Economics

Coming Today: A Brand New Plan to Pump Up to Reinflate the Housing Bubble That Helped Get This Whole Economic Mess Started

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A Democratic insider tells ABC News about the basics of Obama's big mortgage bailout plan, set to be unveiled today in foreclosure-heavy Arizona:

The price tag is $50 billion—from the TARP funds—plus more on top of that from other programs.

Government subsidies for lenders to modify loans to homeowners who are struggling to make payments. The government would subsidize the difference.

A program through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for homeowners to refinance their mortgages if they owe more than their homes are worth.

An effort to make loans more affordable through various means—extending loans, lowering interest rates, and other ways.

Whole story here.

The details matter a helluva lot, so it's tough to make any definitive statements on something like this. But this much is certain: Something has gone seriously wrong when a housing market that was pumped up into the stratosphere by all sorts of government-related actions isn't allowed to come back down to Earth. And there's certainly wrong with any solution that simultaneously acknowledges that and then moves to keep prices inflated.

Last November, at Reason Goes Hollywood in Los Angeles, Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Insitutute analyzed the "Roots of the Financial Crisis," especially government-pushed housing policies (go here for embed code, links, and more):

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  1. I quit paying my mortgage today. fuck em.

  2. a housing market that was pumped up into the stratosphere by all sorts of government-related actions

    And by many private, unregulated or barely regulated investment schemes. There’s plenty of blame to go around. In the end, greed is the culprit, though the giddy left blames that old bogeyman, capitalism.

  3. I’m thinking the same thing: quit paying my mortgage today and then demand a bailout when the bank comes calling. Worked for the auto guys.

  4. Im gonna empty my bank accounts and put the cash into a safe deposit box. or maybe buy some gold – to hide the wealth that I could use to pay. this is insane – its going to be a free for all.

  5. Loud noises!!!

  6. Obama will announce the “standards” today – we’ll see how hard he has made it for people like me to game the system – if it is at all feasible, I’m going to do it.

  7. Oh boo hoo. How many of you whiners contacted your 2 Senators and your Representative during the last 6 months to express your outrage and disgust while all this was brewing?

    Congress critter listen to their constituents. WHEN THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTACT THEM.

  8. Whose whining – Ize gunna git paid!

  9. “Congress critter listen to their constituents. WHEN THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTACT THEM.”

    Hahahahaha!!!!

  10. Cool, can I do this for my car? Or how about my computer, that has certainly decreased in value.

    Why are housing prices always “supposed” to go up? Can someone please explain this to me? Because it sure as hell seems that most goods fluctuate in price or get cheaper over time… why are houses exempt from this?

  11. Politics trumps economics (and logic).

    Again.

  12. This is likely to put a floor under my gold Maple Leafs. Yay.

  13. And anon wins the thread! Hilarious!

  14. why are houses exempt from this?

    Because greedy people are irrational. And a whole bunch of them wished for it to be true, with a little encouragement from their government and a lot of encouragement from fly-by-night loan companies and exotic investment schemes and yes, by their very culture, which from their birth has told them daily about the American “dream” of homeownership, and how every American has a “right” to own a house. A tiny snowball became a monster avalanche, and everyone riding it was too drunk to notice.

  15. everyone riding it was too drunk to notice.

    I think I have time for just one more… *hic*

  16. A program through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for homeowners to refinance their mortgages if they owe more than their homes are worth.

    WTF? If they can make the payments, they don’t need help.

  17. Houses depreciate in value just like cars (only slower). And, just like cars, there are the rare exceptions that become expensive antiques.

    What increases in value is the land underneath the house. Generally, but not always, faster than houses depreciate. Hence, the reason condos generally underperform free-standing houses, a smaller relative chunk of land.

    Anyway, when I started this post I was going to say we had a land bubble, not a housing bubble, but I dont think that is accurate. I think we had a housing bubble, which is insane on a depreciating asset.

  18. Somehow I got a feeling it will take a LOT more than that!

    RT
    http://www.anonymity.eu.tc

  19. “Isn’t allowed to come back to earth.”

