June 25, 2010

The Universal Conspiracy

Here's an important ground-level view of the Housing Bubble that I didn't see when it came out in 2009, showing how much minority homeownership promotion reflected what could be called a bipartisan consensus (or a cross-ideological conspiracy) among leftist community organizers, the Bush Administration, the Fed, Wall Street, realtors, mortgage brokers, boiler room financial operators, Congress, faith-based organizations, civil rights leaders, anti-discrimination litigators, and  on and on: all the most respectable elements of society;
Financial Times
By Simone Baribeau
Published: September 12 2009

The game of finding someone to pin the blame on for the US housing market collapse has gone on long enough. Are the bankers responsible? The analysts who didn’t see it coming? The McMansion mums who bought homes that they couldn’t afford? No. I did it. It was me. In 2003, I worked for one of those well-meaning organisations that promoted home ownership in low-income communities. Our line – like that of hundreds of non-profit organisations across the US – was that people who bought their own homes could gain increased financial security, freedom from the landlord … the American dream.

But I was not like the people running the organisation. I knew full well that buying a house could be a financial time bomb. I hadn’t drunk the home-ownership-leads-to-prosperity Kool-Aid. But I had drunk enough cola to rot my teeth. I led people down the road to financial collapse – and I did it for the dental insurance.

It all started out innocently enough. In March 2002, fresh out of college, I got a job at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC. Soon after, one of the co-directors, Dean Baker, began looking into soaring housing prices, and, by the end of the summer, he had begun railing against the housing bubble....

Dean’s argument was compelling: if house prices rose significantly faster than rents, that meant people were buying homes as an investment, not for shelter. As more people saw housing as an investment vehicle, prices would rise, even though the underlying value of the property would not. It was the textbook definition of a bubble – and even if others weren’t taking him seriously, I was. But after more than a year at CEPR, I had itchy feet. I had gone straight from the suburbs of Washington to an Ivy League university to an economic think-tank. For a fist-in-the-air activist, it was all a bit ivory tower. I wanted experience working with the people getting screwed by bad economic policy before – inevitably, I assumed – I spent my life as a policy wonk.

So, like any good leftie from a privileged background, I started my job search on idealist.org, where I ran across a posting for an associate position at an Individual Development Account programme in Los Angeles. IDAs are an anti-poverty measure to encourage low-income individuals to buy “productive assets” – purchases meant to provide financial security for the future and encourage a habit of saving. The programmes encourage savings by providing financial education classes and “match savings”. In the case of the LA programme, for every $1 someone saved, up to $1,000, the person would receive a $4 match. Participants, who had to be referred through government-funded agencies serving low-income residents, could use the money to start a small business, go to school or buy a home. The buy-a-home option should have raised a red flag. But I was eager to get a “grass roots” job, and I reasoned that people who met the programme’s incredibly low-income requirements – no more than about $36,200 per year for a family of four – were in no position to buy a home, $5,000 in savings or not.

So I wiped the problem from my mind, unaware that easing lending standards would make loans accessible to people who would never have qualified for a mortgage before. Besides, the job sounded great.  ... I was hired as a financial counsellor and flew out to LA to get a sense of the place.

The Community Financial Resource Center (CFRC) is located in South Los Angeles [4600 S. Figueroa, a couple of blocks from the LA Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans. It's right off Martin Luther King Blvd. but now most of the billboards are in Spanish)] – formerly known as South Central, a name that conjures up images of gangs and riots. The almost-windowless building stood across from a windowless food-aid office. Barbed wire protected the parking lot. ...

It didn’t take long for reality to set in. By the time I joined the centre, many of the clients had been roped in to the programme by their case managers. “To buy a home or to start a business sounds too good to be true, too hard to believe!” one letter told members of a family development network – and that they were eligible for an “exciting opportunity” where they could be helped to do just that.
But the programme still wasn’t full, so my manager and I gave orientation sessions. Mostly, we’d describe the programme, but invariably the benefits of home ownership would come up. We sold the American dream to willing buyers. We even told them, on a fact sheet about the scheme, that “this same thinking has been behind government initiatives like the Homestead Act of the 19th century and the GI Bill following World War II”.

