Weekend Open Thread (2011-08-26)

Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday August 26th, 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.

24 comments:

  1. 1
    Blurtman says:

    Next: Geithner, Bernanke claim we must bail out the Soprano crime family.

    Charles Schwab Sues Banks Over Rate Manipulation
    (That would include bail out hogs Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup)

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/charles-schwab-sues-banks-over-rate-manipulation

    Pathetic banana republic USA.

  2. 2
    Ben says:

    This has to be one of the worst listings I’ve ever seen. Check out the awesome electrical panels!!!

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Issaquah/25133-SE-158th-St-98027/home/425376

  3. 3
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ben @ 2

    The second panel is for the pool.

  4. 4
    Scotsman says:

    Yet another reason you probably can’t expect your home to rise in value for years- continued high unemployment:

    “The current model of pretend-Capitalism and extend-and-pretend debt consumption is falling apart due to intrinsic, structural reasons. Rather than add jobs, the U.S. economy will shed another 4 to 5 million jobs in the next few years. While our government will gerrymander the statistics, the bleak reality is that there will be between 20 and 25 million unemployed Americans with essentially zero job prospects by 2013/14.”

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug11/20-million-unemployed-8-11.html

    “Neither the Left nor Right is willing or able to face this reality. This is because ideologues are like alcoholics; getting drunk every night “works” because it’s easier than facing up to failure and wrenching change. Ideologues turn a blind eye to the failures of their chosen political faith because it’s easier than facing their failure and having to toss their cherished ideological security blanket on the trash heap of history.”

  5. 5
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 4

    Bernanke, putting Congress on the spot changed the way we will be looking at the economy. We are at the end of the hand outs. The Fed fired it’s last shot with the two years of low interest.

    The next leg up will be on the backs of consumers. Where do you think jobs are going to come from? Do you think Congress will create jobs? Congress is now in the business of laying off people.

    Do you think corporations are going to create jobs? They have cash reserves, emerging markets, and control of natural resources.

    The consumer, however, has a vested interest in making things work.

    Cash is king is more than what you have sitting in the bank. It also means this is the time to shed debt. People talk about it all the time here. If the consumer concentrates on paying off debt, settling debt, paying off the mortgage, or walking away, the more debt they shed the more wealth they create.

    This is a time of extreme opportunity.

  6. 6

    I ran into another one of those Craigslist scams yesterday. I’m looking at a bank owned house and there’s a car parked in the driveway, but the keybox is not empty. I just think it’s a neighbor using the spot, but then I see people on the back side of the house. I start a conversation with them and they say they have talked to the owner. That seemed rather odd, since even owners of houses have a problem talking with banks! Then I discover they think it’s a rental. I ask them two questions: 1. Is the rent requested a really low amount–yes; and 2. Does the owner claim that he is out of the country–yes. Typical scam, but using a bank owned property they’re less likely to be noticed. And unlike some other banks, this one doesn’t place notices in the windows that would alert the victim that the house is bank owned. Just a real estate sign in the front lawn, which is not inconsistent with a rental.

    Fortunately Craiglist has seemingly already caught this one, because I couldn’t find it on their system.

  7. 7
    David Losh says:

    You can start a Kary thread if you want, but really this has gotten to be ridiculous.

    Scotsman has brought up several good points that are interesting. Engaging those points would be a great use of my time this morning. That would also mean I would be exposing myself to another Kary attack.

  8. 8

    RE: Scotsman @ 4

    A Good Example of a Republican in The Past With a Completely Different Paradign Than the Failure Road We’ve Been on the Last Decade

    Was President Nixon, he supported Earthday depopulation for the economy/envoronment [same thing] and he was impeached for COMPLETELY trivial reasons [compared to what the Dem/Rep gangster politicians get away with today], IMO. The rest of the American depopulation Earthday leaders for higher wages and lower unemployment were assassinated.

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    Lots of homes in my area have gone pending over the last two weeks- just about all of them under $300K and most just over $200K. Many of them don’t seem to make sense- there is a wide range of value received for the money spent. I’m wondering if many folks aren’t thinking the interest rates won’t last? Or maybe they just get too excited by the low prices, thinking they’ll get a deal. At any rate much of the available inventory has dissappeared.

    Watching, but keeping my powder dry.

  10. 10
    2kt says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 4

    What is your solution, Mr. S_Pants? Is it “let the cards fall as they may”? This is not the 30s – the population owns many many more weapons and the fear of god is long gone. Are you are able to model what level of crime and violence would the county have to go through if banks are allowed to fail in mass and depresssion follows with, say, 25%-30% unemployment? Would it really be that much better?

  11. 11
    Scotsman says:

    RE: 2kt @ 10

    Here’s a thought- not every challenging situation has a “solution.” Sometimes life just sucks.

