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@HAM Solo:

I agree that it is time to dilute the wealth of the boomers whom while simultaneously helping rack up the debt for their successors have taken home the spoils and left others holding the bag.

Perhaps pinpoint higher taxes towards the very well-off baby boomers; increase estate taxes, etc?

Unfortunately, the older generations are much better at voting than the younger ones, so I can’t see any party with these kinds of ideas being voted in.

HAM Solo

@ fixie

of course it’s going to come out of the pockets of the retired. News flash, everyone under 40 is F-ed because the housing market has been goosed for years. Meanwhile every 60-something high school dropout with a house is a millionaire, with boatloads of bonds to boot.

So what if the old people get diluted. It’s their turn.

fixie guy

123 Crikey Says: “.. would send inflation and interest rates wildly out of control. Yeah, printing money on a mass scale, evening if “only” $100,000 for each Canadian, has big consequences.”

Crashing the economy even further. That ‘freebie’ will eventually come straight out of the pockets of fixed income earners and the retired. Starve the infirm to feed house gluttons? No thanks.


@HAM Solo:
“Why couldn’t Flaherty just print it up? That’s what Bernanke does”

Well in that case, let’s just get Flaherty to print up billion dollar bills and pay off all our debts instantly with a handful of them, while simultaneously sending every Canadian one of these crisp new bills.
(Can you say, “Wealth reset”?)

Nevermind that investors in Canadian bonds would have a fit in either scenario, and that either scenario would send inflation and interest rates wildly out of control. Yeah, printing money on a mass scale, evening if “only” $100,000 for each Canadian, has big consequences.

HAM Solo

@ Maverick

I know a lot of people have said things about the uniqueness of the US like that. I am not sure, however, that we cannot print…or that the C$ bond market would collapse when we printed the first dollar. Remember, marking down the Canadian housing stock by 40% could be just a tad deflationary.

I suspect in the end we are going to print. I guess we will find out what happens.


@Keeping An Eye On The Pimps:
Jefferson had good reason to dislike banks (he had a longstanding problem with debts) but at least a good part of this quote is invented.

In particular, the term “deflation” was not coined with respect to the economy until the Long Depression of the late 19th century.


@Best place on meth:
They (the banks) didn’t buy them (foreclosed houses) or intend to own them, did they?”

Yes they did. Foreclosures in the US are an auction where the house goes to the high bidder. The bank doesn’t automatically get it. It has to outbid everyone else, its bid being the balance of the mortgage. If someone bids more than this they get it, not the bank, and the bank gets the balance paid.

The very fact that someone (including a bank) owns a property at the present time means that they want to own it. If they didn’t want to own it they would sell it, wouldn’t they?


@HAM Solo:

We can’t print like the US because we’re not the US, which has a unique standing in the world.

We’re more like Spain. The bond market would punish us in no time if they thought we were going in over our heads in debt.

That’s going to be the real kicker when prices plunge here – if the government thinks they can print or if the economy gets bad enough – guess what?

Bond rates will go up, as people sell their GoC bonds. And housing falls even further as mortgage rates also get pushed up.

HAM Solo

Why does it have to be taxed from anyone? Why couldn’t Flaherty just print it up? That’s what Bernanke does

mobile vhb

So the reason why you can’t give everyone $100K is that it would cost $3,500 Billion or so. That’s ten years worth of federal tax revenue or so.

There will be no bailout of individuals. The government will not come to anyone’s rescue. There may be some boutiqye window dressing program but the numbers just do not work for the guv to bail out underwater homeowners.

Just in Van if they gave 100K to 100 thousand households that is 10 billion. Do you really think they’d give that kind of dough away? And there will be more than 100K needy households and many would need far more than 100K to make a difference.

Those expecting govt to swoop in and make it all better would be better off waiting for the Easter Bunny.

HAM Solo

@ N I think if you read through Mish’s blog or read Rosie or follow other independent analysis, you will find that the actual US unemployment rate post-crash is much higher than the official rate. A large part of the improvement in unemployment numbers has been in reducing the official workforce count because people are self-employed at much lower income levels, have retired early, have returned to school, have claimed disability, etc. The other thing to keep in mind is how much more focused on real estate Canada’s economy is than the US was even at the peak. If you live in Vancouver, take a walk around and count the condo towers under construction…look at all the brand new Ford trucks with some goofy building contractor business logo shining in the fresh paint, look at all the home reno’s going… Read more »


@HAM Solo:

I don’t see why unemployment would to to 20 to 25%. It hasn’t in the States.

My plan would be to further limit CHMC insurance to first time buyers with 10% down, and then let nature take its course.

