Monday, December 14, 2009

Foreclosure a boon ?!?!

Well I suppose there is somebody somewhere who can look at an empty glass and see good things. This is an interesting perspective from an article int he WSJ.

Defaults could end up being a boon WASHINGTON – Dec. 14, 2009 – The increasing willingness to abandon homeownership in favor of renting could, in a counterintuitive way, be an important step in the economic recovery, some analysts say.The U.S. homeownership rate declined to 67.6 percent as of September, down from its peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. Much of the reason for this decline is the number of foreclosures.Deutsche Bank Securities expects 21 million U.S. households to be underwater by the end of 2010. If 20 percent of these homeowners default, losses to banks and investors could exceed $400 billion.While these losses are definitely bad for banks, relief from paying a mortgage makes more money available – an estimated $5 billion a month – for consumers to purchase other things.“It’s a stealth stimulus,” says Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics, a consulting firm specializing in real estate. “The quicker these people shed their debts, the faster the economy is going to heal and move forward again.”Source: The Wall Street Journal, Mark Whitehouse (12/10/2009)

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am a huge football fan. I took great note in the selection of this season's best football player. The Heisman trophy supposedly goes to the best football player in the country. As an Alabama fan I was delighted to see the award go to Mark Ingram. However, I have to say that I am not so sure that he is even the best player on the University of Alabama's football team itself. There are some players on that team that are equally superlative. Mike Johnson, the offensive left tackle; Javier Arenas the defensive corner back and return specialist; Rolando McClain the linebacker and certainly the defensive lineman Terence Cody.

There is something within all of us that drives us to recognize excellence. In your job place I would be willing to bet that you have some sort of award function that does such. Over a plate of institutional fish, chicken with vegetable medley some authority gets up to recognize the top spaghetti stretcher of the year. Everyone jumps up and cheers and has a shot of champagne to add to the delusion that this whole rigamerole has some sort of galactic relevance.

I used to be a little league baseball president and I always opposed the selection of All Star teams. That is a very political process where coaches, pressured by parents, offer up their own little player selected as the best they have to offer. We would assemble 15 or so of these little tykes and then go play in a District tournament If you were lucky perhaps you advanced to the next level. Then all the parents got the privilege of cancelling vacation plans and devoting unmeasurable effort to raise the money to make the trip for a week long tourney. If things worked out well perhaps you could come back as State champions, Regional champions maybe even NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.

I always wondered what was wrong with allowing the team with the best win/loss record to go and represent us at the next level. Forget all the political jockeying that goes into selecting the superlative. The problem with this process at all levels and in all slices of our lives is that the selection process is subjective and unfair. Whereas we place people on a stage and applaud them the damage is done to the people who never get to stand on a stage and be applauded. The process is then an overall damaging one because untold numbers of people come away believing "Man, am I a big loser. I was not chosen as shoe lace clipper of the year."

These sorts of things bother me and are best observed in the crowning of the Miss America pagaent. You are going to sit there and tell me that one dimpled, coiffured, curvaceous, made up, coached and staged female human being is superlative to the hundreds of thousands, even millions of beautiful women in this land of 300 million people? I just do not buy it. Yet millions of people sit and watch the process with breaths held in anticipation of just whom that person is going to be.

The least subjective process that looms before us presently is the crowning of America's best NCAA 1A football champion. Once again, I am an Alabama fan and I am delighted that my team is in a position to become the 2009 National Champion. How rotten is a process that builds some sort of computer formulae and then creates a secret society called the BCS schools. Some are in that circle many others are not. The BCS bowls adamantly oppose the unraveling of this fraternity. Why? Simply stated..........................millions of dollars of revenue. We now have the BCS championship game involving the teams ranked #1 and #2 by this onerous system. Then we have 35-40 meaningless bowl match-ups. At the end of all this we crown a mythical national champion. This has been the case for as long as I have been alive. It is no more relevant than the Miss America pagaent. The answer to all this? An NCAA Division 1A football playoff.

Sports Illustrated has this season posed a national playoff. At the end of this week's issue highlighting Alabama's winning the SEC Championship, they place a little column entitled Wouldn't It Be Fun? They take the top 16 BCS teams and seed them into a two bracket playoff. It goes: In the left bracket: #1 Alabama vs #16 Pitt; #8 Ohio State vs #9 Iowa; #5 Florida vs #12 Va. Tech; #4 Cincinnatti vs #13 LSU. In the right bracket we see: #2 Texas vs #15 Oregon State; #7 Oregon vs #10 Georgia Tech; #6 Boise State vs #11 Penn State; #3 TCU vs #14 BYU. Each winner plays another winner into 4 second round games then winners play in 2 semi-final games and then those winners play for the National Championship. The team that mans up and plays through all the brackets and is left standing is the National Champion. That is exactly the way they do it in Basketball. No one grouses about paper champions in that pursuit. The way we do it now produces a Superlative? I think not.

There is a supplement to the local newspaper that comes out in late summer. It is called Whose Who in Real Estate. How do you get your name into this superlative publication? It is really rather simple. You have to be a licensee of course. Then you have to send a couple hundred dollars to the newspaper and then your name will be amongst Whose Who in Real Estate. It does not matter if you even actually sell anything. What an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

If you need a Realtor ask around amongst your friends as to who they might have used to sell or buy. If they liked the practitioner then it is likely that you will like them. Practicing real estate is not anywhere near neurosurgery. The licensing process weeds out most of the unscrupulous. You cannot have a criminal record and get a license. You can lose that license through unscrupulous enough behaviour, however. Seek someone you know and trust and you will be in good hands.