Friday, Nov. 9, 2007Dear Ms. Bennett,
I have read many of your articles about the real estate situation and am glad that you’re focusing on it so clearly. Perhaps, though, in the end it is nothing other than greed and related stupidity, not unlike that of the folks at Enron — that is what this real estate crisis is about.
People who have owned their houses for decades in SD and here in DC and in other cities too, have watched the real estate values grow a great deal and so a 5 to 10 percent drop from two years or three years ago is hardly cause for concern. Those who bought to speculate, to flip a property to make a quick killing, and those who bought even though they couldn’t afford to do so, but also bought the nonsense assurances of unscrupulous lenders, are hardly pitiable, for they were either greedy or ignorant or both. Naturally, the public press which hyped all the nonsense for its own self-interest, is also to blame and I do not for a microsecond pretend that that is not the case. Newspeople on TV, radio, and in print media were only too willing to be the shills to help drive the “boom” in real estate values with the same zeal that they put scandal and murder and other disgusting matters on the front pages and on their every hour on the hour endless, repetitious pre-recorded news infotainment programs.
That there are people who want to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge is nothing new. When you call them on it, as you did in your article, they shrug their shoulders and say, “Caveat Emptor” — in other words, “it’s not my problem if people believe me when I tell them something that is clearly not in their interests, because it’s in my financial interest to say that stuff to them and they should think for themselves even though I encourage them to let me do their thinking for them.”
I’m sure that if someone buys a well-located property in downtown SD next week and lives there for the next twenty-five years, he or she will realize a fine increase in equity in the absence of natural disaster. It’s usually only those who listen to the jackals and look to beat the market, be it real estate or Wall Street, who wind up being beaten themselves.