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Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 02-16-2011, 10:05 AM  
State of the Union on scanners, please
Posted By Rick
Replies: 16
Views: 5,595
Yes, I read the German review on the Plustek, noting the actual resolution of the scanner versus claimed, and that you end up with a very large file without a corresponding amount of data.

The time required to manually index slides doesn't bother me as I can pick away at this while doing other things beside the scanner. Every session will probably become a session of looking at old pictures I haven't seen in decades. So it will probably be an enjoyable trip down memory lane and not just a chore.

I did notice in the review what you mentioned about reducing the size of the file. You mentioned VueScan - is that the "TIFF Size Reduction" setting? My wife isn't handy at the moment to ask her about how you do this in Photoshop, but is this some sort of pixel merging operation? I assume that in the merge there is no noticeable lack of quality because duplicate pixels get dumped?

Another quck VueScan question: does it allow multi-scan capability in a scanner that doesn't do that generically?

That German review comparing the Nikon CoolScan 5000 to the Reflecta and Plustek, kind of underscores why you might decide to simply bite the bullet and buy a Nikon. There seems to be a big quality gap between the Nikon V/5000 and the options below that. The price sucks - although it reflects the demand - but from what I'm seeing on Ebay and elsewhere, it doesn't appear to me that those who bought Nikons to do a project are seeing much difference between their purchase price and what they resold for.

However... pictures taken decades ago with consumer lenses on old Spotmatics. You have to ask yourself how many slides out of all of them are going to show significantly better results coming out of something like a Plustek rather than a Nikon? Composition, lighting, and exposure of the slide aside, is the lowest common denominator going to be the original image quality? Or (more likely?) is it an additive process where any image defects in the original image and scanning shortcomings come together? Perhaps older slides with shot with lower end cameras and lenses need all the help they can get.

Nesster, I did look at the slide copier route. There's even a web page showing how to use a modified slide projector.... I guess it comes down to a decision of wanting output quality to be around what you would get with a Nikon V/5000, and slide copying, flatbeds, etc isn't going to get me there.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 02-16-2011, 01:55 AM  
State of the Union on scanners, please
Posted By Rick
Replies: 16
Views: 5,595
I won't be scanning everything at high resolution, but when I want to get the most I can out of a slide, I do want that capability. I also know that resolution isn't commonly found to be as claimed i.e. the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i has about half it's claimed resolution.

Early on, it appears there's nothing as a likely alternative at this instance so it looks like I may end up shelling out for a Nikon Coolscan.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 02-15-2011, 05:07 PM  
State of the Union on scanners, please
Posted By Rick
Replies: 16
Views: 5,595
Hi all... the military has kind of kept me... otherwise occupied in interesting places for nearly two years now... and I've only managed to pop into the forums once in a while. So I'm a bit out of touch with things.

Including scanners.

The last time I was active here, just before the military got me busy, I was looking at converting 30 years of slides to digital format. Now, with semi retirement looming, I still am. The project has now been considerably extended by the death of my father, who leaves behind about 60+ years of slides.

The quality of all these slides will range from "pretty damned good work" to "Well, it's not very good, but it's the only slide of your grandparents at the homestead". In some cases the film used will be a bit of a mystery. My intended approach is to go with the best compromise of price vs quality available, and happily accept the additional cost of having difficult & valuable slides (to me/us) done as a custom job in a photo shop on high end equipment.

I am owned by a wife who is a landscape architect and is a bit of a photoshop guru to go with that, and who possesses a critical eye for color correcting. I am assuming that some shortcomings in equipment/software/technique can be handled by her or her teaching me if I bribe her enough.

So that's the situation, and as I look around today it appears that the Nikon scanners have pretty much disappeared from the landscape. They can still be found, but in the brief look I took, the prices have increased considerably. The idea that people would scan their slides and then sell their scanners to the next guy at used prices doesn't seem to have worked that way. My planned project solution has taken a bit of a beating.

Anyways... that's MY situation as I consider purchasing a scanner to start the project. I could probably be talked into spending more than $2500 on a scanner if I thought I could get most of it back on resale (this is a one time project). But with semi-retirement, anything more than $2500 right now is going to involve asking the family to sacrifice a bit, which isn't necessarily fair.

So thats the background scenario - what's the state of the union on slide scanners today?

I see there's a few new Nikon CoolScan V ED at Amazon from a few sellers for around $2500, and that unit has been well covered in the past here. Looking at Adorama, what appears to be the top of the line in their offerings is the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i Ai, rated at 7200dpi. It looks quite the steal at $440, but I doubt that the rule "You don't get something for nothing" has changed much. Other new offerings (to me) are the Pacific Image Powerslide 3650. One thing I do have is time, and I'm not going to get it done in just a couple of months, so high output is not a major concern.

So... before I start going through two years of past posts here and elsewhere, re-reading scanner reviews and opinions, etc, can some of you give me a bit of a kickstart by offering your opinions and suggestions on the state of archiving slides today, and scanners that I might want to keep in mind while doing my homework?

Thanks very much, folks, appreciate any help on beginning this rather daunting project.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 09-25-2009, 08:28 AM  
Batch edit of exif to add copyright
Posted By Rick
Replies: 41
Views: 14,285
Thanks. It didn't work quite that way for me but you got me pointed in the right direction.

I'm using CS2 (legal, not pirated, so all the tools should be there). I don't have the above mentioned option in my version - no "Create Metadata Template" option in Tools. Adobe Help Center was my friend. The way I had to create the template was to select an image, go to File --> Info. Then edit the information in the info fields to reflect what I wanted, THEN use the option of saving that as a metadata template. After that... I was off to the races.

Thanks mucho. BTW, I'll also go look at the Microsoft software out of curiosity; thanks for pointing me at that as well.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 09-10-2009, 10:06 AM  
Batch edit of exif to add copyright
Posted By Rick
Replies: 41
Views: 14,285
Later today I have to start putting together hundreds of images for use by a group I'm supporting. My charity doesn't extend to giving them unfettered control of my images, so I'd like to add a copyright notice to the exif file. A batch operation is highly desired, obviously...

Any suggestions? I have Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, the Pentax software, etc. Haven't had a chance to really take a snoop through the documentation yet and see if a batch edit of the exif is in the cards.

Fastest, simple, and easiest is best...

Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-27-2009, 01:08 PM  
Archiving = JPEGs or TIFFs, that is the question!
Posted By Rick
Replies: 36
Views: 8,490
I'm not sure why anyone who doesn't agree with you is either a troll or pushing their own agenda - any more than you might be pushing your own agenda - but whatever. I don't think that adds to the discussion, however.

I don't share your views on dependency on vendors and their proprietary formats, simply because I don't think it is reliant on the vendors.

I won't be archiving any of my photos as bitmaps, but then, that's a personal choice.

I do know I won't be worried about whether Adobe or whoever is around in future software, and whether that future software will support RAW or other current formats. It occurs to me that, just as I can archive images, I can also archive the software to work with those images. And - if need be - the last operating system that would run the software to work with those images. Recalling my move from the Amiga OS to PC's, it would not exactly be a unique situation to do just that.

Should the imaging world take an unimaginable shift that leaves only bitmaps, then I may be annoyed with the prospect, but I can fire up that software once again and make that conversion. Assuming nobody in the world has bothered to write conversion software, of course.

I do have a fair degree of certainty that, even should Adobe and .psds disappear into the digital dust of time, given the sheer number of files saved as .psds and other similar formats, used not only by photographers but other professionals as well (i.e. my wife the architect), SOMEBODY will be marketing a conversion program for them.

Ultimately, in the end, to each whatever they feel most comfortable with.

For me, storage is ridiculously cheap these days and online backup which is also backed up with tape backup for ALL my data is equally ridiculously cheap. So - again for me - RAW seems to be the best backup medium because I want above all else to at least have a copy of the original file.

And if I had to choose between JPEGs or TIFFs for archiving, then TIFFs would be my first choice.

The scary thing is so many people don't do any backup at all - of any kind. Or, if they do archive, all their archives are in the same house that burned down as the computer that the original files were on.

You can be in a quandry as to what file format you want to back up in, but you do need to back up and you do need at least one reliable backup off site. For me, online backup in conjunction with tape works well. Losing both my original and my backups of my photos in a disaster like a fire, flood, etc would be a real blow. But losing all the files related to my geomatics business would almost certainly put me out of business.

One reliable off site backup. Always.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-27-2009, 12:17 PM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
One thing I do have going for me is that the vast majority of my slides are scratch free, and they're almost as good in regards to dust contamination.

I will have to break out the slide projector and screen and reconfirm that when I get home, but if that is still their state, then Digital ICE issues are not as important as they would be otherwise.

At least, that's what I assume.

With that in mind - and the fact that a 9000 is REALLY more than I can afford to spend right now unless I feel I absolutely have to - what are opinions on how much difference am I going to see in "end result" between a Coolscan V ED and a 5000 if I use either Silverfast or Vuescan with IT8 targets on "perfect condition" slides? Most of them being either Kodachrome or Fuji. Right now speed is not an issue - I'm prepared to give up speed for less wallet shock right now if the end results are comparable. The house DOES need a new roof...

The good ones that suffer from not having a much higher quality scanner should not be too numerous, and those I can pay to have somebody with a high end scanner do for me. Or, bribe my Photoshop guru wife to put aside her architectural work long enough to humour my Photoshop needs to recover an imperfect scan.

At least, that's my current thinking and what I'm seeking input on with this post.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-27-2009, 11:59 AM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
Yes, I see the price - and the price for the IT8 targets to work with it.

On the other hand, while I really hate thinking of what that is going to cost, it really doesn't compare to the cost that all those drawers of slides represent. A roll of film with processing was... how much again??? Multiply that by... how many trays of slides??? And then there's all the old family slides of the vacations when we were kids, my brothers and I growing up, etc. Not exactly artistic, but how do you put a value on the memories those bring back?

