Tag Archives: greed in Dickinson North Dakota

A Dickinson Resident’s Justification For The Greed In Dickinson, North Dakota

I finally heard from a Dickinson resident’s own mouth, the justification for the greed in Dickinson, North Dakota.

I have known an older retired gentleman in Dickinson for a year.  He and his family are from Dickinson.  He owns several properties in Dickinson through inheritance.

This older gentleman discusses religion with me most of the times that I see him.  I don’t mind discussing religion with people, though I am beginning to change my mind.  I am beginning to see that often times when people are eager to discuss religion, they are interested in trying to persuade you to their way of thinking.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have tried to tell me that when someone dies, they are dead in the ground until the resurrection.  Other Christians say that when someone dies, they go to heaven.  Other Christians say that you can’t go to heaven unless you are Baptized.  Some Christians say that the Sabbath day must be observed on Saturday instead of Sunday.  The people expressing their opinions on religion, are often so certain that they are right, that they feel they need to convince everyone else to believe what they believe.

I listen to the older gentleman from Dickinson, who tries to point out a truer interpretation of some of the passages from the Bible, because I don’t mind hearing what he has to say.  The past several times that I have met him, I have tried to discuss what he thinks about how Dickinson has treated out of state workers.  He recognizes that there was a lot of greed in Dickinson, and that the Bible addresses greed over and over again.  I think that he even said that the term “usury” in the Bible, does not just mean lending out money at interest, it means any manner of taking advantage of someone else, which is what I believe.

However, it was very illuminating when this older gentleman began to express the view, “These people that came here from out of state that aren’t doing well, you can kind of tell that they have brought it on themselves, can’t you?  By the way they were living, the things that they were doing, they weren’t right with God.”

At this point, what I was thinking in my mind, was that in 2009, the economy got bad in the area of Idaho where I lived.  The young male workers, and the older male workers who had wives and children, thought that they could support themselves and their families better by going to work out of state.  The economy got bad in many places in the United States in about 2007.  That is why you see vehicle license plates from Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho in Dickinson, North Dakota.

The older gentleman from Dickinson continued to explain himself, he had the belief that all of the out of state workers that came to work in North Dakota, must have done something wrong in order to deserve their financial difficulties.  I said, “Don’t you remember the Book of Job in the Bible?  Job was a good person in the sight of God, though he allowed Satan to test Job with every type of torment and calamity.  The human witnesses to Job’s problems, believed that Job must have done something wrong to deserve all the bad things that happened to him.  But this was not the case.”  I said to the older gentleman from Dickinson, “I thought that that was the point of the Book of Job, to let people know that you can’t assume that bad things happen to someone because they must have done something wrong.”

I gave some examples of people that I have known for a many years, who are honest, hardworking, moral, and ethical, yet their life has been a constant struggle and difficult since childhood.  Other people that I have known for many years, are less hardworking, lazy, selfish, and inconsiderate, yet they have had easy lives since childhood.  What kind of life you get, is not based on how “good” a person you are.

I said that it was very illuminating what this Dickinson resident elaborated on.  Because he and his family were doing well financially, he and his family were righteous and good, whereas these people who came from out of state to work in Dickinson who were not doing well financially, must have been living immorally.

The only difference that I am aware of, is that there was an Oil Boom in North Dakota, instead of Arizona, Utah, or Idaho.  If it would have been the other way around, North Dakotans might have had to travel out of state to go work in Idaho.

What I finally heard from a Dickinson resident’s own mouth, was why they felt they were entitled and justified in treating out of state workers so badly in many different ways.  To take advantage of them so egregiously in the price of housing.  To disrespect and mistreat the workers with experience, training, and education.  These people from out of state were not “good” people, they must have done something wrong in order to cause the financial need for them to have to go work out of state.

