Most every American has the dream of owning a house and property. Whether it’s a cabin in the country, an urban loft in a cosmopolitan part of town, or simply a suburban house surrounded by a white picket fence, the dream represents a sense of freedom and independence where an individual is king or queen of their domain.
The ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition provides people who are down on their luck with the opportunity of having their home (typically a home in a dilapidated state) turned into something extravagant. As noble as the purpose of creating a more luxurious home is, the owners are typically left with a home they can no longer afford. Because the people selected for this show typically have very limited means for affording even their dilapidated homes, the final product can sometimes stretch their financial means beyond their max.
I equate this dilemma to a person needing a new wheelchair. This person can still get around, but his wheelchair is getting rundown and definitely could be replaced. So instead of replacing the wheelchair that is serviceable and makes getting around easier, this person is given a new Cadillac Escalade. The Escalade definitely allows this person to get around more in style, it comes with additional costs that didn’t exist with the wheelchair such as license fees, maintenance costs, and insurance.
There’s a balance between solving problems and creating more problems. As I respect the ambitions of the show to create better living accommodations for these people, but bigger doesn’t equal better – better equals better. And it’s not just a problem that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is going through – our entire country is going through the same issue. The show just recently announced their plans for downsizing their future homes.
I have yet to meet a person that enjoys paying more property taxes, higher fees on utility costs, and spending more time cleaning a larger space. The American Dream is about freedom and independence, not being subservient to an inanimate object that at best conveys the illusion of self worth.