Tuesday, March 18, 2008


About that last entry. I'm reminded of a quote Harry Truman attributed to his father or grandfather. I believe it went something like this. "When somebody goes out their to way to tell you how honest they are it's time to go home and lock the smokehouse. "

We've been suckered in the old shell game. While we've been looking for the terrorist pea under the cup, every smoke house in the neighborhood has been cleaned out and the crooks are well over the border. Literally.


Well, there’s another train wreck on the horizon and suddenly the hyper capitalists who were opposed the “government interference” in their business are begging for the bailouts. And of course it’ll happen because if it doesn’t the economy will tank.

What kills me is that a lot of folks saw this coming two or three years ago. I read articles in the Oregonian about the problems older neighborhoods were experiencing as the speculators bought up houses. Not to live in, not to remodel and resell, not to rent out, but leave sitting empty while the market went up so they could flip them and make a profit. The tube and papers were full of ads offering to teach me how to make a mint in real estate. I remember thinking, here’s the new gold rush and it’ll probably end the same way the others did. In the meantime, the neighbors were left with all the fun things that happen in old neighborhoods with vacant housing.

Let me backtrack a little. When my cousin couldn’t stay home anymore, mom and her niece sold the house to pay for her care. We had several options. A realtor wanted to buy the property, planned to rehab it (it needed it) and figured he could sell it for about $125,000. Since it needed about $40,000 in work, he offered $85,000; in cash.

A neighbor said he was interested, but it would have to be mortgaged. Considering the way his place looked we were 1) not sure he could get the financing he wanted 2) knew we’d have to pay for inspections that would tell us what the realtor had already told us about, dry rot and termites 3) needing cash not a mortgage. If we’d crossed our fingers and gone with the mortgage we would have had to turn around and sell the mortgage to a broker for the cash, taking a discount on the paper. In the end we went with the cash offer since it was simpler and we probably would have ended up with the same amount of money.

It’s the option of selling the paper that’s causing so many problems now. Those subprime mortgages have been sold, resold, bundled and sold again. They’re seeded through the economy like termites in the foundation of that old house. Hell, some of them are probably part of my 401K account.

Frankly, part of me hopes that the worst hits before the election. Because, if the shitstorm is bad enough no power on earth will get another Republican in the White House. And with luck it’ll wash enough of them out of both houses of congress.

In the meantime the Shrub is doing his Louis XV “Apres moi, le deluge.” Loosely translated? “After me, the shit really hits the fan. But hell, I have my pension, my oil stocks and the ranch in Texas. So long sucka’s."

What’s hard for the average citizen to realize is that the execs running the multi-national corporations may have American citizenship but their loyalty is to the corporation, not this country. And frankly, I believe they’re more dangerous than the terrorists ever could be. If a weak dollar allows overseas companies they have interest in to buy up American assets dirt cheap, it’s no matter to them who gets hurt in the fall out. They’re the ones that blew the bridge, disconnected the brakes and sent these overloaded train cars heading down the hill at ninety miles an hour with nothing to stop them.

And too many voters were too busy obsessing over who was going to survive "Survivor" and who was going to get dumped on "American Idol" to give a shit.