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subprime occupy middle class mortgage crisis
Lambs to the Slaughter (Subprime Scandal)
Acrylic spraypaint on canvas
48"H x 36"W
2015
$8000

The central figure in the painting is Vivien from Edward Burne-Jones artwork The Beguiling of Merlin (1872-77), a painting described as one capturing a tale of power, entrapment and betrayal. There are many such intertwining tales that inevitably led to the US financial crisis of 2008. The subprime scandal, however, encompasses all of those attributes best. Mortgage originators used their power to pursue predatory lending practices, then entrapped higher-risk borrowers (including undocumented immigrants) through “innovative” high-risk loan products (2/28 adjustable-rate mortgages, interest-only loans, and the notorious negative amortization loans where a borrower’s indebtedness went up each month), and ultimately betrayed their own financial industry by bundling those high-risk securities and selling them as non-guaranteed bond investments. Note that The Federal Reserve could have supervised these mortgage originators, but chose not to. Hard working lower- and middle-class workers are depicted in this painting as lambs awaiting slaughter, standing in line to sign up for “innovative” mortgage products that would help them, they believed, realize part of their American dream.