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We’ve all read about all the hundreds of billions of dollars lost by lenders and investors on mortgages made during the housing bubble that should never have been written in the first place due to low rent lying: Mortgage brokers telling buyers to make up jobs, income, spouses, and forget about other houses they own, previous bankruptcies, and the like. Appraisers adding 30% to values. Buyers claiming spouses they weren’t married to, etc. etc.

I got to thinking: “If Procter & Gamble were in the mortgage industry, would they let themselves be taken to the cleaners by countless cases of petty fraud, the way Lehman Bros. and Washington Mutual and Fannie Mae and so many others did?”

No way.

If P&G were in the business of giving out a hundred billion in mortgages or buying hundreds of billions of other people’s mortgages, they would hire market research firms to monitor trends in the mortgage marketplace. They’d pay survey research firms to call up recent homebuyers to see how onerous their payments were turning out to be. They’d hire focus groups firms to talk to buyers and realtors and mortgage brokers to spill the beans about their business. They’d hire “mystery shopper” firms to pretend to be in the market for houses and see if any of the professionals were pulling any funny stuff. They’d have appraisers on their own payroll who were paid the same no matter how low they appraised the houses.

Procter & Gamble would spend the money to monitor the trillion dollar mortgage business as closely as they monitor the billion dollar toothpaste business.

But I’ve never heard of anybody being paid to monitor the mortgage market for monkey business. Have you?

By the way, if you think there might be a business opportunity here, go for it. Of course, even better, figure out what’s going to be the next Bubble after mortgages (alternative energy?) and set up systems that can help investors not be such damn fools in the future.

UPDATE: On second thought, the financial industry would just use marketing research reports on growing irrationality and funny business in the market to jump into the next big bubble even sooner and harder. Oh, well …

 
• Tags: Real Estate 
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The next Census is a year away, and then legislative districts will be redrawn to reflect the new population. A crucial C0nstitutional issue is whether resident non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, should be counted in determining representation.

Some interesting data on rotten boroughs from Craig Russell:

1) In the last election, an average of 301,200 presidential votes* were cast per US House District.

2) In California, the US state with the highest number of immigrants, only 255,900 votes were cast per district.

3) The 22 House members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus averaged only 161,500 votes cast in their districts…

4) The 413 non-CHC US House districts averaged 308,700 presidential votes cast.

5) Of the 10 highest immigration states (by percent), 8 voted for Obama; of the 10 lowest, 9 voted for McCain.

We are told by Obama & Co. how crucial sampling is because an “actual enumeration” (the Constitution’s exact words) would unfairly exclude immigrants. Based on this data they’re already being overrepresented. Is it fair to give a dozen or more House seats (and electoral college votes) to people who aren’t even in this country legally, or who aren’t citizens?

In most states, illegal immigrants are counted in allotting legislative districts, but the highest court to consider the issue said that’s wrong:

In the majority opinion of the 1998 7th Circuit federal case “Barnett vs. City of Chicago,” Judge Richard J. Posner ruled, “We think that citizen voting-age population is the basis for determining equality of voting power that best comports with the policy of the (Voting Rights) statute. … The dignity and very concept of citizenship are diluted if non-citizens are allowed to vote either directly or by the conferral of additional voting power on citizens believed to have a community of interest with the non-citizens.”

That decision applies only to three Midwestern states, however. The Supreme Court has yet to rule definitively on the issue.

It would seem like if the GOP wanted to bring it up, they’d better do it now.

But, they’d get smeared as racists for mentioning it, so, never mind.

 
• Tags: Politics 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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