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Principled Banker Has Cause To Be Burned Up About Bailout
The Tampa Tribune ^ | September 24, 2008 | Staff

Posted on 09/24/2008 7:46:52 PM PDT by Iron Munro

The proposed federal rescue of the nation's financial system has investors breathing easier, but one Tampa financial executive is steaming about the unfairness of it all. He's right. Every honest participant in the system should be outraged.

Longtime president of GTE Federal Credit Union, Wendell "Bucky" Sebastian, makes local mortgages and looks after the investments of savers. Most of his mortgages are sound and all the money on deposit is safe. But the normally jovial Sebastian isn't happy.

"We were the ones not taking stupid risks," he explains of his and similar credit unions and banks. "The bad guys made billions of dollars. I used to believe virtue would be its own reward. Now being virtuous is beginning to look like you're stupid. As a human being, I'm incensed."

He agrees that federal intervention is essential to get the bad debts out of the banking and investment systems, but he's rightly angry about a few details that have largely escaped public attention. One is the interest rate paid on certificates of deposit, which are federally insured.

Banks are advertising rates of 4 percent, even 5 percent, while Sebastian's credit union is offering around 3 percent.

"These banks are raising money at these rates because they can't borrow anywhere else. A conservatively run institution like ours, people ask, how come you're only paying 3.05?"

Customers go for the highest rates because all institutions are insured equally. It's a system rewarding irresponsible behavior.

"Why should anyone do business with us? It's a perversion of common sense. We could issue a 12 percent CD, and it would be insured, until we went out of business. We bankers are not required to be responsible. We, the American public, are insuring risky business."

And now it goes far beyond banks to include even money markets.

"The worst thing about the bailout, we gave de facto insurance to every financial institution in this country, in effect, all the money on Wall Street. You just took real insurance and made it worthless. Insuring every deposit in the country is insane."

How the nation got in this jam is no mystery. As a reaction to the Great Depression, the nation had set up a regulated mortgage system to encourage home ownership.

"The whole thing was working beautifully," until standards slipped and safeguards dropped, allowing mortgage buyers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to get "fat and loose," as Sebastian puts it.

"Over the last 10 years, partially from urging of Congress and from the executive branch, and from non-regulated entities, slowly they peeled all the rules away until it was almost impossible to turn down a mortgage.

"The incentive is more, better, faster. It gets you on a treadmill that goes faster and higher every minute. They made it go a little faster every quarter, so sooner or later you're going to have a heart attack and die. It's irrational."

"Just because there hasn't been a fire in a week, you don't close the firehouse. It's not surprising we had a conflagration."

Now, even the best-run banks and credit unions are feeling the pinch.

"Secondhand smoke can kill you," he says, and explains: "If all your neighbors got mortgages and weren't asked to verify employment, and if they had inflated appraisals, suddenly there could be 10 homes in your neighborhood in foreclosure. You're going to die from secondhand smoke.

"I have signed off on $15 to $20 million in restructured mortgages. We want them mowing the grass, keeping their kids in school. We're taking in half as much each month from them. That's nobody's fault in our loop. It's a travesty.

"The other people all outside the regulated framework got away with it. We didn't do any of the things they did. We made good loans to good members under good conditions. But conditions have changed.

"From developer right down to the finance companies, I don't think anyone was acting in the best interest of the homeowner. They have all gotten their money, and they're gone.

"The average citizen has done everything by the book. They're being asked to bail out the highest-flying risk takers in my memory."

The vast majority of us, like Sebastian, have done nothing wrong yet are forced to help cover bad loans . We have little choice but to pay, but we don't have to like it.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: 110th; bailout; banking; banks; congress; cu; financialcrisis; wallstreet
There are still a few corners of sanity here and there in the country.
1 posted on 09/24/2008 7:46:54 PM PDT by Iron Munro
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To: Iron Munro

Welcome to socialism 101...


2 posted on 09/24/2008 7:51:30 PM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Iron Munro

Why isn’t elected official screaming “...this is good money after bad”. Good business 101. Don’t Do It!


