Re: Why the Financial Meltdown? by Victor Gerhard

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Victor:
The problem with your rant, which was a fine rant BTW, is some facts.
From where I am located geographically, the problem was not a few minority mortgages, but a lot of jumbo mortgages for McMansions a long way out into the Ex-urban areas. Yes, every city has its wealthy with their huge homes. But 7000 sq ft homes with 14 ft high entrance ways being built by the dozens on a several dozen 'tracts'? And building these McMansions with a 50 minute drive (one way) to work.
Plus, ordinary homes that were built for $45,000 USD for labor and material added to the cost of the land, were re-mortgaged and re- mortgaged to the limit of the housing bubble and the owners paying off Credit Card debt and going on vacations with the excess money; A $65,000 original home purchase price becomes a $250,000.00 mortgage.
And now add downsizing, loss of manufacturing jobs, and just plain unemployment, and BINGO there goes the ability to pay the JUMBO mortgage.
Please re-read your post, Victor, what you wrote was basically, hard working blue collar workers should never have any hope of owning a home in USA, because there is too much risk of them losing their jobs to foreign workers at a lower pay. The same to most small business owners since statistically speaking 3 out 5 small business fail within a few years.
You should be forced to watch the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" 10 times in a single month.
Phil
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Phil Again wrote:

In addition a third of the homes now in foreclosure were bought as investment properties by people who never intended to live in them, they were going to rent them or sell them for a profit. Or so they thought. They were among the first to walk away from mortgages they couldn't pay.
Even if there was a significant amount of truth in the original poster's rant (which seems unlikely), it remains that financial institutions bundled bad loans with good ones and sold them to each other with high ratings. Now they're all shocked and horrified to learn that was a bad idea. Lehman Bros. made a four billion dollar profit last year, paid their top monkey a twenty-two million dollar bonus--now they're kaput thanks to their own greed and incompetence. And we're supposed to blame this on leftist polticians? Pfffft, get real.
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wrote:
The blame lies solely on those who were minding the store...the Republicans.
The same ones who want $700 billion dollars given to them in a week with no accountability.
Time for a change...a BIG change in the White House.
======================================================= Not that I'm in favor of this bailout, but where did you get the scoop that there would be no accountability? As for the change in the White House - well, that's coming - one way or another.
--

-Mike-
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On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 22:04:54 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

=======From Hank "the bazooka" Paulson. ------------ <snip>
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency," the original draft of the proposed bill says.
And with those words, the Treasury secretary - whoever that may be in a few months - would be vested with perhaps the most incredible powers ever bestowed on one person over the economic and financial life of the United States. <snip> Just take a look at the original draft: "The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this act," the proposed bill read when it was first presented to Congress, "without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts."
It goes on to say, "Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure." <snip> The bigger issue is that the bill effectively creates protections not just for the Treasury, but for the executives on Wall Street who created this near Armageddon. Rosner says the draft bill "prevents judicial review that could allow the protection of decisions that create false marks, hide prior marks, or could be used to prevent civil or criminal prosecution in situations where a management knowingly provided false marks that aided the growth of this crisis of confidence."
False marks - using mark-to-market accounting to hide the true value of security, rather than disclose it honestly - has a lot to do with why Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron chief executive, is in jail. <snip> ----------------- for complete article see http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/23/business/sorkin.php?pass=true
Note that this is the International Herald Tribune based in Paris. The domestic US media won't touch this background story.
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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Mike Marlow wrote:


Why did that make the hair on my neck stand up??
--

Richard

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On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 22:04:54 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

