In 13 states, it’s legal for governments to steal your home equity.

Since the only posts on my blog that are worth reading are the ones I reblog from The Curmudgeon (see, I decided I had better get with it and repost another such post before I lose all my readers. 😉

Note that The Curmudgeon did not link directly to the articles he cited. Since I found his post rather shocking I found it difficult to believe. So, I decided to investigate. Here some links.



There does not seem to be much interest in this subject by the Crony Capitalist news media. So information is difficult to find. This Google query turned up some interesting stuff.

However, as I don’t trust Google, I also tried

Finally got the hit I wanted.


This problem is more widespread than just Michigan, and it is a good indication of why we should not trust government to do the right thing. As good citizens, we must hold the people who rule us accountable.

The Curmudgeon

I compiled this post from a variety of sources: Foundation for Economic Education (, Pacific Legal Foundation (, (Mt.), and SSRN.COM.

Uri Rafaeli’s story isheartbreaking to read: Uri is a retired 83-year-old Michigan engineer, and in 2014 he accidentally underpaid, by $8.41, the property taxes on a home he rented out. But instead of notifying him of the issue and helping him, his county government seized the home and sold it at auction for $24,500. The county (Wayne) then kept all the proceeds—leaving Rafaeli with nothing.

There is a word for this practice: theft. And Wayne County is not the only one winning big on the minuscule mistakes of the little guy: it’s every county in Michigan and in a dozen other states, as well. In the case of Erica Perez, whose home was taken and sold for $108,000 to satisfy a debt of $144, the notice was…

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13 thoughts on “In 13 states, it’s legal for governments to steal your home equity.

  1. Civil forfeiture is “fun”, too. I have seen repeated reports that the tool created to fight drug barons has by now been turned into a police funding operation.

  2. Ha! You write great posts, Tom. Always interesting. I’m quite fond of Curmudgeon too, and I’m pleased about the reblog.

    It’s even worst than this, outright theft of equity by the Gov is a huge problem. Property taxes, environmental liens, Medicaid recapture, you name it, they’ve got a way to take it from you. I know in my state we were really up in arms over Obamacare because it was mandated. Well, if you qualify for Medicaid or a subsidy, our state always pays themselves back with the equity on your home, but not many people understood that. Those who did understand had to do crazy things to protect their property, like get divorced, or avoid insurance entirely and pay fines. After a few years, lawsuits, and some public outcry, the state changed it somewhat. It’s not fixed, but it’s vastly improved.

    1. @IB

      Thanks for the compliment. It may be flattery, but coming from such an accomplished blogger, I very much enjoy it.

      The most gullible people are the people who are willing to be convinced they can have something for nothing. How are gullible people most easily convinced? Con-artists tell them, “you deserve it”.

      Demagogic politicians usually make the argument that the “rich” get rich by stealing from the poor. Therefore, government needs to redistribute the wealth back from the “rich” to the “poor”.

      What is the problem with being so gullible?

      Government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. — Gerald R. Ford

      Leaders who promise to give us our “rights” empower themselves, not us. That is why we are better off with leaders who seek only to protect our God-given rights.

      The politicians who promise to give us our “rights” may begin with good intentions, but the power they accumulate is inevitably abused. Hence history always records the conduct of politicians who promise to give us our “rights” as that appropriate only to lying, power-mad thieves.

  3. I rarely disagree with your perspective Tom, but heartily do so in the case of your blog not being worth reading aside from reblogs. That is most certainly not true! 🙂

    Curmudgeon’s post is a good one indeed and quite frightening. I think most of us have no idea just how much power and control federal, state and local governments have over us. It’s depressing to ponder about, but our only weapon is knowledge of what’s going on so thank you for pointing us to this latest outrage.

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you for the support.

      There are some very good blogs out there, including your own. You don’t write frequently, but you do write thoughtfully.

  4. Tom,


    Even more amazing is that most people are probably not aware of these government powers because investigative reporting by news sources are either too busy reporting criminal activities by citizens instead of government.

    In ancient times a despot King had the power to do this kind of things and if someone objected or complained, they would be hanged in public.

    However, in the USA this could never happen because we got rid of Kings and replaced them with a just governing body and judges who protects its citizens against despots who don’t pay their just taxes?

    Curmudgeon and you are lucky we don’t have Kings anymore or you guys would not be still be “hanging around” complaining right now about losing a home for not paying $8.31 in taxes.

    What is even more amazing is that in the USA, there are “wealthy” people who buy the properties and profit are protected from being identified by reporters because they hide behind Trusts Laws which prevent them from being tared and feathered anymore either.

    People in the USA used to believe “amazing” Christian Bible beliefs.

    Proverbs 11:24-25– “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 19:17– “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.”

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

        1. I’m starting to think the solution is to make Congressional service similar to jury duty.
          Citizens are drawn from the public at random (with some reasonable and prudent disqualifying exceptions), and serve for two years. Think the average Congress person works 60 days a year so this could even be working into their schedules.

          There are some drawbacks to this plan, but all in all I don’t think the results could be worse than what we have now, and it would solve a lot of problems.

  5. Here in Colorado there is a moratorium on tax hikes over a certain amount (can’t remember the specific details, though I can look it up if anyone is interested).
    The politicians have been trying to override that law for years, via the election process.
    It’s very bait and switch, legalese type tactics.
    The last ballot here in Colorado there was the option to vote for funding for schools.

    But that option was worded in such a way (after sorting through the very complicated language) as to override the moratorium on all other tax increases, so essentially a vote for that funding was a vote for carte blanche tax hikes in general.

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