Rick Schroeder: Many Mansions is akin to Bailey Building and Loan
his editorial originally appeared in the Ventura County Star.
Each Christmas season, millions of Americans watch a movie about affordable housing. They think it’s a movie about a would-be angel who helps a man see what life would be like if he had never been born. The man — George Bailey — learns that it really has been a wonderful life and Clarence gets his angel wings.
It’s a feel-good movie, but at its core, this is a movie about affordable housing. George Bailey and his father run the Bailey Building and Loan, which provides loans so middle class people can afford to live in a safe decent home. In the scenes in which George “was never born,” he finds that Bailey Park has been replaced by a place called Pottersville, a series of ramshackle houses not fit for humans. Indeed, because there is no affordable housing, the fabric of the entire community is different. There is crime, alcohol abuse and unemployment.