Causes And Effects Of Excessive Land Greed In Dickinson, North Dakota

The entire population in the state of North Dakota is currently less than 800,000 people.  There is more vacant and unoccupied land in North Dakota than just about any other state.  The land in North Dakota is mostly barren and desolate.  There are very few trees, rivers, or mountains, it is mostly grassland.  But I have never before seen people so excessively greedy about land as around here in Dickinson, North Dakota.

One of the few explanations that I can determine why the people around Dickinson have been so greedy about land is that nothing else really exists here in North Dakota.  They could have been greedy about coal, oil, horses, or cattle, but that pretty much involves land too.  Another explanation that I have written about before, was that the people around Dickinson never envisioned becoming successful through ingenuity, innovation, or creativity, but just by getting more land.

If you ever watched the old West television shows like Gunsmoke, Rawhide, High Chaparral, The Virginian, and The Rifleman, there were always episodes where some insane old fucker was trying to shoot at people who came near his land, bought the adjacent land, were thinking about buying the adjacent land, or he was trying to kill his neighbor in order to take his land.  These insane old fuckers that were trying to shoot people are actually more rational and less mentally ill than the land owners in and around Dickinson.

The land outside of Dickinson is worth about $1,000 per acre without the mineral rights, because there is just so much vacant land in North Dakota.  Outside the Oil Boom areas in North Dakota, you can still buy land for $1,000 per acre.  If the Oil Boom does not come back to western North Dakota within the next five years, land owners outside of Dickinson will only be able to sell their land for about $1,000 per acre.

However, during the Oil Boom, there were many land owners in and around Dickinson that would not sell vacant barren grassland for even $10,000 to $70,000 per acre, without the mineral rights.  In the other states where I lived, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, these states grew, development extended out from the towns into the wetlands, orange groves, farms, prairies, and deserts.

In every other state where I have lived, when a town or city needed to grow, it would grow outward.  The least expensive new housing would be the apartments, next least expensive the town homes, third least expensive would be manufactured homes on small private owned 1/4 acre lots, then conventional framed houses on 1/4 acre lots, then manufactured homes and conventional homes on five acre lots, and so on.  This outward growth did not happen in the Dickinson area because of the excessive greed of the land owners.

Yes, apartments did get built just on the outskirts of Dickinson.  This is because the developers went ahead and paid more than $100,000 per acre in order to construct three-story apartment buildings, side to side, and back to back, with the intention of renting each unit for $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

Just about every working adult realizes that for $2,000 per month, for that kind of money, that would be like paying the mortgage on a $250,000 house.  Why would you want to pay $2,000 per month to live in an apartment, $24,000 per year, and not own anything?

Beyond the new apartments, why weren’t there new manufactured homes on 1/4 acre lots, and new conventional homes on 1/4 acre lots.  There were some, but not that many.  A manufactured home costs about $80,000, a 1/4 acre lot in a development should cost about $30,000 with the utilities completed, that’s a cost of $110,000, couldn’t a developer sell that for $150,000?  There would have been about one thousand individuals and companies trying to get one of those, because the mortgages would have been about $1,100 to $1,200 per month, much less than rent, and you would own the home and the land.

The reason that affordable home ownership did not occur in and around Dickinson during the Oil Boom, was because the land owners would not sell land at all, thinking that the land was much too valuable to sell for any reason, or because they would not sell land for less than $100,000 per acre.  We are talking about vacant, unoccupied, desolate, grassland that stretches hundreds of miles in every direction.

It has not been talked about or written about explicitly, that all of the workers who came to western North Dakota to work during the Oil Boom made up their minds right away that they would never be able to live here permanently due to the extremely high cost of housing.  But this high cost of housing was completely, completely created by the excessive greed of the land owners in and around Dickinson.  No where else in the United States is there such an abundance of vacant, unoccupied, barren, desolate grassland stretching for hundreds of miles.

Because of the excessive greed of the land owners in and around Dickinson, not only have most of the out of state workers left, more will continue to leave, and they will never want to come back.  Some merchants, property owners, and business owners made a lot of money for about seven years.  But what good will that do these merchants, property owners, and business owners when they can’t make any money for the next five, ten, twenty years because they drove all the new residents away?