So, yup, I think I have a pretty good idea about the cost. But given the above, I don't see a way around it. Or at least, around finding a solution that will allow me to get what I want out of all those slides without laying out a good chunk of cash.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-26-2009, 11:10 AM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
Did you actually compare the output of the 9000 to, say, the 5000 while scanning Kodachrome?

I'm trying to get a handle on what I need and wonder what the quality diff might be when I'm using Silverfast and IT8 targets regardless of the model?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-26-2009, 11:07 AM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
No... but I did rent one in Calgary one weekend while I was stuck in a hotel while my wife had shoulder surgery... $50/day.

With the learning curve, number of slides to process, etc, that would be a rather expensive way to go about it.

I'm increasingly leaning to just biting the bullet, buying a 5000, gittin' 'er done, and then selling it ASAP to recover as much I can of the cost. I think the cost of the scanner is reasonable - I'm just in the middle of a lot of expenses this year.

A lot of my old film is Kodachrome, and right now I'm wondering if I shouldn't be looking even further up the ladder at the 9000. Gaaacckkkk!!!!!

More reading and research required...
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-26-2009, 12:27 AM  
Slide copying... off screens
Posted By Rick
Replies: 2
Views: 2,500
While I sit here scanning Ebay and increasingly moving towards the opinion I need to just bite the bullet and buy a Coolscan 5000 ED, the thought just popped into my head...

... why not set up the ol' slide projector and screen, put the DSLR on a tripod, get everything ticky-boo, and snap away?

Intuitively I'm fairly sure the results are going to be crappy. Off the top of my head as I write this, I'm not sure exactly why, but I suspect the results are going to be mediocre.

But what the hell, we're only killing electrons here. So I'm going to give it a shot anyways, just to say I tried it.

I know some of you out there must have tried it. So while it will be a week or so before I get back home and can experiment... how did it go for those of you who got the same bright idea?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-23-2009, 06:59 PM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
You are in fact correct. All my other scanning needs (what little they are), are covered.

I am torn between wanting to get on with scanning all my old slides (or the ones worth scanning, anyways) or waiting some more to see if prices come down into my budget range - or my budget range picks up another $400 or so.

The difference in Dmax values alone suggest I'm out of luck right now, as I think I'm looking at something like 4.2 for the Nikon and about 3.5 at best for anything in my purchasing range. Given how many of my slides are high contrast shots, I suspect I might be disappointed to give up that much.

Anyways, reading some interesting comments here, thanks.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-23-2009, 02:25 AM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By Rick
Replies: 53
Views: 13,776
Okay, so I keep looking at all those drawers of slides, and thinking that the job of scanning them isn't going away.

Being as I don't have boatloads of money to burn at the moment, I'm wondering if I keep on waiting for prices to plunge while quality and features greatly improve (which doesn't seem to be happening over the last couple of years), or just try something affordable for now.

I have given myself a ceiling of something around $750, although I would move a bit higher than that if it looked right. That seems to put the Nikon 5000 ED - the default choice for ordinary people as it were - out of my reach at around $1100.

But then there's the Opticfilm 7500I Ai 7200 Dpi Silverfast Ai Studio Isrd. About $490, seems to get good reviews. But I've never seen one.

So anybody out there current on what's available right now on the market?

I'm not doing professional work, just converting 40 years of slides to digital, the usual range between "why bother" and "Wow, I really hit it with that one". I'm a pretty average photographer, so most of my stuff won't justify the uber scanner...

Looking for, first, suggestions on a slide scanner.

Second, opinions on if it's worth it to go with something within my self imposed price range or else just wait another year or so to see if scanner technology and prices start to move.

Thanks for the help.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-15-2009, 02:57 PM  
K-7 First impressions... wow!
Posted By Rick
Replies: 108
Views: 19,506
Random curiosity:

Does it use the same battery as the K10D?

I think I need a K7. I just widh they'd included the capability to real-time georeferencing images.
Forum: General Talk 07-25-2008, 03:31 AM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
Hi George:

I don't consider regulation a nanny state. What I do consider a nanny state is the endeavor to pass a rule to guard against every possibility of harm. And to keep laying them on and removing more personal freedom when the ones before aren't satisfying the unwashed masses.

Check your last sentence ""The borrower in turn is presumed to be rationale and an adult". The wild dogs wanting to savage the lenders as though this is overwhelmingly their fault and the borrowers are mere dupes go to considerable lengths to ignore this.

The majority of the focus on this subject since things started coming apart has been on the lenders. And they should be under scrutiny and aggressively dealt with under either criminal or regulatory law when there is justification for that.

But where's the focus on the borrowers? Fraud protection agencies - probably similar to businesses you encounter in your profession - are finding rates of 50% and higher falsified mortgage applications when looking at these failed mortgages. Where are the screeching harpies in the press and and general public who want the heads of the lenders when it comes to the often criminal activities of these borrowers?

It just isn't happening George. Much of this amounts to bank and wire fraud in the US, and yet the FBI has pretty much publicly stated that they are not going to go after borrowers unless the amount was large or their were multiple frauds. When do you ever solve a problem by dealing with only part of it?

And like much of our criminal justice system in life, there is no personal accountability expected of these people. We go to court these days and hear the criminal had a terrible upbringing, didn't do well in school, has "issues", etc. No, it's not their fault; they were misguided, misunderstood, unloved, incompetent, sub normal intelligence, duped by others, etc. And so we give them a little pat on the head and ask them to please try not to do it again. Care to guess what the recidivism rates are these days? In this case we have borrowers who were at least as equally to blame as the lenders, whether guilty of mere poor judgement or actual criminal offences.

And yet... we persist in this fuzzy logic attitude that they were "duped" - smart enough anticipate what would be required and lie accordingly on a mortgage application, but apparently not smart enough to understand the application they signed. Both the media and government focus is on the lenders, and the borrowers are pretty much sliding under the legal radar and getting a pass. Not to mention, it appears, a helping hand from the taxpayer as a further reward for their behavior.

No personal responsibility and criminal accountability required. Ignoring everything else for the moment, what kind of message does that send regarding the consumer's relationship with the financial system?

It gets better as you go along. A recent article in a criminology journal pointed out that when a person in the business of money committed a fraud in the US, their sentences were ridiculously high compared to sentences handed out for consumer fraud. Obviously, there's a higher level of trust at the professional level and sentences should reflect that. But twenty years against an average sentence of 15 months for the consumer who commits a fraud is proportional? That's ridiculous.

The people who ultimately shelled out those ridiculous bonuses - there and in so many other boardrooms unrelated to the current topic - were the shareholders of those companies.

So... will those shareholders rise up in arms if one of these corporate squeegee kids is appointed to a position in their company? Will they put an end to this kind of corporate piggery? Well, I'll be very surprised if they do.

Are they immoral as hell? Oh yeah, I think so. But they're being paid with the money of the people who ultimately employ them. They aren't canning them, they aren't refusing to reimburse in that fashion any longer, and they aren't abandoning those companies in droves and taking their money elsewhere. I know this isn't exactly your point, but if shareholders don't hold them accountable, what business is it of government to step in and do what those willingly paying them those wages won't do?

Law enforcement ALWAYS gets into trouble when it gets into the morality business, whether dealing with gambling or white collar issues. The end result is usually worse than what was there before.

Exactly. And why? Oh right... they were duped victims.

I can wholeheartedly support helping out any borrower who the balance of probabilities shows was lied to, coerced, defrauded, lured, steered, or in any other manner victimized by lenders.

But at the same time, it looks like we're also going to helpfully support the efforts - often criminal - of those who falsified mortgage applications, were flipping houses, etc.

And why? Because we have this insane populist approach that they were all misguided, low intelligence lambs who were led to the slaughter and respond with a blanket approach (at least that's what it seems is going to happen) to bail them ALL out - the criminals as well as the genuine victims.

No personal responsibility will come out of this. No lessons will be learned. No examples will be set for those who contemplate this in the future - for the vast majority of borrowers, there is very little in the way of consequences out of this.

I would feel far better about this whole thing if enforcement went after those on both the borrowing and lending side of this debacle with equal enthusiasm. Hell, just spend one tenth of what is spent on drug enforcement, I'd settle for that. And your conviction rate would be one hell of a lot higher. But we know that isn't what is happening and isn't what is going to happen. The majority of enforcement efforts have been directed by the government towards the lending side, and the FBI has pretty much said they're not going to go after the small borrowers unless it involved multiple loans.

Again, what kind of message is in there - either from a moral standpoint or as a deterrent to future financial fraud by consumers?

And ultimately, this one sided view of the situation spills over into demands for "more laws". Hell, we already have laws against criminal activity on both sides of the borrower/lender equation. In the US the government is on the whole said that it isn't going to look at criminal borrowers too closely.

Is the hue and cry isn't about that decision. Oh no! Rather, it's that we need even more laws prohibiting one more aspect of personal choice and liberty, as though we're managing the affairs of children. The words say "the PURSUIT of happiness" - not a guarantee from the government that you will be protected from the consequences of your decisions in that pursuit.

This mentality ignores outstanding criminal acts by an enormous number of people and the fact those offences are not being prosecuted by the government - and instead demands more prohibitions. It speaks volumes of the mindset of these people that in their world it never occurs to them that the first and biggest complaint should be about the decision to do minimal enforcement action dealing with borrowers and concentrate instead on lenders. Lenders are the root of the problem and prohibitions must be placed on these people in how they lend their money. God forbid we not only start enforcing what we've got and simply jail both lenders who break the rules and borrowers who submit fraudulent loan applications - or at least go after fraudulent borrowers equally as enthusiastically as we're examing the lending side.

I don't suppose that the fact there's a lot more votes out there to be had from borrowers and their sympathetic families than from lenders and their friends had anything to do with that policy decision.