    Libertarians need something better to explain why the parachutes the left is prepared to hand out are a worse solution than letting the whole thing plunge to earth and devastate millions. Polls might show the majority oppose the stimulus but, given another depression, these same folks will abandon their schaudenfreude and be jamming the streets demanding a strongman. Can anyone provide a link to some commonsense libertarian writing that deals with the reality of the situation, that says “here’s where we need to go but here’s how we can soften the landing and save you from the economic meddling your elected officials have so gleefully provided?”

  20. Congress critter listen to their constituents. WHEN THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTACT THEM.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Cabeza De Vaca’s got it right. Record amounts of citizens were writing their “congress critter”s last year when the bailouts were first being discussed to oppose them, and few if any paid any attention whatsoever to the well-reasoned letters that constituents were sending them (giving the benefit of the doubt to the constituents here…I’m sure many of the letters were probably frothy, irate nonsense). But still. No one listened and few congressmen, if any, ever had any intention of being persuaded from their original intended course of action.

  21. But robc, even saying “land increases in value” is false. What if we start colonizing other planets, what does that do to the land value of our planet?

    All goods, services, and assets fluctuate in value. It’s insane to say that something is *always* going to increase, even over long periods of time. I’m beginning to think that our entire credit economy is/was based on the “fact” that home and land prices in the USA will always be worth more tomorrow than they are today.

  22. robc –
    Agreed. The idea that many of these houses, which were built in cul-de-sac developments and were total money pits as far as quality of construction was concerned, would APPRECIATE in value over time at double digit rates per year was just absurd. Maybe you could make the argument that if the original owner had the basement resealed properly, the roof redone, better insulation put in, and had the pipes and electrical assessed and fixed that the house would be worth more at 5 years old than when it was new.

  23. I make a very good income. But, back when I didn’t make a good income and had big debts, I didn’t buy a house because I was moving a lot and wasn’t sure I could afford it. My reward for being responsible? I have no significant down payment to make on a house because I have no equity. But, I live in a market that the housing prices are so out of whack that the prices for even a decent house are above the upper limits for a VA Loan. Basically, even though I am a good credit risk and have studiously worked and paid my bills for my entire adult life, I might not be able to buy a house in this market.

    Now BO is going to take and help out all of the people who bought homes they couldn’t afford and ensure that honest people like me who don’t own a home, won’t be able to unless they can find a job in Oklahoma or rural Arkansas where home prices are still cheap. Of and mine and my children’s tax money will go to fund the whole thing. Yes, i will be paying outragous taxes since the housing market has deprived me of the only tax relief available for working people. I really hate Geithner and Paulson and everyone involved in this thing. I hope BO and his whole crew choke on their own vomit and rot in hell. I really do.

  24. I can’t wait to hear about the Mo Mod plan the President will talk about. I believe it will address all the issues concerning valuation

  25. Houses depreciate in value just like cars (only slower).

    Everybody jabbers about underwater home loans, but they ignore the fact that a car loan is underwater the moment the car leaves the dealership; the car loan is not a big deal because the “utility value” of the car is what’s important.

    Unfortunately, people have been conned into believing the “utility value” of their houses is somehow less important than the “investment” value. I blame HGTV.

  26. creech: A free-market solution to 100 years of mixed-economy problems is not going to be easy or painless. The libertarian cure is painful, but it is a cure. The left’s cure is just more poison (with sugar on top).

  27. Bingo,

    When we start colonizing other planets Im sure it will affect the land values here on Earth. But, I ask you this, how much did colonizing “the new world” affect the land values in Europe? It is the same thing, a sudden influx of available land that was previously unavailable.

    The fact that it is expensive and dangerous to get to slows its entry into the market enough that it probably has little effect, relative to population growth. I dont see how colonization of other planets would be any different.

  28. “Unfortunately, people have been conned into believing the “utility value” of their houses is somehow less important than the “investment” value. I blame HGTV.”

    So do I to some degree. Name one reason why a house should appreciate? Perhaps if you buy one in a gentrifying ghetto then yes. But if you buy a house in a decent neighborhood that stays decent absent a radical decrease in the supply of homes or a radical increase in the demand of homes, houses ought to remain about the same price. Now you can also buy an old house and modernize it, but that is no different than buying a 66 Mustang and fixing it up.

