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View Full Version : The Unending Allure of the Free Lunch


Steve
02-10-2008, 11:38 AM
Here is just a section from a great article written by Ben Stein.

It's my view that what has gone on with the real estate industry has been an absolute disaster. I have no interest in big government but this is a great example to highlight what happens when you don't have the government setting up rules so that the consumer isn't taken advantage of.

On the one side there is the argument that consumers should just be responsible for themselves? Well it seems if we let that happen, they will be preyed upon by those better in the know. Such as these mortgage brokers who know the consumer will have no way of paying the mortgage once the interest rate increases. On top of that the mortgage broker could care less if it is paid back because once the mortgage is sold, they get their commission and wipe their hands clean of the entire process.

On the other side we seem to have to look out for consumers. We have laws to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by used car dealers, called lemon laws. Should their be laws that say you can't sell a mortgage to a home buyer if there is no way they will be able to pay back that mortgage?

What's your take on this? Is this just a mess we all have caused and we are going to have to pay the price for now? Will we ever learn from such situations or are we forever going to repeat this over and over again?

The Unending Allure of the Free Lunch (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/business/10every.html?ref=business) - Humans are seemingly wired to believe that they really can get something for nothing, and they pay the price, over and over again. They will especially do so if they are lending and investing with Other People’s Money and if there are short-term incentives for them to hop onto the gravy train. In the long run, they can move on to the next scam.

BUT something else was missing here. Since the era of Ronald Reagan, we have been told by powerful groups that regulation is bad and that our economy will grow like magic if we take it away. So regulation was removed from savings and loans, and they were looted mercilessly.