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Subject: America's Balls are in a Vice rss

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With the financial implosion of the last couple of weeks, everyone is running around worried about investments, etc. Although this sounds doomerish (which I am inherently an optimist), I think that the American citizen is in for a rough road for quite sometime.

1. The general economic system is contracting and easy credit is going to be hard to come by, kind of a bigger they are bigger they fall scenario. The recent "bubble" was gigantic. I am hesitant to say real estate bubble because I think of it more as a liquidity bubble.

We were long overdue for some type of correction. It is ridiculous to think that certain sectors of the economy can grow at such rates without seeing some blowback. Personally, I think the bailout as packaged was a risky endeavor indeed. Specifically because the proposal was to purchase the mortgage backed securities that had been packaged by financial companies (it is important to note that these are not the actual mortgages for the properties). Purchasing these securities at low prices and hoping that the real estate market recovers and a profite can be made -- this in and of itself is a very risky proposition. The real estate market it is clearly trending back to historical levels (i.e., when adjusted for inflation, values of homes don't really increase) that it followed from around 1965 to 1998.

That is 30 years worth of hard evidence about the general pattern of home prices. Also, this is where the "your home shouldn't be a vehicle for wealth" adage comes from. Injecting $700 billion dollars into the system will likely slow this descent and maybe even stall it. However, history points to the fact that market is heading back to its known behavior (best predictor of future behavior is past behavior). Thus, we are just delaying the inevitable, which is a full correction back to historic levels. Not only would be delaying it, we would likely be putting $700 billion worth of taxpayer money at a high level of risk.

As a country we have been living beyond our means for quite some time, now the bill has come due and, unfortunately, we have to deal with it.

2. There is a clearly an inverse relationship between energy prices and economic growth. As the prospects for our (and the world's) economic growth increases, energy prices climb. As the economy contracts, the enegry prices come back down (if you can call $98 a barrel of oil down).

The weak financial system now appears to have caused an influx of liquidity into the commodities market, which is likely a big cause of the run up on oil over the summer. However, eventually, those prices have to be supported by demand -- otherwise, given the nature of future contracts, you would be stuck accepting delivery for $150 barrels of oil. As the commodity markets unwound, the illusion of the safe haven of investment disappeared -- and, boom, crash.

However, note that there is an underlying demand issue at work. Oil is still up 50% over last fall (from around $63 a barrell to $96 a barrel now). If $700 billion is injected into the system with hopes of spurring the economy, one of two things will likely happen:

a. the dollar will lose value, driving oil prices up since it is traded in dollars.

b. perhaps the economy will grow, increasing the demand of energy, causing oil prices to go up.

We are in a pick your poison situation -- shitty markets or high energy, both generally cause a world of hurt for the working American.

I think it would be much better to use that $700 billion dollars to rebuild infrastructure (i.e., mass transit, etc.), providing numerous jobs while also putting purchasing power back into the hands of the citizens. Also, I think we should eliminate the mortgage subsidy for interest. Eliminating this could save us $85 billion a year. Additionally, it just encourages people to buy more house then they can truly afford.

To really understand how bad things have gotten under Bush's free wielding financial market since 2001, check out the graph on this link for the outstanding $56 Trillion in credit default swaps. Now this is something to worry about, it makes the last few days look like a fucking tea party.
http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/30/magazines/fortune/varchaver_...
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Color me slightly annoyed that I'm in my last semester of my bachelor's degree and I never managed to take any economics courses, which always leaves me feeling like a 9-year-old sitting and fidgeting while the grown-ups talk grown-up stuff. I suppose it's not too late to, ya know, read a book or something...

Randy...
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America is male?
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joebelanger wrote:
America is male?


While I am ostensibly a gentleman, and I couldn't think of any female part to put in a vice that wouldn't make me appear mysoginistic.


Is that enough of a politically correct BGG answer for you? devil



Truth -- I just hurried and typed a subject line
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Ah, cool. Thank you for that link. Finally I understand these swaps.