    People got it into their heads that houses could somehow magically produces revenue, that they could get something for nothing. Sadly, we haven’t learned anything from the experience. We have gone from the housing bubble where people thought their homes could give them something for nothing to the government bubble where now otherwise intelligent people think that the government can create jobs and give out money and create wealth even if those jobs don’t do needed activities and the money to pay the wages comes out of someone else’s pocket. It is the same mentality in both cases.

  29. they ignore the fact that a car loan is underwater the moment the car leaves the dealership

    That depends on the size of the downpayment. I have never had an underwater car loan, then again, I have always started with 100% down.

  30. My reward for being responsible? I have no significant down payment to make on a house because I have no equity.

    This is the price you pay for not stimulating the economy. If you and others like you had done your job and burned money, we might not be in this mess today.

  31. “Agreed. The idea that many of these houses, which were built in cul-de-sac developments and were total money pits as far as quality of construction was concerned, would APPRECIATE in value over time at double digit rates per year was just absurd. Maybe you could make the argument that if the original owner had the basement resealed properly, the roof redone, better insulation put in, and had the pipes and electrical assessed and fixed that the house would be worth more at 5 years old than when it was new.”

    In my neighborhood they buy perfectly good houses, tear them down and replace them with the ugly oversized craftsman that look like doll houses. They throw these houses up in a month. Now, some of that is progress. Wow they can build a house in a month now. But some of that is “you mean they only took a month to build that house?” I don’t beleive for a moment that the quality of workmanship is anything equal to the houses they are tearing down. The house I rent was built in 1937 and is brick. I don’t think it has settled more than an inch in 70 years. I doubt the new McMansions will do as well.

    What is funny or sad is that you will see them tear down a perfectly good house and build some huge mansion and the people who buy it and move in will be driving a Prius with an Obama sticker. Yeah, that is real sustainable development for you. Green technology. Tear down good houses and hall them off to the landfill and build enormous new houses in their place.

  32. P Brooks–

    Question: why do prefer Maple Leafs over, say Krugerrands or Eagles? This is a serious question…I’m considering buying some gold coins, and I’m not sure why there is a such a difference in price among 1 oz coins.

  33. When Joe was saying CRA loans had wonderfully low default rates (when house prices were going up), my response was that once the crash resulted in defuaults, he would switch from “low default rates mean we deserve power and your money” to “high default rates mean we NEED more power and your money”.

    Joe, if you’re reading this, I told you so.

  34. “Joe, if you’re reading this, I told you so.”

    He is out checking out new McMansions in his Prius.

  35. “A program through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for homeowners to refinance their mortgages if they owe more than their homes are worth.”

    Question, what if you sold a house during the bubble, stuck the profit in savings (and paid the associated tax) or spent it on gold, and simply bought a bigger house with no money or the minimum amount down? Your loan is more than the house is worth, and now you get to refinance to sweeter terms? What if your sunk all that profit into a down payment on the new home, and your mortgage is less than the value of the home, but you have lost all the principle in the home, do you get to refi to sweeter terms as well? Anyone know the details on who actually gets the ability to negotiate new terms?

  36. I disagree about the houses depreciating. They increase in value as more people want houses than there are available houses. I can’t remember the last time I saw an apartment building actually being built. People want houses. Who cares if it’s because some politician said homeownership is the American dream. You could say it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Plus, you CAN spend 30 years paying for a house and get 50-80 years of living in it, and then still sell it to pay for your nursing home. Not everyone does, but it’s a sound investment if you look at it that way with the added bonus of people wanting to buy houses if you want to sell it early.

    Cars, well, we know they will break down eventually, many times right after your 5 year loan was finally paid off if you bought American. You can still live in a shabby house. And if you maintain it well and put a few bucks into it, it is not so quick to lose value like a car.

  37. John –
    Not only will they move to these developments with the McMansions, but they’ll complain about the lack of good highway access until everyone is forced to pay for a new expressway to be built to subsidize the land values out where they live.

  38. Joe, if you’re reading this, I told you so.

    Oh, he’s reading it. Seems sort of odd that the most prolific poster here just…stopped after Obama’s torture flip, doesn’t it?

