Tag Archives: economic stimulus

0114 2012 Will a new US President make any difference in helping create a housing recovery and revitalize our economy?

Here below is an excerpt of my upcoming FARJHO article to be published in March.

Governments who set up policies using those ill-advised primitive methods (e.g. the original HOPE for Homeowners proposal in 2008) have only destroyed people’s confidence in the equity sharing concept to solve the problems and let the mortgage foreclosure problems deteriorate further day by day. The Hope for Homeowners (H4H) Program is a loan program that was a part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The guidelines for the product were released by FHA on October 1st, 2008.

In the original HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) offering, the Federal Reserve together with the HUD Team proposed a non-free market based arbitrary equity sharing scheme for debt principal reduction as (Ref 3)

100% if the property is sold after 1 year

80% if the property is sold after 2 year

70% if the property is sold after 3 year

60% if the property is sold after 4 year

50% if the property is sold after 5 year

There were few takers. Any further consideration by other national policy makers and economists of using equity sharing related concepts to solve our country’s severe housing-led economic problems on a large scale also quickly died with it too for now. The incompetence of these policy makers is indeed very unfortunate and lamentable.

The worrisome part is that even when the top level politicians change posts later on these same technical middle level managers may still be the ones that will continue to squat on the same positions at the Fed and at the HUD since these subject matters may be deemed too technical for the top level politicians or top level policy makers to mess around with.

Will a new President make any difference?

1203 2011 The new innovative economic stimulus application using equity sharing methods, not debt and not tax credit, to prop up the housing market

Further to my 1126 2011 blog post and many other earlier posts on this issue, taking expedient economic stimulus measures to prop up the national economy as a concept is a bi-partisan issue and supported by all kinds of economists, even the most libertarian ones. The question is really on what methods to use to implement the economic stimulus activities so that the money provided could indeed stay in the local communities on Main Street long enough to create local jobs instead of immediately flowing to investment opportunities in foreign emerging markets for the Wall Street riches to further enrich themselves.

So economically

1. the need for economic stimulus activities to revive our national economy is agreed and accepted by all, although not agreeable on what methods.
2. the linkage between a robust local property market, i.e. increased home equity hence wealth for home owners, and local economic prosperity on Main Street is well recognized by academics and politicians.
3. using more debt to blow up more property, stock and bond market bubbles again will only be another temporary fix similar to kicking cans down the road to build up bigger problems down the road.
4. lowering interest rates further will not benefit the home owners and small businessmen on Main Street since the credit distribution channel has been impaired during most depressed time periods of the economy.
5. pumping more money and liquidity into the system will only benefit the rich further since only the rich has access to even more credit.
6. the rich top 1% in our society, their financial advisors, hedge funds, private equity firms and even US based multi-national corporations will use the excess dollar liquidity to invest in high GDP growth countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, Australia, … etc. to further enrich themselves.
7. the dollar liquidity created by current monetary policies conducted by Ben Bernanke and his cohorts at the Fed to date has created more jobs for foreigners than for us Americans on Main Street.

and politically

1. the bailout of big banks and Wall Street firms is both unpopular and unwise to the 99% of our population.
2. more Quantitative Easing (the various QEs) has proven to be toxic to everyone but the Wall Street professionals.
3. raising taxes could be detrimental or even fatal to the remaining careers in Washington DC for most politicians.
4. ramping up more budget deficits hoping to kick the can down the road to the next administration has become more obvious and unpopular to the public.
5. creating jobs for foreigners through pumping out more dollars while providing low cost of fund to and making the hedge fund and private equity investment gurus richer at our country’s expense has been understood by even the most economically illiterate citizens has discredited the Fed’s reputation day by day.
6. destroying American jobs and killing small businesses on Main Street through a lack of competence in the current economic policy makers has created extreme inequality and has been turning our country more and more towards the left and will further the causes of many variations of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movements.

Perhaps it is time for the economic policy makers and their technical staff members to learn something new and take a serious look at how our country could use the property equity sharing concepts and the various free market based business methods developed to date as a new set of economic stimulus tools?

It seems to be easier said than done. For one thing, why the economic policy alternatives using the new equity sharing concepts and made possible by FARJHO and SwapRent have not made an impact so far? Without pin-pointing where the problems are these repeated suggestions could just be further waste of efforts.