3 posted on 09/24/2008 7:54:20 PM PDT by BigLittle ( .)
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To: Iron Munro

FDIC insurance premiums should be based on the basis of the financial security of the institution. Just like cigarette smoking people pay higher insurance premiums. Just meeting the minimum capital standards in not enough.
I love credit unions. They are like the old local thrift savings and loans that were invested in their own community.
I have banked for years with my credit union and I can rely on them..with people who know me by voice on the phone. The other big banks charge you fees and change people like underwear.


4 posted on 09/24/2008 7:56:07 PM PDT by Oldexpat (Drill Here, Drill There..we must drill everywhere.)
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To: Iron Munro
"From developer right down to the finance companies, I don't think anyone was acting in the best interest of the homeowner. They have all gotten their money, and they're gone.

"The average citizen has done everything by the book. They're being asked to bail out the highest-flying risk takers in my memory."

Yes, but the World is On the Brink, so quit bleating, little sheep, and line up to be sheared.

5 posted on 09/24/2008 7:57:16 PM PDT by Notary Sojac (I'll back the bailout if Angelo Mozilo lets me borrow his Lamborghini on Saturday nights.)
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To: Iron Munro

I don’t get it. Bucky did the right thing and he’s pissed that he could have got away with stuff but didn’t?


6 posted on 09/24/2008 7:57:38 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck)
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To: Iron Munro

Mr. Sebastian points out one of many serious flaws with this bailout.

Troubled banks will have little choice but to go dump their bad paper even if it involves shareholder dilution. Well run banks will not dump their paper if dilution or other damaging terms are part of the plan. The end result - shareholders of poorly run banks may take a hit, but clean balance sheets will give poorly managed banks an operational advantage over banks like Mr. Sebastian’s.

Basically, this plan is likely to put good management at a disadvantage to incompetence.


7 posted on 09/24/2008 8:01:29 PM PDT by javachip
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To: Eagles6
I don’t get it. Bucky did the right thing and he’s pissed that he could have got away with stuff but didn’t?

What don't you get? He's pissed that even though he ran a respectable thrift, his bank is going to be affected in a negative manner becuase of the stupidity of the system and the unscrupulous behavior of some others.

8 posted on 09/24/2008 8:06:21 PM PDT by Ethrane ("semper consolar")
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To: Iron Munro
My credit union's CD rates are around 3%, and the 3-month certificate is the highest rate, because that's what the shareholders want. They are on solid ground.

By accident, I live in a neighborhood that is on solid ground. Apparently most of the lenders in my area have not fallen into this sub-prime trap. Home prices are down, but I don't see any more "for sale" signs around here than I did five years ago. Thanks be to God.

9 posted on 09/24/2008 8:08:02 PM PDT by FlyVet
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To: Ethrane

Those other banks should go under and he should get their deposits and loan business, and be more profitable because of his good business practices. Instead, his profits will lag because his good loans are affected by all the foreclosures, and because his competitors will be bailed out.


10 posted on 09/24/2008 8:10:41 PM PDT by Defiant (Pacifism and Socialism: Death and Taxes, just lots more of it.)
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To: Iron Munro

This guy is pretty neat. I liked reading this.


11 posted on 09/24/2008 8:11:04 PM PDT by Revel
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To: Iron Munro
He's right. Bush is rewarding the jerks and hurting the honest banks. In a rational market, the smart honest banks would be picking up business from the foolish banks.

With Bush's interference the bad banks win, and the good banks are played for fools.

I suspect the timing of this crisis - right before an election. The financial mess has been known by anyone who showed the smallest interest for years. My guess is the bad banks and high risk takers felt they had a good chance of being bailed out if the crisis happened right before the election. And it looks like they're right. Bush played into their hand.

12 posted on 09/24/2008 8:12:30 PM PDT by GOPJ (Let free markets work - stupid companies SHOULD go belly-up - including Frannie and Freddie.)
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To: politicket; ex-Texan

ping


13 posted on 09/24/2008 8:14:15 PM PDT by GOPJ (Let free markets work - stupid companies SHOULD go belly-up - including Frannie and Freddie.)
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To: GOPJ

Bush’s fault, right? Sounds just like MSNBC.


