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Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurial spirit’

Alternative Housing Finance: How Does “SwapRent” Work

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 24th, 2010 11:58 AM |

Our nation rests on a foundation of entrepreneurial risk taking. I am a strong proponent that our government should work to promote those who have the minds and spirit to take risk and drive our nation’s future economic growth ever higher. That spirit has brought us untold gains over the years. We need to continue to tap into that spirit whenever and wherever we can. On a day in which we just reported that existing home sales dropped 27% in the month of July, I believe it is timely that we tap into this ‘spirit’ and address another alternative housing finance solution.

I referenced the need for real entrepreneurial spirit the other day in writing, A Proposed Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis:

With the Conference on The Future of Housing Finance being held in Washington today, do we really expect the government to propose anything that may help support or fix our system of housing finance?  (more…)

Wall Street 2009: Too Smart for Our Own Good?

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 28th, 2009 8:03 AM |

Did the world’s candlemakers openly rail against Thomas Edison and his development of the light bulb? I have to imagine those candlemakers weren’t all that happy at the time. Edison embodied the American spirit. Capitalism thrives on the entrepreneurial spirit. That spirit promotes competition and has propelled our economy, our country, and our world over the years.

Capitalism also thrives on honest, open, and fair markets. Major financial and economic scandals over the years have often centered on self-dealing, abuse of insider information, and some semblance of unfair trade. These practices often capture enormous profits for a period of time but ultimately they kill trade. Why? Profits are a function of increased productivity, increased margins, and increased market share. To the extent that questionable, if not unethical or illegal, business practices initially promote greater profitability at the expense of future business flows, the foundation of that business has serious flaws.

Welcome to the world of finance 2009. In one way, shape or form, we have seen increasingly abusive business practices coarse through our markets and economy over the last few decades. From questionable asset securitizations to various forms of electronic trading, the practitioners have often reaped initial windfall profits while enacting real long term damage. How and why does this happen?

Highly intelligent people who are not properly regulated will drive profits to levels which are initially euphoric but if not properly monitored and managed are ultimately fatal. How so? When market participants feel that playing fields are not open, level, free, and fair, they will take their bat, ball, and capital and go play elsewhere. In so many words, the best and the brightest who implement trade strategies and computer programs are often simply ‘too smart for their own good.’ This scenario repeats itself regularly! (more…)

Goldilocks Economy

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 8th, 2009 1:15 PM |

Will the wizards in Washington be able to recreate the Goldilocks economy, in which we can generate moderate growth with limited inflation and near full employment? Well, that economic dream is still off in the distance, but the Goldilocks analogy is appropriate. How’s that? Much like the cherished tale, the wizards are faced with three choices in virtually every situation: too much, too little, just right.

Fiscal policy
 – too much spending and/or improperly targeted spending will drive interest rates higher via massive deficits and potential hyperinflation.

 – too little spending and/or improperly targeted will not properly stimulate the economy and may lead to a bout of deflation.

 – just the right amount of spending and properly targeted will support the economy and stabilize prices.

Monetary Policy
 – too much gas on this fire will massively grow the money supply and lead to hyperinflation.

 – not enough gas or a slow delivery (the concern in Europe) will not stop the economy from sliding into a deeper recession.

 – just right will lead to support for the economy. However, our wizards must be prescient and know exactly when to turn the gas line down and then off. If this procedure is not executed with precision, our house may go up in the flames of hyperinflation. Many wise and elderly wizards, including none other than Paul Volcker, have this concern.

 – overly restrictive regulations will inhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and drive business overseas.

 – ineffective, inappropriate, or insufficient regulations will lead to further moral hazards and an economic foundation akin to a pile of sand. Dare I say, our house is suffering from this problem currently.

 – just right would compel new regulators with real teeth to redraft the rules by which we play. Paul Krugman wrote “Stressing The Positive” in yesterday’s New York Time and addressed this topic. Krugman offers:

. . . what worries me most about the way policy is going isn’t any of these things. It’s my sense that the prospects for fundamental financial reform are fading.

Does anyone remember the case of H. Rodgin Cohen, a prominent New York lawyer whom The Times has described as a “Wall Street éminence grise”? He briefly made the news in March when he reportedly withdrew his name after being considered a top pick for deputy Treasury secretary.

Well, earlier this week, Mr. Cohen told an audience that the future of Wall Street won’t be very different from its recent past, declaring, “I am far from convinced there was something inherently wrong with the system.” Hey, that little thing about causing the worst global slump since the Great Depression? Never mind.

Those are frightening words. They suggest that while the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to insist that they’re committed to tighter financial regulation and greater oversight, Wall Street insiders are taking the mildness of bank policy so far as a sign that they’ll soon be able to go back to playing the same games as before.

Uncle Sam’s intervention
 – too much involvement means private enterprise will either not play in our markets or charge a higher price in the form of higher interest rates (this is VERY likely to happen given the disregard for property rights and the validity of contracts).

 – too little and the economy may take another leg down in the form of a triple dip.

 – just right . . . how do we compel Uncle Sam to be a benevolent Old Man and not encroach on the principles of capitalism, free markets, and private enterprise as he tries to push forward with a massive social agenda and enormous spending plans?

The trail on which we are proceeding will be LONG. Will we be able to find that warm home in the woods? Do we have the fortitude and courage to sacrifice as need be or do we have leaders who are blinded by ambition and agendas which will cause us to lose our way?

Bring extra supplies.   


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