1. the equity sharing related subject matter may be deemed too technical by policy makers and their technical staff since it is new.
2. suspicion of any new innovations created by other people.
3. resistance to learn something new in order to change.
4. those people who have first spent the time to learn these new concepts and methods are still at a stage of thinking about equity sharing’s micro level application for foreclosure avoidance for distressed home owners only.
5. few people so far until this date have realized the importance of connecting these new property equity sharing concepts and methods with the macro level application to perform massive economic stimulus on either a national or a local level that would, on a free market basis without government’s monetary assistance, cover distressed home owners, big and small property speculators as well as any other free market based investors alike.

As a case in point, here is an example. Back in 2008, the respectable Founder and Chairman of the Peterson Institute Pete Peterson had forwarded the SwapRent solutions to the Republican presidential candidates and had been very supportive of the causes represented by FARJHO and SwapRent. However, David Walker, his staff and appointed CEO for the institute who was supposed to an expert on economic issues, advised him instead that

“Pete,
This proposal does not seem to differentiate between individuals who are deserving of help and those who aren’t. I don’t think that second homes, investment properties or individuals who entered into irresponsible primary residence mortgages should receive taxpayer assistance.
Dave

David’s failure to understand the basic principles of how free market capitalism could operate without having to rely on tax payer’s money is both surprising and lamentable.

That kind of attitude and lack of economic common sense is exactly what is stopping our government from seriously adopting property equity sharing concepts and methods as new innovative economic stimulus measures to create local jobs, revitalize local economies on Main Street in order to help save our country’s economic future.

The Obama Administration had similarly been informed with these proposals since before the election in 2008. Other than those primitive shared appreciation methods with unsuccessful results in the October 2008 Hope for Homeowners plan, there have not been other efforts in this regard. The H4H fiasco will be discussed in an upcoming article to be published this month and will be reviewed in the next blog post towards the end of the month.

Let’s hope the presidential candidates for 2012 would take a more serious consideration of using these new innovative economic policy applications of the equity sharing concepts and methods to solve our country’s economic problems in order to acquire a timely political advantage for themselves in the up-coming election.

1126 2011 We need to blow up a home equity bubble using equity sharing methods, not debt, like how Silicon Valley blew up tech company stock market bubbles

Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve team please step aside, Silicon Valley please step up. We need to create some equity bubbles, not debt bubbles, to reflate our national economy in order to save our economic future. In particular, the national policy makers need to learn and use the equity bubble building techniques that the venture capitalists have been so skillfully creating wealth for themselves, their investors and the entrepreneurs in the past to apply to and to prop up the local property markets on Main Streets across the country.

Most economists, policy makers and concerned citizens probably have learned by now that it is the damaged credit distribution channels, not interest rate levels, that is blocking their desperate attempts to reflate the economic bubbles using debts alone. We all know that credit is a very funny thing. It is always plenty only to those people who do not need it. Therefore rich people have access to plenty and poor people can not get any. Excess money supply made possible by low interest rates have only been making the rich even richer and hence created more and more social tension on wealth distribution equality. Federal Reserve with its money pumping policies without the consideration of its negative effects of creating wealth inequality has hence been the henchman that has killed the middle class in America.

The only occasions when poor people could get credit is during the occasional irrational time of bubble building periods and when the credit process is being abused. When rationality returns, the supply of credit to the poor will come to a sudden halt as is what is happening now. On a further thought, this may not be a bad thing actually. Trying to re-energize the drug addicts with even more Cocaine in a desperate attempt is like kicking the can down the road to let other people solve the eventual real problems and could at most behave like a superficial temporary fix that may lead to much more expanded troubles down the road. A re-hab together with a new diet to create a new life would probably be a more prudent problem solving method.

Similarly, to re-energize our national economy, we will need to focus on alternative ways of financing, other than debt, to reflate our economy for both the short term and long term problem fixing purposes. As once students of finance, we all know that high risk ventures are usually financed by equities, not debts. For example, the entire industry of venture capital in Silicon Valley is focused on equity financing, shared equity financing in corporate ownership, to be precise. That same technique is exactly what we need now to reflate the home equity markets and hence our national economy.