Start examining every failed loan application and jailing the guy's ass who submitted it for committing an already existing offence if it's fraudulent. See how many bad loans go out once people start telling the truth on loan applications before you start prohibiting how people invest their money. It is irrational to try and prevent offences by making somebody ELSE responsible for what the guy potentially commiting the offense is doing. Why should I as a lender have to go to lengths to verify the borrower is telling the truth rather than holding HIM responsible for what he submitted? That's just one more act of making somebody else responsible for that the individual applying for the loan should be responsible for. Your mommy and daddy take responsibility for you and your actions when you're a child. Once you're an adult, nobody else should be held accountable for decisions you make and personal information you swear is the truth.

Exactly. It isn't illegal. But many talk about it as though it were - but mostly only where the lenders are concerned. Everybody else was a hapless dupe.

Coming from a law enforcement background, tolerance of criminal behavior isn't too likely to find a home with me - part of my problem with the current one sided yipping about who did what to who. I'm also unlikely to excuse an entire class of criminals by accepting the excuse that the poor dears were simply to naive to know what they were doing when they submitted fraudulent mortgage applications.

More to the point, like every peace officer does I swore an oath to enforce the law without fear or favour. Not chase one group of criminals around while turning a blind eye to the other class of criminals who were also committing crimes in the whole mess, and apparently in much greater numbers percentagwise. That is what is what is happening in this situation for a large number of reasons, many of which I can guess at and few of which are justifiable. I find that both repulsive and irrational, and nothing less than disgusting that the general public apparently thinks this is an acceptable response from the CJS to this.

And finally, at the end of it, the incessant calls for more regulations in this and every other field of human behavior is indeed a descent further into the nanny state, although where and how we control continues on as a shining example of hypocrisy. You cannot read Locke, the writings of The Framers, and the related constitutional documents from both England and the US from the time we set up our system of governance and see anything else over the last 30 years but an accelerated race into devolving both personal responsibility and personal freedom to the government. We are engaged in a race to the bottom and a statist existance. "If it saves just one life it's worth it" as a rational for making law is the biggest load of irrational tripe ever served up to people, and it speaks poorly of our intelligence that so many buy into that.

Some people find turning an increasing amount of their privacy and freedom to government fits their views on life perfectly. Perhaps some kinds of people have their lifestyle or beliefs affected more than others; I don't know. I do know that piling laws on more laws because you can't (or more often won't) enforce the laws you already have is the height of stupidity, illogical, expensive, deepens the layers of bureaucracy, decreases the efficiency of law enforcement, and ultimately results in just a bit more personal privacy and freedom being handed over to the government.

And for what? Apparently nothing if we look at the results.

Can you say "FINTRAC"? As you're apparently in the money business, I know you can, but most Canadians here will have no idea what I'm talking about. Oh yeah, organized crime and terrorism have ground to a halt since we drank that Kool-Aid.

I know that also wasn't the thrust of your post. But as you were addressing some of what I wrote, I felt that some of the issues involved in this that are being glossed over should be considered. The "just pass a law already" crowd doesn't get it and never will, probably because they can't get beyond the daily tabloid newspaper and the shallow tripe they serve up.

The observation that those who will give up their privacy and freedoms to government in exchange for promises of security will in the end have neither was never more true than it is today.
Forum: General Talk 07-24-2008, 08:44 AM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
I'm familiar with that route. If photography had been foremost in your mind, and if you do it again, a better route is to drop straight south out of Vancouver headed towards Seattle, then hang a left and go East at Sedro Wooley. I don't remember the highway names, but you go over all the passes and long and winding roads on that route to the Rockies. You have to cross the plains of Washington, of course, but I think the scenery options are better than Hwy 3 in BC if you intend to head south at Cascade instead of continuing in BC right up to Cranbrook/Eastport or Elko/Rooseville before heading south.

On the other hand, if the peaches are ripe, that's reason enough to stay in BC and drive through Osoyoos and Creston and gorge on fresh fruit straight off the trees...

Then the Sedro Wooley route East is your meat. The Trans Canada over the Coquihalla Pass and then through Rogers Pass and Canada's Glacier Park would make a great route as well. That would take you through the lake country, and if you got off the Trans Canada at Revelstoke and headed south along that tiny little road along Kooteney Lake you'd get really get an eyefull.

Lure him to the mountains...

You'll have to make that the first two - American beer is like sex in a canoe, if you get my drift.
Forum: General Talk 07-24-2008, 12:13 AM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
Well, unless you turned south early and went through Coeur d'Alene (which is a beautiful lake in itself), you just missed it. And Glacier is a pretty viable route to Yellowstone as well, although nowhere near as crowded. Kind of nice to be able to park on the top of the Continental Divide and start hiking in the alpine without earning the sweat equity. Kind of reminds me of a high mountain pass in... Switzerland I think... where a bunch of highways come together. Name escapes me right now, but same thing, park at the top in the Alpine and start hiking. Heartbreakingly gorgeous. And eye candy for photographers.

Saskatchewan? Oh God... run away, run away (sorry you Saskatchewan guys... but it's so FLAT). What's that Saskatchewan natives say? "It's so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days."

Next time you're through, drop a line while you're in the area and we'll try to guide you in to some camera fodder up here in the mountains - which is kind of a no brainer effort no matter which direction you walk in around here. Drive to the Top of Going To The Sun highway. Park. Start walking.

Simple. But Jewel Basin will do just fine as well. Or the Bitterroots. Or the Purcells just to the north. Or the Bugaboos about four hours away. You get the idea...

Here's my confession. I've been so busy busting my ass on this mapping contract I foolishly took out here in the oil patch this year that I not only missed most of an epic year of skiing, but I haven't had my K10d in the mountains since I bought it late last fall.

I am so ashamed...

However, the bright side is I have told them that September 1st is absolutely it, period, full stop, going home. I think I've had something like twelve days off in total since the end of January, and most days are 16 hour days out here (except tonight where I am shamelessly dogging it and paying the price in lost billable hours).

So 1st of September I go home with the wifey driving her new Jeep, my new lens toys, a big chunk of cash thrown at the principle of the mortgage, the first day of hunting season, the best flyfishing and backpacking weather of the whole season ahead of me, some spending coin in the bank, and no need to work again if I don't want to for four or five months anyways. Life is going to be so, so sweet! Playtime! Assuming all goes as planned, of course...

I suspect one or two pictures might come out of THAT!

Yeah... you gotta get back here to the Rockies at least once with a camera. Middle September to early-mid October is just about ideal for weather, colors, etc.
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 11:49 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
Oh you aren't going to respond any more, eh? Well, scratch that claim as well I see. You're off to a good start on your mission of saying one thing while doing another.

Okay. So then... these borrowers didn't really know what they were getting into and shouldn't be accountable for it? And you didn't really know the difference between the meaning of the words "some" and "most" and it would be unfair to take the difference in the two meanings too literally and hold you accountable for it?

It isn't a case of personal accountabity for what you do or say, somebody took advantage of you financially or semantically. No, you wuz taken advantage of. Got it.

By the way, in LATER posts you also said things like this:
Many of these poor people are not smart enough to add 2 and 2 to come up with 4.
Is that what you meant to say, or am I taking you too literally again?

Assuming that one, it was primarily people below the poverty line who took out these mortgages and, two, poor people have less innate intelligence than the rest of us.

Wow. Just "wow"...

Well, perhaps it takes a Simon Fraser criminology graduate to point out to you that IQ tests have a high cultural bias and are notoriously poor predictors of innate intelligence. Why don't you give your Harvard graduate - or yourself - the Chitling IQ test to see whether you're smart enough to make a mortgage decision? Lower economic class people who fail miserably at the IQ tests dreamed up by Harvard graduates reflecting their Harvard cultural and economic backgrounds do very well on it, so why don't you see how you make out?
TheChitling Intelligence Short Test

I have never been to Harvard in my life. However, I am reasonably sure that Harvard does not tell their students that IQ tests are accurate predictors of innate intelligence across cultural boundaries and economic in their social science departments. No reputable social science program would ever attempt to use IQ tests in the way you're trying to do. I also known that IQ testing was the basis justifying racism against blacks as "too dumb" for much of the first part of the 20th century in the US - they taught us that in university as well.

So your little detour was kind of amusing, but it still leaves me wondering where you came by the information these people were too dumb to understand a mortage. More to the point, just when were these people given IQ tests during the mortgage application process anyways?

Now this is kind of amusing. You wave some kind of vague web paging describing IQ testing in general as some sort of "fact" that these borrowers were of sub normal intelligence and thus were taken advantage of. Not that you'll go so far as to claim that even one was actually given any kind of intelligence testing before or after of course. And that's supposed to be "evidence"???

That's pretty funny, all in all.

However, you want to hear about the percentage of morgage and occupancy fraud? Okay, with Base Point Analytics. Ask for their white papers on application and occupancy fraud. You'll be happy to know they swing both ways and look at mortgage broker fraud as well, so ask for that one too. But to cut to the chase, here's the line you're looking for from the abstract "70% of mortgage early payment defaults can be linked to a significant misrepresentation on the original loan application".

You can go look at the material piled up by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute. They found that almost 60 percent of stated income loans it examined were exaggerated by at least 50 percent and earned their nickname "liar's loans"

If Google is your main source of information in life and you'd prefer not to read paper, go look for news associated with the FBI's Operation Malicious Mortgage - and again, they go after fraudulent lenders as well as borrowers. You may notice that their indictments are for far more borrowers than lenders - of course, you can always blow that off by claiming that the FBI always goes after the poor, sub normal intelligence guy first. But here's a short little outtake for you:
The FBI targets what it calls "fraud for profit," which is related to conspirators who lie to get multiple mortgages and have no intention of repaying them, said Stephen Kodak, an FBI special agent in Washington.
Cases of individuals who lie about their income to buy a house they intend to live in, or commit "fraud for housing," occur more often but account for less money lost, Kodak said. The FBI generally does not go after fraud for housing, he said.

