Monday, May 19, 2008

The Giant Pool of Money: Housing Bubble Explained

According to the proposed FY2009 budget, the property within the city of Laurel is worth a total of $2,288,481,268. But of course this value is based on property assessments that were calculated while real estate in this region was surfing the housing bubble. The challenge will be to see how our residential and commercial real estate values fair over the next few years.

I have been trying to figure out this housing bubble business for months now. Two years ago, real estate prices were climbing to dizzying heights. Today they are wiping out in a death spiral.

Why? Where did all the money go? Who caused this problem? Should I blame West Laurel for this irrational exuberance? Is it Jack Johnson's fault? Will approving slots make it better? Why would banks arm wrestle each other to see who got to give a $400K interest-only loan to my unemployed tabby cat in 2005? Who got paid off? Why did we get left holding the litter box?

I'm a big fan of a radio program called "This American Life" hosted by Ira Glass. It is one of the best shows on public radio. They recently broadcast a show that answered all of my questions called, "
The Giant Pool of Money." The show runs an hour and I recommend it to anyone trying to understand what caused the housing credit bubble. I found their experts easy to understand and compelling.

You can listen to the show on your
computer or download it to your portable mp3 player via iTunes. I found it to be a valuable way to spend an hour. Besides, I don't have much else to do since my tabby cat's house went into foreclosure last month. Does anyone need a used litter box?

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