------------- Several people [actually two] have sent me off list emails asking what they can do about this money grab. In all honesty, not much, as this appears to be a "done deal," and Congress is again putting on a punch-n-judy show for the amusement and diversion of the great unwashed [that's you and me]. However if you are interested and want to do something, write or email your senators and representative to vote no. You can get their email/snail mail/fax addresses at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm http://www.house.gov /
tip - bookmark their web mail sites for easy access in the future.
For whatever help it might be here is the copy of the email I sent on just the immunity aspect of TARP bill. Feel free to use all, part or none. ------------------------- I have already emailed you urging the rejection of TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] aka the 700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout.
As is increasingly common, the more critical background information is not being presented in the U. S. media, and must be obtained from international sources. After reviewing this material, I am even more adamantly opposed to this legislation.
Two items of particular interest and critical importance:
(1)    The 700 billion figure appears to have been pulled out of thin air, and has no basis in fact. "The cost of the Treasury plan to save the US financial system from collapse cannot be estimated because it is too vague, Peter Orszag, head of the Congressional Budget Office, told legislators on Wednesday." For details and complete article see http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/78ecb166-8a46-11dd-a76a-0000779fd18c.html
(2)    The rescue program as proposed will place the Secretary of the Treasury above the law and answerable to no one. This also has the potential to shield the people and organizations that are responsible/accountable for this situation from both criminal and civil liability. Any legislation that contains language such as "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency," and "The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this act, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts." Is totally unacceptable. Indeed, I suggest that anyone submitting such a proposal should be immediately removed from any public office of trust and responsibility, as they obviously have either no understanding or no intention of abiding by their oath to "uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." For complete article see http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/23/business/sorkin.php?pass=true
Senator McCain's proposal for a governmental commission to examine the causes for the current economic problems has merit as long as the commission is a Federal Grand Jury issuing indictments under the RICO, mail/wire fraud, and conspiracy statues, with both significant prison time and asset forfeitures resulting. -----------------------
Note that the American car makers just got their snouts in the trough for "only" 25 billion in the House revenue bill just passed. (Still must pass the senate, but this is a "must pass" bill to keep the fed. government running] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/83bfe68c-8a8f-11dd-a76a-0000779fd18c.html
also see Wall Street comes to Main Street [the real economy] http://plantcity2.tbo.com/content/2008/sep/24/bill-heard-enterprises-folding-dealerships-nationw / http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2008/09/24/128852.html
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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wrote:

Unfortunately, this has the familiar ring to it that is reminiscent of the Patriot Act. My second biggest concern with this administration is their ability to recognize a highly charged environment and to capitalize on it to grab power and authorities over the people. I do not see this as a Republican vs Democrat thing, but as a hallmark of the Bush administration.
--

-Mike-
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Mike Marlow wrote:

What Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke want to do is buy up the worlds "bad" inventory not of mortgages but of Credit Default Swaps and other derivative products. They have told the Congress and anyone else that will listen that these instruments are terribly complex, difficult to value and beyond the comprehension of all but a small group of mental giants that just happens to include them. There is some truth to this but even a child can understand what these things are if you call them by their right name. They are securitized INSURANCE POLICIES and they insure the losses on bundles of mortgage backed securities. As such, they have absolutely NO underlying value. ZERO.
They do, however, pose tremendous downside risk if the risk they are meant to protect against materializes. They are a purely speculative bet that mortgages will be paid.
Guess what? The risk has materialized. Ten thousand foreclosures per day as a matter of fact, and accelerating.
About a year ago I started calling credit default swaps "Uninsurance". Were they actually called insurance, and that is what they are, the issuers would have had to back them with adequate reserves and been subject to regulation. That's the way insurance companies work. In the case of credit default swaps and risk management derivatives, Phil Graham introduced legistlation that was passed and signed in 2002 specifically exempting and precluding these products from oversight or regulation. There now exists $46 trillion dollars of these "uninsurance" policies in an environment where they have been sold and traded to people who never considered that they would ever have to pay off on them and don't have the reserves to do so in any event.
As traded securities, the worlds banks, investment banks and hedge funds were making a market for them in the same way market makers do for equities on Wall Street. You know, like the NYSE, for instance. There is always a buyer of last resort or the stock is delisted and that is the real distinction here. Traded equities - stocks - have an underlying value. There is an actual company with assets.
Credit default swaps and risk management derivatives are just bets that some other security ( a mortgage backed bond ) that does have an underlying asset ( a mortgage in this case ) will be worth face value. When you budle substandard mortgages together and those mortgages default, the insurance is supposed to kick in but in this case it's not insurance at all, it's "Uninsurance" and there isn't any cash around to pay off.
What the Bush administration is currently trying to sell Congress is the idea that the US Treasury should buy up what amount to a bundle of insurance claims needing to be paid and that somehow we can take these turds and sell them at some later date for their value at maturity. I'm sure you can see now why there is reluctance on the administrations part to delineate their intentions or explain the simple truth. The financial products involved are complex but what they represent as a practical matter is very simple and in the end they aren't worth even the thinnest dime.
One other thing. Since Banks are limited in what they are allowed to purchase, all of this garbage was run by the ratings agencies and rated AAA. The banks and our otherwise regulated institutions could not have invested in them otherwise. Huge fees were paid to ratings agencies such as Standard and Poors to get these things rated and even today, these agencies will tell you point blank that they didn't understand them or know how to asses the risks involved. They just figured they ought to be AAA rated because they we remotely tied to home and commercial mortgages.
We now have $46 trillion dollars of this "Uninsurance" infesting the entire banking system. $700 billion or even $1 trillion dollars isn't going to go far as a fix for that and it isn't even necessary do so. What we need to do is establish a fund to step in and support the banking entities that would be crushed if they had to actually pay claims and then let the earnings of those institutions recoup the loss over time. IOW, they would have to pay back the US Treasury every dime, with interest, and their shareholders would bear the burden. That is how regulated free markets are supposed to work.
That's my take anyway. Your 401K, stock portfolio and retirement nest egg are already gone, you just don't realize it yet. America needs to face that fact and right now. This doesn't mean the world is going to end by the way.
Here is something from a guy, James K. Galbraith, who is as smart as his dad - John Kenneth Galbraith. We need to follow his advice, not transfer a trillion dollars in good money from the American tax payer to a bunch of down on their luck gamblers.
A Bailout We Don't Need
By James K. Galbraith Thursday, September 25, 2008; A19
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403033.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
Now that all five big investment banks -- Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- have disappeared or morphed into regular banks, a question arises.
Is this bailout still necessary?
The point of the bailout is to buy assets that are illiquid but not worthless. But regular banks hold assets like that all the time. They're called "loans."
With banks, runs occur only when depositors panic, because they fear the loan book is bad. Deposit insurance takes care of that. So why not eliminate the pointless $100,000 cap on federal deposit insurance and go take inventory? If a bank is solvent, money market funds would flow in, eliminating the need to insure those separately. If it isn't, the FDIC has the bridge bank facility to take care of that.
Next, put half a trillion dollars into the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. fund -- a cosmetic gesture -- and as much money into that agency and the FBI as is needed for examiners, auditors and investigators. Keep $200 billion or more in reserve, so the Treasury can recapitalize banks by buying preferred shares if necessary -- as Warren Buffett did this week with Goldman Sachs. Review the situation in three months, when Congress comes back. Hedge funds should be left on their own. You can't save everyone, and those investors aren't poor.
With this solution, the systemic financial threat should go away. Does that mean the economy would quickly recover? No. Sadly, it does not. Two vast economic problems will confront the next president immediately. First, the underlying housing crisis: There are too many houses out there, too many vacant or unsold, too many homeowners underwater. Credit will not start to flow, as some suggest, simply because the crisis is contained. There have to be borrowers, and there has to be collateral. There won't be enough.
In Texas, recovery from the 1980s oil bust took seven years and the pull of strong national economic growth. The present slump is national, and it can't be cured that way. But it could be resolved in three years, rather than 10, by a new Home Owners Loan Corp., which would rewrite mortgages, manage rental conversions and decide when vacant, degraded properties should be demolished. Set it up like a draft board in each community, under federal guidelines, and get to work.
The second great crisis is in state and local government. Just Tuesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced $1.5 billion in public spending cuts. The scenario is playing out everywhere: Schools, fire departments, police stations, parks, libraries and water projects are getting the ax, while essential maintenance gets deferred and important capital projects don't get built. This is pernicious when unemployment is rising and when we have all the real resources we need to preserve services and expand public investment. It's also unnecessary.
What to do? Reenact Richard Nixon's great idea: federal revenue sharing. States and localities should get the funds to plug their revenue gaps and maintain real public spending, per capita, for the next three to five years. Also, enact the National Infrastructure Bank, making bond revenue available in a revolving fund for capital improvements. There is work to do. There are people to do it. Bring them together. What could be easier or more sensible?
Here's another problem: the wealth loss to near-retirees and the elderly from a declining stock market as things shake out. How about taking care of this, with rough justice, through a supplement to Social Security? If you need a revenue source, impose a turnover tax on stocks.
Next, let's think about what the next upswing should try to achieve and how it should be powered. If the 1960s were about raising baby boomers and the '90s about technology, what should the '10s and '20s be about? It's obvious: energy and climate change. That's where the present great unmet needs are.
So, let's use the next few years to plan, mapping out a program of energy conservation, reconstruction and renewable power. Let's get the public sector and the universities working on it. And let's prepare the private sector so that when the credit crunch finally ends, we'll have the firms, the labs, the standards and the talent in place, ready to go.
Some will ask if we can afford it. To see the answer, don't look at budget projections. Just look at interest rates. Last week, in the panic, the federal government could fund itself, short term, for free. It could have raised money for 30 years and paid less than 4 percent. That's far less than it cost back in 2000.
No country in this situation is broke, or insolvent, or even in much trouble. For once, Wall Street's own markets speak the truth. The financially challenged customer isn't Uncle Sam. He's up on Wall Street, where deregulation, greed and fraud ran wild.
--

