The National Association of Realtors is raising members’ dues by $40 a year in spite of strong membership opposition. Most of us can scrape up an extra $40. It isn’t that much money — not even enough to fill the gas tank — yet the increase feels like a slap in the face.

The funds are going to be used for political lobbying. It would be hard for any organization that has as many members as NAR does to please all of the members, but often I disagree with its politics.

The association is unique in that it doesn’t have to please any of its members. Membership is mandatory in many market areas for agents who want to be affiliated with a major brokerage and have their listings appear on a Realtor-operated multiple listing service.

The reason the dues increase is unacceptable to so many is because we are struggling in a down housing market and have been for years. We have worked hard for years, only to see our earnings decline every year with home values.

Many of us never saw the crash coming, and apparently neither did NAR, which I personally find alarming. The crisis isn’t close to over, but we just walk around with smiles on our faces and make hopeful statements about the future because that is what we are supposed to do.

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