  39. “Not only will they move to these developments with the McMansions, but they’ll complain about the lack of good highway access until everyone is forced to pay for a new expressway to be built to subsidize the land values out where they live.”

    True and take up otherwise pretty greenspace to do it. But they will have their trash maticulously sorted into recyclables. Environmentalism is a religion and a exceptionally irrational one at that. the recylcling bin is nothing but the rosary of the 21st Century. Frankly, I will take the rosary. At least the rosary doesn’t bother anyone and the government is going to pass a law to make sure I say my Hail Marys.

  40. And if you maintain it well and put a few bucks into it, it is not so quick to lose value like a car.

    If you keep rebuilding your car, it can last forever too.

    Cars depreciate out over about 10 years, for houses it may be 80 years or whatever, but it still happens. When my insurance forms arrive in the mail (they were mailed yesterday) I can tell you exactly how much different parts of a house depreciate. According to the guy from the company I talked to yesterday, the breakdown includes amount of damages minus depreciated value. I can then recover the depreciated value if I send them invoices showing I fixed it back up.

    For example, I have about 8 damaged shingles on my roof, Im not going to fix them though, they are merely scratched. Im just going to take the money minus the depreciation because the roof is 10 years old.

    However, my deck is going to get rebuilt, so I will recover the depreciation on it.

  41. Is not going to pass a law I meant to say.

  42. Greed: the desire for unearned wealth.

    Who is greedy?

    The stimulus plan: going for broke.

  43. “Unfortunately, people have been conned into believing the “utility value” of their houses is somehow less important than the “investment” value.”

    That is a lesson from the Carter years when inflation was so high. One thing we learned was housing is a hedge against inflation. If you don’t own property your wealth will be destroyed.

    I got out of the army in ’76. I remember fearing I would be some landless serf all my life.

  44. I think the soft landing libertarians can promote is for people to save when they don’t need something, take advantage of going back to school or learning a new trade (diversifying their skills) if they are out of work, and for companies to become efficient so when prices fall to a level that allows people to feel comfortable buying again, those companiies can take advantage of better practices and better products. Companies need to pump money into research and development rather than pension funds.

    Let the unions kill Detroit. It will hopefully be the death nell to the overpaid union worker. Learn from mistakes.

  45. “That is a lesson from the Carter years when inflation was so high. One thing we learned was housing is a hedge against inflation. If you don’t own property your wealth will be destroyed.

    I got out of the army in ’76. I remember fearing I would be some landless serf all my life.”

    I got out of the army 31 years later and have the same feeling. That is a good point about inflation. Also, buying a house is the only tax break you can get. Our tax system is insane. We create an incentive structure that encourages people to sink money into houses thereby driving up real estate values. This lowers are standard of living because we have to spend more of our income on houseing. As an added bonus, it lowers our national savings rate because in order to avoid taxes people spend their money on mortgage payments rather than saving and investing it.

  46. Nick –
    With all respect, the houses in Upstate NY are generally old, have character, and appreciate at or below inflation, so they start out cheap, and end up worth something. There’s little population change, so neighborhoods don’t change character enough to worry about buying in an area that will soon be worse or better. The lack of population growth also explains why you don’t see new apartment buildings, since houses are generally converted up there from single-family to rentals when apartments are needed. A single major victorian can yield several nice-sized apartments.

  47. Reinmoose,

    I interviewed for a job in Buffalo a couple of years ago. After seeing the place I was game. We could have bought a huge victorian in a great neighborhood for like $250K. The job dind’t come through, but it really wouldn’t have been bad.

  48. Question: why do prefer Maple Leafs over, say Krugerrands or Eagles?

    I’m not a gold bug.
    To be honest, other than relative purity, I can’t give you a rational explanation for the price difference in gold coins, particularly in the current market. I bought mine so long ago that I paid a little more than $250.- for them.

  49. WTF? If they can make the payments, they don’t need help.

    No shit. I’m mystified by this one. They aren’t going to lose their house, so that can’t be it. And writing down a performing loan leaves the bank with a loss, so it won’t help the financial crisis, either, unless the government is going to pay the bank for the amount of the write-down?