John R. Carroll
www.machiningsolution.com
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On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 01:14:29 -0700, John R. Carroll wrote:

The more I learn about the background of this mess, the more I think Gramm should be held accountable for at least a portion of the loss. Or be run out of town on a rail. Of course, neither will happen - he'll just keep on advising McCain.
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Now where did I hear that and in what context? As I recall, there was a giant hoax being perpetrated by the current administration upon the people.
Surprisingly, many people are having trouble swallowing this latest cry of wolf from Bushco. I just don't understand how anyone could find this band of crooks and liars untrustworthy.
And even if it is true, a bailout will not lead to changes in behavior. Learning DOES NOT OCCUR without reinforcement.
A good recession is what this country needs to purge these scumbags from positions of power (both governmental and financial).
D'ohBoy
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I posted this in another thread, John, but it's more on topic here.
This is what Dave Ramsey said on his site. Basically, the whole mess was caused by a change in the accounting laws (as a result of the Enron mess).
http://www1.daveramsey.com/etc/fed_bailout/economic_cleanup_10887.htmlc
Remember Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and other companies had artificially put assets on the books? They'd say something was worth $10M when they bought it, but eventually it decreased in value, and they never updated the value in the books. That was part of the fraud. Under current laws at that time, they were all convicted and put in jail for fraud.
Then we got all mad and made all these new laws that are coming out the wazoo called sarbanes oxley. It's a huge, massive law but the idea is that we were going to mandate ethics to corporate America because apparently they didn't have any, according to the Enron failure. It's now a total pain in the butt to execute it in a publicly traded company.
It didn't work because you can't cause ethics to happen. However, it does make each company each day restate what their assets are worth if sold on the market. This accounting procedure is mark to market accounting--you need to remember that. It's a good concept and keeps companies from having loaded balance sheets. How This Affects Us Today
However, it's part of what's caused this in the news now. Merrill Lynch was sitting with $30 billion tied up in sub-prime loans with houses. Stupid! They get what they deserve for doing that, and I'm with you on that. Those houses didn't become worthless all of a sudden because those people couldn't sell their bonds. Since they couldn't sell them, they basically gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar. Now do you think all those houses lost 80% of their value underneath that deal? No, they didn't, so they gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar (about $6 billion total) because there was no market for them. Nobody wants to buy sub-prime bonds because they suck. They're junk bonds. But at 22 cents on the dollar, it's a bargain because even if you foreclosed on every one of the houses in there, you'd probably get $20 billion back out of $30 billion, and so the company that bought those for $6 billion got a deal! But there's no market for them. That's where these companies are stuck. They can't sell this stuff, but accounting-wise, they've had to mark it down to market and it's frozen the marketplace.
Economist Wesbury is saying that if we change that one rule and don't force them to mark down to market value and just let them hold on to all the stuff, and say just on sub-primes for this period of time you can change that rule -- a temporary change -- that'll free the market up. It's seized right now; it's frozen. This will thaw it out and get it going again. He says that'll solve 60% of the problem ... and I think he's right.
That one accounting rule is what made Merrill Lynch sell out. That one accounting rule is what's driving other ones into the dirt. Would you rather let them change their accounting rule or loan them $700 billion for us to buyout their bad paper?
I'd rather them work their own crap out than change the accounting rule.
I don't like giving them any money or any help with my tax dollars. But I'd rather see that than see the whole thing turn completely upside down in a fruit basket turnover than have a whole meltdown or something and freak out here in the middle of the election season. Why don't we just take the FHA insurance program and extend it across these sub-primes? What that means is that you and I are guaranteeing the lender that they're not going to lose as much or any money on those mortgages. Now I don't like guaranteeing them, but I like it better than buying them. In other words, instead of $700 billion in tax-payer debt going out there to bail out these companies, just extend the insurance out. You could probably do that for less than $40 billion. It's like a 95% savings!
If the government insured those mortgages, they would then be marketable. And could sell them. And the companies would stay afloat. And we, the people, don't have to get into the mortgage business. Now we're going to get in there a little bit because of the insurance on those getting foreclosed on. But foreclosures aren't causing this. This is being caused because these companies are frozen and seized up. We've got to let some of the steam come off and put some oil in there to get this thing moving again. We can do that without going into debt $700 billion. Here's Your Plan
Call your Congressman. Call your Senator. Tell them to change the mark-to-market accounting law and to extend insurance but extend no loans. If they extend loans - if they borrow the money on the national debt in order for us to all go into the mortgage business a trillion dollars - you're going to fire their butts and send them home.
I've talked with several people today, and it's on the tables in Washington, but it's not something you're going to see on TV. If you'll let your Congressmen know you know about this and that you'll vote against them if they don't vote to change the mark-to-market law and you'll contribute your money to make sure they never serve in office again. That's what you need to tell them early and often.
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cavelamb himself wrote:

