Thursday, November 05, 2009

Facepalm Friday

Even with all of the wild stories I've read over the past year, major bankruptcies, wild stock swings, I'm still shocked by some stories. Case in point, Goldman Sachs getting more H1N1 vaccine then Lennox Hill Hospital and the crazy new Fannie Mae Lease deals.

1) From Businessweek "Citigroup has been supplied with 1,200 units and Goldman with 200, says Jessica Scaperotti, press secretary for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The agency has so far approved orders by 29 employers—including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine—after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.

Health-care workers at those employers are bound by the CDC to distribute the vaccine only to populations deemed to be at high risk of developing serious complications from swine flu: pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated), people aged 24 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications, and health-care workers and emergency medical personnel. A spokeswoman for Goldman, who asked not to be named, said the company had just received the vaccine and did not yet have information as to how it would be distributed, saying that Goldman will supply vaccine only to those who qualify as high-risk, per the CDC requirements."

As I watch more and more kids come out of school coughing every day I struggle to understand how in world this could happen. I understand corporations put in for allotments of H1N1 vaccine, but when millions of children remain unvaccinated the only proper thing for Goldman and Citibank to do is to walk their allotments to the nearest public school and hand them over to kids in need.

2) We continue to face the facts in the housing market. No one wants to address the fact that the emperor has no clothes in the housing market. John and Jane paid $500k for a split ranch in Arizona in 2007. They put nothing down and their option arm adjusted to a payment of 48% of their gross income in 2008. Then the house fell in value to $400k and the government offered to modify their mortgage. Before the modification could go through 20% of their neighbors had defaulted and their house was now worth $275k. What to do now?

Since John and Jane clearly deserve this home and because they have shown what excellent financial managers they can be Fannie Mae will come to the rescue.

a) Fannie Mae plans to allow homeowners facing foreclosure to stay in their homes and rent them for up to one year as part of the latest effort to help troubled borrowers while keeping a glut of foreclosed properties from hitting the housing market.

b) The Deed for Lease Program will offer borrowers who fail to complete or don't qualify for a loan modification or other workout to deed their property to the lender in exchange for a lease. Borrowers-turned-tenants will be able to sign leases of up to 12 months and will pay market rents, which in most cases are lower than the cost of mortgage payments.

John and Jane were facing a $3,600/mth mortgage, but if they let the government hold the deed and they can "rent" their house for just $1,350/mth. Great deal for them, a terrible deal for the taxpayer.

John and Jane were never homeowners. The n is silent... They were homeowers :)



Anonymous said...

Rent to Own is an incredible coup for state and local governments.

This program will effectively eliminate the sale of houses at "market prices" and will instead keep their "values" at bloated "moron purchase" prices and will subsequently prevent lowered assessments for those who actually own their homes.

Those "owned homes" being those that were purchased by reasonable people at reasonable prices as residences, rather than cash cows, that have seen their assessments climb dramatically because a moron bought an overpriced house next door.

So now the moron lives in a house next door where presumably the taxes will now be now paid by Fannie and Freddie, and you sit there paying an inflated rate.

Kind of makes you wonder who the moron is :)

Thank God and the Rebublicans for the 3% tax cap in Florida.

The Artful Blogger said...

It's a good point regarding assements being far out of line with reality.

Particularly at the upper end of the real estate market.

Many metro areas are probably assessed at 125%+ of market value. Rural areas aren't as far out of whack, but locally high end properties have zero demand so it's nearly impossible to gauge how far assessments are out of line.

Thanks for the comment!