Fortune magazine wrote:
In just over a decade these privately traded derivatives contracts have ballooned from nothing into a $54.6 trillion market.
Quote:
Take that gargantuan number with a grain of salt. It refers to the face value of all outstanding contracts.

Here's what they are: BS. That's a capital B and a capital S. They're all worthless.

Quote:
International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

Needs to die.

---

I'm even more convinced than before that the bailout is wrong. All these ponzi schemes and money-fabrication needs to stop, the consequences for these foolish actions must be allowed to happen, the collective hallucination must end.
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steinley wrote:

As a country we have been living beyond our means for quite some time, now the bill has come due and, unfortunately, we have to deal with it.


I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.
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jeff brown wrote:
steinley wrote:

As a country we have been living beyond our means for quite some time, now the bill has come due and, unfortunately, we have to deal with it.


I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.


Agreed. The current generation -- I know, I sound like an old man, but I am only 30 -- has no sense of personal responsibility. I know this is a sweeping generalization, but odds are, if you choose someone at random they are perpuating this by living beyond their means habit.

I have heard people suggest that we should just divy up the bailout among people who are "on-time" with their mortgages. I would be okay with that because it rewards responsibility, although I would be left out because I don't have a mortgage yet. I am still waiting to get the 20% down and I have been for 3 years now. Did I have a chance to buy some overpriced, unaffordable house? Of course. Why didn't I? Because it seemed like a bad idea at the time, now I am glad I didn't.

Our government and our citizens need a big, healthy dose of prudence. I have several friends that I graduated from graduate school with that our up shit creek because they just bought a house first thing -- no downpayment, student loans, the whole "kit and kaboodle". I sympathize with their plight, but they made the deal with the devil. I would be more willing to bail them out, but I would want something in return for my efforts (same as I do if we bail out the financial sector).

I find it irritating because I am very careful about what financial actions I take. I find it irritating that people were flipping houses. I find it irritating that people are trading on goods that don't even exist. I find it irritating that our economy is service oriented. I find it irritating that people aren't willing to pay up when they fuck up.

We had one rule growing up "Accept the consequences for your actions."
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Steinly... nicely worded and all. I will take issue with several things though:

1. Indicting "Americans" as greedy is pandering to an idealogical perspective that a) acquisition of wealth and material goods is somehow immoral and b) that Americans, not humans in general, are the primary perpetrators of this supposed moral travesty.

2. The roots of any economic downturn or upturn are much too complex, spread out and deeply ingrained in not only American economic evolution but that of the entire planet. In short, the "economy" is similar to the telephone system that links virtually the entire Earth. It grew, developed, spread tendrils from thousands of different locations using hundreds of different platforms and found other networks to link to and partner with. You couldn't build a world economy from scratch anymore than you could build a world-wide communications network from scratch. It evolved and became a "thing" in and of itself and no mere human can understand all of it.

3. Shit happens. Like pretty much everything observable, it all happens in waves... cycles if you prefer. It ebbs and flows and the affluent times as well as the less affluent times are nothing more than political fodder for partisans from every nation of every political stripe.

What I mean by #3 is simple... anyone, any elected official or candidate from any country who says they understand or actually blames opponents for the bad and takes credit for the good is a lying, scummy, bottom-feeding lowlife piece of shit who wants nothing less than to fool you into thinking they not only care, but that the other guy doesn't.

4. Neither McCain or Obamamama have a clue... neither of them could find their economic ass with both hands and a map. Ergo, they are liars when it comes to this.

5. I say fuck the bail-out. I personally have zero debt, no mortgage and no intentions of having another one. No government agency paid me a nickle when I was buying homes to raise my kids in... none of them helped, none of them cared that I worked two jobs, paid excessive taxes and burnt the candle at both ends to keep my tots warm, cheerful and full of healthy foods and playing with fun toys.