14 posted on 09/24/2008 8:14:56 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: GOPJ
There is one very important lesson to be learned from this that I have not seen anyone mention.

The really big financial institutions should be broken up into smaller entities so that never again will we have anyone say that a bank is too big to let fail.

There are thousands of smaller regional banks that are in excellent shape. But even if one of them failed, there are many others like them and life would go on.

The biggies need to be broken up, just as Standard Oil, the railroads and the big meat packers were broken up in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.

15 posted on 09/24/2008 8:19:18 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: Iron Munro

Here is another glimmer of someone with some sanity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KYtD-Ff_eM


16 posted on 09/24/2008 8:19:22 PM PDT by TheBattman (A vote for the "lesser evil" is still a vote for evil!)
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To: GOPJ
I suspect the timing of this crisis - right before an election. The financial mess has been known by anyone who showed the smallest interest for years. My guess is the bad banks and high risk takers felt they had a good chance of being bailed out if the crisis happened right before the election. And it looks like they're right. Bush played into their hand.

How true.

Plug in a weak, lame duck president with heavy duty connections to the finance business and an almost complete disdain for voters. Give him a chance to get even for being steamrollered on the Shamnesty bill and you got the makings of a disaster.

17 posted on 09/24/2008 8:20:17 PM PDT by Iron Munro (US Marines: First to fight our country's battles in the air, on land, on sea and in orbit!)
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To: Iron Munro

BTT


18 posted on 09/24/2008 8:21:07 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Ethrane

Apparently that was not the message that I got from the article or I wouldn’t have asked the question.


19 posted on 09/24/2008 8:26:39 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck)
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To: Oldexpat
I have banked for years with my credit union and I can rely on them..with people who know me by voice on the phone. The other big banks charge you fees and change people like underwear.

The last time I bought a car before negotiating a price with the dealer I called my credit union. I asked him what the current rate was. He gave me the rate. He then said, "go get what you want and tell the car dealership to call him to take care of the financing and paper work." Credit Unions are great. They do not take great risks and the person on the other side of the desk knows your name.

20 posted on 09/24/2008 8:52:13 PM PDT by cpdiii (roughneck, oilfield trash and proud of it, geologist, pilot, pharmacist, iconoclast.)
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To: old curmudgeon
That is something I was thinking, too, but not being particularly astute in graduate level economics, I was afraid to ask. If a bank is “too big” to fail, couldn't it, in fact, just be “too big”, PERIOD? What is the possible advantage in having such big banks? They could in theory, I guess, be able to loan larger sums, but couldn't several smaller banks make a larger loan together? Thus sharing not only the profit but the risk? It may be terribly simplistic, but I also think huge banks should divest.
21 posted on 09/24/2008 9:03:07 PM PDT by singfreedom
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To: Iron Munro

Wow, a small island of sanity in a sea of greed. McCain should choose this guy, not Cuomo the Complicit.


22 posted on 09/24/2008 9:39:15 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (don't worry, they only want to take water out of the other guy's side of the bucket.)
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To: Oldexpat

“The other big banks charge you fees and change people like underwear.”

We’ve always had our accounts with large banks and i’ve had accounts for the last 63 years, the first when I was 8, and have never paid a fee for anything.


23 posted on 09/24/2008 9:48:17 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: singfreedom

“If a bank is “too big” to fail, couldn’t it, in fact, just be “too big”, PERIOD?”

It all started when they changed the law and allowed banks to cross state lines all for the benefit of Bank of America, Bank of Italy, at the time.

Of course the law was put into effect origionally to stop BofA!

Giniani’s crappy bank should have been put out of business years ago.


24 posted on 09/24/2008 9:56:32 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: TheBattman
He certainly sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and it sounds like a good plan. In fact, it's the only plan I've heard so far that actually makes sense. I doubt however, that anything close to this will be implemented.

We are so screwed.