I saw it Richard and it just ain't so. Mortgages and the bonds they form aren't really the problem that the current bail out seeks to address. That you believe this to be the case is completely understandable but not true.
--

John R. Carroll
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John R. Carroll wrote:

Sorry John, but please note, unlike a lot of people here, I'm ASKING not TELLING.
Because, frankly, I don't have a clue what to believe.
--

Richard

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On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:44:25 -0500, cavelamb himself

--------------------- When embezzlers are caught, they always blame the auditors.
What something is "worth" is one of the basic philosophical questions, and "worth" will vary from person to person.
One of the reasons for accounting is the establishment of the financial "health" of an organization, one very significant factor of which is their solvency, or "net worth." Net worth is defined as "assets" less "liabilities," and one of the basic reasons for outside auditors is to obtain an independent and unbiased opinion as to the accuracy and legitimacy of the assets [overstated?] and liabilities [understated?].
The solvency of an organization ==>is its condition at the present time,<== not what it was at some period in the past or what *MAY* be at some period in the future, but currently.
The actual culprit here appears to have been the bond ratings organizations such as S&P, Fitch, Moody's etc. which assigned a AA or AAA investment grade rating to novel securities such as synthetic structured residential mortgage backed collateralize debt obligations with no history, and no knowledge of or experience with such securities.
Indeed, many of these securities are so complex [CDOs exist that are backed by or based on other CDOs] they could only be analyzed by computer programs, and unfortunately many of these programs have been discovered to have errors and omissions which oddly enough rated the securities many levels too *HIGH* [I am unaware of any computer analysis which rated the securities too low/risky]
At some point an asset is worth what it is worth, no matter what the owner thinks or wishes. In this case Mr. Market said these many of these SSRMBCDOs are now worth 10 cents to 30 cents per dollar of their face value, and some are worth nothing. It is not the accountants' fault that 2 + 2 still equals 4, and not 6 or 8 as the CEO would like, no matter how hard he pounds on the table.
If the banks and brokerage houses collapse as a result of honest accounting, too bad. At least this stops them from sucking up additional capital. If "mark to market" had been in effect, it is highly likely that Enron [and many others] would have collapsed years earlier, and spared the state of California the electric screw job, as well as preserving huge amounts of capital for their employees who continued to invest in their 401 k plans.
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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George, my impression from this bailout story is as follows:
1) There is a lot of hysterical screaming about impending economic collapse
2) There is not a lot of details about this impending collapse
3) There is no data whatsoever and no listings of various players and instruments under mortal danger.
The whole story seems fishy to a huge extent, due to extreme lack of details.
Just who would fail?
By how much would credit contract?
How inflationary would be the effect of flooding the financial world with more money?
The fact that these details are either not available, or are hidden from us, suggests that there is a lot more to the story that is not being told.
I totally do not buy what is going on and cannot support a secret plan that is being adopted due to secret reasons.
I think that this is another republican ploy, akin to their lying about "mortal danger from Iraqi nuclear mushrooms". The objective is to appear saviors right before elections, but let us suffer from increased debt, more recklessness, etc, for years to come.
i
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On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 15:13:38 -0500, Ignoramus23784