6. Why should anyone else... and I mean even the supposedly "disadvanted"... get a free ride at our expense? And furthermore, why on God's Earth should the men and women who excessively profit from this sham get another fucking nickle?

7. America... and really the rest of the free world... will be better off in the long run if the piper is paid right here and now.

I was gonna vote for McCain because I view Obama as a puppet... a souless, pedantic lecturer of the most duplicitous sort who offers up nothing but rhetoric and a sleazy past. Now I'm not so sure... McCain is no maverick on this "crisis". He's pandering too... not nearly at the level Obamamamama is, but still, he's getting full of it very quickly.
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DWTripp wrote:
And furthermore, why on God's Earth should the men and women who excessively profit from this sham get another fucking nickle?


Just to touch on this, I believe it's important to reiterate that the plan isn't designed to help these guys. It's designed to save the credit market, whence comes the money for a functioning economy, foremost among it the ability for companies to pay their employees. I'm not a wealthy guy. Like steinley, I've resisted buying a home over the last few years because I wanted to be sure I could afford it. I have no debt. But at the end of the day, I don't want to lose my job. I don't want people to lose their homes because other, less responsible people drove up housing prices to live in homes they couldn't afford, or to use their homes as ATMs to buy SUVs.

Sure, because of a rescue plan, some rich guy that's (partially) responsible for this mess who was worth many millions and is now worth a few millions might be worth some median amount of millions. But he's going to be sitting pretty either way. I'm not willing to cost people their homes or their jobs (people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time) and then potentially their retirements for the sake of screwing the guy who's going to be a rich fuckup either way.

Now I understand that some people disagree with this entire premise insofar as they think the no action will be better for the economy in the long run. A lot of people (Grim, steinley, Tripp) don't see the incredibly horrible scenario that I envision a collapsed credit market creating. I disagree with that notion, but I understand it.

But I do want everyone to understand that the rescue plan isn't being done for the benefit of Wall Street executives who are already rich. It's an embarrassment to responsible people like most of us here, and it's not fair. The unscrupulous and foolish, lenders and borrowers both, will benefit, for sure. But the aim of the plan is to protect working people like us who could lose our jobs when our employers can't get money to pay us.
 
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jeff brown wrote:
steinley wrote:

As a country we have been living beyond our means for quite some time, now the bill has come due and, unfortunately, we have to deal with it.


I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.


I'd urge slowing down just a little bit with the "we" stuff. I may be cynical, but I see the tendency of some (politicians and pundits of a certain political stripe, not the poster I'm replying to) to cast this problem as one that "we" are responsible for as a little disingenuous and a continuation of their attempts to get those most fucked by their policies to support them blindly. Given that the creation of, manipulation of, and profiting from all these complex financial instruments is comprehended by only a tiny, moneyed elite, I refuse to take any personal responsibility for the shitstorm when it all blows up. The fact that I bought a big screen on credit might be symptomatic of a loss of common sense among Americans (or at least me) when it comes to personal finance, but that's a far cry from trying to spread blame for colossal economic failures down to people who have no understanding or control over the levers.

And yeah, people took out those mortgages that they were poorly prepared to pay off. But I've heard enough anecdotal evidence of the frankly criminal tactics of some of those writing the loans to believe that in many cases the poor and poorly educated were preyed upon, manipulated into going into irrecoverable debt.

So, blame us for not having the thrift of our parents, but not for the unbridled avarice of Wall Street and the politicians who opened the cookie jar for them and poured them a glass of milk.

Randy...
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DWTripp wrote:
1. Indicting "Americans" as greedy is pandering to an idealogical perspective that a) acquisition of wealth and material goods is somehow immoral


Of course it's not immoral, but there are numerous opportunities along the path to that wealth for people to commit wrong acts in service of that goal. It's no sin to become rich, but it's possible to sin horribly to do so.

