Monday Open Thread (2011-07-18)

Here is your open thread for Monday July 18th, 2011. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

34 comments:

  1. 1

    America’s Addiction to Debt

    Article:

    “…Ironically, if not for the manufactured “federal debt crisis,” the Fed’s action would have been a good time for a real, job-focused stimulus. But such was not to be. Instead, Washington is paralyzed over raising a debt ceiling that has been repeatedly raised in the past. Bernanke today warned that failure to do so would “throw the financial system into enormous disarray and have major impacts on the global economy.” Translation: Head for the bomb shelter. He also warned that deep spending cuts would derail the expansion….”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/soundeconomywithjontalton/2015608922_bernanke_wont_sail_on_the_qe3.html#continue

    So what do we do? Head for the bomb shelter and hope it all blows over soon?

  2. 2

    What do people (consumers, agents, lawyers) here think about the NWMLS (a/k/a state-wide) forms?

    The big knock I hear about them is that they are largely designed to prevent agents from being sued, but I’d argue they prevent the parties from being involved in a lawsuit. I’d argue that is good, but I know (or at least suspect) that Craig would say the parties should be given a choice after they know of the problem.

    My main concern is they don’t deal with risk of loss well, if at all.

    Also, I think at times the changes in the forms have been a massive over-reaction that have caused more problems than they fixed. The reaction to Alejandre v. Bull with Form 17 liability is the worst example of that.

  3. 3
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2

    Is it really an issue? How often is there an case that hinges on the form verses the substance?

  4. 4
    Scotsman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    It’s amusing to me that so many still think there’s some magic way out that prevents the inevitable pain. It’s like having a lifeboat that holds 20, and 30 people are swimming in the water. The current strategy of kicking the can down the road is akin to paddling the boat around waiting for 10 to drown so there won’t be any fussing over who gets to board. I guess that’s one way to handle it.

    ” blows over soon?” Certainly by 2020. Maybe. Structural change takes time and common goals. Are we even having that discussion yet? Is it going better than the deficit reduction talks?

  5. 5

    By Scotsman @ 3:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – Is it really an issue? How often is there an case that hinges on the form verses the substance?

    It almost always would depend on the form.

    Just as an example, with the state-wide forms the inspection provisions are much different than with an REO. If a problem arises, the forms will control.

  6. 6

    By Scotsman @ 3:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – Is it really an issue? How often is there an case that hinges on the form verses the substance?

    It almost always would depend on the form.

    Just as an example, with the state-wide forms the inspection provisions are much different than with an REO. If a problem arises, the forms will almost always control.

    But thank you. I take it that it would be fair to say you don’t consider it to be a major issue, right?

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6

    ” fair to say you don’t consider it to be a major issue, right?”

    Not for me, but then I’m one of the few that have no problem scratching out things on forms I don’t like, or having my lawyer do it my way. Plenty of people probably just accept what they’re given and probably don’t even read it.

    I’m also part of the group that says I don’t care what it said on the form, you ripped me off so now we, (as in both of us), we have a problem. Now the only question is do you want to resolve it or make it a bigger problem?

    How often do you see it as a problem?

  8. 8

    RE: Scotsman @ 7 – As noted, the forms are written to avoid suits, so for example, it’s typically difficult for a seller to keep an earnest money. If a sale flips a seller would consider that a problem, but a buyer would think it was great.

  9. 9
    Pegasus says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 2:

    What do people (consumers, agents, lawyers) here think about the NWMLS (a/k/a state-wide) forms?

    The big knock I hear about them is that they are largely designed to prevent agents from being sued, but I’d argue they prevent the parties from being involved in a lawsuit. I’d argue that is good, but I know (or at least suspect) that Craig would say the parties should be given a choice after they know of the problem.

    My main concern is they don’t deal with risk of loss well, if at all.

    Also, I think at times the changes in the forms have been a massive over-reaction that have caused more problems than they fixed. The reaction to Alejandre v. Bull with Form 17 liability is the worst example of that.

    We consumers would have to see the entire form first to comment intelligently. Shoving it in the pile of docs at bid or closing time amounts to just another form normally designed to give away something to the other parties in the transaction: lender, seller, agent, etc, while we are being “protected”.

