Monday, February 9, 2009

Financial Meltdown: The Villains Are On Your TV

As I sit here calmly . . . well, that is trying to be calm, I am choosing my words carefully.

Okay, here goes . . .


Whew! Now, with that out of my system, I point you toward a story that illustrates where a big chunk of the "housing crisis" eminated. It wasn't just financiers, or developers, or people in Congress who now say they have the answers, but were asleep at the switch when these problems bubbled up more than five years ago.

No, the problem -- is on your TV.

The idiotic "flip my house" shows, combined with the "get it for nothing" shows, competing with the "oh baby my house is worth a fortune" shows . . . THEY are a huge part of the culture today that doesn't understand why banks have tightened credit standards, or that their place doesn't appraise where they think it should. Viewers of these shows weren't investors -- they were gamblers. ARE gamblers. And they lost. Investors buy and hold and trade for long term wealth growth and to shelter taxes. Gamblers are looking for a fix for their cash habit. Something to put some extra bucks in their pockets, but didn't care about tax implications. Or that the false values that were being affixed to these properties would ultimately crumble because there was no foundation beneath them (like the construction metaphor?).

Read it. Understand it. Pass it on. Like I said early on, this is not news to me nor to regular CASH ON CASH readers. Old news. But for many, listen to hear any jaws dropping as folks who played this roulette wheel realize what they were a part of and how they drove the problem to become worse.

Now . . the writer takes a tongue-in-cheek viewpoint on this. He actually is being kind of silly with his story. But the guts of it are right on. These television shows encouraged people to drink the no-money-down koolaid, and many got hosed. How is that for blunt?

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. . . .

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