The Washington Post reports a new trend of people walking away from houses that they own. It misses the whole point, however. The problem is that these people paid little or no money down. Their mortgage payments were just rent payments, and unlike real rent payments, these were subsidized by the US government in the form of the mortgage interest tax deduction. People didn’t do this years ago because they had skin in the game, starting out with about a $30,000 loss for walking away from a $150,000 home. Now they have nothing to lose except their credit rating for a year or two. They’ll go from owning a four bedroom single family house to renting a two bedroom apartment that they can afford. No big deal, except for the banks that made these stupid mortgages and the investors who bought them. The heads of these banks, like Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan-Chase, are either very stupid or crooks. I don’t think they are very stupid. But it’s good when you can bribe (lobby) the lawmakers to make your immoral shenanigans legal.

I still think Tim Geithner, Hank Paulson and company deserve a lot of credit for avoiding another Depression, but now I think Geithner, who was head of the New York Fed, is too close to his old buddies whom he bailed out. Wall Street is evil. It almost destroyed America and much of the rest of the world with it. Somebody needs to pay for what they did.

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