When you get through all of that, give me a call and I'll send you some more. In the meantime, seeing as you seem to think you have the IQ smoking gun there somewhere, could you please tell me where I could read about where all these borrowers were determined to have sub normal intelligence as you're trying to make us all believe? I'd like to know how many were tested for one thing.

We've gotten this far and you still can't acknowledge the percentage of loan applications that contained false and misleading mortgage application information? Income overvalued by 50% in 60% of loan information given to lenders, and yet in your mind it is still the lender's fault? Sheesh.

And of course, God forbid we should ever expect these loan applicants to take personal responsibility for their financial decisions - or the fraudulent information they submitted to lenders to obtain the loan in the first place. God no - it's still the lender's fault.

You can guarantee that, huh? Okay, let's see you prove that claim.

I don't think you can guarantee or prove that any more than you can the intelligence testing of mortgage applications.

If you could be good enough to tell me how they knew the mortgage applications the borrowers gave them were falsified, often supported by fake pay stubs that were being sold over the Internet, etc, I'd sure like to hear that story - I bet it's a good one.
"Like many Americans you seem to live in a vacuum."
Boy, if that's your idea of being Pro American, I sure hate to think of what you'd say about many Americans if you didn't like them.

Why thank you Mr. IQ Test. I am cut to the quick, wounded beyond any hope of recovery, pychologically devastated in fact. Quick, somebody fly me to a nanny state where somebody will kiss me and make it all better.

Relax, I'm sitting here laughing - although I should be either working or going to bed at this hour of the night.

No. I think you're just patently inconsistent in how far you want the government to regulate the personal decisions and lifestyles of individuals in what they do with their lives and the harm that their decisions cause. I think you don't care on the one issue, but want to see a foreign government regulate how it's citizens live their lives on the other because of the financial implications for you.

There's that "duped" word again...

Your not talking about guidelines, you're talking about yet more regulations on what people choose to do in investing THEIR money. Setting rates for what is ursary and fraud is one thing; telling you or anybody else how they should run their business and what financial decisions are safe or not is quite another.

And of course, as usual, you're not talking about the borrowers taking any personal responsibility for this.

Nanny state.

Can I continue to disagree with your premise that this is the cause of the US Economic woes.

Well there is that embarrassing figure of 60 or 70 percentage of mortgage applications having false information in them. Can you point me to anything that suggests a greater number of lenders were engaged in criminal lending practices?

I'm also willing to bet - now that you're into "proof" mode - that there's a lot more proof in existance about that percentage of mortgage application fraud than there is to your claim that all these lenders had sub normal IQ's

Not when you have an immigrant visa in your passport and live under US laws for nearly half the year and pay taxes there. So yes, I feel some resentment that some foreigner living on another continent, not paying those taxes and not living under those laws, should lecture US residents in how the government should treat them as children so his financial security is enhanced.

Of course it is. We tell little children whether they can put their coins in a piggy bank or buy a chocolate bar - not adults.

Over here, anyways. So far.

Yeah, and income tax was only supposed to be for the duration of the war. "Just a few regulations"... oh God, how many regulatory nightmares have been started and sold to the public using that line.

If I WANT to risk my money in a fund underwriting speculative loans, mining stocks, pork belly futures, or any other venture where I accept high risk in return for hopes of high returns, that's MY business, not the governments or yours far away on another continent. It's MY money to risk or not risk as I see fit - not yours.

First you say you want the US to pass regulations that will prevent these kind of high risk loans. Then you turn around and try and claim it won't stop me from investing in anything. But of course, that's exactly what it would do - prevent me from investing in high risk loans if I decide that's where I want to put my money.

You made it exactly one paragraph before contradicting what you claimed you wanted to do and what the effect would be.

Once again, we pretend that the lender didn't fill out the mortgage application with their income, assets, debt, etc and sign it claiming that all the information contained herein was true. And we pretend that over half of the loan applications weren't found to have falsehoods and misrepresentations.

Apparently, the lender's crystal ball telling them who was lying on their mortgage application and who wasn't hasn't been working too well lately. And so, yet again it is the lender who is the bad guy here.

Ah yes, the other brand of Kool Aid - they were all poor as well as sub normal intelligence.

Meaning, you DO want to have the legal right to tell me whether I can risk my money in high risk loans if I so choose.

You want the power through the government to control what I do with my money to prevent me from investing in high risk mortages if that happens to be my choice. I don't want that. Simple.

You're not asking for guidelines. You're asking for laws that would have the government prevent me from investing MY money in high risk loans if I chose that as an investment vehicle. That is not a "guideline", and I don't think your problem with language extends to the point you don't know the difference between a guideline and a law.

You sure like that word "guideline" don't you? Sounds so much more innocent than "investment prohibition", doesn't it?

You want the power to prevent me from investing my money in high risk funds. I don't think you're entitled to have the power to decide whether I risk my money or not.

No. I just don't think you deserve or are entitled to for one minute have any say in whether I choose to invest my money in high risk investments. In other words, keep your nose out of my business and my investment decisions - particularly from the distance of another continent where you don't have to live under those laws or the bureaucracy.

Keep your nose out of my financial affairs and my decisions on where I choose to risk my money - or whether I want to take out a high risk loan, for that matter. I'm an adult and I don't need the government or somebody in another country telling me how to spend my money or how I should borrow money.

Prohibitions are not "guidelines".

What they COULD do is what 60 - 70% of them do - submit a mortgage application with false information. And it was and already is a crime.

Ah yes, the nanny state. If what you have doesn't stop it, then pass some more laws and restrict personal freedom any more. If you think bank and wire fraud laws are toothless in the US, then I guess you think you think 30 years in jail is a joke too.

You know that just as surely as you know that intelligence tests determined that all those borrowers had sub normal intelligence levels, do you?

The prohibitions you want are not guidelines. And I thought you said it wouldn't prevent me from doing what I wanted in how I invest my money. But now you're telling me I can't invest in high risk mortgages.

You can't keep your story straight to begin with. You use the term "guideline" when what you're talking about is a prohibition. And THAT's why I don't want your hands on my money and interfering in what I do and don't choose to do as far as borrowing money or investing money.

I didn't say the government doesn't regulate anything. What I am saying is that you and people like you want laws that prevent me from making decisions that might cause me financial harm, but you don't want laws that eliminate the risk of me causing myself personal harm or death - like drinking for example.

You don't have an argument in this respect. You just have an armload of inconsistent hypocrisy. If you're going to meddle in people's affairs and the decisions they make, then don't just pick and choose what you personally like and don't like. If you're going to mommy people from cradle to grave instead of letting them make their own decisions regarding risk, then bloody well be consistent about it - even if that approach eventually encroaches on what you would like to do.

You're absolutely right. It's a hypocritical approach where we want the government to pass prohibitions on how people invest their money to protect them from financial harm, but don't pass laws to prevent them from access to things like alcohol that might cause their death - because those laws might affect the things WE might like to do in life.

It's inconsistent as hell. More than that, it's hypocritical.

Consistent, huh? Here, check this out:
It's not stopping you from investing in anything.
followed by:
Put laws in place so that these sort of loans are not written in the first place.

"Oh no, I'm don't want laws that will stop you from investing in anything, I just want laws in place that won't allow you to invest in those sorts of investment vehicles".

As I said, you can't even keep your story straight. And that's why I don't want you or people like you with their hands and their noses anywhere near my money or with any authority to control how I borrow or how I invest it. You can't be trusted. You say one thing and then promptly promise another, and you're a statist on top of that.

I never said the sub prime loans wouldn't badly harm the economy -. I disagreed with your claim that it was going to "ruin the US economy like these home defaulters are". However, it now seems you're modifying that claim as well. Fine.

Now, unlike you, when I say I won't respond to you further, I really mean it. Unlike you, I don't say one thing and then do something else. So unless you do happen to magically produce these tests that determined that all these lenders were handicapped by low levels of intelligence, I really don't think I have anything further to add to this as far as you're concerned. I don't think it will surprise anybody when I say I don't think you can produce anything like that, and you basically pulled that BS claim out of your nether regions to bolster your argument that these people were all duped.

In the final analysis, you're trying on the one hand to tell Americans that you don't want laws that will restrict were they can and can't invest their money or how they can borrow money. And then in practically the same paragraph you're talking about guidelines that would prevent them from investing in these kind of high risk mortgages, or getting one for that matter if they so choose.

That kind of duplicity leads me to say one last time: keep your hands off my money and out of my financial decisions. I don't trust you.
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 08:51 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
Oh we're not snivelling too badly - our safe mortgage bought us a house and acre with a view of the mountains of Glacier National Park just a few miles away, about ten minutes from the ski hill, and 20 minutes from flathead lake. We have wild turkeys, deer, elk, foxes, and even bears and cougars wandering through our yard. So we're not full of remorse.

The other place was even more attractive as a place to spend the rest of our lives, but in the end the gamble with the sub prime was more risk than we were willing to undertake. If I can't stand the sub prime speculators and mortgage fraud artists whining about their losses, I'm certainly not going to snivel because I didn't take on one of those loans myself in order to get a house that also had the benefit of being on a wonderful flyfishing river.

Now there you are over in Oz and me here over in the mountains in BC and Montana, and we've both discovered that exact same thing in life. Funny how that kind of works out to being an International Fact Of Life, huh?

Of course, add to that the second root cause, which is not listening to that little warning voice in your head that keeps nagging "I dunno about this..."

Not to be confused with "I do what I do because the voices in my head tell me to", of course...

If memory serves me correctly, the BC Teachers Federation also lost their shirt speculating on real estate some years ago. Here's a bunch of people with undergraduate and graduate degrees, some with post graduate degrees, and they went up on a rock trying for the big killing. If memory serves me correctly a second time, the BC government then leaped in with regulations and all sorts of other farting and fury to protect that particular class of "duped investor" as well. If my memory hasn't been faulty to this point, these would be the people we hope are teaching children something about accepting the consequences of your decisions.

