The Repo Economy

Matthew Teague checks in on the recession:

Indicators of economic hardship can come from strange places: the relative price of a Big Mac; an increase in mosquito bites due to foreclosed swimming pools; and, of course, repos. In 2007 auto repossessions in the U.S. rose to a 10-year high of about 1.5 million. In 2008 the total jumped to 1.67 million. By 2009 it had reached almost 2 million, the worst in a generation. The number dropped to 1.3 million in 2011, in part because repossessions depend on people buying cars in the first place.

Repo man Ken Cage and his team "make a living taking from the rich" instead of those at the bottom:

Some of their repos are straight out of Magnum, P.I. Craft once tried to grab a yacht in the Bahamas, but needed to lure the owner off first. The yachtsman had a reputation as a womanizer, so Craft paid a girl at the marina bar $100 to entice the owner in for a drink. He sprang at the chance, then Craft slipped onboard and took his boat. Later, when the angered man and his wife came to IRG’s office to claim personal property from the yacht, Craft handed over various itemized lingerie and sexual paraphernalia. "Stop!" the man said, as his wife glared at another woman’s underwear. "That’s enough."