BlogAgeddon

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As you may know, the theme of my merry little cross-country jaunt which begins next week is HouseAgeddon. First, apparently, we have to get through BlogAgeddon.

The juicy details will come later, but the fact is this site (and moi) have inspired such passions that we are in the crosshairs of whackos with wires. Last night was a true test of the webmaster who stands behind this site, his Uzi always at the ready. The fact you are reading anything right now is akin to the majesty of a bug crawling out of the melted, smoking, glowing ruins of a nuclear holocaust.

A bug with a finger.

Without a doubt, there are some people this site makes uncomfortable. Manipulating public opinion, after all, is big business. To date the real estate industry, the professional economists and the political establishment have worked diligently since the autumn of 2008 to lull and soothe folks into borrowing and spending. It worked.

Today the economy’s solvent. But it floats on a sea of debt, with households owing more than at any time before. Unemployment is again rising, growth stagnating, wages stagnant and real estate wobbling. This is not where we should be in a recovery, two years after the wheels came off.

Repeatedly over the past months I have warned we were heading into a deflationary period when asset prices would fall and anyone not paying attention would get nailed. That’s starting now. People unable to sell their houses, seeing their real estate net equity evaporate a little each day or watching their retirement nestegg fracture know this well, even if it shocks them. This period proves we never really did have an economic recovery – just a time when we were primed with own tax money and told the dark times were over.

And while there is a far brighter situation coming – legitimate economic growth and soaring equity markets – too many middle class families will never be able to participate, since they’re now enslaved with monster debts taken to buy houses which may not regain 2009 values for at least a decade.

So the ongoing foe of GreaterFool has been those who fanned the malicious flames of greed and house lust, who talked young couples with no money into buying luxe condos and persuaded delusional Boomers to move up into trophy homes. It’s been the bankers and the lenders who afforded credit where none was merited. The Bay Street economists who paraded as deep thinkers but were actually shills for their employers. And the politicians who so arrogantly, and correctly, thought they could lead people around by the nosehairs.

They all played a role in getting us to this point – where we have no economic disaster, but a household crisis. It could take a generation or two, or saving, slogging, denial and higher taxes, to get most families out of this quagmire.

It did not need to be. Honesty and integrity could have spared this outcome. But that is apparently rarer than gold.

Self-serving fools will always appear in times of want with a siren song and a gauzy solution. The greater fools are the ones who follow. They we cannot help. For the rest of you, there is this site.

So, barbarians, bug off.