We're pretty good at subsidizing unprofitable and outright stupid agricultural operations in the southeast corner of BC as well, and there is always some sort of farm aid program out there. We had a very small place while I was growing up, but my father didn't pretend that he was a rancher when he knew it wouldn't pay the bills - he did his 40 hours a week in the mine and then made what he could as he could. I can't see my father taking a handout for any mistake he made in a million years; I think he'd rather crawl in a hole out of sight and die first.

Funny how that seems to be international in scope as well, eh?

Ditto for Canada and the US. A former Alberta premier explained his success this way: "I see which way the parade is going and then run like hell to get to the front of it".

In life as a general rule, we pretty much get what we deserve. Governments, our personal lives, whatever.
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 08:29 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
I don't know if you can even give them that - although I don't claim to know it was worse for a fact..

First, a lot of these loans weren't the popular conception that for all these sub prime borrowers it was either that or keep on renting. Take a look at the value of a lot of these homes - these aren't starter homes for a young couple, or a manufactured home or whatever. These are pretty nice shacks. Many of these people who defaulted had incomes probably in the same line as those of my wife and myself. They had two choices - a normal morgage for a much lower rate to buy a smaller/less expensive property - or a subprime rated mortgage and speculating that they'd either drastically improve financially or else bank rates and rising home values would let them win financially. They looked at their options just like we did. We decided it was a bit too risky for us, some of them speculated and took the sub prime. The two small businessmen who defaulted near where we live could have bought our single acre and house and walked away with pocket change. Instead, they went for the properties near the golf course, lake, and ski hill and tried to swing it with a sub prime. They couldn't do it. Not exactly a case of being on the street if they didn't purchase or being duped into the loan.

Second, there were the ones that were just outright flipping houses. There's a silent number that never gets mentioned in this - the number of subprime borrowers that made a tidy little sum of money on all of this flipping houses throughout the life of the sub prime loans. I wonder if they're among the ones moaning for government help now if they got stuck with the last house they bought and no buyer. Will I be bailing them out as well when Obama is president and rides to the rescue?

Having said all of that, I have no idea what percentage of the sub prime defaulters fall into the category of those who gambled to buy bigger than they could otherwise afford, nor what percentage were flipping houses (even though developers are talking about speculators buying their houses now being found to be in the 25% of purchasers range). But I do believe that, in balance, borrower misconduct, speculating, and outright criminal acts is much more the root cause of all of this than the lenders. Any program that focuses on the nasty ol' lenders as being the primary culprit here and they're all a bunch of criminals isn't supportable by the facts as far as I understand it.

Having said all of that, if memory serves me correctly, about one in eight sub prime loans went into default, correct? So one could assume then that the other 88% either escaped at the very least or else came out of it with a house that they could otherwise not have purchased? Should we make all those people give their houses back or profits from flipping houses in the interests of fairness?

Is it that common sense isn't common anymore? Or perhaps that people do recognize the risks, but what society has been teaching them is that they don't have to listen to their common sense because the nanny state will come in and bail them out if their risky behavior gets them into trouble? If there's a good chance government will step in so you don't have to take the full consequences of your actions, that kind of skews the risk assessment a fair amount, doesn't it?

That's a fair comment. How far do we go with that? Take a look at most credit card interest rates for example and what the law in your jurisdiction considers to be ursary. At what point do we start - I have no idea. And if predatory lending should be regulated or criminalized, how about legalized gambling? Now there's one activity that makes a sub prime loan look like a bargain.

In the end it comes down to asking ourselves how much we want the government sticking its nose into our private lives and controlling what we do with our private property. What one person finds acceptable, another person looks at as one an outrageous invasion of their private lives.

And as somebody else here already posted in observation, you can bet your ass that no politician is ever going to tell people what they don't want to hear about spending and loans, whether to finance a house or a national health care system. Whether you like Ron Paul or not, he pretty much said it like it is regarding the US financial situation. As you can see, it carried him far in this presidental election cycle...
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 05:57 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
And then the question is: is it a good investment or risky speculation? We were really tempted by the potential of a sub prime loan when we parlayed the sale of the house in Calgary into the home in Whitefish. We were very, very certain that our income would go up fast enough with our new degrees and our business reinvigorated that we could use those rates to kick the hell out of the principle and have the property that we really wanted rather than what we settled for.

In the end, after talking with the investment dude, we decided that the potential gain wasn't worth the risks. As it turns out now, if we'd have gone for that low sub prime, we would indeed have kicked the crap out of the principle and be looking pretty good right now. But it was beyond the comfort envelope for our blue collar common sense.

So... speculation? Or investment?

And how many of us AREN'T stock market investors when we look at our retirement funds, RRSP's, union funds, etc? Does just giving x amount of dollars per year to Investors Group or whoever exclude us from being part and parcel of the stock market, it's ethos, and how business is done? Who would turn down a 30% growth in their funds?

What I wonder about is why we allow our kids to go through school without any kind of significant education in finances, credit, mortgages, compounding, etc. We never got that back in the 60's, but then again the world was a much, much simpler place financially speaking back then.

Seeing as I've seen similar real estate speculation grief about 30 years ago, it seems that one kick in the arse every thirty years still doesn't get the message home. Is it a once in a generation thing or what?
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 05:46 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
I'm amused that someone from Toronto would not understand that BC under my user name stands for "British Columbia".

See what 300k will buy you in Calgary these days. Or Vancouver. Or Burnaby. Or Kelowna. Or Edmonton. Or... We put our house in Calgary up for sale three years ago. 58 year old house, tiny but near SAIT, $300K. It sold after a two day bidding war for $375K, and the purchaser sold it a few days later for something like $386K. Where it went after that I have no idea.

And the real estate speculation right now is nothing like it was in the 70's. I knew one guy who managed to buy and sell four different houses in one single day, a bit of a feat even back then - while putting in a shift in City Traffic no less. Of course, he also got caught for income tax offences a few years later on unreported income and kicked out of the RCMP because of it. A fitting end and another story.

Meanwhile, being in Canada, check out all the speculative investment vehicles being offered for investing in all that US property now up at fire sale prices. Will they come out at the end of that looking like clever little investors - or crying about the unscrupulous investment brokers who duped them while the pundits wring their hands about what a crime it was and the government should do something?
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 05:33 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
That's not true. You didn't, say "some" at all - here, let me help you with what you really said:
That's fine *if* these people could understand what they were doing, but most who take out these sort of motgages are in the lower socioeconomic situation and are also below the IQ level to be able to comprehend what they are getting themselves into and thus are incapable of understanding what they were doing.
I helped your memory by adding a bit of emphasis in the quote of what you said... and you never did find the time to tell me where you read any study or finding that determined that most of these people had sub normal intelligence levels. I think you just made that up as you went along to justify your argument. Am I wrong?

If that is your new position, then I can live with that. Up until this point however, your rants about who has been "criminal" and who should be held to account have soley dealt with the lenders while portraying the borrowers as the victims - when the vast majority of the actually criminal behavior was on the part of borrowers.

I would find it rather refreshing, actually, if during the cleanup of this mess all the mortgage applications were reviewed and in those cases where criminal or civil torts were committed by borrowers, the law went after those individuals. Fraud rates as high as 70% or more on the part of borrowers... wow, that's a lot of court time! But we know that isn't going to happen, because the unwashed masses have drank the purple Kool-Aid and ares so fixated on them evil ol' moneylenders and making out the borrowers to be the unwitting victims.

See Lance, you just don't pay attention, whether it's not looking at the sub prime issue beyond what the claptrap tabloids are publishing or even bothering to look at my name in the posts. See that little part where it says "SE BC and NW Montana" by my name. SE BC should be your first hint I'm not necessarily an American. In fact, I'm a Canadian, and still currently a Canadian as far as residency status goes, although that will probably change this year when I spend more time in the US than in Canada for the first time - by choice. But by virtue of my visa and the fact I own property and work in both countries, I also have the priviledge of paying personal taxes in both countries.

So now that you've let your anti-American stereotypes out of the closet for all to see, should I just assume that like many Australians you don't think very clearly because you drink too much? Stereotypes are dangerous things to play with.

Here's that question for you again: who put a gun to the head of your money managers to force them to invest in the US market and particular high risk investments? Nobody, right? That was their CHOICE, as it was the CHOICE of investors to then buy into those high risk investments that were offered.

Once again, an excellent example of everybody refusing to take personal responsibility and single out somebody else to be the scapegoat for the consequences of their own actions. If those high risk investments had paid off as they hoped and they'd all made a killing on them, they'd be too busy slapping each other on the back about what a great investment vehicle they'd cashed in on to be throwing words around like "charlatan". But they didn't, and suddenly all the "charlatans" are the US lenders - and everyone else merely a pathetic, helpless victim who just didn't know what they were getting into.

You're also paying the price every day for allowing the population access to alcohol. Are you as bitter about that too - or is the price of alcohol in society one you're happy to accept? How many people die of booze related causes in Australia every year? And how many people are going to die in Australia of causes related to the sub-prime mess in the US?

I suspect you're a little choosy about what prices you find are unacceptable or not, but I'll take human life over speculative investment losses any day.

Furthermore, I'll still take the freedom of self determination over an intrusive nanny state any day of the week. Fortunately, I do have that option and I'm voting with my feet. A government powerful enough to do everything for you is also a government powerful enough to do everything to you - and God knows we're seeing enough of that recently.

You absolutely will not even begin to acknowledge that there was more wrongdoing on the part of borrowers than lenders - and certainly more criminal activity on the part of borrowers than lenders. It is all about the "unscrupulous lenders" in your mind, and everyone else an unwitting victim.

I'm glad you do seem to realize that the market is regulated in the US - although obviously not as regulated as you would prefer it to be from your alien vantagepoint over in Oz. Living part time under those laws in the US, and soon to be full time, permit me to prefer US residents making their decisions on their laws, rather than being instructed on what we should be doing by foreign investors from another continent who apparently lost some money somewhere along the way gambling on high risk investments.

