Economic Update, Housing Crash, Exotic Financial Instruments

In real estate, we have new home sales at a 12 year low, and we have the phenomenon returning of people just walking out on their homes. The pertinent quote is, “Lewis’ comments came as a new expression – “jingle mail” – referring to the growing trend where Americans mail the keys to their homes to the lenders before vacating, entered the US lexicon.”

With all the news, the financial press is finally noticing that maybe, just maybe, those predictions of a quick rebound are a bunch of bullsh@$.

All in all, this is not surprising. News gathering is paid for by ad revenue, sales and subscriptions really only pay for ink and paper, not the words and pictures made with the ink and paper. Given the huge role that real estate pays in ad revenues, it’s unavoidable that the news media, notwithstanding the “Chinese Walls” will be the biggest boosters of real estate this side of Remax.

And in the department of the blindingly obvious, the Journal has an article saying that thecomplex financial instruments have magnified the credit crunch.

Well, duh. As much as people want to talk about innovation and the free market, much of that innovation has a seamy side.

The first man to rob a train was an innovator, and in financial markets we have a long (over 200 years just in the US) tradition of both fraud, and complex activities to benefit one entities, and transfer the downside of these activities to another.

At some point, society has to say that certain activities, like dope dealing and unsafe financial practices, are simply too damaging to society and they must be regulated.

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