Archive for Personal Finance

Can You Use a Cash Advance Loan Responsibly?

©Merchant Cash 4 Advance - flickr

©Merchant Cash 4 Advance – flickr

Payday loans can cause a lot of financial trouble when not used responsibly. In general, these types of loans are designed to be a short term loan that can be paid back in full on your next pay period. In this type of scenario, they can be very useful and potentially save a lot of money when you avoid late fees or other charges that could result from not paying other bills on time.

The problem with a payday loan is when you take out a loan that can not be quickly repaid. When the loan is not paid back immediately, most contracts allow the lender to charge huge interest rates and additional fees on a weekly or daily basis. If you fall into a situation where the loan can not be paid back, you will quickly find yourself in a load of trouble.

Payday loans can be used for just about anything you want. Many people use these loans to make payments that would be delayed otherwise. In these cases, it is important to weigh the late fees versus the cost of the payday loan.

Many people do not realize this, but if you are late on one of your credit cards, just once, the card companies can immediately jack your rate up to almost 30% on all your cards, not just the one you were late on. This is such a problem that laws are being created to prevent this practice. In this type of scenario, missing a single payment could cost you (literally) thousands of dollars, so paying a small sum to borrow money now would make perfect sense.

Another occasion is when you are going to miss a home payment and cause your property to go into foreclosure. When this occurs, usually on the third missed payment, your lender can make the entire loan due immediately. This is another case, where a small loan fee may be a required evil to avoid a huge disaster. With the new government foreclosure bailout package, you can not miss any mortgage payments if you want to qualify. Keeping your payments on time in order to get a lower payment with a loan modification is a excellent good idea.

The key is using a payday loan when required and finding another answer when it is not. In my opinion, buying groceries to feed your family might be okay, but getting a loan for pleasure spending and a movie, or a case of beer is not. Be smart about your purchases and only spend borrowed money when it is a necessity.

In any scenario where you will be borrowing money, make sure you completely understand the terms of the loan and read all the documentation that goes along with it. Never agree to anything you do not understand and never agree to borrow money when you do not know how you will be able to pay it back

Decrease Your Bills, Then Modify Your Loan

©Financial injection - flickr

©Financial injection – flickr

When you are facing foreclosure, a great help to your unstable financial situation is the possibility of obtaining a mortgage modification. This is when the original terms of the mortgage on your property are altered so you can make more affordable payments on time. Naturally, for this to become a reality, both you and the lender must agree on the new modified conditions before they can go into effect.

Before you even get enveloped in the mortgage modification process, see what you can do in your own life to better your financial situation. The more money you have to offer the lender on a regular basis, the better chance a modification will be accepted. Do what you can to bring more money in each month and cut unnecessary expenses. There are non-profit counseling services to guide you in these endeavors.

If you determine that you can make no further cuts in your budget and you still cannot make your mortgage payments, you need to meet with your lender to negotiate terms. The fact that you have attempted to reduce your bills to the bare minimum may help to influence the bank that you are serious about saving your house. Talk with them directly to discuss their specific mortgage modification requirements and whether you can qualify.

Inform them truthfully and completely about your predicament and ask what may be Done to help you in your tough situation. The more information the bank or servicing company has, the more likely it will be able to understand your situation and present a reasonable solution. Banks would much rather help you reach more affordable circumstances and still get some money from you than foreclose your home and be done with it.

There are many requests you can make of your lender. You might ask them to hold your payments until you get on your financial feet again. This is most likely to be accepted to if you had unanticipated expenses like medical bills that will pass and be over with in the coming months. Other examples may be making partial payments for a while, or putting the missed payments on the back end of the loan.

If your current mortgage is an adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, and it currently has higher monthly payments than fixed rate mortgages, request that your contract be altered and your loan switched to the plan with a lower rate. To be accepted, you must show your ability to pay the newly changed amount. Many of the current foreclosures were initiated by resetting ARM payments, and lenders have been willing to reduce interest rates to more affordable levels for proper loan modification applicants.

The most important thing to remember is that a lender will not go through the trouble of changing terms if you will still be unable to make timely payments. However, with a little bit of work, you can reduce your monthly expenses and then get to work lowering your payment so you can hold onto your house for the long term. Soon, with proper communication and negotiation skills, you will be out of your problem and back on more fixed financial grounds.