I'll also have to have a look at my past posts to confirm that I never for one minute suggested that I supported a wide open marketplace free of regulation. Reasonable regulation is both necessary and common sense - nanny state regulation restricting everyone in an effort to prevent some people from being hurt by making risky and/or stupid investment decisions is something else again, and I don't support that.

Of course, if you can find anywhere that I posted support for an unregulated financial system, feel free to post a quote of that here to prove me wrong. I just don't agree with your view that Americans should regulate themselves to the point they're treated like children by their government. If that works for you in Australia, fine, go for it, but I'd prefer not to have that over here.

"Tightening up" to a nanny state with government control over how I invest is not what I want. I prefer to be governed as though I'm an adult, not an idiot.

You are, however, remarkably consistent in your view that it is all about going after the lenders and not the borrowers - who of course are merely the poor duped victims in all of this.

Exactly. Both consumer goods and financial transactions are regulated - but while you want Americans to tightly regulate themselves in the financial world to coddle them away from the potential of financial harm due to poor decisions, you sure wouldn't want the same strictness put in place for food and drink to prevent them from incurring much more serious physical harm from similarly poor decisions.

A complete, absolute lack of consistency in approach.

Aha... we've finally got to "some" unscrupulous borrowers. Ummmm... mortgage fraud is CRIMINAL, not "unscrupulous". Fraudulent loan applications ran as high as 70% in some reviews, with violations of occupancy agreements running around 25% as a result of people using these mortgages to flip houses and speculate.

Perhaps not in Oz, but in North America, when you get to figures like 25% and 70%, you're well beyond what people envision when somebody says "some borrowers".

You just can't help yourself. You can manage to acknowledge that there were unscrupulous borrowers - but you immediately follow that by putting the blame on the lenders trying to make a quick buck. What were all those lenders involved in mortgage fraud, speculation, and house flipping doing? Trying to earn Boy Scout badges? I think they were trying to make a quick buck, myself.

Y'know, I distinctly get the feeling you lost some money here and there.

It's a very acceptable price to me to have a country where the government does not regulate every aspect of my life from cradle to grave. And until the person steps up to the plate says they also think alcohol should be removed from society because of the price that freedom of choice leads to, they don't have a single moral or legal leg to stand on and lecture Americans to move into a nanny state to prevent people from making bad investment decisions because of that cost.

Lance, I have to hand it to you. You are incredibly consistent in making this all about the hapless borrowers being duped by the heartless moneylenders. But audits of the mortgage applications for defaulted mortgages found SEVENTY PERCENT had misleading and/or false information in them. Occupancy violations alone were around 25%, and lenders reported 20% more suspicious mortgage activity to the feds than ever before. Yet none of this apparently registers in your world, where all these borrowers were duped and anyone who thinks otherwise is apparantly heartless.

Mortgage fraud on the part of the borrower is a CRIME, not "unscrupulous". I don't think for one minute that all the fault and wrongdoing in this was on the part of borrowers, but you cling to this position that despite those high rates of CRIME among the borrowers, it's all about the lenders.

Well, not a small enough world that a 70% rate in falsified mortgage applications still translates into my interpreting it to mean that most of these people were duped.

How big does my world have to be before it's like your big world and I can look at a 70% mortgage application fraud rate on the part of borrowers and still claim most of those people were naive and duped?

Could some lenders have lied to these people? Promised them they would double their money, the rates would never go up, housing prices would never drop? Perhaps psychologically or emotionally pressured them? You bet they could, and some probably did. However, there are ALREADY laws about luring people into mortgages with those kinds of promises, and bringing us into the nanny state with a redundant set of laws is not where I want the country I live in to go.

Why don't you try, just for one single minute, to wrap your mind around the significance of what a 70% rate in falsified mortgage applications means. A 25% rate in occupancy violations? If I told you that 70% of the customers of that multi million dollar business you have had falsified their credit applications with you, would you look at those customers as poor misguided dears who needed more protection from the law - or would you be a little bit concerned about the character and quality of who you were dealing with. To take it one step further, if somebody then came up and said that YOU'RE to blame because they falsified their credit applications... would you find that a little bit unjust?

You did lose some money, didn't you!

Cheer up. First, the US economy is inevitably headed into the tank anyways, whether you want to blame it on sub prime, the war in Iraq, enormous deficit budgeting for decades, baby boomers now retiring, or whatever. Second, you can take solace that it is going to cost me one hell of a lot more than it is going to cost you - and my business doesn't and never will reach the multi million dollar levels that yours is at so I can afford it a lot less.

No. In my world we have a consistent approach. Not a hypocritical one where we say we want a nanny state to protect people from financial misfortune, but God Damn... DON'T YOU DARE TAKE THAT SAME APPROACH TO MY BOOZE AND MY MOTORCYCLE EVEN THOUGH THEY CAN CAUSE ME AND SOCIETY AT LARGE MUCH MORE HARM.

I don't care which way you go - but a little consistency in approach would be nice. Something that apparently is a foreign creature in your world.

Hmmmm... it's almost as though what you're really concerned about is losing some money on high risk investments - not about the well being of the stupid. So it isn't that a young kid and how he spends his money on expensive toys instead of school and a future shouldn't be protected by commerce restrictions while an adult in his 30's should be protected when trying to flip houses. It's about what it costs YOU.

How much do you figure you lost on sub prime related investments, Lance?

No. What I'm saying is that your claim that the sub prime situation is what is ruining the US economy is pure nonsense. Here, let me help you once again by reminding you of what you posted:
this is hardly going to ruin the US economy like these home defaulters are.
I may not be an economic giant in your eyes, but I'm pretty certain that I'm right when I don't agree with your belief that the sub prime situation is what is ruining the US economy. A dumb ol' mountain boy I might be, but I think it is due to many, many issues and years of mismanagement all coming to a head. If Lance the Economist thinks that the ruin of the US economy is all about the home defaulters, then we'll just have to disagree on that point.

No. Restrictions to the point where we eliminate the potential of risk from consumption - just like the degree of restriction you want to ensure no economic harm can ever befall people with money related decisions they make. Which would mean about one drink per day, anything else being a crime. Let me know when you're going to publicly propose that in Oz, will ya. 'Cause I want to watch that one when the bars, restaurants, night clubs, and your fellow Aussies hear about that one.

Consistency, please.

Actually, I'm not the only former cop who thinks drug laws (or alcohol laws for that matter) are violations of civil liberties, not to mention being stupid in concept.

On the other hand, if we're going to have a policy of protecting people from making stupid decisions by way of regulating how they live their lives, we can't just do it with their financial decisions while ignoring what they eat and drink, now can we? Because then we'd just be a bunch of arsehole hypocrites.

Consistency Lance. Think "consistency". You want the US to bring in nanny state laws to prevent their investors from making stupid decisions that might hit your pocketbook, but you sure as hell aren't going to lobby over in Oz to have alcohol banned to eliminate the much more serious harm and death being caused by booze.

And then you turn around and talk about people who want some laws but not others. It is nothing but hypocritical to have a position on one hand that government should enact laws to prevent people from making stupid or overly risky decisions with their money. And yet not be advocating exactly the same sort of laws that would eliminate the ability of people to make stupid decisions regarding their consumption of alcohol - something that can outright kill them and is a causal factor in half the violent crimes committed.

Actually, you are consistent. Right to the end - despite findings like 70% mortgage application fraud on failed sub prime loans and 25% violations on occupancy requirements - you still hold to the position that all these people were "duped". Who "duped" them into falsifying their mortgage applications? Who duped them into violations on occupancy requirements?

First they were mostly of sub normal intelligence and couldn't understand. Now they were duped.

70% rate on mortgage applications for these failed sub primes. 70%. Think about what a 70% mortgage application falsification rate and what that means. But no... they were "duped".

Don't invest in American markets anymore Lance. Unlike me, you don't have to pay US taxes. If you want me to find sympathy for the 70% or so who committed criminal acts when getting their mortgages, you're barking up the wrong tree.

No, I think a 70% mortgage fraud rate is not a good thing. However, my "warped sense of justice and freedom" does not lead me to want to repeatedly put the blame on the lenders for that as you want to. Another cultural difference, I suppose.

That's your decision, from another country with a different ethos. If I want to live like a Brit or an Aussie, I'll move there. Meanwhile, I don't want my domestic policy dictated to me by foreigners. What you think is an acceptable level of government intervention in what I can and can't do with my money is not my values. That is consistent whether you talk about financial regulations, gun control, police powers of arrest and detention, or anything else.

And while you think my argument is stupid, I find yours to be hypocritical, deliberately narrow minded, and selfishly financially self serving. So yet again, we have differences of opinion and values. Which is why cultural differences exist in the first place.

Fine. We'll just ramp up sufficient laws and restrictions on access and use of alcohol so that it will be practically impossible to get legally impaired. You won't have a problem with that and how it impacts how people make choices with their lives, will you? After all, the impact of alcohol related deaths is far more significant than losing your shirt speculating on high risk investments.

Not ban cars - effectively prohibit speeding and ban vehicles capable of speeding. Which, given todays GIS technologies, could be easily done and very cheaply at that.

But you're right it won't happen. Because the self serving who demand that how people choose to spend their own money be regulated and controlled by government so their investment vehicles won't take a hit would never tolerate government action that would prohibit much more harmful behavior with alcohol, motor vehicles, etc. Because that would impact THEM and what they do in their lives.

It's also worth noting that in the US one of your civil rights is that of ownership and use of private property, including your money. To the best of my knowledge, driving a vehicle to begin with is a state issued priviledge - not a civil right. Given that, there's a lot more legal justification for restricting what people can manufacture in the way of motor vehicles and how they drive them than there is for restricting how people dispose of their property.

