John Overmyer

La justice pour certains

NEW YORK – La débâcle des prêts hypothécaires aux Etats-Unis a soulevé de profondes questions autour du principe « d’autorité de la loi », cette idée universellement admise comme le symbole même d’une société civilisée et avancée. L’autorité de la loi est supposée protéger le faible contre le fort, et faire en sorte que chacun soit traité équitablement. Aux Etats-Unis, à la veille de la crise des prêts hypothécaires à haut risque, elle n’a fait ni l’un ni l’autre. 

L’un des aspects de l’autorité de la loi concerne la sécurité du droit de propriété – si vous n’avez pas terminé de rembourser votre crédit immobilier, par exemple, la banque ne peut pas vous la reprendre sans suivre un processus légal défini. Mais ces derniers temps, les Américains peuvent témoigner de plusieurs cas dans lesquels des individus se sont vus dépossédés de leur maison alors même qu’ils n’avaient aucune dette.

Pour certaines banques, ce ne sont que des dommages collatéraux : des millions d’Américains – en plus des quelques quatre millions estimés en 2008 et en 2009 – doivent encore être dépossédés de leur bien. Le rythme des saisies serait en augmentation si le gouvernement n’était pas intervenu. Des impasses procédurales, une insuffisance de documentation et la fraude rampante associés à l’empressement des banques à distribuer des millions de prêts à risque lors de la bulle spéculative de l’immobilier, ont cependant passablement compliqué le travail d’assainissement rendu nécessaire suite à la débâcle.  

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