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>What really happened Last Week In Real Estate News?

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September 10, 2008

Jim Stewart of the Wall Street Journal wrote an intelligent article entitled “Bailout Is No Quick Fix For Housing-Market Woes.”

MY WARNING TO POLITICIANS: Quit promising to pay for everthing under the moon with my pocketbook!!!

What else could Stewart say? What can anyone say about Secretary Hank Paulson’s action in taking down two corrupt companies last week? When I say corrupt, sure they had a lot of good things going for them too. Freddie and Fannie for years were able to prop up our nation’s housing industry.

Stewart says you can’t please everyone. Some actions are just necessary and sometimes you have to stop worrying who you’re going to step on and who will be helped. That was the kind of thing going through the secretary’s head, I’m sure. Sure it was! There are too many conflicting constituencies out there. But the only real constituent is the American taxpayer and this group was left to fend for themselves and will end up paying for this nationalization of two businesses which were led to believe that the government would protect them and everyone at all costs.

When will people learn that the government is we the people. The money to do anything of this nature must come from somewhere and it sure doesn’t come out of the personal pockets of the managers and directors of two almost defunct companies. Though I must say, these companies’ stockholders have lost millions of dollars because of mismanagement. It’s a scene of corruption all up and down the line and needs to be put in perspective.

First, the stockholders who were led to believe that they could invest in Fannie and Freddie almost with impunity. That is, that it was a sure thing, and why wouldn’t it be a great play? Put your money to work in an industry that hasn’t lost money forever. Plus the government ensures the viability of these two firms. I was almost tempted when I saw their stocks had plummeted clear down to a buck a share.

But the secretary did not go far enough. I don’t think he has communicated very well his intentions. He intends to break up these companies into several parts–allowing private enterprise–real private enterprise this time–to take on the risks the taxpayer bore before and future bailouts of stupid management. Isn’t it ironic. We the taxpayers bear all the risk of two failing companies, but we never once got paid one cent of stock dividends. Why does this bailout remind me of illegal patromony?

RISE UP AND PROTEST, TAXPAYERS. There’s no written law stating that we must cough it up each time some president and his secretary tells us do do so!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the most confiscatory idea ever and it’s got to stop!!!!!!!!!!

I’m pretty liberal with my criticism of Freddie and Fannie because they got sucked up in this housing boom of the 2005s and 2004s where everything was rosy, house prices escalating, nothing to worry about in the sub-prime arena. Next time under new management they who take over the reigns of buying housing loans in America should know this: The government will not bail you out if you run your companies into the ground. I repeat: No more bailouts at taxpayer expense.

Confine your purchases of paper to A-grade stuff, and leave the sub-prime market entirely alone to fend for itself until there isn’t a sub-prime market.

We the taxpayer do not owe the blessing of home ownership to those who can’t afford housing. That is my view and the view of most Republicans. Unbeknown to most voters is the fact that this is not Obama’s view. He will “cling” to his mantra that the government should continue to insure all Americans’ housing decisions, good or bad. He’s a socialist and he intends to run our private enterprise system into the ground.

But I say if the deals aren’t golden, if you vote for Obama you are voting for more of this crap. Pardon the French. Obama will continue to bail out the banks, mortgage companies, and, yes, even the Freddies and Fannies that backsytop the whole mess. He will stand on his forceful and fluent expression, his eloquent soap box, railing that we should not abandon the sub-prime people. EVER!

Well, the truth this one last time we have no choice. We will all get stuck for bailing out the system. But in the future we must abandon all sub-prime notions. Americans just can’t keep on guaranting dishonesty in housing, and that’s what it is when a person signs an agreement that he doens’t intend to, or cannot, perform.

When I said Freddie and Fannie managers were corrupt I meant it. It was they who funded all those Democrat slush funds, money all of us paid for in taxes, and now will pay for again. Money that should have been available for Freddie and Fannie to bail themselves out. Shame on you Obama. Shame on you Biden. You’re part of the problem, not the solution!

These bailouts, starting with Bear Sterns and on and on, are driving retirees like me to the poor house. And it’s really the sub-prime people who abandoned us with their decision to take on more debt than they were capable of handling?

Stewart said “I wish I felt like joining the party that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average up nearly 300 points on Monday on news of the Treasury plan to put mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a “conservatorship.” I say I’m glad I didn’t!

Maybe the only good coming out of Secretary Paulson’s action is for a constituency we don’t often think about. It’s good news only in contrast to letting the companies flounder and setting off a global financial crisis. That’s the constituency of people throughout the world, world opinion, foreign countries that depend on America, and so forth.

I like one part of Paulson’s announcement. He said the companies will no longer be managed as though they had a fiduciary duty to shareholders.

So in whose interests will they be managed? Not those of the taxpayers, who are on the hook for billions in losses?

Is it in the banks’ interest–those who need Fannie and Freddie to keep buying mortgage securities?

Or is it in the interest of the real-estate agents and home builders, who want the companies to prop up real-estate values?

It is certainly in the interest of the affordable-housing advocates, who want easier lending and underwriting policies so more people can own homes.

The truth is this: Fannie and Freddie were operated unprofitably, and that’s why they had to be placed into conservatorship. But if that’s true, so were the banks and mortgage companies. Yes, and we’re seeing the fallout of that with banks and mortgage firms like Wachovia, Washington Mutual, and others ready to topple and investment banker Lehman Brothers in like trouble. The whole system was one big mess. And don’t discount the people who thought they were buying good-deal houses whose values would continue to rise into infinity. Dream on, American public. But now come back to reality because those kinds of fairy tales are only told in Disneyland.

One good thing: The housing recession can’t last forever. Alan Greenspan--where have we heard that name before?–predicts that late this year or early next year housing prices will stabilize. Then, maybe then, as with all things that come down maybe the prices will gradually–in a sane manner–inch upward so that people who want to sell their houses can do so and still make enough to pay their closing costs, agent’s commission, and make buck in addition…or maybe not.