FARJHO and SwapRent related new business methods that we provide only represent a few possible more superior business methods to implement this equity sharing or appreciation sharing economic concepts to attract more equity based fresh capital to resuscitate our national economy on a free market basis. In order to make it work, the national policy makers will need to learn and understand that the goal of rebuilding our national economy could be done through these equity sharing economic concepts. It does not matter whether they choose to use the new FARJHO and/or SwapRent methods or not. They need to open the doors and encourage free market investors to participate in all kinds of equity sharing business methods that utilize the equity sharing concepts so that there would be enough free market capital to flow back into local communities across America to re-create property market led economic booms on Main Street.

Using debt to blow bubbles should not be the only trick up their sleeves. It did not and will not work anyway since the credit distribution channels will not function properly in bad economic times no matter how low they make the interest rate levels to be. That is simply the nature of how credit works. On the other hand, as long as these new bubbles are not blown up through Other People’s Money (OPM), i.e. debt again, it would most likely be Ok for now to get us out of the recession and unemployment for most of the 99% population.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs many times before, asset bubbles are usually blown up by OPM using debt. It is a dangerous bubble that could be popped because it was blown up by hot air. Equity induced asset growth could act more like a hardened molten lava. Once it is cooled and hardened, it does not have to pop or shrink back again. This is due to the simple fact that if the asset was purchased by equity without using debt, when price level declines, there would not be any involuntary selling as would be the case if the asset was purchased with debt.

So the way to make this policy strategy works, the government will need to recognize the need to extend all kinds of smart and stupid property equity sharing methods on a massive scale and on a pure free market basis that include property speculators, not just to use these equity sharing concepts and methods on a limited basis to distressed home owners as a foreclosure avoidance tool only. That concept is similar to the same textbook difference in managing macro-economics vs micro-economics. We will need to use these new property equity sharing concepts and methods as a new way of doing massive macro-economic stimulus for our country.

When free market based investors are aware that these proactive innovative economic stimulus policies have been understood and finally adopted by the relevant policy makers, being implemented on a massive scale and most importantly that they could also participate in, free market based fresh capital will start pouring in automatically to make America rich again. These investors would come in voluntarily simply based on their views that the government is willing to ramp up the prices and hence a timely profit making opportunity for themselves.

The strategy above is a repeat of what has been said many times before in a different way on how to use the equity sharing concept and methods to get our country out of the current economic dilemma ( http://wp.me/p1Cgsz-gI ). When the economy stabilizes, how the government could continue to use SwapRent and FARJHO related new business methods as a third new way of economic policy management tools to stimulate or to slow down a country’s economic growth through the real estate property values of a country was explained more in details in an article that I have published before back in 2009 ( http://www.box.net/shared/v24qtqip4hlgff5l1646 ).

0802 2011 Implementation Strategies of FARJHO and SwapRent – good economic stimulus public policy or cornering the real estate market by investors for profits?

A very obvious winning strategy of implementing either FARJHO and SwapRent alone or together is to simply concentrate the investments and focus on a few selected neighborhoods in the US, perhaps some mid-sized cities in Southern California.

Let’s have a quick review on the economic concepts of the investing dynamics first. Real estate market as an investment asset class is often more about the Beta than the Alpha as compared to investing in the stock markets. Although that sounds a bit academic to many people but what it means is actually very simple. The way the real estate market moves ups and downs depends more in sync with the country’s economy policies made by the government as a whole, even with the consideration of regional economic factors and/or individual homeowner’s specific maintenance and caring of their properties. The residential real estate market in the US normally behave with a much higher correlation to government dictated lending policies than individual home improvements.

On the other hand, individual companies could much easily out perform or under perform the US stock market and behave individually based on their own individual earning power, management merits and demerits, irrespective what the government’s fiscal or monetary policies are.

As a result, whenever there is a lack of prudent and wise governments policies, the entire country’s homeowners in America suffer. The supply and demand factor of the residential real estate market has always been solely determined in the US by the interest rate levels and the degree of the looseness of credit for people to borrow to own homes.

In the past, local governments or free market based private sector investment companies could not alter the local market supply and demand factor since the interest rate levels and home mortgage credit policies have been determined solely at the federal level and by the big banks on Wall Street. In addition, single family houses are much more difficult to manage than apartments as income producing investment properties in the past since people who could rent were usually urged to buy with or without the ability to service the mortgage loans. As a result, renters for single family houses in the suburbs are difficult to find and keep. The arrival of FARJHO and SwapRent have finally found a way to change that situation.