Seeing that you can no longer get rich by buying a house, people might try other ways of getting rich, like out competing the guy beside them at work to get a promotion, or starting their own business. That, and not government handouts, is how societies gain wealth.

HAM Solo

@ N I’m just playing the tape forward and thinking about options. Based on the course we are on, house prices collapse 40%+, unemployment is 20-25%, John Q. Public is up the creek without a paddle and yet tens of billions of freshly printed cash gets sent to Bay Street. That is Canada’s default policy. The winners in that game are the people who are already independently wealthy to the extent that their home is just a minor portion of their assets. The losers (if we look at the US for a second) are all the people who thought they were middle class, and who had a net worth pre-crash of say $300K, and post-crash their net worth is zero or negative and they have no job to boot. You guys don’t like the $100K cash to everyone…show me a… Read more »


@HAM Solo:

Sadly, I don’t think it would work that way. You have seen what happens when the government tries to “give” people money to buy houses. Houses just get more expensive. If you give everyone 100K, you might goose the economy for a while, but you might also spur inflation, which you would then have to counter with interest rate hikes. I have a feeling that the whole thing would end very badly. I have very limited knowledge or macroeconomics but it seems to me that markets are like living things, and if you mess with them, they mess back.


@frank: “Doom and gloomers are eventually right, but by then a lot of money has been left on the table.”

Only if you cash out prior. The vast majority will lose all their gains and then some. It works the same as Vancouver real estate.


@mac: “And who pays for this? Oh yeah. The idiots who saved.”

Yeah it’s not fair; still I’d rather have savings than be stuck in an underwater (debt-wise) house I don’t like and face foreclosure if I lose my job. Depressing, but I’ll take the spread nonetheless.


@frank: “Rosenberg completely missed the whole run up after Feb 2009. He kept saying the other shoe would drop as the S and P doubled and the TSX went up more than that.”

You sound like a real estate bull. You could make the same statement about Vancouver real estate.

We will see how many people who ‘doubled’ their money (which was really making back part of their losses) cash out before the next financial crisis. The TSX has been flat for 2 years where Rosenberg has done much better being long gold and bonds.


@BC reader: Shiller was on Bloomberg, he was mostly concerned about the prevalence of finance in driving US economic output, and claimed prices haven’t quite reached bottom, though are close. His major point I garnered was that housing should not be viewed as a pure investment vehicle, it should be viewed as something to be consumed, and that people can make money from facilitating that.

He also thought bond markets were “strange”. I can’t disagree, I could never figure them out either!

HAM Solo

@ mac

We give the money to everyone. Everyone is not the same as idiots. It includes you and me and all the rest.

If you have no house debt, then you are ahead by 100K.

If you have house debt, you are still ahead by 100K, but seeing as your starting point is minus 666K, then you are still poor.

If we give the money to the banks instead, then all the weasels at BMO who lent $800K to 21 year old mobile phone salesmen to buy in Yaletown keep their jobs. But the poor fools on the bottom of the pyramid get foreclosed on. All the yaletown restaurants go under. And all the rest of Canadian humanity enters a 15 year grind trying to service the ridiculous bubble era debts.


@HAM Solo: Soooo after giving away free money to idiots we should give away more money to other idiots? And who pays for this? Oh yeah. The idiots who saved. Nice plan.



Rosenberg completely missed the whole run up after Feb 2009. He kept saying the other shoe would drop as the S and P doubled and the TSX went up more than that.

Doom and gloomers are eventually right, but by then a lot of money has been left on the table.

HAM Solo

@ Pimps

Great quote. Wouldn’t it be great if Canada actually pulled off a real rescue in the face of the big housing bust. Instead of rescuing the banks who have been cynically over-extending credit, in the belief that the government will provide unlimited support to prop up CMHC, what if we just let the banks fail and, instead, gave the money to the people?

That would be the fairest thing to do, and it would also probably lead to the quickest rebound. If post-bust each person was given say $100,000, then the folks without a $666,000 mortgage would be rich…as they deserve to be, and the folks levered into condos or who are counting on a retirement funded by dividends from sleazoid Toronto financial institutions would be poor … as they deserve to be.

BC reader

Another amusing bear segment on BNN today. Shiller was quoted as saying it is absolutely not a bottom in the US housing market.


@Anonymous: “Hardly a smack down. Here is part of the ‘bullish’ quote of Rosenberg’s so widely reported on”

CalculatedRisk was smacking down Rosenberg for claiming he was “ahead” of the market when there were pundits calling the start of a massive equity bull rally in 2009. People following Rosenberg’s advice would have missed out on that. That’s all, not criticizing Rosenberg’s overall message, whatever it is.

Keeping An Eye On The Pimps

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

Thomas Jefferson,