  10. 10

    RE: Scotsman @ 4

    As Long as the Total Civilian Labor Force in America Keeps Shrinking

    Using our grand kids’ tax dollars or locked box Social Security revenue for today’s economy debt to keep up with uncontrolled/insourced population density increases, is doomed to failure well past a 2020 get-well, IMO.

    Did you know that the American Indian and the White Caucasion ethnic groups have something in common? They both control the lowest depopulation level birth rate in America compared to all other races in America, its currently 1.84. Anything below 2.2 is depopulation level. That’s right, I’m a wild eyed racist for talking current demography science’s impact, RE: a need for the debt in the first place, uncontrolled overpopulation.

  11. 11

    By Pegasus @ 9:

    We consumers would have to see the entire form first to comment intelligently. Shoving it in the pile of docs at bid or closing time amounts to just another form normally designed to give away something to the other parties in the transaction: lender, seller, agent, etc, while we are being “protected”.

    I would tend to agree with that, although what I’ve been doing lately is just sending the main document to clients ahead of time–Form 21 Purchase and Sale Agreement. The other documents are not that confusing and can easily be explained at the time of signing.

    What I was asking for though was existing opinions or prejudices. The opinion doesn’t necessarily have to be a fact based legal analysis of the document. ;-)

  12. 12
    see it clearly says:

    I have a question that I hope some of the many experts here might have some insight on. I saw a house this past weekend that had gone into a ‘pending’ state still have an open house this past Sunday. I’m curious what the reason might be for having an open on a house that is ‘pending?’

  13. 13

    RE: see it clearly @ 12 – Some agents use open houses as a lure to find buyer clients. There might be another reason, but that’s what first pops into my head.

    The other more legitimate answer would be the open house was scheduled for a Sunday and it went pending after Thursday. In that event I might just hold an open house because I said I would. It’s sort of like how if you say you’re going to be there from noon to 3:00 you should be there until 3:00 even if no one has shown up at 2:30. If the house is pending it’s likely pending inspection and so it is possible another buyer could be handy.

  14. 14
    see it clearly says:

    Thanks for the thoughts Kary.

  15. 15
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 4:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    It’s amusing to me that so many still think there’s some magic way out that prevents the inevitable pain.

    I love how you are so certain when you’ve been so wrong in the past.

    how is “taking the hit now” working for Greece? two rounds of austerity and they are worse than before. your austerity plans don’t work.

    the US can plateau it’s debt levels by ending the bush tax cuts. the bush tax cuts will cost us trillions but you still support them while telling us how bad deficits are….

  16. 16
    Macro Investor says:

    By softwarengineer @ 1:

    Bernanke today warned that failure to do so would “throw the financial system into enormous disarray and have major impacts on the global economy.”

    We need a Benanke vs Bernake tape… many other times he warned Congress to get the budget balanced. Apparently now that is bad. The only thing he conveniently leaves out is he and Greenspan created all the bubbles. The fed is a cop that says drugs are illegal, but hands out drugs.

    The debt ceiling debate is a farce. The republicans want to force Obama into accepting austerity so he’ll have to run during a recession. Obama knows that and wants to increase the debt so he can run during “good times”. The country and citizens aren’t even an after thought.

  17. 17
    Scotsman says:

    Here are the hard facts:

    Among the 49 sovereign nations Weiss Ratings covers, the U.S. has one of the heaviest debt burdens, the weakest international reserves, and the least stable economies.

    It’s more dependent on foreigners for deficit financing than any other major country in the world.

    Its consumers are among the most reliant on mortgages, credit cards, and other forms of debt to support its economy.

    And perhaps most dangerous of all, America’s largest banks have the greatest exposure to high-risk derivatives — nearly 40% more today than during the debt crisis of 2008.

    http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/weiss-downgrades-u-s-debt-what-to-do-46017

  18. 18
    Pegasus says:

    Quelle Surprise! The Banks Lied and Robosigning Lives!

    Reuters has found that some of the biggest U.S. banks and other “loan servicers” continue to file questionable foreclosure documents with courts and county clerks. They are using tactics that late last year triggered an outcry, multiple investigations and temporary moratoriums on foreclosures.

    In recent months, servicers have filed thousands of documents that appear to have been fabricated or improperly altered, or have sworn to false facts.