Lost a Job? Prevent Eviction by Cleaning Out Foreclosed Properties

One of the businesses that have been booming despite (or because of) the current economic downturn is cleaning out foreclosed homes. When banks purchase homes at auction, they usually begin eviction proceedings. After the eviction has been completed, any items remaining in the property will be thrown away. The lender or the county, depending on how evictions work locally, hire private companies to haul away the belongings.

©Cool1723 - flickr

©Cool1723 – flickr

Depending on how many foreclosures are affecting an area, this can be a significant source of income for small business owners in the real estate market. There is probably not a ton of money in cleaning out abandoned foreclosed homes, but the work might be pretty steady with a large inventory of homes that need to be cleaned out, and more coming on the market every week.

People looking to break into this type of market should contact either two places:

The first organization to contact is the county sheriff’s department in the area that the business will be working in. The sheriff is responsible for carrying out eviction orders after foreclosure, changing locks, and cleaning out homes. Except for bringing the guns to intimidate people into leaving, the other services are usually contracted out — sheriffs do not usually work as locksmiths or house cleaners. Others starting a new business may be able to do the cleaning by contracting with the county government.

Second, the cleaning business can try to contact the banks that purchase the foreclosures at the auction and attempt to get a contract with them to clean the homes. When banks purchase homes at auction, they hire local real estate brokers to list and sell the properties. It would not be out of the ordinary for them to hire a cleaning agency to clear out all the remaining property and keep the house in decent condition while it is empty.

The business will have at least a couple of concerns going either way. If they work for the government, the pay may be lower, as it is coming from a government with a decreasing tax base. And who knows how much red tape the business will have to cross to be a contractor with the county — or if there is already a politically-connected company doing this work. With the bank, it just might not be interested in hiring a small company and spending even more money on homes it has already lost to foreclosure.

But there might be some counties and some banks that will be open to these types of services. As with all businesses, some people will see the value, and others will pass on the opportunity. Cleaning out foreclosed homes is a growing business, but like all real estate related businesses, it is all local. There will always be more money to make performing these services in areas with a large population, high foreclosure rate, and with government or banks open to hiring such companies.

Short Sales, The IRS, Forgiven Debt, and Income Tax Exemptions

©insurance5 - flickr

©insurance5 – flickr

Homeowners who sell their homes through a short sale are often very concerned about the tax implications of the sale. The bank, by forgiving a portion of the debt, is then responsible for reporting the forgiven amount to the IRS as income to the borrowers. At tax time, the former homeowners are responsible for including this amount in their gross income and then paying taxes on it.

Thus, there is a strong possibility that homeowners who sell their home for less than what they owe on it will have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket in order to cover the tax bill on the short sale. They thought they were losing the home but avoiding having to make an expensive payment to the lender. In the end, though, they lose the home and still have to make a large payment to the IRS.

Homeowners, though, may be able to avoid this situation if they fall under a couple of exemptions, or the amount of debt forgiven is classified a certain way.

For instance, if the borrowers are insolvent prior to the discharge of the debt. The amount that can be excluded from their income is that amount up to the extent of their insolvency. As an example, f the borrowers have $10,000 in assets and $18,000 in liabilities, they are insolvent by $8,000. Debt can be forgiven up to $8,000 before they would have to report it as income to the IRS. But any amount over $8,000 forgiven would have to be reported and taxes would have to be paid on.

There is also an exemption for debts that are discharged through the bankruptcy process. There is no limit to this exemption from income, as homeowners can exclude an unlimited amount of discharged debt if it has gone through bankruptcy. The only stipulations are that the borrowers be under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, and the court grants the discharge of the debt.

Foreclosed homeowners may also be able to have the debt forgiven as interest and other fees, which do not count as income. Only forgiven principal would be considered forgiven debt, so if the borrowers and bank agree that the amount not collected due to the short sale consists mostly of fees and interest, there may be no income due to the sale of the property. This exclusion, however, may be affected if the borrowers took a tax deduction for interest in previous years.

There are a number of tax issues that homeowners should be aware of when they are considering whether or not to go through with a short sale. Although they may end up with a 1099-C form at the end of the year showing a large amount of forgiven debt, this does not mean that they have to pay taxes on all of that income, depending on their financial situation.

Despite some tax issues, a short sale still remains a viable solution to foreclosure. In fact, the government has even loosened some of the rules on income due to short sales, as well as providing other incentives for lenders to consider alternatives to foreclosing on a home. With more foreclosures will come more attempts to help borrowers reduce the financial burdens that come with owning or losing a home.