That property that all the land owners would not sell for less than $100,000 per acre, the tax appraiser will asses high taxes for the next five years at least.  By the time the land owners in and around Dickinson have to go to the nursing home, their land will be appraised at about $1,000 per acre.  It will cost them about 100 of those acres per year in the nursing home.  That will be reaping what they have sown.

Growth In Florida, Texas, Arizona, And Exodus In Western North Dakota

I grew up in Florida, and lived there until I was 32.  My first memories of towns like my small hometown, Orlando, and Tampa, before I was eight years old, by the time I graduated from high school, all these towns had doubled in population.  By the time that I left Florida when I was 32, the populations of these towns had doubled again.

Florida was not a perfect place.  It was hot and often nearly 100% humidity.  The mosquitos were very bad.  Traffic became very bad.  People’s income was lower than income in northeastern states.  But people kept moving there.  It was possible for people of all education levels, skill sets, and background to find employment and housing.  The continual migration of people to Florida made the economy grow:  new schools, new hospitals, new roads, new housing developments, new shopping malls.  Development kept pushing out into the farm land and the swamps.

Everything that I just wrote above about Florida, happened in Texas and Arizona.  Life was not perfect in Texas and Arizona, it was hot, sometimes 118 degrees Fahrenheit during the day for weeks at a time.  There was a lot of dry desert.  But people kept moving to Texas and Arizona.  People of all education levels, skill sets, and background could find employment and housing.  The continual migration of people into Texas and Arizona made their economies grow: new schools, new hospitals, new businesses, new roads, new shopping malls, new housing developments.  The development just kept pushing out into the desert.

About 100,000 workers moved to North Dakota during this past oil boom. To Williston, Minot, Watford City, Killdeer, and Dickinson.  Life was not perfect in North Dakota, it got very cold, and there was not a lot of things to do.  But 80% to 90% of these workers didn’t plan on staying in North Dakota because the price of housing was just too high.  The price of housing increased by 400% within about three years of the beginning of the oil boom.  The workers could barely afford the cost of housing working at a high paying oil field job and working a lot of overtime.  How could they afford to stay in North Dakota with an oil field slow down?  They couldn’t.

You can drive around Dickinson and Watford City and look at the newly completed apartment communities.  Many of these new apartment communities are at 40% occupancy, even at recently greatly reduced rents.  Most of the oil field workers left North Dakota.

Florida, Texas, and Arizona could have killed their growth too if they would have raised housing prices 400%.  All of the retail merchants in western North Dakota: tire stores, hardware stores, lumber yards, clothing stores, grocery stores, furniture stores, appliance stores, car dealers, motorcycle dealers, and all of the service businesses: barbers, beauticians, mechanics, insurance agents, attorneys, chiropractors, printers, and all of the restaurants have the realtors, property managers, property investors, and property developers to blame for gouging the workers so bad that 80% to 90% of them left North Dakota, they couldn’t afford to stay here.

The enormous greed of the realtors, property managers, property investors, and property developers was like “Killing The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs.”  The goose laid one golden egg per day, but the owner of the goose was so greedy, he cut the goose open to try to get all the gold right away, but this killed the goose, and there were no more golden eggs.

Reasons Why I Dislike Property Investors, Property Managers, and Real Estate Agents

In many of my blog posts I have expressed anger towards property investors, property managers, and real estate agents in Dickinson.  I want to explain this.

People need to have food, clothing, and shelter.  These are necessities that people must have.  I believe very strongly that it is wrong for individuals to try to buy up necessities intended for other people, so that they can then overcharge for these necessities.  In other words, I think that it is absolutely wrong for anyone to come up with any type of scheme to buy up, control, inflate the price, and over charge for basic necessities that would normally be inexpensive if it weren’t for greedy people trying to manipulate supply, availability, and prices.