    The regulators are clearing willing at most to inconvenience the banks at the margin. Given how deep seated mortgage problems are, that means they will try to do anything but deal with the problem squarely for as long as they possibly can.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/07/quelle-surprise-the-banks-lied-and-robosigning-lives.html

  19. 19

    By Macro Investor @ 16:

    By softwarengineer @ 1:

    Bernanke today warned that failure to do so would “throw the financial system into enormous disarray and have major impacts on the global economy.”

    We need a Benanke vs Bernake tape… many other times he warned Congress to get the budget balanced. Apparently now that is bad. . . .

    The debt ceiling debate is a farce. . ..

    There’s a bit of a difference between aiming for a balance budget and defaulting on existing obligations (using the term broadly to include all currently approved expenditures).

    I would agree the debt ceiling debate is a farce. There shouldn’t even be a debt ceiling. Deal with these issues in the budget and appropriations bills. On the other hand, any think that keeps Congress doing pointless things for long periods of time can’t be all bad. ;-)

  20. 20

    RE: Macro Investor @ 16

    Two Party Wings on the Same Debt Turkey

    I agree with Pfft, the drunken sailor debt was a Republican mandate too.

    The solution: get that 5:4 Supreme Court ruling allowing corporate campaign funding [foreign money too] terminated/reversed and perhaps we’ll get a chance at We the People Democrats and Republicans to vote for again.

  21. 21

    RE: softwarengineer @ 20 – Why do you hate the First Amendment?

  22. 22

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21

    I Love the First Ammendment

    Its the 14th Ammendment [about 100+ years ago] allowing our African American slaves’ children citizenship [which I also love], but conditionally forbids foreign nationals’ children from citizenship that both the Democrats and the Republicans apparently hate and misinterpert….God forbid we shut down the cheap labor spigot on a shrinking Civilian Labor Force, Constitution or no Constitution.

  23. 23

    A law that prevents political speech right before an election is very anti-First Amendment. The reaction of the press to that decision surprises me.

    For one thing, they pretend it only applies to corporations, and ignore the fact that it affected others too.

  24. 24

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 23 – I would add that the legislation struck down was really incumbent protection legislation, and therefore a bad idea even ignoring the First Amendment.

  25. 25
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 17

    You seem to be oblivious to the American Way of life, and capitalism. All of these rants, and links are unAmerican. Capital is borrowed for greater, and greater returns. That’s the American way of doing business.

    We also export this way of doing business. Our MBAs are sought all over the world. We can make money out of nothing, like derivatives.

    The debt, and tax burden we have is an absolute farce. The fact you keep harping on entitlements, or giving away welfare, is a joke. We have most of our corporate structure doing nothing for massive amounts of cash returns. Wal Mart, oil, pick any company, pick any car company for that matter, pick any energy entity, Sears, any retailer, the list goes on, and on.

    We have the highest corporate welfare, and one of the lowest tax rates on corporate influxes of cash, than any country on earth.

    In the mean time we have a growing poverty rate. We give away cheap capital to huge corporation while we send low wage jobs to the lowest bidder.

    You blame the people. You claim the people of this great country should struggle without hope while a very few, you, and I included, reap the benefits of the system designed for easy profits.

  26. 26

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    The First Ammendment Allows Kary and SWE Freedom to Speak Our Opinions, Like Right Now

    Thank God for that, BTW, this same freedom of speech has impacted me with available new facts to help me change my opinion(s) too.

    What the 1st Ammendment doesn’t allow:

    Defamation of character allegations against someone whose opinion differs from ours, i.e., like flippantly calling us “haters or racists” for supporting the 14th Ammendment’s mandates as it was CLEARLY written. Ask professor(s) skilled in Constitutional Law on the 14th Ammendment and they’ll all agree with me on the foreign national family citizenship requirements documented….why are most of our MSM and Dem/Rep politicians a “circus barker” for the illusion tent of TOTALLY defying/misinterperting the 14th Ammendment?

  27. 27

    RE: David Losh @ 25

    Interesting Analogy Dave

    My parents [probably yours too] lived in a giant home on a giant lot, spending only about 15% of one income’s net pay to afford it. The population was about 33-50% less than today. Almost everything in the house, including the Chrysler in the driveway, was made in America. Back then, we considerred Japanese stuff complete junk.

    Yet, even producing/assembling almost everthing for our homes in our own country [parts and material included], we worked with almost no double incomes per household [less per capita household incomes] and still had plenty of time for vacations to Disneyland in the family car.