Oh no. You do manage to choke that out once in a while - and only after the facts are shoved in your face repeatedly. But anyone reading through your messages will see the ongoing consistent theme that what the lenders did was criminal, the borrowers were of sub normal intelligence, the borrowers were duped, and what needs to be done holding the lenders responsible for all of this. I'm tempted to go back through your posts and see how many times each post you keep repeating your mantra that the borrowers were duped.

Bugger all about holding the borrowers who committed mortage fraud accountable. Bugger all about regulating them. Bugger all about their criminal activities - which really WERE criminal in many cases (70% mortgage application fraud, remember?). Your theme is all about the lenders and how the US should change it's laws to protect your financial wellbeing over in Australia.

A very one sided view of things to say the least.

Yep. Right on schedule. There's the old "they wuz duped" theme again. Can't go more than two paragraphs before repeating that claim.

"Duped" Which apparently includes the 70% who submitted falsified mortgage applications...

I feel just as warm and fuzzy knowing your acceptance of alcohol in society and the toll of death, violence, disease and broken families it brings leaves us all that much safer. I'll take broke over dead any day, thanks.

I'll make you a deal. If you don't try to dictate how people residing in the US legally regulate their personal activities, I won't try to dictate how people in Australia regulate their personal activities.

I don't take the time to point out the hypocrisy in the arguments you're putting forward to convince you, Lance. Your mind is made up and it's mostly fixated on what's best for your pocket book over in Oz, not how people choose to live their personal lives in a foreign country.

The only reason I take the time to write this is so that readers have the option of seeing something other than the pablum that this is all the fault of the nasty lenders and all those poor innocent borrowers (70% of mortgage applications falsified, remember) were low intelligence people who were duped.

Where people go after that is completely up to them.
Forum: General Talk 07-23-2008, 02:43 AM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
So what? Once again: who put a gun to their head and told them to speculate in real estate by flipping houses? And by the way, you never did tell us where you got the information that these people were of sub normal intelligence. I'd still like to see that.

Of course, as a multi millionaire, you do know that having a mortgage that is over the amount required is not exactly a new idea in mortgages, correct? My wife and I have one ourselves. It makes a lot of sense in a country where your home mortgage is a tax deduction. In our case, it paid out the bills of both my wife and myself's accumulated school bills from going back to university in midlife. Others use it to furnish a home, pay down high interest debt on credit cards at the same time, etc.

So a mortgage. for more than what is required to purchase the home isn't exactly the smoking gun you make it out to be.

As far as that goes, sub prime mortages were a pretty good deal for those who had a pretty good belief their income was going to go up fairly quickly - even if the claimed continued rise in housing costs never did happen. It allowed people to get into a bigger home than they might have otherwise, pay down the mortgage with bigger payments when their income rose, and by the time the normal rates kicked in be sitting in something they couldn't have afforded with normal rates from day one, with monthly payments now about what they would have been from day one with a "normal" mortgage.

By "charlatans", you are of course referring to the people who signed an agreement to pay a specific amount per month, knowing even as they signed that they were completely unable to meet those obligations?

You're right - that's not very honest. They're charlatans.

Oh? Are you paying US taxes like I do?

Or have charlatans over in Australia made very poor financial investments and now you're stuck with the fallout from that? I'm reasonably certain the Australian government isn't giving the US money to deal with this. And if Australians - or anybody else - bought into the CDO's that came out of these loans and ignored they were buying into high risk hedge funds and private equity investments, I really don't have any sympathy for them. Whether you're speculating in pork belly futures or CDO's made up of sub prime loans, you're accepting risk in the hope of high returns. Of course, if your tastes in speculating go to investing in American stock and bond markets, then you might resent the added effect this has had on the general downturn in your hoped for profits as well. It isn't just buying houses that has financial risks when you're investing and speculating.

You're right of course. Many of those cowboys found out they couldn't flip the houses they purchased above their means at the hoped-for profit before their inability to pay the mortgage caught up with them, while others tried to flip one house too many and ended up ultimately getting stuck with a very expensive house and burned in the end.

Again, no different than thirty years ago, when it wasn't uncommon to see people buying a house in the morning and selling it the same day as the housing market climbed.

Perhaps they don't do it in Australia, but it's called "flipping a house" here. You don't intend to ever pay the loan in the first place - the house gets sold for considerably more than you bought it for within days or hours of the purchase. If you think that's unusual, you haven't checked some of the Canadian real estate markets lately (house flipping has kind of slowed down in the US these days).

It's not illegal for buyers to speculate by purchasing houses and attempting to flip them. So these "cowboys" as you called them were perfectly legal in attempting to make a killing by flipping homes ridiculously beyond what they would normally have to live in (up to the point where they started committing mortgage fraud, of course).

It's called "freedom". A short word that means not having a nanny state tell you what you should and shouldn't do as far as what is good for you to eat, drink, how to invest your money, what recreational activities you should risk and what you shouldn't, etc. The words say you have the right to the pursuit of happiness - not a guarantee of happiness or success.

What is missing from that equation is that too many people feel some strange obligation to ask the government to come afterwards and save the poor dears after they've been utterly negligent and blase towards the risks they've decided to undertake.

I don't need some government busybody telling me whether I should ever have been allowed to make a financial investment, whether or not I should be allowed to drink beer, eat food with trans fats in it, or skydive in my free time. Throughout history, there's always been some arsehole who just knows what's good for you, and inevitably every time they get their hands on the wheel, personal freedoms and liberties decline. And it's always done "for your own good".

I don't need the government deciding whether I should have the freedom to invest my money or not because some people acted stupidly with theirs, any more than I need a government deciding to ban all alcohol because it has is an established causal factor in 50% of all violent crime.

The call for more legislation, rules, regulations, restrictions "to stop this sort of thing from happening" is usually the harbinger of more government control over our personal lives, with an attendant loss of freedom. I'll take my freedom over the government nannying me from cradle to grave telling me what I can and can't do to protect me from "risk", thank you very much. Fortunately, Montana is a long way from ever becoming a nanny state.

Sayeth the man who claimed all these people were of sub normal intelligence and thus the poor dears didn't know what they were signing and getting themselves into... all the while pretending or not knowing that there was an incredible amount of borrower speculation and criminal mortgage activity going on.

Once you get beyond the tabloid press, there's a few other things that people like to sweep under the carpet while crying about how these poor low-intelligence people were the victims of predatory lenders. I'm not sure how your version of events squares with the reality that during the five year period at the height of sup prime loans, within the area of subprime mortgages, lender reports to the federal government concerning suspicious mortgage applications increased 10 fold.

Say what? These predatory lenders were detecting a ten fold increase in fraudulent mortgage applications - and reporting it - on the part of these poor dumb people they were fleecing? And let's not forget that occupancy fraud went up 20% within the period of sub prime loans as well. Oddly enough, most of the loan defaults occurred/are occurring in areas where the market was hottest and profits to be made by flipping houses highest. Hmmmm... coincidence? Ya figger?

Now that's the figures for REPORTED mortgage fraud on the part of borrowers. My first degree was in criminology, and there you're taught about "the dark figure of crime" - that which is never detected, if detected never reported, etc. Care to guess at what the dark figure for economic crime is generally estimated to be?

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal not too long ago ran a review of builders. It turns out they believed under 10% of their homes were being bought by speculators planning on flipping them when ready for occupancy - now they believe that figure to be 25% or higher, even though those people were signing occupancy agreements. It isn't an accident that many of the defaulted homes that are sitting out there have never had ANYONE live in them. Kind of hurts the image of a poor dumb family being thrown out of their home into the street, kids and all, but there ya go.

And you do know that a review of a large dataset of failed sub prime mortgages found that just over 70% of the mortgage applications had misrepresentations and falsehoods in them, yes? And these are the people who make up your overwhelming class of people victimized by lenders?

Oh yes, all those poor naive, low IQ little lambs were just innocently led off to slaughter by the lenders. There's a very different version of the culprits down in the pits where they actually look at what was going on instead of spreading gallons of ink around in tabloids and campaign fliers.

I think it's more about buying votes, but whatever. I do know that if their motivation is to save their ass first, I don't want them given the power to regulate yet another aspect of my life.

The 25% of purchasers speculating in homes,are those the poor people you're talking about? Or maybe the ones lying on their mortgage application? Perhaps the ones responsible for the 20% rise in occupancy fraud? Those the poor dummies you're talking about?

Yeah, somebody flipping homes has obviously never seen a mortgage document before! And they didn't understand the declaration at the bottom where they swore that all the information on their application was true. Missed that part...

That aside, there seems to be some cross cultural confusion here. Your talking about the lenders being responsible for the decisions the borrowers want to make. In North America, "personal responsiblity" does not mean somebody else takes responsibility for your actions and the decisions you make as an adult. No, quite the opposite.

In North America, "personal responsiblity" means YOU take responsibility for your actions - not some businessman, or the government agent, or a regulatory body. That's a nanny state - not the same thing.
So what? Do they get a crotch rocket or other vehicle that will exceed the speed limit or not?

Why do you NEED a vehicle that will exceed the speed limit? You could hurt yourself you know - far worse than defaulting on a mortgage you were speculating on. Why do you need beer - remember, alcohol is a causal factor in 50% of all violent crime. Really, shouldn't we just ask the government to get rid of the beer along with sub prime lending so we can all be a little safer and more secure in our lives? True, most of us don't abuse vehicles, investment opportunites, alcohol - but some have proven to not be able to handle it, so better we ask the government to remove access to all those risky things, right?

No. You're just being illogical and inconsistent - not the same thing.

Oh... okay... stupid people shouldn't be protected from buying toys they can't afford because they're too stupid to go to school anyways, but stupid people should be protected from buying homes they aren't smart enough to maintain and pay for. Got it.

The US economy was in serious trouble long before the subprime issue, and in fact that economic reality had a lot to do with the subprime issue becoming what it did. The US economy as a whole is going to tank with or without the sub prime issue.