Just because a person can conceive to do something, and then go do it, does not mean that it is right.

During the 1700s and 1800s, people went over to Africa and caught blacks, sold them as slaves, and then forced them to work for free.  In the United States we already argued, fought, and had a Civil War over this.  Now, 99% of people believe that you can’t catch other people and own them.  But, if there wasn’t a law against it, people would still be trying to catch and own slaves in the United States, because some people are so greedy, they disregard right and wrong, moral and immoral, just and unjust, like the Property Investors, Property Managers, and Real Estate Agents here in Dickinson.

In the 1800s and early 1900s, children as young as 8,9,10 years old, worked in factories, twelve hours a day, seven days a week, in dangerous and unsafe conditions.  To many business owners, there was nothing wrong with this, that is why they did it in the first place.  Even to this day, business owners like to say, “Supply and demand, free markets, let the market place decide, capitalism.”  Letting business people do what they want, resulted in slavery, child labor in factories, 12 hour work days every day of the week, unsafe and dangerous work conditions.  If it weren’t for the Emancipation Proclamation, Child Labor Laws, Federal Wage Laws, and OHSA, all of the things that I just mentioned would be still going on today.

The scheme has also occurred to greedy business people, that they could buy up necessities, so that these necessities would not be available to other people, and then they could overcharge for them.  What would happen if wealthy business people bought all of the food, all of it?  What if the wealthy business people then decided that you should pay $2.50 for a can of beans, carrots, or peas?  This may happen one day, because there is no law against it.  But just because someone can do it, does that make it right?

In the beginning of the United States, single family homes were built for single families to live in.  Probably early on, some single family homes were occupied by renters.  Renters are easily subject to being taken advantage of.  In some areas of the United States, single family homes were occupied by share-croppers, which was even more perilous than being a renter.  Being at the mercy of someone else for your housing, existed from the beginning of the United States.  However, after World War II, people were nearly free from other people controlling their housing, and we could have stayed on that course, had it not been for greedy people getting involved.

After World War II, due to advances in manufacturing, technology, engineering, agriculture, and energy transmission, the standard of living in the United States was the highest it had ever been.  A husband could work outside the home for eight hours a day, forty hours per week, and he could afford to purchase a home for his family to live in, buy furniture, buy an automobile, and pay for all of his family’s necessities.  The same kind of business minds that brought us slavery and 10 year old children working in factories, went to work on how to take advantage of people.

Business people began to think, why not buy single family homes as an investment?  Everybody needs a place to live, why not buy single family homes, and charge more for rent than the mortgage payment?  As long as you can rent out a single family home for more than the mortgage, property tax, and insurance, it pays for itself, and in fifteen or twenty years, it will be completely paid for.  If this is the  case, why not buy ten single family homes, rent them out, and in twenty years, you will have ten homes that are completely paid off?  One reason not to do it, would be that you are driving up the single family home prices, and preventing ten families from owning their own home.

There is a saying, banks loan money to people who can prove that they do not need a loan.  There are people that have high incomes, that are able to pay for all of their necessities and still have a great deal of money left over each month.  They can prove to the bank that their own home is paid for, they have a large amount of money in savings, and that they have several thousand dollars of extra money each month after their necessities are paid for.  The bank is happy to give them a mortgage on several single family homes, they can easily afford the monthly payments, plus, they are just going to rent them out anyway, for more than the monthly mortgage.

A young husband and wife, with no savings, and not very good employment, is not able to make a down payment on a home or be approved for a mortgage.  This same husband and wife, as they become older, if they have had a period of unemployment or medical problems, they may still be unable to make a down payment on a home or be approved for a mortgage.  This same husband and wife in old age, have spent all of their earnings raising children and helping other family members, they may still be unable to make a down payment on a home or be approved for a mortgage.