    I lived near Paine Field, Mukilteo, during the this era [60s-70s] and there were 2500 acres of woods in back of my dad’s 4000 SF rambler on 5 acres….today, its all destroyed with housing developments for uncontrolled growth. the bears, coyotes and deer are all gone today.

    A caveat, during the time America was far less populated my parents’ generation invented:

    super sonic A/C
    composites in aerospace
    ultra sound
    the internet
    microcircuits
    plasma TVs
    LCDs
    etc, etc, etc

    Mostly during the space race [which is dead now too]. IMO, we invented in America back then because we had FAR more personal space and hope to dream. What have we really invented [exclude miniaturization of old inventions or reverse engineering capabilities added, already invented in the past, like fuel injection of cars] the last 40 some years in the world, let alone America?

  28. 28
    Lurker says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 23:

    A law that prevents political speech right before an election is very anti-First Amendment. The reaction of the press to that decision surprises me.

    For one thing, they pretend it only applies to corporations, and ignore the fact that it affected others too.

    I am also not a fan of corporate personhood first amendment rights but who are the others that are affected by this. And was something changed recently? Last I understood was that the corporate coffers are now free to do their will.

  29. 29
    Bingo says:

    RE: Lurker @ 28

    The Unions are free to spend also, as are the SuperPAC’s (just ask Stephen Colbert).

    I’d like to see more than 2 parties in charge of the USofA’s political system.

  30. 30
    Lurker says:

    RE: Bingo @ 29

    Ah, yes, that’s right. Thank you.

  31. 31

    By Lurker @ 28:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 23:

    A law that prevents political speech right before an election is very anti-First Amendment. The reaction of the press to that decision surprises me.

    For one thing, they pretend it only applies to corporations, and ignore the fact that it affected others too.

    I am also not a fan of corporate personhood first amendment rights but who are the others that are affected by this. And was something changed recently? Last I understood was that the corporate coffers are now free to do their will.

    Unions and associations of any type (e.g. AAA, AARP, NRA, etc.).

    The US Supreme Court in the early 20th century had a decision that said that the 1st Amendment didn’t apply to corporations. I really don’t see any basis for that. That would mean freedom of the press wouldn’t apply to corporate owned newspapers and TV stations, etc., so basically none of them. Applying it to other amendments, the police could bust into any corporate business and search records at will without a warrant.

    In maybe 2009 the Supreme Court overruled that earlier decision. The reaction has been surprisingly negative.

  32. 32
    Scotsman says:

    “A new Marist Poll says that for the first time ever a majority of American adults — 55 percent — will not be booking a summer vacation this year. They’re too worried about jobs and money. The “Staycation” of 2009 has morphed into the “Naycation” of 2011.”

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1352781

  33. 33
    Macro Investor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 31:

    By Lurker @ 28:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 23:

    A law that prevents political speech right before an election is very anti-First Amendment. The reaction of the press to that decision surprises me.

    For one thing, they pretend it only applies to corporations, and ignore the fact that it affected others too.

    I am also not a fan of corporate personhood first amendment rights but who are the others that are affected by this. And was something changed recently? Last I understood was that the corporate coffers are now free to do their will.

    Unions and associations of any type (e.g. AAA, AARP, NRA, etc.).

    The US Supreme Court in the early 20th century had a decision that said that the 1st Amendment didn’t apply to corporations. I really don’t see any basis for that. That would mean freedom of the press wouldn’t apply to corporate owned newspapers and TV stations, etc., so basically none of them. Applying it to other amendments, the police could bust into any corporate business and search records at will without a warrant.

    In maybe 2009 the Supreme Court overruled that earlier decision. The reaction has been surprisingly negative.

    I don’t believe any of the amendments should apply to non-human entities. Although, obviously “the press” is not a human being. The constitution doesn’t give us rights. It prevents gov from infringing on rights humans are supposed to innately have — granted by the creator (thought I’m not trying to start a religious argument here).

    A human being has the right to free political speech. A corporation is just a piece of paper, meant for commerce. It doesn’t vote. Congress has the authority to regulate commerce. Therefore, congress would legislate whether or not police can raid corporations.

  34. 34

    RE: Macro Investor @ 33 – I’m virtually certain your Fifth Amendment analysis is incorrect.

    In any case, corporations, associations, unions, they’re really just collections of people who join together to be more effective.

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