But you do have a point. So if government restrictions will significantly improve the quality of life, whaddya say we get the government to ban booze entirely? How much money in policing, medical, correctional, etc costs will that save the US and Australia each year?

More import than the dollar figure, how much human misery, injury, and death will that prevent each year in Australia closer to your home, never mind the US? How many impaired driving deaths in Australia each year? How many spousal assaults by a drunk, drunken brawls, broken homes due to alcoholism, careers and relationships destroyed by alcohol, deaths due to alcohol related illnesses, etc?

Now I consider the deaths due to drunks, injuries, broken homes, etc to be MUCH more serious than merely walking away from a home you couldn't afford and having to start again - it doesn't get any more serious than dead.

So using your rational and mindset about getting the government to intervene in people's lives to protect themselves and others from their own wanton stupidity, I'm surprised you're so concerned about the US and not busy back in Australia lobbying your government to outlaw booze. After all, that has much more effect on you than the US situation does (unless you're heavily invested in US markets, of course). I just don't see why protecting housing market speculators from their errors in judgement would be more important than trying to end the death and misery due to alcohol use. And after all, people do need some kind of shelter or other - but nobody REALLY needs a beer or a glass of wine. Such a little thing to ask the government to take away from us for the common good, don't you think?

Y'know, I have an ever increasing suspicion that you have absolutely no idea of the amount of mortgage fraud that was going on during this period, speculation in housing, etc. I have yet to see you write one word other than about "unscrupulous lenders". It's as though all the house flipping, occupancy fraud, etc that was going on doesn't even exist in how you perceive this from far across the ocean.

The lenders were lying and cheating these mortgage speculators out of their money. The same purchasers putting in fraudulent mortgage applications, committing occupancy fraud, etc. Yeah, right...

I have a better idea. Let's have a system where the term "buyer beware" still means something, not a nanny state holding your hand from cradle to grave. A system where the government treats you like an adult and allows you the freedom to make your own choices. I prefer that one.

Or we can have one where the government regulates EVERYTHING that might bring you financial, emotional, or physical harm in your life. No cherrypicking. Financial safety - but no beer, it' leads to too much misery.

Still not a word about the borrower's roll in all of this, despite the fairly well examined role of borrowers in this, in particular the fraud and speculation. Just a suggestion that these people need to be protected from those nasty ol' lenders.

I find that kind of naive call for more government regulation frightening - but not as frightening as the concept that people shouldn't be trusted to think for themselves, and therefore the government should step in and control yet another part of your life and nanny you through life instead.

And still not a word about the fraud on the part of borrowers. Just an assumption that they are the weak and stupid, while the lenders were doing the duping.

There is a difference between protecting the weak and having a nanny state where the government controls aspects of your life and takes away your freedom of choice. What catches my mind on that is those who usually advocate the nanny state are pretty happy with it - as long as the nanny state doesn't do anything that affects their choices and activities, of course. Because they personally don't need nannying, just them other folks.

End of post. And not word of acknowledgement of the amount of actual CRIMINAL wrongdoing and speculation on the part of many of those purchasers. Aside from the denial (or ignorance) of that criminal fraud taking place, there's an important difference here. Except for those lenders who did commit criminal acts in how they presented those mortgages, the vast majority of those loans were perfectly legal. Mortgage fraud is NOT legal and is CRIMINAL. We're talking about the borrowers here being the ones committing the criminal acts here, not the lenders, no matter how much you think their actions SHOULD be criminal.

So I find the continued claim about the borrowers being of sub par intelligence, weak, exploited, etc more than a little bit weak. Maybe what we really should be doing is spending more time on law enforcement towards detecting and jailing borrowers who are engaging in mortgage fraud, occupancy fraud, etc. If we'd done that, perhaps there wouldn't have been around a 25% speculation rate in new homes, less homes flooding the market, and all of this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

You can't argue you're in favour of personal responsibility in the first place, and then turn around and argue that the government should regulate your life so you don't have to accept personal responsibility. The last thing I want is the government continuing to regulate personal behavior more and more as long as some people continue to act stupid and make dumb decisions even when they have normal intelligence and should know better. Take away the consequences and they'll never smarten up anyways.
Forum: General Talk 07-22-2008, 09:42 PM  
A sad read: Unloading prized belongings...
Posted By Rick
Replies: 62
Views: 8,220
So... they must be their brother's keeper? Have some sort of crystal ball that told them that the buyer's business wouldn't succeed like they thought it would, that the auto industry would have a downturn and lay them off, that their parents would default on their co-signing of the loan, etc?

And of course, that the housing market would actually go down instead of continuing to rise. If the market HAD gone up... well, these people would all be looking like financial geniuses right now. And instead of everybody trying to make the mortgage brokers and lenders out to be the spawn of satan, even more people would be lined up asking for a loan so they could get in on the financial killing.

Here's a real crazy thought: maybe many of these people figured that, what the hell, if they couldn't make it, they'd just drop the keys off and walk away, with the benefit of having lived in a home well above their means for as long as it lasted. Better than renting in a six plex, eh - especially when the payments while it lasted were about the same as rent?

Nah... none of them would have ever thought of it in those terms. They aren't smart enough to think of something like that.

Here's another real crazy thought: maybe many of these people thought that, even if it did go sour, some politician in one election year or another might come along with a program to bail them out of their mortgage, so they'd end up having that house above their means anyways. Paid for with the taxes of those who bought within their means, of course.

And whaddya know... some politicians are talking about doing just that.

Why is it these days that personal responsibility seems to be anthema? It always seems to be somebody else's fault - not the person who made the decisions? Everybody wants to talk about their rights - but the fact that rights are accompanied by duties seems to be a dirty little secret these days that nobody wants to admit to.

However, if the bad ol' businessman/capitalist/whatever has to be held responsible if they don't treat their customers like minor children, let's at least be consistent about it to prove we're not cherrypicking.

Let's nail all the vehicle dealers who sell crotch rockets to kids who go out and kill themselves, or expensive SUV's to people who they should know can't make the payments or afford the gas a year or two down the road. They should have known what might happen. In fact, let's just shut down manufacturing any vehicle capable of exceeding the speed limit by more than... say 20 mph.

Let's jail everyone who sells cigarettes, or foods with trans fats, or anything else that they know is bad for your health and shortens your life. After all, a bad decision on a mortage will just take you back to square one financially - a heart attack or diabetes is just a little bit more serious than losing your house. Let's not forget the store that sells a young kid an expensive stereo or bag full of camera gear when he knows that kid should be using that money to go to college instead of working for minimum wage at a local dead end job. My God, they're sentencing that kid to a lifetime of menial labour!

The reality is you'll never be able to trust adults to consume responsibly, nor businessmen to sell only things that are good for that particular customer, so if we want to consistently prevent people from purchasing things that are probably bad for them, we need to put the government in charge of all business. So... when you want something, you just submit your latest annual physical, your bank and employment records, or whatever the government asks for so that they can decide whether what you want is good for you or not. Little on the fat side? Sorry, the local store won't sell you any junk food (assuming we continue to allow it being offered for sale of course). Want a new camera? Sorry, that money would be better spent making an extra mortgage payment on your house this year.

I don't have a problem with the concept of saying that business should be legally obligated to decide whether it is in their customer's best interests to have what they want to purchase or not - as long as you want that for EVERYTHING, not just houses because a bunch of people did the same stupid thing a bunch of other stupid people did thirty years earlier. However, my best guess is that people are all for making the loan guys responsible for guessing whether or not a customer would actually make it - but they don't want somebody telling THEM they can't have a fast motorcycle, or a grocery bag full of junk food, or permission to speculate on future land development by buying that piece of property outside of town.

I wasn't aware that the people defaulting on these mortgages had any sort of study done on them to determine what their mean IQ level was? That's a new one on me; did you read that somewhere or is that just an assumption on your part?

I suspect that they're probably pretty much a microcosm of society - particularly when two of those who defaulted live in our neighborhood and are both self employed with fairly successful small businesses. However, they weren't successful enough businesses to pay for two acres of land near a ski resort with a ridiculously sized house and a bunch of toys parked in the garage. Most of these loans didn't finance little tiny starter homes...

However, if it is true most of these people are incapable of understanding what they are doing, I suppose we need to appoint somebody to have power of attorney over their affairs - that's what we normally do with people who can't fend for themselves. Time to bring in Big Brother again.

And here I thought a whole bunch of these people were using these sub prime loans to speculate on the idea that house prices were going to go up and they were going to flip a really big house and cash in big time. To use your words, they were trying to make a quick buck. Which, if memory serves me correctly, is exactly what so many people were doing 30 years ago when house prices suddenly fell and interest rates soared. Most of them lost their shirts as well - the only difference is, back then the concept of personal responsibility for the decisions you make was still lingering on a bit.

The funny thing to all of this is that, as housing prices fall and more and more houses are defaulted on, even more people are lining up - often in front of those same mortgage brokers - to get in on the killing to be made in buying homes being sold for firesale prices. There are financial vehicles being set up in Canada to allow Canadians to cash in on undervalued homes and property down in the US without the usual hassles, and I'm reasonably certain the same advertising can be found in other countries.

Why doesn't somebody step in and prevent all these foreigners from doing this? After all, if things go as expected, they're going to do extremely well financially. However, if lending rates go in the tank back home for them... well then, we'll have to go and curse them bad old mortgage and lending companies again.

People are greedy. It's a human trait, and some people let their greed push aside their common sense. And sometimes they just didn't calculate the odds well enough, or their gamble didn't come through.

I'd sure like to know where you found the survey that was done on these people that determined that in the vast majority they were incapable of making intelligent decisions - as opposed to simply being careless or greedy themselves. I'd REALLY like to know where you came by that information.

No problem. Just make sure you ask the government to have an oversight board regulating your consumer access to ALL items that might cause you financial distress - or poor health.

Me, I still like the idea of personal responsibility for your own decisions - and the freedom to make those decisions.
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