It's been another week of bicycling in the confines of planet Sun Lakes. Within the walls of retirementdom exists (on the surface at least) a cleaner, more quiet and more stable environment, mostly removed from the financial and cultural turmoil just outside the gates.
Housing prices still remain too high. Homes that "get real" sell and the rest (clearly the vast majority) sit and sit on the market. Realtors trade listings as they expire, never bothering to tell the old folks that their world has changed and home prices have drastically fallen. While this small adult living community has held price levels much better than the surrounding area, it is starting to feel the crunch.
Home prices are coming down and that's a sure sign that reality is taking hold. It's a good thing for most I believe. If they really do need to sell now, then their price must reflect that fact. Those (again the majority of sellers in Sun Lakes) that are not serious can maintain outdated and unrealistic pricing and wait. We have already seen some take their homes off the market. It seems the proper move if they don't need to sell now. We follow the moves of our micro real estate market with interest and no small amount of amazement. It makes the bike rides not only good for us physically, but keeps us up to date about our little corner of the world's housing situation.
The market took a dive this week and the short sellers are making a killing. It turns out that some of the companies (perhaps most of them?) that we are bailing out are at the same time acting in a manner to make the situation worse. Today, it was reported that Morgan Stanley was actively shorting Ford Motor Company Stock and asking clients permission to use their stocks for that purpose. They were offering a 13% dividend and other incentives to lure customers into short positions.
To understand the implications of this move remember that Morgan Stanley received 10 billion dollars in taxpayer money, supposedly to help it's liquidity and stability. It is using that to undermine the value of the strongest remaining American Car company while we pour billions upon billions into the weaker two and will be forced for some time to continue the bail outs. Does this sound as malicious and counter-productive to you as it does to me. I've come to the conclusion that Wall Street firms are run by heartless assholes with no moral compass or sense of decency.
Would it be too much to ask for a scintilla of common sense and cooperation from the wizards of Wall Street. I am convinced at this point that this group of companies and individuals are actively working against the administration's attempts at helping out the middle class. When will we get a handle on these back stabbing little money grubbing bastards and get some productive developments out of our money and our economy?
Post Script: I know that shorting is not illegal and is widely used for trading for profit. It just seems that right now, it would be helpful if companies who are being supported by our tax dollars could support a bigger need than short term profit. Support of our national manufacturing base, which is severely diminished, would be most appreciated and the auto manufacturers are in deep doo doo, much of it their own fault admittedly. Still, we have no compunction about bailing out the financials that brought about the crisis, so why not some slack for companies and people who actually make things?