Hopelessly Corrupted — Credit Card Companies, Debt Collectors, and Mandatory Arbitration

©demosphere - flickr

©demosphere – flickr

One tool of the credit card companies has always been to force consumers into unfair arbitration proceedings, where very little is done to help strapped borrowers get back on top of debts. While most people who were involved in such negotiations had a feeling they horribly biased against the consumers, the full extent of the corruption of the process has finally come out in a recent court settlement.

The attorney general for the state of Minnesota recently sued the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), alleging deception and bias in their treatment of credit consumers. Amazingly, the NAF agreed to cease all consumer arbitrations nationwide beginning July 24, 2009, which will effect huge numbers of credit card companies and borrowers. Millions of credit agreements name NAF as the company to handle any arbitration.

The reason for the National Arbitration Forum ceasing operations is that it was found to have been biased in its business dealings, and had failed to disclose these biases. Corporations controlled by a hedge fund ended up owning part of NAF and a national collection agency that used NAF in lawsuits against borrowers. NAF and the debt collector, Mann Bracken, failed to disclose this relationship to consumers.

The Minnesota attorney general’s complaint alleges that the collectors had filed 125,000 collection attempts with the National Arbitration Forum in 2006, while neither party ever disclosed the relationship between the two companies. And this is after NAF had represented itself, according to the attorney general’s complaint, as “independent, operates like an impartial court system, and is not affiliated with any party.”

Obviously, NAF and Mann Bracken were closely affiliated, owned by the same corporations through the hedge fund, and using their business relationship to sue consumers and then throw the cases into arbitration proceedings. In fact, the complaint further alleges that NAF worked with credit card companies to persuade them to include mandatory arbitration clauses in cardholder agreements. In many cases, NAF was appointed the arbitrator in these contracts.

Now that the National Arbitration Forum has ceased administering consumer arbitration proceedings, all of these former contracts are now invalid as written. A further development is that, due to the NAF complaint, the American Arbitration Association has also decided to cease handling collection actions against borrowers. This will be their decision until appropriate standards are developed.

For the present time, it seems that mandatory arbitration clauses in credit card agreements may be worthless. While it is no surprise to consumers that have been forced into the system that it is totally biased in favor of debt collectors, the Minnesota attorney general’s investigation has proved that companies can work together to gain interests in arbitrators and collection agencies and hide these affiliations from consumers.

How many credit card borrowers were pressured to agree to unfair repayment plans or were forced into bankruptcy due to the corrupt practices of the National Arbitration Forum and its affiliated credit card and collection companies? Out of 125,000 complaints that Mann Bracken filed with NAF, how many ended up fairly? It may be safe to assume, based on the claims raised in the AG lawsuit, that none of the arbitrations ended up fairly for borrowers.

Foreclosure and How to Deal with a Bank Being Taken Over by the FDIC

From Washington Mutual to the local bank on the corner, the government has been busy since the financial crisis began shutting down banks almost every week. Many of these banks are becoming insolvent due to their exposure to the subprime mortgage market and other risky loans that they extended to consumers or invested in to take advantage of exorbitant profits. But with so many banks going out of business, homeowners with loans through these institutions need a plan for staying out of foreclosure.

©Quint Cobb Foreclosure Relief - flickr

©Quint Cobb Foreclosure Relief – flickr

Especially for homeowners facing foreclosure, when a bank is shut down by the government due to insolvency, the situation can become much more complicated. Typically, the assets of a failed bank are sold to another bank after the government has come in and run the bankrupt institution for a period of time. Loans are considered assets since they represent a potential stream of income. But foreclosed loans may be treated with a little less regard.

The big problem that homeowners in foreclosure will face is that they are already behind on their mortgage and it may be difficult to determine which company or agency to speak with regarding any loan modification, repayment plan, or short sale options. If the bank is out of business and not responding to calls, but has instructed its lawyers to move ahead with foreclosure, borrowers may find themselves in some sort of financial limbo.

The best response to this is for homeowners to begin keeping records of their attempts to stop foreclosure with the old lender, the government, or the new bank. They should keep documentation of their efforts to resolve the situation through the courts or outside the system. These records should note when they call, write, or send faxes to the bank and what information they are attempting to obtain, or what solution they are trying to negotiate with the bank.