Now through the new FARJHO structure, SwapRent transactions and their secondary markets, local government housing agencies, pension fund managers, free market based private sector investment companies and/or individual investors could finally alter the local property supply and demand factor and drive the prices of the local property markets up (and down if necessary) irrespective of what the federal government’s fiscal, monetary and housing policies are at any given point in time.

The very simple concept for local community economic growth is that the more fresh new money pumped into the local economy the more likely the local economic activities could be revitalized when the money is put in good productive use. The FARJHO structure and SwapRent transactions could make this simple economic concept a reality and make the economic miracles happen in the local communities without having to rely on tax payer’s money or risking a hyper inflation by altering the interest levels further.

First FARJHO could help any new home buyers and joint property investors buy more homes using cash on hands without relying on credit for debt financing and hence create demand for homes and support the local property price level.

Second, on top of the demand created by FARJHO, SwapRent could help distressed homeowners hang on to their homes and hence remove the selling pressure in the local property markets. In addition, as also explained before, SwapRent could also help speculators buy more properties by sharing partial appreciation with other free market investors and hence increase even more buying demand for homes. Furthermore, SwapRent could also be used to finance local small business investments by entrepreneurs who are property owners and hence create more jobs. Even rich home owners who do not need the cash could also take advantage of the free market based SwapRent program and hence increase dispensable income and create higher consumption powers in the local communities. These were all fully explained in previous blog posts.

http://swaprent.com/blog/2011/02/19/02202011-it-is-not-keynesian-it-is-not-monetarist-perhaps-we-could-call-it-swaprentism-any-better-suggestions/

http://swaprent.com/blog/2009/12/06/12062009-how-small-business-owners-could-use-swaprent-transactions-to-create-jobs-at-grassroots-level/

The main reason why the FARJHO structures, SwapRent contracts and the associated secondary markets could work much better in bringing back the local economic prosperity than the conventional ways of property ownership is that they could attract much more fresh new investors’ money through the ease, the flexibility and the reversibility features with which the real estate investors could manage their investments much better, faster and cheaper. FARJHO and SwapRent in a sense will make the previously “un-investable” single family houses an “investable” new asset class for institutional investors around the world.

As some free market based investors are currently comprehensive about the lack of obvious immediate appreciation potential for the US residential real estate markets due to the current unhealthy government sponsored economic policies, aspiring home owners, local government agencies and free market based investors could indeed create by themselves the demand for properties in the local market through FARJHO and SwapRent. When the more fresh new money has been poured into the local economy, the more likely the property value would have been driven up, the more free markets investors would be further drawn to investing in the local markets and the more aspiring home owners from neighboring communities would also choose to relocate to these local communities to own homes. Creating the local property appreciation and economic prosperity in a confined geographical area could indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The key concept here is that smarter investors would most likely want to focus all their investments in a few selected neighborhoods with those wise local government officials who want to help facilitate these investment and economic revitalization processes to attract fresh new money so that there would be enough gun powder concentrated on these selected area to get the bang on the buck to artificially create the necessary debt-free property appreciation. With the local property value appreciation, all the current local government deficits, local economic weakness, local resident’s joblessness and the associated social problems could all be eliminated in one fell swoop.

In a sense, maneuvering these property price dynamics could be interpreted as cornering the market for illicit profit by a few individuals to benefit themselves. However if the end results are to benefit not the privileged few but the majority of the home owners in these local communities and the local governments, then cornering markets could indeed be euphemized and re-termed “economic stimulus” to bring back local economic prosperity instead.

In reality, cornering the markets of stocks and bonds was exactly what our federal government and the Federal Reserve Board have successfully tried to do in order to make the Wall Street folks richer and the big businesses awash with cash in recent years with their wasteful fiscal policies and unconventional monetary policies that have built up our country’s uncontrollable national deficits. Since the bubble building techniques that they have employed were based on money they did not have, those bubbles are doomed to burst some time down the road. Perhaps they had hoped for that there would be enough bread crumbs to fall to Main Street for people there to survive but that did not happen and of course would not happen.

What they had failed to find a solution for is a viable way to reinstall the debt-free or less debt dependent property-based wealth in local communities and to revitalize the economic prosperity on Main Street throughout the country to make the majority American people rich again. FARJHO and SwapRent were designed to accomplish just that.

If the incumbent Administration officials could not understand and handle this, certainly the new generations of aspiring politicians should take heed of it before it is too late.

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