Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Walk this way

I don’t want to hear any judgmental tsk-tsking from the media about beleaguered homeowners mailing in the keys and walking away from upside-down or otherwise unmanageable mortgages. For decades, Americans have witnessed or, worse, experienced first-hand corporate indifference and ruthlessness: mergers and acquisitions that are designed simply to raid pension funds, health insurance companies that would rather see you dead than receive treatment, corporations that slash payrolls and benefits while paying CEOs hundreds of millions of dollars, companies that extort property tax rebates and then move their operations overseas, and all the other myriad forms of all-purpose Enronism.

American consumers have been taught by masters.

As Jon H at Balloon Juice observed:
[P]eople are starting to adopt business ethics. Dump non-performing assets for the good of the ‘stockholders’.

I think business has been able to use peoples’ moral sense against them for quite a long time, counting on people to do things that are not strictly in their interest rather than doing the coldly rational thing which carries some stigma but is perfectly rational.”
Mike Shedlock at Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis makes the same point.
If banks can make "business decisions" to ignore risks, to lend money with no down payment, and fire people [at] the first sign of trouble without any remorse, why shouldn't consumers be able to do the same?

Take a look at previous values on homes now being auctioned. Did not lenders make a business decision to ignore insane valuations placed on those homes?

Indeed they did, and one reason was they could securitize the garbage and sell it to pension plans and foreign investors as far away as Norway (see Citibank SIVs Hit Norway Townships). Is Citigroup about to refund Norway townships for the mess it created?
My guess: No.

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