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the only color that really matters is green


Given his great track record of donating to Democrats and pointing out that the tax code is impossibly fucked, we liberal types generally dig Warren Buffett. He's like a reasonably cool, skull-crushingly rich great-uncle. We like to think he'd show up at Christmas with outrageously extravagant gifts that are somehow still appropriate rather than weird and over-reaching. He says cool things like "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning," and maybe he'd say that at the Christmas table and shut your racist uncle the fuck up.

However, when constructing this fantasy, we forgot one key thing: The super-rich do not stay super-rich by being nice ethical people. Just take a look at Clayton Homes, Buffett's mobile home empire, which does really cool things like engaging in extra-double-super predatory lending and also too being very racist.

In minority communities, Clayton’s grip on the lending market verges on monopolistic: Last year, according to federal data, Clayton made 72 percent of the loans to black people who financed mobile homes.

The company’s in-house lender, Vanderbilt Mortgage, charges minority borrowers substantially higher rates, on average, than their white counterparts. In fact, federal data shows that Vanderbilt typically charges black people who make over $75,000 a year slightly more than white people who make only $35,000.

None of those things sound very nice! In fact, they are pretty much the very opposite of nice. Also, isn't predatory lending so 2006? This is like retro chic terrible. It's also literally illegal, as fair housing laws say that targeting and overcharging minorities is a no-no. And it looks like Clayton didn't stop at predatory lending. Naw, they kicked it next level and decided to dick over non-English-speaking people too, just to spread the awfulness around a bit.

Spanish-language ads in Texas promise Latino immigrants without Social Security numbers that they, too, can enjoy the American dream of homeownership.

As it drew in more Latino customers, however, Clayton’s practice was not to provide Spanish-speaking customers with translated loan documents or interpreters at closing — even after employees at headquarters complained that too many customers were being misled about loan terms.

Huh. It's almost like, instead of being Cool Rich Great-Uncle, Warren Buffett is actually pretty much just your run-of-the-mill racist uncle. And Clayton Homes isn't just racist in its lending practices, nosiree. It has made an effort to be as holistically and globally racist as possible by employing a bunch of straight-up racists too.

One of Ashley’s subordinates called him a “coon,” and he fired her, he said. To his dismay, a regional manager overruled the decision and warned Ashley not to be so hasty, he said. [...]

[In a different incident] McNeal said he complained about being called “Sambo” and “Buckwheat,” but managers defended his colleagues, saying they were “having fun” with him. Two of McNeal’s white co-workers backed up his complaints to managers, according to legal filings as mentioned in this casinos4mob.com casino mobile site. They, too, reported being fired.

So Clayton Homes basically does terrible things and is a terrible place to work. Hooray! This is indeed a heartwarming holiday story!

Seriously, as much as we dig getting money from wealthy people over here on the liberal side, we really really need to remind you that what we should be doing is planning the revolution and figuring out who should be first up against the wall.

[Seattle Times]

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