In other words..."Its all Bush's fault!!!"
Would that be a correct assessment of your position?
Gunner
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Probably in large part, though far from totally. As we argue this, Washington Mutual, the largest bank to fail, has gone belly-up. Odd. Last week I got three credit card solicitations from those people, a repetition of three weeks out of four over the past couple of years.
I don't know what could have been done to stop it, but my wife and I started predicting some five or six years ago that this 15-20% annual gain in housing prices was out of hand and would soon start to slither down the chart. For people as fiscally unaware as us to realize this, it makes one wonder WTF the experts were thinking, and doing, besides grabbing the loot and stuffing it in their pockets.
The upturn didn't show many in good light, but the downturn is pointing a spotlight at the worst offenders, a process that is probably going to take longer than I expect to live to complete. Unfortunately, few, if any, perpetrators will go to jail.
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Well, Charlie, maybe we all should have seen it coming. However, home prices going up and down is only a part of the problem, I think. Borrowing more money than your assets are worth is a more direct problem in this context. The other problem is banks pushing this type of loan on (stupid) people. But the real problem is selling the mortgages as securities mixing "good" mortgages with "bad" mortgages and getting rating agencies (for a fee) to give these (un)securities high ratings. On top of this there was trading in insurance betting that the mortgages would or would not be defaulted upon. In essence the whole thing was a huge Ponzi scheme where future earnings would pay for the current yields.
Indeed it could be all roses forever, and now it is badly smelling garbage. WaMu was real good at selling bad stuff, and now is under. The result will likely be that the personnel in the branch on the NW corner of First Ave and 23rd Str in Manhattan will have to look for another job, since there is already a Chase on the SE corner, and another bank on the SW corner. Other banks are within a couple or three blocks.
Main problem now is how to get credit flowing again to worthwhile customers ...
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Han
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No. I do not think that this economic trouble is Bush's fault.
This is a general failure of the economic structure and human nature, and possibly soem deregulation decisions. The only persons to write about it and warn us were Buffett and Munger. I own stock in their company and thus was following what they said. Everyine else was cheering "go, go".
However, the "bailout" story is very fishy.
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F. George McDuffee wrote:

I follow what you are saying here.
So check me on this?
Housing prices have escalated tremendously over a short period of time.
If I follow all this correctly, these houses were valued at way over their true market value.
Then comes the "funny" paper insuring the higher value.
Then, when the house prices hit about 4X, amazingly, people quit buying.
Those already in a house (or holding the mortgage on a house for investment) suddenly found that the house isn't worth the price they paid (and still owe).
ok so far?
So they walk away from the deal and let the banks (or ?) have it back.
Foreclosure happens.
The bank now owns lots of houses that they think are worth a lot more than any real value.
They can't sell them at that price, but won't devalue them because it would cost them too much of the artificial price.
Then comes the "funny" paper business - which to my mind plays out very much the same way.
Nobody will buy the paper because they (now) KNOW it isn't worth what it's printed on.
So, here is my big quandary...
If we don't bail out the financial houses, there won't be any credit for anybody - a depression happens, and everybody suffers.
But if we do bail them out, are we not propping up the over inflated price of housing? a recession happens, and everybody suffers?
Ok, I know I don't know a lot about this mess.
But that doesn't mean I can't understand it, if someone who does know what's happening can explain it.
Richard
There is one thing that I do know for sure. Those who can't explain it don't understand it.
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