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NYT article on the housing bust in Florida

This NYT article was simply an amazing indictment of the real estate bust with many actors at fault - county officials who allowed speculative construction scattered throughout the community (just look at that buckshot map), residents who refinanced and ran up debt in the good times without a sober regard for how to pay it back, bankers who made loans with ever decreasing standards of care, real estate agents who sang the tune of real estate riches while pocketing the commissions, federal & state regulators looking the other way while the good times rolled, politicians who cynically exploited peoples hopes and dreams to get elected. All of this reminds me of reading about the boom/bust cycles in the 1800s. I guess we as a society are slouching back to to that and we ultimately have nobody to blame but ourselves.

In other interesting news, I read that the Senate stimulus bill will cap payroll tax refunds at $75,000 for single filers. I presume one of the justifications for this action was the lower your income the more likely you are to spend the $500/1000 the government throws your way. I find it funny that the very thing that got us in this mess (uncontrolled spending) is not being heralded as the method to get us out. Maybe their right though, if they gave me $500/1000 I'd use it to pay down debt (the responsible thing to do). I sure wouldn't run out and by a flat screen tv.

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