    Seems sort of odd that the most prolific poster here just…stopped after Obama’s torture flip, doesn’t it?

    Well, to be fair, Obama flipped on:

    (1) An absolute ban on torture (his CIA nominee says they will reserve the right to torture in extreme circumstances – pretty much what Bush did).

    (2) Due process for Gitmo detainees (he suspended the SCOTUS-approved proceedings, which is actually worse than Bush), although he could flip back on this one.

    (3) Indefinite detention of Gitmo detainees (I seem to recall somebody in his administration saying that they would keep them as long as they posed a threat, or somesuch – again, pretty much the Bush position).

    (4) More transparency in government (his attorneys are maintaining the Bush position on refusing to release “national security” info on rendition flights, the stimulus bill was passed in the dark, etc.)

    (5) Going through the stimulus bill line-by-line to eliminate waste, and generally exercising some new discipline on federal spending.

    (6) The Fairness Doctrine (the FCC and Congress are currently putting together a new Fairness Doctrine under a different name).

    (7) A new kind of politics in Washington – the stimulus bill is the pent-up wish list of the Dems over the last 20 years and the Republicans were locked out of drafting and negotiations.

    (8) Keeping lobbyists out of his administration.

    That’s off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more.

  50. Already, one more comes to mind:

    (9) A ban on extraordinary rendition (his CIA nominee said they would continue the Bush policy of rendition so long as the receiving country promises not to torture).

  51. RC,

    You forgot welfare reform that was basically gutted in the porkulus bill. I recall telling people that Dems would kill welfare reform if given control of government and being told I was a right wing paranoid. You also forgot rendition. Remember how that was the focus of evil in the modern world? I think they even made a movie about it. BO will continue the policy. I wonder if they will make another one?

  52. Beat me to it RC.

  53. BTW,

    The Joe position on all of those flip flops is that it just shows how derranged the Republicans were for claiming that Obama was some leftist terrorist sympathyzer.

  54. Moose, you’re absolutely right. I’ve been somewhat insulated from the real problem in other places. Watching some of these house buying shows on HGTV makes me think the whole world has gone nuts. $800k for a 3 bedroom ranch or a 1 bedroom condo in a large city?

    But before the 21st century when everyone went batshit insane re: houses, would you agree with my statements about the relative depreciation of houses vs cars?

  55. The problem with hoping the whole socialist/capitalist mixed economy comes crashing down is that there isn’t a horde of libertarian cadre out there to take control of the revolution. Our voices are drowned out. Scared people will turn to the man or men who have the guns and will promise to take the pain out on the enemies of the people, whether they be “Wall Street capitalists,” foreigners, an unpopular religious sect, unions, or what have you. Then it will be far harder for a libertarian remnant to recover from dictatorship than from some squishy soft socialism that may result from the BO/Pelosi plan.
    With corporate taxes being only about $400 billion per year, we could have eliminated them for half the cost of the stimulus package.
    For you free market economists out there, what would be the impact of taking this deadweight off corporations, having foreigners rush here to open factories, having unprofitable jobs brought back to life, etc.?

  56. The thing I find interesting is that joe clearly feels Obama is now so bad that he can’t even show up here. That’s gotta hurt like a bitch.

  57. If you discount new money-pit McMansions, yes I can actually see the value of a house staying pretty stable or increasing with good improvements, while the value of a car understandably depreciates quickly.

  58. Remember how we weren’t supposed to judge Obama until he was actually in office?

    -He’s still in his hundred days.

    -Obama’s dealing with a financial crisis created completely through Republican deregulation

    -Monorails to nowhere create jobs (just ask North Haverbrook)

  59. “The thing I find interesting is that joe clearly feels Obama is now so bad that he can’t even show up here. That’s gotta hurt like a bitch.”

    I think he is sick or on vacation or something. Joe is the guy who would not admit that John Murtha is a bad Congressman. No way does he have any problem with anything BO is doing. Joe can rationalize anything.

  60. I’m not a gold bug.

    Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

  61. Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

    Neither. Stock up on shelf-stable antibiotics. They will have a weight to value ratio that can’t be beat.