If the bank is in bankruptcy right now, there is a good chance the homeowners’ loan will be sold to a new bank in a period of time. That bank will only see that the borrowers are behind on monthly payments and in foreclosure. In some cases, they may send a letter or two offering assistance, but may just move directly ahead with foreclosure, taking up where the insolvent lender left off.

In this type of situation, the borrower’s plan should be to save up as much money as possible during the period the bank is in receivership with the government. If they are able to, they should put away at least the amount of their normal monthly payment and put it in a separate bank account. These extra funds can be used to show a good faith effort to pay back the arrears or as a bargaining chip for a mortgage modification or other plan.

Once the new bank contacts the borrowers, whether it is to pursue foreclosure or not, they should start negotiating with the lender, using the documentation and money in the bank as bargaining chips. If the new bank does not work with the owners, then they should take the matter into court and show a judge how they have been saving up their money to pay down the mortgage and attempting to work out a plan but had never gotten a response.

Foreclosure is supposed to be used as a last resort, so if the bank is not responding to homeowners, they need to show that they have tried to fix the situation outside of the court. Even in situations where one bank goes out of business, is taken over by the federal government, and is then sold to another institution, homeowners can make a good case for stopping foreclosure just by saving up money and keep documentation of their efforts to negotiate with their lender.

Wage Garnishment Through a Deficiency Judgment After Foreclosure

Homeowners are often worried about further collection attempts after a foreclosure has been completed. After losing their homes, they worry about seeing their car repossessed, bank accounts levied, or wages garnished. But in most cases, there is little chance of a deficiency judgment or future collection attempts due to the numerous obstacles in the path of the bank.

©ghhomebuying - flickr

©ghhomebuying – flickr

The first consideration homeowners have to take into account is, does their state allow deficiency judgments after foreclosure? They should immediately look up their state foreclosure laws to find out if this is even a possibility, let alone probably. If they are not allowed, then there is no danger of garnishment. If yes, other factors will have to be met before collection efforts can resume.

Second, if the state allows a deficiency judgment, was there actually a deficiency at the sheriff sale? A deficiency is when the house sells for less than what the borrowers owe on it. If they owe $140,000 and the property is auctioned for $130,000, there is a $10,000 deficiency. Unfortunately, due to rapidly declining home values, many foreclosure auctions end with a deficiency.

Third, what is the fair market value of the home? Many courts will allow a deficiency judgment only for up to the actual value of the house. Using the example in the previous paragraph, if the house auctioned for $130,000 and the homeowners owed $140,000, but the fair market value is $135,000, courts may limit the deficiency to a maximum of $5,000. That is the fair market value ($135k) minus the sales price at auction ($130k).

Fourth, if the state allows a deficiency and there is one that is above the fair market value of the home, what gives the lender the incentive to go after the judgment? Many lenders will not bother with a deficiency judgment because they know that homeowners in foreclosure are strapped for cash. It costs more in attorney fees and court costs than the lender will ever be able to recover from most borrowers, so what is their incentive to sue for a deficiency?

The final consideration when examining the possibility of wage garnishment for a debt after foreclosure is that deficiency judgments are dischargeable in bankruptcy. If the bank gets a judgment against borrowers and tries to garnish wages, the former owners can file a Chapter 7 and have it eliminated, if they meet the other requirements for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. So even in the worst case scenario, homeowners might be able to avoid wage garnishment.

Stopping Foreclosure Questions and Answers

©photosteve101 - flickr

©photosteve101 – flickr

If you are facing foreclosure and looking for ways to stop the process, you likely have many questions.  This article is going to deal with the most commonly asked questions when a person is looking for ways to stop the foreclosure.

I have received a foreclosure notice. Is there anything I can do to stop it?
Yes, there are many options that will be available, but the longer you delay, the fewer solutions will be available to you.

I’m close to the foreclosure auction. Did I wait too long to get any help?
No. You may still have time to save your house; in fact, you have all the way until it is sold to the highest bidder at the auction.  Depending on what state you live in you, may have the right to redemption, which means you can bid on your own house at the auction as long as you have the cash to pay for it, get out of foreclosure through a refinance, or sell the house and pay back the bank.

I keep getting mail from people that say they can help me get out of foreclosure. How did they get my address?
Your name and address is likely part of public information — when you are in foreclosure it can be published in your local newspaper.

