the complete total of mortgages known to be "troubled" is between $100B and $200B. where does the $700-800 figure come from?
to explain the disparity, "they" tell us that the issue isn't defaults as much as liquidity for the rest of the economy. (businesses and would-be homeowners need money to be lent). so, if this is truly an issue of liquidity, and instead of "bailing out" or re-capitalizing the banks that were so inept to have failed, why doesn't anyone consider putting the capital into the banks who haven't failed, as a reward for being good bankers? (sure would seem a better taxpayer investment that way, wouldn't it?)
bottom line, everyone right down to the liberal press is trying to convince us that what happens on wall street affects us on "main street". well, i'm one of those with something to lose, yet i still don't see the "main street" logic at all. the solid majority of people in this country aren't invested in, or exposed to, the economic cancer on wall street. yeah, it'll be tough when some jobs get lost, but their real problems begin with overpriced real estate and having to pay too much to keep a roof over their head, and a good old fashioned crash is likely the best thing to get them back to means parity with those who have left them behind, and screwed them for decades. it's no wonder they're writing their congresspeople at a rate of 10 to 1 not to bail out the economic ponzi schemers.
did anybody notice that the panic sell-off of assets initiated by monday's failure to pass a bail-out bill was followed, during tuesday's failure to pass a bail-out bill, by a frenzied buy-in of assets initiated, perhaps, by the fact that this "crisis" isn't what we're being sold by the pac-paid "representatives" who are mis-running our government?
one thing that does trouble me quite a bit are the gas lines across the southeast. yeah, the hurricane, the hurricane, but, seriously, i have to wonder if there's something about which they're not telling us. (like, perhaps, our foreign oil vendors are starting to ask for hard currency and, now that the $10B per month in iraq coupled with the meltdown on wall street has dried up the last of our free cash, we haven't got any to give them, only paulson's $700B dodge might just be to authorize the treasury to print that much more so that we can keep sending it overseas to pay for our drug--i mean oil--habit...)
all that being said, i haven't nudged a single investment of mine out of play. the secret in a run on a bank, or a stock market for that matter, is to ensure that you can't get busted before the bottom is reached. (thank you, fdic). if you're a stock investor, you still own the same underlying wealth-producing assets no matter where to which today's valuation might fall. if general motors (oops, bad example) or microsoft is still making money, you, as an owner, are still going to be in the chips when the final bell is sounded. (notice how microsoft earlier this week said "crisis? what crisis?" and advocated letting the banks twist in the wind, until they got strong-armed into shutting up by insiders unknown?) i'm not "leveraged", which is to say, i don't owe anybody anything on my investments who might make a margin call and wipe me out. (think of it as the difference between being "all in" as opposed to just having a few of your chips on the table when the straight flush shows up against you). if you've still got your stake, you're still going to make out like a bandit when the market moves back to fairly valuing the companies of which you own pieces.
on the corner of my favorite cobblestoned lowell street yesterday i had an extremely pleasant conversation with a good friend and neighbor about the choice between putting resources against ones mortgage, as opposed to maintaining it as part of ones rainy-day cushion. one of the reasons i like my building so much is for the amazing majority of folks here who are, like me, a mortgage packrat. it's that "don't get busted" thing again, and it's nice to be among ones own people. simply put, there is nothing more valuable of mine than the roof over my head. (there are daily groceries, too, but you can't save them up in quite the same way, though, if you've ever seen my pantry and my year's supply of ramen noodles, you know that i do my best). so having a paid-off mortgage, or the most reasonable facsimile thereof, has to be the personal financial holy grail. others still indebted to the high-interest-credit-card people must note that there's a proper order for ones debt to be retired, so, repeat after me: every free dollar, even the $20's you keep stashed in your desk drawer, needs to be sent asap to the credit card people until they're paid off. then to everything else that you owe, up to and including your mortgage. when you're debt-free, or at least debt-skinny, they can't bust you, and you'll always be around to win when the financial roulette wheel comes around again. (because it always does). you feel like it hurts because it does, and because the pain you're feeling is the piper you neglected to pay when you went out on your borrowing binge. "neither a borrower or a lender be", remember? (that bill shakespeare guy was quite the prolific quotester, wasn't he...)
so that we end on a short paragraph and not one of those interminably long ones, let's just say that, all sympathy for the cubbies and brewers aside, (who cares about philadelphia, anyway), i gotta be pulling for manny to smack his way to another world series mvp title. i love the brewers and their infinitesimally small payroll and wonderfully loyal fans, don't get me wrong. i want them to win. but i am just enjoying manny's streak too damn much to want to see it end.
oh--angels, rays then dodgers. which isn't to say that it isn't brewers, cubbies, and red sox uber alles. it's just that there's rooting, and there's prognosticating. gotta separate emotion from ones actions. we all want the olde towne team, and few more than me. but there's a cold-eyed investor (and mortgage packrat) in me who realizes that the angels are, indeed, a better ball club, and so are the rays. which, if you've been paying attention, gives you the key to calling bs on all of this: the dodgers, manny and andre ethier's bats aside, aren't really in that class, not really. it'll be the angels and the rays to lose, and their series will likely be one for the ages. of course, luck being luck, and baseball being baseball, anything can happen.