It also seems to me that it is, in fact, possible to be avaricious, greedy, or gluttonous. If you have a truckfull of fresh food that you acquired legally and justly, you might be forgiven for not handing it out to the hungry after you'd eaten your fill, though I'd suggest that wouldn't be the coolest path to choose. But if you have more than you can eat and you persist in acquiring even more, in a way that results in more or worse hunger, that's more difficult to defend. These CEOs who get paid millions to oversee sinking ships and massive layoffs, or who are guaranteed to make more money than they or their descendants could ever need regardless of how badly they screw up. They're in the wrong, and I really think it's all perpetuated by our government-for-hire system.

Randy...
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As you know, my main training is not writing, so I will try to clear some things up -- I think we agree a lot more than maybe I was able to get across in my original post.

DWTripp wrote:
Steinly... nicely worded and all. I will take issue with several things though:

1. Indicting "Americans" as greedy is pandering to an idealogical perspective that a) acquisition of wealth and material goods is somehow immoral and b) that Americans, not humans in general, are the primary perpetrators of this supposed moral travesty.


Here I don't think I was clear enough about my definition of greed. I was really trying to oust those who live beyond their means in such a manner that they are purchasing "non-essential" items without the true means to do so in the first place.

I am all for acquiring wealth and goods -- as long as you can afford them. Hell, make no mistake, that was a motivating factor for me to go to graduate school. Of course there is some foundational love for science; however, after growing up in the bottom decile of income in this country, there is a big incentive to: put food on the table, provide my future children with opportunities that I didn't have, and in general increase the potential standard of living of my off-spring; in short, the American dream.

However, in this pursuit, I have always tried to make sure that I can pay for those things that I desire. We paid for wedding and honeymoon, but we are not in a position to buy a house yet -- so we haven't.

Quote:

2. The roots of any economic downturn or upturn are much too complex, spread out and deeply ingrained in not only American economic evolution but that of the entire planet. In short, the "economy" is similar to the telephone system that links virtually the entire Earth. It grew, developed, spread tendrils from thousands of different locations using hundreds of different platforms and found other networks to link to and partner with. You couldn't build a world economy from scratch anymore than you could build a world-wide communications network from scratch. It evolved and became a "thing" in and of itself and no mere human can understand all of it.

I agree with this. There are widespread implications just through connections that the majority of people are not aware of. However, the extent of damage that can be mitigated is increased if the lowest level of the economy (the consumer) behaves responsibily.

Quote:

3. Shit happens. Like pretty much everything observable, it all happens in waves... cycles if you prefer. It ebbs and flows and the affluent times as well as the less affluent times are nothing more than political fodder for partisans from every nation of every political stripe.

What I mean by #3 is simple... anyone, any elected official or candidate from any country who says they understand or actually blames opponents for the bad and takes credit for the good is a lying, scummy, bottom-feeding lowlife piece of shit who wants nothing less than to fool you into thinking they not only care, but that the other guy doesn't.


Agreed again. I was trying to indicate this with the home prices returning to historical levels. People have been trying to say "this time is different" for as long as the market has been around. As you say, they are wrong because this is cyclical -- which is a necessary conclusion since standard economic theory is built on supply and demand.

Quote:

4. Neither McCain or Obamamama have a clue... neither of them could find their economic ass with both hands and a map. Ergo, they are liars when it comes to this.

100% agreed -- I support neither candidate's so-called "plan". I don't think I indicated that above, either.

Quote:

5. I say fuck the bail-out. I personally have zero debt, no mortgage and no intentions of having another one. No government agency paid me a nickle when I was buying homes to raise my kids in... none of them helped, none of them cared that I worked two jobs, paid excessive taxes and burnt the candle at both ends to keep my tots warm, cheerful and full of healthy foods and playing with fun toys.

I can't see how you got that I supported the bail-out from my post. I have been against in several posts now. I think it is like giving your local wino $10 to go get a "meal" when you know that he is going to get a pint of Congress Vodka.

Quote:

6. Why should anyone else... and I mean even the supposedly "disadvanted"... get a free ride at our expense? And furthermore, why on God's Earth should the men and women who excessively profit from this sham get another fucking nickle?