A private financier contacted me and said they can help. What can they do?
Some of the financiers will be private mortgage people who will help you arrange a new home loan, even when you may have been turned down by other high risk lenders.  Other investors that contact you may want to buy your house from you; these are the people you will want to watch out for, because they could be scamming you.  Sometimes they will help you, other times they are just trying to make money and may make things worse for you.  So make sure you do your research on a company before you work with them and never sign your deed over to anyone.

Can a mortgage negotiator help me?
Mortgage negotiators are people that may be quite skilled at negotiating a “repayment plan” with your lender.  Some of these people will just try to be getting money from you and may not really be doing much that you couldn’t do for yourself.  It is easy enough to set up a meeting with your lender and try to work out a repayment plan with them, without having to pay someone else to do that for you.

I keep getting calls from a Chapter 13 attorney that says they can help me stop the foreclosure — is this true?
If you do meet the financial qualifications to complete a chapter 13 plan, this can be a way to save your house.  Just make sure you know everything there is to know about chapter 13 bankruptcy and talk to several people, before making a decision on if it is right for you.  Filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy should be more of a last resort option, when trying to stop foreclosure.

There are so many options out there! How will I know which one is best for me?
This answer will depend on your assets, liabilities, income and expenses, along with the underlying reason to why the house went into foreclosure in the first place.  These are questions you will want to write down, along with if your financial situation is just temporary and, if so, how long until it returns to normal.  The best solution will also depend on what type of mortgage you have and where in the foreclosure process you actually are.

Hopefully this answered some of your foreclosure questions, but if you have more, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them.

Foreclosure Fallout

If you are facing foreclosure and feeling overwhelmed by all the technical jargon that the bank is throwing at you, stay patient and make sure you understand everything that is going on in the process.  If you are looking to stay in your home you DO HAVE OPTIONS.  You may be running out of time but many banks and mortgage companies are becoming more and more accommodating when it comes to refinancing a loan or especially restructuring the loan through loan modification.  This is because they are dealing with so many bad loans on their books, and those non-performing loans continue to weigh down heavily on the balance sheets of many lenders.

©phanlop88 - freedigitalphotos

©phanlop88 – freedigitalphotos

These sky-rocketing number of defaults are not necessarily your fault, as many banks and lenders were guilty of predatory lending during the real estate boom.  They also made many very risky loans to borrowers with bad credit or unstable average household income.  Today they are continuing to deal with their own mistakes, although blame does not necessarily fall on the shoulders of lenders alone.

Many borrowers did not care if they were capable of repaying the loan they were going after, and became blinded by the opportunity to own property themselves, when in fact those same borrowers may have been better off renting for the time being.  There was a great deal of foreclosure fraud as well during the years of real estate inflation, as so many were attempting to capitalize on the seemingly never-ending rising property prices.  Many were guilty of trying to take advantage of the bull market, from developers to lenders and from borrowers to former renters.

Today, the United States is experiencing a virtual crash in real estate prices in many regions, and thankfully the recession is more moderate in certain regional markets than others.  The credit markets, however, are essentially broken nationwide, with many banks failing day after day as they continue to be consumed by debt, unable to dig out of these financial losses on their balance sheets.  Many homeowners are threatened by foreclosure fraud and are desperate to save their homes, and may fall prey to those predators that are out looking for steals on property prices in hopes of selling when prices stabilize in a few years down the road.

The Obama administration is doing everything it can to help stabilize the housing market in the United States.  The administration is committed to helping victims of the foreclosure crisis.  They are encouraging banks to adhere to more lenient refinance standards, and help identify loan modification scams and predatory lending practices.  It will take a number of years for this real estate market to correct organically, however the Obama administration is adamant on pursuing alternative solutions that may help the American homeowner recover and thus help stablize home prices and helping consumers get back on track.

If you think you are a victim of mortgage fraud or loan modification fraud, please contact your local authorities and report the company you were working with.  You may be able to save other homeowners from falling prey to the same schemes that may have cost you your property.  There are many loss/mitigation companies that are efficiently working with homeowners in a structured manner, and many have been very successful is postponing the foreclosure process, or helping to modify the loan altogether, thus creating a longer timeline for the borrower to restabilize the household economic situation.

Saving vs. Spending — Which One is the Real Problem for the Economy?

There is no question that the economy is collapsing. From a Dow at nearly 14,000, we now have a Dow edging closer to the 5,000s. Hundreds of small lenders have gone out of business, a number of banks have failed, and numerous companies and industries have lined up for federal government bailout money. Both overspending and saving are being blamed for exacerbating the crisis.