I read a real estate investment book that was published in the 1980s.  In this book, there were charts of single family home prices in cities like Orlando, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Omaha in the late 1970s.  The charts showed that in these cities, the average single family home price was approximately twice the average annual salary of an individual in that city.  The charts also showed that the monthly rents on the average single family home were slightly higher than the monthly mortgage amounts. So if you were a real estate investor, it made sense to buy as many single family homes in those cities as you could find.  This real estate investment book also pointed out, that as time passed, you would have more and more equity in your single family rental homes, and could use this equity to borrow against in order buy more single family homes.  Also, as time went by, prices on everything go up, if your mortgage payment on your single family rental home stays the same, and you increase your rent every year, your “positive cash flow” on each home increases every year.

When I was reading this real estate investment book that was published in the 1980s, it was 2005.  At that time, the average single family home price in places like Orlando and Phoenix was now three to four times the average annual salary of an individual in that city.  Why did the price of single family homes go from twice the annual salary of an individual to three to four times the annual salary of an individual?  I will tell you why, because all of the real estate agents and property investors that were fucking around in the single family home market trying to get rich, that made the price of single family homes double.

An ordinary single family home, is just a place for a working husband and wife to have kids and raise a family, in an ordinary neighborhood, where other working people are doing the same thing.  There shouldn’t be any reason for local attorneys, doctors, and dentists, to be trying to get their hands on as many ordinary single family homes as they can.  There shouldn’t be people in New York City and Los Angeles trying to buy as many single family homes as they can in Omaha, but that is what is happening.  The real estate agents take it upon themselves, to bump the listing prices on $100,000 homes in Omaha, up to $115,000, because the real estate investors in New York City and Los Angeles will still buy them, they don’t know, they don’t care that much either.  The working husband and wife who finally saved up enough to afford the down payment on a $100,000 home, ask,”What the fuck just happened?”, when the price goes up to $115,000 the next week.

Real estate agents like to help inflate the price of housing, because their commissions are based on the price of housing sold.  Real estate agents also like to help inflate the price of housing, so that they can tell potential buyers that they had better buy now, prices are climbing, if you buy now, your house will be worth 10% more in two years.  The prices of single family homes went up and up because there were so many real estate investors trying to buy multiple single family homes.  The real estate investors did not really care that the single family home prices were quickly rising, they thought that this was good, they would have equity in their homes more quickly, they went ahead and paid the high prices.  Ordinary working people that were desperate to own a home, went ahead and entered into huge mortgages that they could barely afford to pay, ridiculously high mortgages based on their modest incomes.

The housing crash came.  Many ordinary working people could not afford their ridiculously high mortgages on their single family home.  Due to slumping employment, many ordinary working people could not afford high rent.  Real estate investors that owned multiple single family homes, had some tenants move out, some tenants get behind on rent, some tenants negotiate lower rents.  Real estate investors came to be unable to afford the mortgage payments on multiple rental houses when tenants moved out or failed to pay rent.

Real estate investors never should have been involved in single family homes that were intended for ordinary working people to live in and raise families.  Real estate agents were willing accomplices in making single family homes unaffordable to ordinary working people.

If rich business people could do it, they would buy up all the food, all of it, and not let you have it unless you paid two or three times what it cost them.  They don’t care how much suffering they cause.

The real estate investors, property managers, and real estate agents in Dickinson did not care how much hardship they caused people in Dickinson during this past oil boom.  Rents on homes and apartments were increased to four or five times what they had been before the oil boom.  Wealthy people, people who owned property, real estate agents, property investors, property managers, they all lobbied and made sure that no man-camp or trailer park was built in Stark County, in order to ensure that there continued to be a shortage of housing, and no inexpensive housing alternatives.  I knew many people who slept in their vehicles, in the cold, in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015 because they could not afford to rent an apartment in Dickinson.  This is also why there is not a homeless shelter in Dickinson, the people with money in Dickinson didn’t want people to have any place to stay if they couldn’t afford to pay the extremely high rents.