Still agreed.

Quote:

7. America... and really the rest of the free world... will be better off in the long run if the piper is paid right here and now.


That is what I was tyring to indicate when I said that it was time to pay the bill and that Americans/Politicians needed a big dose of prudence in their future financial decision making.

I don't think we actually disagreed on anything, you were just able to put it all so more bluntly than me.
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le_cygne wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
And furthermore, why on God's Earth should the men and women who excessively profit from this sham get another fucking nickle?


Just to touch on this, I believe it's important to reiterate that the plan isn't designed to help these guys. It's designed to save the credit market, whence comes the money for a functioning economy, foremost among it the ability for companies to pay their employees. I'm not a wealthy guy. Like steinley, I've resisted buying a home over the last few years because I wanted to be sure I could afford it. I have no debt. But at the end of the day, I don't want to lose my job. I don't want people to lose their homes because other, less responsible people drove up housing prices to live in homes they couldn't afford, or to use their homes as ATMs to buy SUVs.

Sure, because of a rescue plan, some rich guy that's (partially) responsible for this mess who was worth many millions and is now worth a few millions might be worth some median amount of millions. But he's going to be sitting pretty either way. I'm not willing to cost people their homes or their jobs (people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time) and then potentially their retirements for the sake of screwing the guy who's going to be a rich fuckup either way.

Now I understand that some people disagree with this entire premise insofar as they think the no action will be better for the economy in the long run. A lot of people (Grim, steinley, Tripp) don't see the incredibly horrible scenario that I envision a collapsed credit market creating. I disagree with that notion, but I understand it.

But I do want everyone to understand that the rescue plan isn't being done for the benefit of Wall Street executives who are already rich. It's an embarrassment to responsible people like most of us here, and it's not fair. The unscrupulous and foolish, lenders and borrowers both, will benefit, for sure. But the aim of the plan is to protect working people like us who could lose our jobs when our employers can't get money to pay us.


I do understand the "goal of the plan", and I can even support its intentions. The problem is that there is no evidence that $700 billion infusion as proposed by the Secretary of Treasury is going to accomplish this. So I am not ideologically opposed to the plan, I am just opposed to ill-reasoned plans. I don't have time for stupid. Some specifics:

a.
Quote:
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."


You got to be shittin' me. You are asking for nearly a trillion dollars (when taken into account what Freddie and Fannie already got) of taxpayer money and you don't have even one fucking data point. You have a whole Department of Treasury filled with bankers, accountants, and economists and you just picked a big number. The only thing that can be said is "What the Fuck".

b. We are going to fix a complex shitstorm of economic trouble that has spred worldwide with a plan drafted over a Saturday that is only 3 pages long. I understand the need for fast action but I need something more than (my made up language, but I assume that it pretty close):

Dear Congress,

As you know the financial market is on the verge of collapse; however, we have a plan that will stabilize the economy while promoting a broad-based foundation of growth for the American citizen. That growth is going to be contingent upon maintaining liquidity in the credit markets, so you will need to lend the Department of Treasury seven-hundred billion dollars to spend how the Secretary of Treasury sees fit.

Sincerely,
Hank Paulson


What the hell??

c. I am being asked to trust the same people that said instilling investor confidence will be enough so that we won't actually have to bail out Fannie and Freddie. Well, that turned out to be wrong. Now I am being asked to trust a plan that they "hope will work". I would rather have some hard-nosed research with the best economists in the world for two weeks than a gut reaction because this administration looks scared shitless.

There has to be a better plan than the one proposed -- that is what I am waiting for.
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jeff brown wrote:
I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.


These generalizations drive me up a tree.

Not all Americans live beyond their means and/or are greedy bastards.

Not all of us have poor judgment.

