Sunday, December 30, 2007

No profit from this I-told-you-so moment

It's many years late, and the longer it took, the worse things look. The housing-bubble has finally burst. Homes are just too expensive to be affordable to the average person trying to live a fruitful life. I remember having several different conversations with those in the real estate field a few years ago mentioning that this was a bubble and it was going to burst. I got the same know-it-all answer from each of them. "No [with a know-it-all-smile], after the demand has been satisfied, the housing market will stabilize and level off (or plateau or flatten). There will not be a decline." One person was so sold on this ridiculous and unhistorical notion that they rebuked me for not knowing anything about the market. Of course, I just laughed at that, illicitting a confused but still smug facial expression from that person.

In an inflation driven market based on free-market principles , the demand for supplies is never really flat. It cannot be. If there is a sustained reduction in demand, that is a sign of uncertainty and/or lack of necessity. If the demand flattens out, it is really already in decline. A stable market is one that has sustained modest growth. Well, the housing market never flattened. Prices had risen so high that the only direction to go for most areas is down. Exsurbs and isolated cities here in California have seen massive declines. Centers of activity have stabilized and are so far holding their own. These areas, however, are in the minority, and who knows how long that will last.

There's going to have to be a bail-out of the mess. I find it interesting just how Republican leadership is willing to bail-out industries in the past with wades of cash (e.g., Savings and Loan), yet now that the average American is going to be adversely effected directly, Republicans are too timid to respond to help. President Bush Jr.'s action so far is so limited in scope that it is only going to help an extremely small portion of those affected. And where are the Democrats? They are too timid to confront the Republican Party for its timidity.

This brings me to the point where I have to criticize a perception of our economy. Corporations are treated as though they are the most important element in our country, at times to the exclusion of the citizens' rights and welfare. A Corporation is an imaginary entity that only exists because a bunch of people agree the common fantasy. A Corporation doesn't really exist. If all of the employees and ownership walked away, it would cease to function and have no purpose. I question why a Corporation is viewed as more important than the individual humans that are apart of it, or even the citizenry at at large. Far too often, the Corporations are given massive privileges and leeway that are denied to actual voting citizens of our country. Human beings are treated as second class citizens when pitted against a Corporation. This is unconscionable and unconstitutional. Giving Corporations an elevated status is a flawed mindset that many neo-cons seem to believe in as though a religion of its own. Unfortunately, the mindset is quietly supported by many politicians, regardless of affiliation.

We have to stop putting imaginary entities ahead of our citizens. In fact, we have to stop victimization of our citizens by these Corporations. Victimization of the type that has lead to the current housing crisis at hand. It was also the cause of the Western U.S. power grid crisis during the Enron Embarassment.

So, I (and many others) ended up being right about this housing crisis. Unfortunately, I personally have no way of benefiting from it directly. As far as I know, there's no way to short-sell property with options as housing prices drop. I'm so invested in my current property, I can't really afford to buy into new property when the house prices hit bottom.

I'm not expert about anything I've mentioned here. Just one person that's seen all this before. I expected the housing crisis to hit much sooner and not so intensely. My mistake was not understanding how the sub-prime situation was allowing the housing bubble to grow much bigger than it would've had sub-primes been regulated much better. Hopefully the weakened economy will have enough support to keep it chugging along, even if at a slower right. I'm just kinda wish I had a way to get more benefit during this period.

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