  62. I think he is sick or on vacation or something.

    This is a guy who posted here while supposedly on a cruise, but now he can’t post? And he stops just as Obama does a number of total fuckups/flips on a single day?

    Not buying it.

  63. Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

    Plasma rifle in 40-watt range.

  64. In determining depreciation of an asset, you have to consider the stream of maintenance as part of the initial value being depreciated.

    If the price stays stable by pumping 5k a year into it, then it is depreciating 5k per year.

  65. Epi,

    If he truly is dissillusioned with BO, I will give him credit for integrity. Most of BO’s supporters are too brain dead or brain washed to ever be disillusioned with him.

  66. Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

    Pish. Don’t invest in that underpowered Russian round. Stock up on All-American .308.

  67. Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

    Unfiltered Pall Malls. The “gold standard” of prison camp currencies.

  68. “Pish. Don’t invest in that underpowered Russian round. Stock up on All-American .308.”

    Nah, go with the German 8mm. My k98 mouser can kill at over a mile.

  69. Pish. Don’t invest in that underpowered Russian round. Stock up on All-American .308.

    My remy 1100 in 12ga arrives next week.

  70. If he truly is dissillusioned with BO, I will give him credit for integrity.

    I never said a word about him being disillusioned. If he shows now, he will get pummeled and dogpiled relentlessly. So he’s not showing. Expect a gradual return if and when things cool down and people aren’t as angry.

  71. Which is the better investment, gold or 7.62×39?

    canned butter

  72. BTW, My town, which used to be an upscale yuppie haven has experienced a marked increase in violence, theft, car jackings, breakins etc in the last 8 months. It started right around the stock market collapse and has accelerated recently. People are getting desperete and cranky.

  73. Stock up on All-American .308.

    Maybe I should buy one of those and a 30-30 lever to go w/ my SKS to maximize my ability to fire whatever turns out to be available.

  74. “Expect a gradual return if and when things cool down and people aren’t as angry.”

    I still wonder if he is sick or something. I can’t beleive getting pummeled would bother him. I refuse to understimate Joe’s willingness to defend the indefensible.

  75. Nah, go with the German 8mm. My k98 mouser can kill at over a mile.

    Bolt action, dude. Sucky. My SKS is the shit–virtually unjammable semiauto, surprisingly accurate, relatively light, low recoil, and cheap ass ammo that has virtually identical ballistics to a .30-30.

  76. BTW, My town, which used to be an upscale yuppie haven has experienced a marked increase in violence, theft, car jackings, breakins etc in the last 8 months.

    Weehawken?

  77. “My SKS is the shit–virtually unjammable semiauto, surprisingly accurate, relatively light, low recoil, and cheap ass ammo that has virtually identical ballistics to a .30-30.”

    “Virtually unjamable”. I like my bolt action. It is always reliable and incredibly acurate. Honestly, if I have to kill more than five or six people with it, even a semi-auto is probably not going to be enough. Not that I am anti-semiautomatic, I would love to have an M14 if the wife would go for the $1500 price tag.

  78. John, I’m pretty sure you live in my neighborhood – I also rent a small, well-built house in a neighborhood with a mix of houses like mine and craftsman new construction monstrosities.

    My house is barely big enough to hold the 2 of us (950 sq ft), but it’s ostensibly worth well over half a mil. We rent for much less than what that would cost us in PITI. There’s a for sale sign on a shitty house up the street on a normal (small) parcel of land; they’re asking $1.5m up front because they’re tearing it down and building some ridiculous McMansion that will have 4 square feet of yard.

    Does any of this sound sustainable? Every day I see a new house for sale, $7,8,900k for 2 bedrooms & a small back yard. It’s totally insane.

  79. NOVA REsident,

    I live in the Maryland version of your neighborhood and it is insane. There are, however, three McMansions that are on my block alone that have been sitting unsold for about six months now. I am starting to think the madness is going to end. It has to. How many people can actually afford a million dollar house even in Washington? I am hoping to buy my house for a half a million or so, which is under market, in return for the assurance to the family who built it and owns it that we won’t tear it down.