There are systemic things that we do that set us up for stupid stuff. We've got a negative savings rate as a nation. We've an education system that's in need of an overhaul (largely by changing its basic funding from being property tax driven). We've health care costs that are growing at a rate we can't sustain. We've an energy hungry population that likes big cars and won't stop buying them until gas hits $4/gallon. We've infrastructure we aren't investing sufficiently in.

The idea that this is a simple problem that can be summed up by blaming greed in general is just as silly as the idea that the mortgages our banks are choking on could have been repaid in the first place.

And yet, we've the largest economy in the world and a better than reasonable chance of fixing things. I'll take my chances.
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steinly wrote:
I can't see how you got that I supported the bail-out from my post.


Oops. Sorry. I went on a toot there. I re-read and see that you actually don't support it.

Quote:
Also, I think we should eliminate the mortgage subsidy for interest.


I have to say, this one really helped me a lot in the 70's and 80's. Thing is, it ought to be capped at say $2,000 a month or some figure that is closer to what a middle-income earner would realistically pay for a home to raise or start a family in.

Since each child has now given families ever-increasing deductions along with other benefits such as child care deductions this kind of stuff really does lighten the load on middle-class families. Take it away from the guy making a $10K or $15K monthly payment, not the family that bought a $200,000 suburban tract home.
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DWTripp wrote:
steinly wrote:
I can't see how you got that I supported the bail-out from my post.


Oops. Sorry. I went on a toot there. I re-read and see that you actually don't support it.


New Slogan: DWTripp, always seeing red

Quote:

Quote:
Also, I think we should eliminate the mortgage subsidy for interest.


I have to say, this one really helped me a lot in the 70's and 80's. Thing is, it ought to be capped at say $2,000 a month or some figure that is closer to what a middle-income earner would realistically pay for a home to raise or start a family in.

Since each child has now given families ever-increasing deductions along with other benefits such as child care deductions this kind of stuff really does lighten the load on middle-class families. Take it away from the guy making a $10K or $15K monthly payment, not the family that bought a $200,000 suburban tract home.


Excellent idea.

P.S. Did anyone make you laugh on the Al Gore caption?
 
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le_cygne wrote:
Now I understand that some people disagree with this entire premise insofar as they think the no action will be better for the economy in the long run. A lot of people (Grim, steinley, Tripp) don't see the incredibly horrible scenario that I envision a collapsed credit market creating. I disagree with that notion, but I understand it.

You are absolutely right. We can't envision the consequences of doing nothing, so we need to spend whatever it takes to return to the status quo. And whatever the banks do from this point on we are responsible for continuing to maintain the status quo no matter what.goo

It might be time for a change. Maybe a bad run of years is what we need for a correction. But a massive bailout is not the solution to a crisis. The law of unintended consequences for a bailout like this is clear that this is not a good idea. While we might be able to prevent future securitization (sp?) of home loans, we are just encouraging Wall Street to come up with a new scheme. At the same time we are telling them daddy will always bail them out. No it is time to take our lumps. And maybe that might bring about a change away from the one party two faces system we have now in government.
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rshipp wrote:
Color me slightly annoyed that I'm in my last semester of my bachelor's degree and I never managed to take any economics courses, which always leaves me feeling like a 9-year-old sitting and fidgeting while the grown-ups talk grown-up stuff. I suppose it's not too late to, ya know, read a book or something...

Randy...


Don't bother Randy - just watch this very informative video on the Central Bank!



(There's 5 parts if you click thru to youtube as replies)

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It's not just Americans, of course. Over here we entirely bought into the idea that the more expensive property you own, the faster you get rich. And that anyone who didn't own their own home (and preferably another couple of houses to rent to students) was unsuccessful and going to stay that way. Even us dyed in the wool socialists couldn't help but get a frisson of excitement over the latest valuation of our houses.

We barely noticed that our endowment policies were nosediving and our pension schemes were being taken away. We'd all live very nicely on the equity in our houses when we retired, or better still, on the expected inheritances from our parents, who bought their houses for a few thousand pounds thirty years ago and were richer than we'd ever be as a result.