25 posted on 09/24/2008 10:02:12 PM PDT by csense
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To: Iron Munro

I’ve got a great bailout. Tell the financials that they can buy and sell Freddie and Fannie without cap gains, payroll, or other taxes. Allow them to purchase the debt at the reduced rate. They will pick it apart and 5 years later when the market has turned they will make super-BANK! And no more Freddie and Fannie to screw the market.


26 posted on 09/24/2008 10:13:24 PM PDT by struggle ((The struggle continues))
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To: struggle

They don’t want to be bothered working to make money and waiting five years for the market to rebound when they can just get Bush and Congress to extort it from us and hand it to them on a silver platter.


27 posted on 09/25/2008 4:59:12 AM PDT by Iron Munro (US Marines: First to fight our country's battles in the air, on land, on sea and in orbit!)
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To: Iron Munro
The author does not discuss the effect of the Community Reinvestment Act. Perhaps credit unions are not subject to it.

The CRA forced banks into risky loans and “donations” to ACORN and assorted radical neighborhood groups. Fannie and Freddie were more than happy to buy and sell these mortgages.

Several Congressional committees have oversight of the banking and finance world. Where was Congress? It was busy taking campaign contributions from the industry they were supposed to regulate.

28 posted on 09/25/2008 5:13:20 AM PDT by Jacquerie (First the railroads, then education, healthcare and now banks. The auto industry is next.)
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To: GOPJ
He's right. Bush is rewarding the jerks and hurting the honest banks. In a rational market, the smart honest banks would be picking up business from the foolish banks.

You get more of what you reward. If we don't bail out this mess, regular people are going to get burned along with the speculators. But if we DO bail them out, and make speculators feel safe about playing games, they will pull something like this AGAIN in a couple of years. Eventually, we will get a firestorm that is beyond the ability of the American taxpayer to deal with.

29 posted on 09/25/2008 5:23:52 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty)
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To: Iron Munro
Plug in a weak, lame duck president with heavy duty connections to the finance business and an almost complete disdain for voters.

I don't think that's Bush's problem. His "connections" are trumped by his personal feelings of grandiosity.

I think the dems send him fake letters from "citizens" making heart wrenching pleas to save them (I had two friends who wrote these kinds of letters for dem politicians - so I assume they would also send these kind of letters to Bush -- - and Bush thinks he's stepping in as hero. It's how he started his speech last night. It's silly.

This bailout isn't going to give struggling people their homes. Far from it. As soon as the bailout goes through, the squatters/pawns/suckers (who were sold more house than they could afford) - who haven't made a house payment in a year or two will be foreclosed. And thrown out on the street.

This bailout is designed to help the irresponsible banks and punish the responsible banks. It's perfect to "reward" those pols who give favorable regulations. And in this case, billions of dollars to the very people who wrecked the system. Freddie, Frannie, WAMU, etc will make out like a bandits and Wells Fargo and other respoinsible banks will be hurt.

But worse yet, the bail out will push the problem down the road - a few months - to a time when we have less money and more problems.

30 posted on 09/25/2008 5:52:04 AM PDT by GOPJ (Let free markets work - stupid companies SHOULD go belly-up - including Frannie and Freddie.)
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To: Iron Munro

George Bailey, prepare to bend over for the mistakes of Mr. Potter.


31 posted on 09/25/2008 6:35:34 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Drill Here! Drill Now! Pay Less! Sign the petition at http://www.americansolutions.com/)
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To: csense

The problem is... it takes a plan from someone without a dog in the fight, other than a desire to not see the US economy collapse into socialism and ruin.

The problem is, all the politicians have conflicts of interest - they all stand to benefit in some way from throwing taxpayer money at the problem. Political gain, financial gain, etc.

Paulson is likely in line to actually run one of the bailed out corporations after January... thus would directly benefit from the “injected liquidity”... and the lack of any meaningful regulation.


32 posted on 09/25/2008 7:58:50 AM PDT by TheBattman (A vote for the "lesser evil" is still a vote for evil!)
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To: SauronOfMordor
If we don't bail out this mess, regular people are going to get burned along with the speculators. But if we DO bail them out, and make speculators feel safe about playing games, they will pull something like this AGAIN in a couple of years. Eventually, we will get a firestorm that is beyond the ability of the American taxpayer to deal with.

I agree with everything you said. Thanks.

33 posted on 09/25/2008 12:09:46 PM PDT by GOPJ (Let free markets work - stupid companies SHOULD go belly-up - including Frannie and Freddie.)
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To: Ethrane

He’s also rightly PO’d that he and his business are going to have to pay for the irresponsibility of others.

This is the core essence of liberalism.


34 posted on 09/25/2008 12:14:03 PM PDT by MrB (0bama supporters: What's the attraction? The Marxism or the Infanticide?)
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To: javachip; Pride in the USA; Stillwaters
Basically, this plan is likely to put good management at a disadvantage to incompetence.

And that is the bottom line of this whole fiasco, whether talking about irresponsible (and corrupt) financial institutions, or irresponsible unqualified homeowners. Common sense dictates that whatever is rewarded and encouraged is what propagates. It's a travesty that good stewards like GTE Federal Credit Union will be punished by this bail out, as will the most fiscally responsible of taxpayers in our nation.

35 posted on 09/25/2008 12:24:11 PM PDT by lonevoice (John McCain was a Kinoki foot pad in the Reagan Revolution)
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To: All

Rec’d this e mail today...............could it work???? :)

I‚m against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I‚m in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in
a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let‚s assume there are 200,000,000
bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man , woman
and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a
We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
So let‚s assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage ˆ housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans ˆ what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college ˆ it‚ll be there
Save in a bank ˆ create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car ˆ create jobs
Invest in the market ˆ capital drives growth
Pay for your parent‚s medical insurance ˆ health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean ˆ or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks
who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company
that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we‚re going to re-distribute wealth let‚s really do it...instead of trickling out
a puny $1000.00 ( „vote buy‰ ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we‚re going to do an $85 billion bailout, let‚s bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG ˆ liquidate it.
Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.
Sell off the real estate.
Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here‚s my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn‚t.

Sure it‚s a crazy idea that can „never work.‰

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .

And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned
instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh....I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

I wonder....................


36 posted on 09/25/2008 4:56:59 PM PDT by tankrlm
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To: tankrlm

POST OF THE DAY!!!!


37 posted on 09/25/2008 5:11:33 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Some people should be held accountable for what they say :-) , except ME, of course)
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To: tankrlm

Double check your math.
Hint....it’s incorrect.


38 posted on 09/25/2008 7:31:31 PM PDT by sarasmom (Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato)
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To: bigheadfred

See my post 38.


39 posted on 09/25/2008 7:32:18 PM PDT by sarasmom (Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato)
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To: SauronOfMordor
Agreed, no bailout.

Look, even such an ignorant person as myself, resisted the constant barage of no-money-down offers of mortgages for houses I could not afford to maintain.
Not to mention ignoring the get rich quick schemes of buying and selling property, with no money on the line!
I even have a still valid,20 year old, unused, USD DOD first time home buyers VA certificate. So?

Will some large banks fail?
Yes, sort of, but not really.Look back to the dotcom bust.Everyone in the USA was not destroyed, just the stupid, greedy people.
What's going to happen is people who invested in those large banks,and all those people who allowed their personal retirement account funds to be managed by those entities, are going to lose a lot of investment money they were counting on.
I “invest” in $2.00 worth of lottery tickets every week.
Sometimes I get a return of 150%,occasionally I get a 750% return, although most times I lose my entire investment.I average out a zero percent profit...but one day I just might get lucky, and get a 10,000,000% return.

Guess what I think of all of them!
Nobody ever gets money for free.

40 posted on 09/25/2008 8:07:44 PM PDT by sarasmom (Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato)
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To: sarasmom

Sorry, I forgot the sarcasm tag...


41 posted on 09/26/2008 4:34:25 AM PDT by bigheadfred (FREE EVAN VELA, freeevanvela.com)
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