the reality is that I might have some experience you are lacking. Throughout the years, I have witnessed people wheeling and dealing as much as they could to milk the government, to not pay their dues, etc. All while they HAD the money. So, you cannot fault me for thinking that there are people who HAVE the money to pay their rents, but did not/ will not due to this CDC ban.
A woman in Texas claimed she could not pay rent but now lives in a hotel while she is trying to prove that her eviction was illegal. I do not know about your area, but where I live, the hotels are more expensive than rent. I did not know whether I should laugh or cry when I read that she called the FBI (and put it on speaker so her kids could hear that she had tried everything) for help. She believes she was wrongfully evicted.
After briefly sympathizing with those who are unable to pay rent, I looked towards the other side – owners of those apartments. If it is OK not to pay rent at this time, it means that it is OK for the owners to miss out on the money they otherwise would be collecting. Say Bob is renting an apartment from Bruce and Co. Bob filled out all the necessary forms, submitted them to Bruce, and now is watching TV with his feet up in his temporarily free apartment. Bruce, on the other hand, still has to pay the maintenance guys for fixing things in Bob’s apartment. This is a very simplistic look at this, but you should be able to catch my drift. Why are we denying Bruce and Co. the income? Why is Bob protected? If I owned an apartment complex, I would not have been happy. Not because I could not extort Bob for the money that he owes me, but because I, too, have basic needs that need to be satisfied, but cannot, without the income from renters.
How can the government (or a health agency) tell me that I cannot make money? Some states are suing because of that very question. Proceedings are not the same in all states. Some comply with the “ban,” while others do not.
Aside from the owners of the properties, I also think of all the people who struggle, but still pay their rent. They, too, could fill out a form and be protected. But that is not how they roll. They choose to do what is right and pay the dues where they are owed.
What many might not realize is that the bans/ moratoriums do not mean that your rent is forgiven. Officials urge people to pay as much as they can. But what will happen once all these bans expire? People will still end up being evicted. If they could not pay $1,000 this month, how will they be able to pay $5,000 five months from now?
So, how do you resolve the moral quandary in such a situation? Do you sympathize with the renters, or are you also able to see beyond?
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