Hope For The Future

It's nice to know that some high school students are still on their game and also know how to have fun while raging against the machine.

Of course, there's always a lie involved:
The Speed Camera Program was implemented in March of this year and used for the purpose of reducing traffic and pedestrian collisions in the county.

No, revenue enhancement and doing things the lazy way were never on their minds.


Economics Quiz

Since most Americans are woefully ignorant on the subject of economics, we've devised this simple one-question quiz to weed out the ignorant from the knowledgeable:

Which of the following represents inflation?
A) You get a 25-cent-an-hour raise.
B) The price of gas goes up 7 cents per gallon.
C) M3 increases by 0.2%.
D) All of the above.
E) None of the above.

If you answered anything but C, you have no business discussing economics.


Too Good To Be True

Fraud never lasts for long. And so it is that Bernard "Ponzi" Madoff was busted recently for defrauding a whole slew of not-so-bright people out of $50 billion or so.

The money quote:
"There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you've had somebody decide to be unscrupulous," said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a regulator in charge of monitoring investment funds like the one Madoff operated.

Now, if these people were all that "very sophisticated", how is it they were so easily duped? Apparently, greed makes people do very stupid things.


The Hou$ing Cri$i$

We've been thinking about this for some time now, but have been too busy to blog about it.

In all the finger-pointing (in many cases, deservedly so) concerning the recent problems in the housing market, it seems that one very culpable group got left out: the realtors.

The bankers weren't exactly chasing people down on the street and trying to twist their arms into taking out mortgages that they couldn't afford. And people weren't just going into banks on their own initiative and begging to take out loans they couldn't afford to re-pay.

So who talked both sides into these transactions? You guessed it -- the realtors. They're the ones who told people that it would be OK, because real estate values "always" go up. And in many cases, they flat-out lied to the banks about the ability of their clients to re-pay those mortgages.

The realtors were in the catbird seat in that they got their money up-front, no matter what eventually happened to the other two parties to the transaction.

Risk is an integral part of our free-market, capitalist system. But risks should only be assumed after a rational analysis of all aspects of a situation. No one should be conned into accepting a risk.

As a side note, we can't help but wonder what part realtors played in getting that misbegotten "Community Reinvestment" Act passed.