Friday, December 07, 2007

Innovative Mortgages are a scam and everyone's known it for a long, long time

by shamanic

I'm a poet (like, published and everything) aside from being the spectacular observer of world events here at the Newshog. Lately I am in what may well become one of the most fertile creative periods of my life, sleeping badly and letting the resultant mild dissociation run rampant. Oh yes, I have ideas.

On the blogging front, it is entirely possible that I'll start liveblogging The News Hour on PBS, because quite frankly, it has become an immeasurable source of tragicomedy for me these days. It's been covering the mortgage crisis in great detail, letting all kinds of super smarty pants money people on to discuss the situation and according them all manner of respect when, of course, if they were really such super smarty pants money people they might have noticed that these "innovative" mortgage products were going to cause exactly this kind of crisis sooner rather than later.

Last night, while watching Henry Paulson extol the virtues of the new administration bailout plan, I realized that 1) he's high, and 2) he is gradually training his eyebrows to do the work that his hair once did when he had some. Speaking to point 1, Paulson actually said this: "If I ever saw a legitimate role for the government, it is a situation like this, where there's been so much complexity and innovation that it's outrun the private sector's ability to deal with it." (Transcript here. Poke around if you're interested, they may have video of the segment. Really, the eyebrow thing is super impressive.)

My addled little mind, bursting with spring flowers in deep autumn, saw this: Lobbyists from the mortgage banking industry chatting up congressmen in the 1990s over lavish spreads at fancy DC eateries, explaining how these new "innovative" mortgage approaches, if given regulatory approval, would allow more people to own homes, would raise the value of homes because the market would feature more competition (telling a Republican that "ordinary people will have to compete" will sell them on almost any crackpot scheme), and that now everyone will be able to own a home and be part of the American dream. If they mentioned the resets, they glossed them over with data about rising incomes, and I'm sure they stressed the strong ethics of everyone involved in the mortgaging process. Uh huh.

The private sector generated these "innovations", sold slacker regulators on them, and now have tanked the market with them to such a degree that even Republicans want to help bail out their irresponsible banker friends. It's the Bankruptcy Bill, part II.

Here's my advice to you: if you are not already rich, and any financial agent whose services you employ ever uses the word "innovative" to describe a financial product s/he is trying to sell you, do these things: Laugh in that person's face. Fire this shitty employee of yours. Walk away.

No comments: