November 13, 2007

Walking Off the Wall Street Bears: A Subprimer

I am no financial genius, but the colonel and I sold our happy little bungalow in the American South a couple of years ago, a time of a local bubble, and we made a bit of money, albeit a pittance compared to New York real estate profits. * We also got rid of our cars. We were moving to Manhattan, after all, where bungalows do not exist, although I think they would make a charming addition to the landscape, and cars seemed way too much of an inconvenience.

Much of the worries on Wall Street these days stem from the crisis in subprime mortgages, risky loans to often credit-risky individuals to buy homes for themselves. However, these individuals found themselves overwhelmed financially with often high adjustable rate mortgages, and they faced foreclosure. Some of the lenders are also up a creek. All this is just sad. Manhattan, on the other hand, does not see much subprime action at all, because people buying condos and townhouses at 4 to 6 million and up are not financing these purchases through subprime mortgages. New Yorkers of means only deal in prime, like a yummy slice of prime rib roast.

Walking down Wall Street, I visualize the world I have seen outside the confines of Manhattan, one of a variety of homes - ranch houses, bungalows, Cape Coders, MacMansions, adobe houses, shotgun houses, and all the American vernacular, and all the people inside of them, figuring out how to manage their budgets. The elegant Federalist, Gothic Revival, Art Deco, and Beaux-Arts buildings in the Wall Street area, on the other hand, seem removed from this aforementioned crisis, like they're on an island.

WARNING: WOTBA's limited economic knowledge should not be used by real people engaged in financial speculation. I'm just going for the visuals on all this.

Image: Dorothea Lange. 1939. "Washington, western, Thurston County. Malone Company house in abandoned mill village now occupied by Work Projects Administration (WPA) worker." Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection.

* However, WOTBA obviously has way too much time on her hands and should get a JOB.

See the complete walk, Walking Off the Wall Street Bears.

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