Now we've suddenly noticed that we have no provision for retirement. Our equity is vanishing daily. Our mortgage payments are barely affordable. And our parents, living longer, more healthily, are flying all over the world in their copious free time, funded by equity release schemes; their money is not automatically our inheritance.

We're screwed. And now people want to tell us that the only way out is to screw our children; to keep house prices artificially high, way out of the range of the young and the lower paid. To hell with that. We don't deserve to be bailed out at other people's expense.

Let the housing market crash. It will be pretty dire, but if it's going that way I doubt if any amount of bail-out will stop it in the long term. And we will be saved the unedifying sight of millions of middle class 30 to 50 year olds scrabbling to keep what they won on what they assumed was a one-way bet, and to hell with the next generations (except their own children, of course. The one demonstration of selfishness that is somehow considered a virtue- get rich for your children, not yourself. No-one these days ever claims the moral high ground for getting rich for their spouse's benefit, but buying your children advantage is still considered a virtuous act. A different subject that I will now un-stray into.)






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Jeff Brown
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GAWD wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
steinley wrote:

As a country we have been living beyond our means for quite some time, now the bill has come due and, unfortunately, we have to deal with it.


I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.


Well put. Spoken like a man w/133 board games and looking for more. devil


That's exactly what my wife would say when I talk about things like this.

I'm well aware of my own shortcomings and am working quite hard on it to tell you the truth.

Here's a summary of my own efforts I wrote into a geeklist a while ago:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17497

I do share a large portion of my boardgames with my high school gaming group.

I have pared my want list down pretty hard and am still working on doing so.

In any case I didn't exempt myself from my indictment either but I think it's a big difference from wanting a couple more 30 dollar boardgames and wanting 2000 more square feet in my house than I need.
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Jeff Brown
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DWTripp wrote:
Steinly... nicely worded and all. I will take issue with several things though:

1. Indicting "Americans" as greedy is pandering to an idealogical perspective that a) acquisition of wealth and material goods is somehow immoral and b) that Americans, not humans in general, are the primary perpetrators of this supposed moral travesty.


I thought the definition of greedy was an excessive desire of wealth and material goods.
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Jeff Brown
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perfalbion wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
I think this is the bottom line. Everyone is running around trying to blame the opposite political party but the fact is that its the American people as a whole that is to blame. Our greed and poor judgement has become so systemic that nobody even recognizes it as greed anymore.


These generalizations drive me up a tree.

Not all Americans live beyond their means and/or are greedy bastards.

Not all of us have poor judgment.



Point taken not everyone is greedy or has poor judgement, although we all have our problems. however

perfalbion wrote:
We've got a negative savings rate as a nation.


This is a huge, huge problem that indicates that "we as a nation are living beyond our means". In some ways the generalization isn't true but in some ways it is. We can only live this way so long before the bill comes due and perhaps we are seeing it now.

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Ken
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GAWD wrote:
The real problem is the people w/1-2 kids, sitting in 4/3, 2500 sq ft, 400k houses, making less than 100k a year, sitting on ticking time bomb ARMs, tooling around in a BMW, w/half a dozen credit cards, and an active home equity line. Sorry folks ... there's no way in hell these people should be bailed out; they're little better than wall street's capitalist robber barons.


Because there's positively no earthly way that one could do any of that by saving and living within their means on $80K annually, right? Or even 60K? Or a house that they bought 10 years ago for a lot less and appreciated?

Can we stop generalizing at some point unless we're going to discuss specific issues that can be demonstrated by fact (like a negative savings rate)? It makes us all look stoooopid.
 
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Jeff
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Vise. Our balls are in a vise.

We now return to your regularly scheduled non-pedantic discussion.
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Matthew Kloth
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ExcitingJeff wrote:
Vise. Our balls are in a vise.

We now return to your regularly scheduled non-pedantic discussion.

How do you know America's balls aren't in a pile of coke.
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