But both of them can not be the problem at the same time, of course. The problem, it is said, is that spending has collapsed, people are saving money, and the economy is slowing down. Businesses like retailers and auto companies are slowing down or facing bankruptcy because people are putting their money in a bank instead of buying goods and services, and this depresses the economy.

©africa - freedigitalphotos

©africa – freedigitalphotos

The government, certain economists, and banks seem to believe that people need to spend more money for a number of vague reasons: to “get the economy moving again,” “put people back to work,” “jumpstart consumer spending again,” and so on. But it is unclear what this really means and why spending is so evil during a recession.

There has even been a federal government stimulus package designed to spend nearly $800 billion, on top of the $8.5 trillion already spent or appropriated for spending by the government and the Federal Reserve private banking system. President Obama is even on record equating spending with stimulating the economy and has urged Americans not to “stuff money in their mattresses.”

On the other hand, more people are beginning to save their money, and the savings rate has risen from nearly 0% (which meant consumers were borrowing more money to spend than they were saving) to around 5%. Banks are even trying to entice people to save more money with better rates and incentives for saving.

In fact, some banks are even spending $100 of their own money to offer sign-up bonuses to people who are interested in establishing savings plans. Presumably, these are some of the same banks that have stated that a drop in consumer spending is what has caused the economy to fall into recession and urged the Congress to spend more money to rescue the financial system.

So which is it? The government is encouraging spending and taking over the role of overspent consumer by overspending itself. Banks are begging for more money from the federal government every month to save them from collapse, all the while offering incentives to Americans to save more money — which, according to banks and economists will further destroy the economy.

It would probably be a good idea for most people to ignore the arguments by economists, politicians, and business managers who are trying to convince us all which activity will spur economic growth and which will delay recovery even longer. Instead, people should use their own common sense and their own personal financial strategies, as well as look at what banks are doing — not just saying.

Homeowners who are realizing they have spent too much on their home, car, and other assets, and whose jobs may disappear at any second, have wisely begun saving more of their money. Every dollar saved will help establish a slightly larger emergency fund in the event that they do lose a job or face another type of financial hardship. This can only prevent more bankruptcies and foreclosures down the road.

Saving money in a bank (especially a local bank that focuses on local businesses) also helps stimulate the economy much more directly than either spending the money or having the government print the money into existence and just hand over to failing financial institutions. Instead, people can choose which financial institution at which to save their money and they will naturally prefer successful ones to failing ones.

Local or regional banks will also have a vested interest in paying higher rates of interest and competing for more local savers. This means that the smaller banks will make loans to local businesses which provide products and services and employ people in the community. Local economies that are strong have a much better chance operating in a regional, national, and global economy.

The local or federal government does not come into play in this scenario because there is no reason to force people to prop up a failing bank or take money through taxes or inflation to spend it into the economy. People and businesses naturally come together and receive mutual benefits when there is a reason to make a market more productive and wealthier.

Unfortunately, a lot of the problems of the past decade came from banks working with the government, instead of the people, to manipulate market interest rates, offer credit with artificially low underwriting standards, propping up inflated asset prices, encourage profligate spending, and then covering up the risk that anyone would recognize the whole scheme.

Markets can work when they are allowed to do so and are not given incentives to make even greater profits by utilizing government resources to manipulate economic indicators. Too many banks and financial firms were allowed to use laws and contradictory regulations to make huge profits on the way up for the banks and politicians, while setting up the people for impoverishment.

And now, in response to the crisis created by banks encouraging people to spend and government sending the wrong signal to the markets about spending, the politicians are relying on the opinions of bankers and economists who recommend more government spending and interest rate manipulations to continue rigging the economy. Eight and a half trillion have been spent so far — how much more is on the way?

Again, maybe it would be best to ignore all of the bloviating in Washington and on Wall Street, especially when lawyers, aka politicians, start talking about the market. It would be far better to start looking at what banks are doing, and right now they are encouraging savings. In fact, they are creating new programs and incentives to encourage more saving, not less.

People are saving more, and banks are competing for savings — the exact opposite of what “should” be done, according to the experts. Of course, these are the same experts whose recommendations first set up the housing market to inflate and then collapse, and who are now recommending that the same actions that created the mess will solve the problems.