    Reality check- life is not fair- never has been, never will be. Yes, it may/will get ugly- I firmly believe that. But don’t shoot the messenger- I’m not any more excited about it than you are. Don’t confuse analysis and conclussions with support for an idea. I’m still trying to live my life by those old Boy Scout ideals- help those who genuinely need it, do your fair share, and leave the campground nicer than you found it.

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 11 – Can’t we at least execute a few banksters?

  13. 13
    2kt says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 11

    In this case the solution IS extend and pretend because it is better than the alternative.

  14. 14
    Scotsman says:

    RE: 2kt @ 13

    I disagree- I’d rather get through the correction, painful as it may be, and then get on with a new life built on a solid foundation.

    Extend and pretend isn’t a solution, and it robs people of the opportunity to plan and build a real life going forward.

  15. 15

    Here’s a story on what some coastal towns might do to reduce the tsunami risk, since many are low lying and the wave could hit within 20 minutes of the quake.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/128537803.html

  16. 16

    Call SWE Pessimistic

    I don’t see any solution out of this downward spiral of wages and home prices. Nada.

    We’re out of fish, trees and water. Have any of you driven through Aberdeen and Hoquium lately? There are hardly no jobs I can see, the dinky trees you can see harvested/piled appear to be all ground up for glueboard….we sold all the usable old growth off decades ago. Ocean Shores has no clam holes in the beaches anymore. Nada. The Orcas is endangered species from overpopulation heavy elements in Puget Sound [like mecury]. We do have water, but limited to a small strip of land west of the mountains…..go to eastern Washington and its a desert, a good land fill area for the overpopulation though.

    Without a change from more overpopulation I see things chronically getting slowly worse and worse with no end. When will we wake up and smell the coffee????

  17. 17
    David Losh says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 16RE: Scotsman @ 14

    OK I like the SWE moniker. SWE is presenting the ultimate problem.

    Population was another factor of the 1960s when Planned Parenthood, the Pill, and abortion were another topic of the day. We have tried to export the idea of Planned Parenthood, and family planning clinics, in other parts of the world without success.

    Population growth is also seen as growth for the economy.

    That is another reason to open borders. France was concerned about a declining population a few decades ago and began accepting more immigrants, now that’s a problem. The fact is we can no longer hold our little piece of the world and let the rest suffer. The world is way to small today to allow that.

  18. 18
    2kt says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 14

    If banking system collapses and so will the currency, the country will go into a complete chaos. It may end up splitting into several states. It’s not the experiment worth trying.

  19. 19
    David Losh says:

    RE: 2kt @ 18

    The banking system can collapse. Reliance on credit and lending are a substitute for currency exchange. We can pull back the mega bank concept and replace it with micro lending.

    It’s possible.

  20. 20
    2kt says:

    RE: David Losh @ 19

    Dave, don’t be ridiculous.

  21. 21
    Blurtman says:

    RE: 2kt @ 18 – Continuing with fraud, lying, and disregard for the law is a worse outcome.

  22. 22
    2kt says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 21

    What do you know about the worst outcome? Have you ever been to a country that’s coming apart? It’s far more dramatic in life than watching it on CNN. Look at history of countries where banking system collapsed. You would not want to live it.

  23. 23
    LocalYokel says:

    By 2kt @ 22:

    RE: Blurtman @ 21

    What do you know about the worst outcome? Have you ever been to a country that’s coming apart? It’s far more dramatic in life than watching it on CNN. Look at history of countries where banking system collapsed. You would not want to live it.

    So, you are suggesting that the three branches of government and Wall Street
    are working on behalf of the American public to save us from anarchy and from
    ourselves, like parents scolding ill behaved children playing with matches, while they chastise us with whips and scorpions of fraud and theft.
    You, Sir, already live under the yoke of mental slavery and fear.

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Big Ben

  24. 24
    Scotsman says:

    RE: 2kt @ 18

    The banking system is going to blow for the simple reason that it is a false construct. Or as my wife likes to say- “there’s no there, there.” All that collateral they claim to have, the “assets” that capitalize them, backing up their loss reserves and providing liquidity, simply don’t exist as booked:

    “the financial system is so dependent on housing collateral, which neither the banks, nor the government owned GSEs, nor the Fed with its trillion dollar MBS portfolio, have even begun to mark down to market. They extend, pretend, and hope prices turn up before it’s too late. This is a time bomb that without a housing recovery, will keep right on ticking.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/housing-time-bomb-goes-tick-tock-tick-tock

    The good news is that many studies have shown we really don’t need the huge mega banks to operate the country. It is the rich who will takes the brunt of the losses, along with the government and the currency. But smaller regional or local banks will pick up much of the transactional load and life will go on.

    The biggest threat will come from those who have become dependent on the government for food, shelter, and medical services. They will be one unhappy bunch.

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