  80. Semi-rural Iowa — 1,800 sq ft on 1+ acre for a mere $350K

  81. Record amounts of citizens were writing their “congress critter”s last year when the bailouts were first being discussed to oppose them, and few if any paid any attention whatsoever to the well-reasoned letters that constituents were sending them (giving the benefit of the doubt to the constituents here…I’m sure many of the letters were probably frothy, irate nonsense). But still. No one listened and few congressmen, if any, ever had any intention of being persuaded from their original intended course of action.

    Smacky, this is partially wrong. Those letters are a large part of why the House Republicans initially voted against the bailout. But then after the initial vote, they got even more calls and letters *for* the bailout from people fearing the apocalypse.

    Libertarians should also realize that there’s a lot of people out there who bought houses which have declined in value and want their free cash. As a renter, I’m sure I’m going to get screwed.

    Libertarians always overestimate the popular attraction of libertarians. Almost everyone claims to be a libertarian– but the “buts” and “exceptions” will fill a room. Libertarian except for their pet project, or their house, or their farm, or whatever.

  82. “Semi-rural Iowa — 1,800 sq ft on 1+ acre for a mere $350K”

    Having grown up in semi-rual Kansas and Oklahoma, I think even that is insane. My God, when you can’t buy a nice home in Iowa for under 250K something is seriously wrong.

  83. Hoboken – you around here?

  84. Having grown up in semi-rual Kansas and Oklahoma, I think even that is insane. My God, when you can’t buy a nice home in Iowa for under 250K something is seriously wrong.

    I have the most expensive house in the development, mid 200s is more typical.

  85. Hoboken – you around here?

    No, but I was born in Paterson and lived in Manhattan for years. I know the area.

    What hoops did you have to go through to get that 12ga?

  86. Einstein told us years ago that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so what else would you expect from people who are obviously insane?

  87. What hoops did you have to go through to get that 12ga?

  88. fewer than the authorities probably would have preferred.

  89. Regulatory arbitrage; a fancy name for gun-running?

  90. merely returning my “borrowed property” from a looser jurisdiction…

  91. 17 months ago.

    Nothing has occured since then to change my mind.

    What is the fucking problem with lower home prices?

    What is the fucking problem with personal responsibility?

    Fuck. Fuck. And Double Fuck.

  92. Stop talking about me. I’m in the Program. Now go away.

  93. Libertarians need something better to explain why the parachutes the left is prepared to hand out are a worse solution than letting the whole thing plunge to earth and devastate millions.

    It’s hard to respond to this statement because it begs the question in two different ways. First, it assumes that everything would plunge to earth and devastate millions. Second, it assumes that the Left’s parachutes would avoid the awful fate described in the first assumption.

    Hmm, there’s a third implicit assumption: that there has to be a centrally-planned solution rather than a solution based on each individual doing whatever makes the most sense financially in his or her own unique situation.

    Also, I’ll add that as a non-purist libertarian I’d be OK with the government handing out temporary relief payments to make sure people can pay their rent, have food on the table, and get medical care. But it’s not a life’s essential to have to own a house; in fact, keeping the price of housing artificially high is unfair to folks who want to buy a house but can’t afford it.

  94. The thing is, if you noticed, joe’s attitude got more and more screechy towards Libertarians between the election and the first few weeks of Obama.

    If you thought he was insufferable during a Republican administration, you only needed to wait until a Democratic, and full on liberal one, not one like Clinton with natural conservative tendencies, to find out just how nauseous the attitude could get.

    Also, he has spent the last several months slopping up Krugman columns; whereas, in years past, he deferred to libertarians in those discussions, he now believed himself to be the maestro of economics after digesting the fruits of the one true Nobel winner, and he now looks down his nose at those libertarian simpletons who don’t get the nuances of the Keynesian view. So, he has lost respect for you, and he has left.

    Either that, or Soros’ people found out that he is not so much tormenting us than amusing us and fired him, and hired Chad in his place.

  95. “Congress critter listen to their constituents. WHEN THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTACT THEM.”

    I did contact my senators and representative. Lots of other people contacted theirs. But Congress-critters have an agenda all of their own (Though my senators and representative voted against this particular bit of idiocy).

  96. Does anyone know if the powerpoint presentation he gave is available somewhere?

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