A productive asset – the focus was most frequently on a home – was “something of value that is likely to return substantial long-term benefits to its owner – benefits like security, stability and opportunities for more income”. And not all of the benefits were financial – home ownership gives you freedom. Buy a home and you can have a yard! You can paint your walls any colour you want! You can have a pet! Little wonder, then, that half of the people participating planned to buy a home.

Yet people’s finances were worse than I had imagined. Few of our clients even approached the income cap. They tended to have a lot of debt. Encouraging people who had so little to buy what to me was clearly overpriced property was unconscionable, I thought. I decided to quit. I would load up my car and drive back to DC, consequences be damned. Two weeks after I had started my job, I would take the same type of principled stand that had got me arrested at a protest in the lead-up to the Iraq war, except this time it wouldn’t be futile. I would live my ideals. Of course, this was all in my mind. In reality, my teeth hurt.

... But since I was a new employee, I wouldn’t qualify for dental insurance for another three months. I started giving the financial education classes.
Participants had to start saving $30 to $60 a month and attend six 90-minute classes. Later, if they were interested in home ownership, they’d give up a Sunday to learn about buying a house. But in the meantime, the financial-education classes had some value. We helped participants develop plans to pay off bills, and if we found mistakes on people’s credit reports, we’d help to rectify them. I clearly amused the clients in my classes. I hadn’t a clue how to teach, and much of the material was so basic I couldn’t figure out how to stretch it out to fill the lesson. And I hated actually giving out advice. In the budgeting class, we talked about cutting down on unnecessary expenses, but our backgrounds were so different, and their luxuries so modest – cable television, for instance – that I felt it wasn’t my place to suggest where they cut back.

For the most part, I enjoyed teaching. The students were smart and hard-working – and badly wanted a home. I started trying to find ways to justify the programme. Maybe, I thought, the housing bubble didn’t apply in low-income areas. So I went about investigating. The most reliable information I could find was from Rand California, but it was expensive. I could get it free on a limited-use computer at the public library, but I couldn’t e-mail it to myself. Instead, I’d have to print it up. So, after a trip to the library, I spent my spare time typing in years’ worth of monthly data from hundreds of zip codes into an Excel spreadsheet.

A couple of weeks later I had an answer. Even in the lowest-income areas in LA, real home prices had, on average, risen by more than 20 per cent over the previous seven years. I e-mailed Dean, the CEPR economist, who immediately suggested we write a short paper on it. What do I have to lose? I thought. Just my teeth.. . .
I wasn’t yet qualified to teach the home-ownership class, but I went along anyway to observe and help out. The teachers explained how to get approved for a mortgage or types of insurance, and again and again the people attending heard about the financial benefits of buying a home. First, there were the tax breaks for home owners. But they would almost certainly not apply to the low-income clients of the IDA programme. And non-existent tax advantages were barely a blip on the financial mess that home ownership – in my mind – would so clearly become.

It wasn’t as though Angelinos – as Los Angeles residents are known – were unfamiliar with real-estate bubbles. Housing prices rose by more than 67 per cent between 1987 and 1990 – and then plummeted by 21 per cent during the next five years. Those who bought at the height of the bubble would have to wait a full decade to see their houses recover even their nominal value. But still attendees were told that housing was a good long-term investment. Paying rent was like throwing money away each month, but with a mortgage, some of your payments went towards equity. When it became clear that a client would be unable to afford a mortgage, he or she was encouraged to consider the other options in the programme. And no one at CFRC encouraged people to take out an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), wait until it was due to change and then refinance or sell, taking out the inevitable equity that would have built up. In South LA, such advice was the norm, and CFRC steadfastly eschewed it. No one at CFRC denied that in the short term, house prices could fall.

But nobody seemed to take seriously the idea that there were times when housing prices had inflated to a level that buying a home was not a good investment. Housing prices were seen as inherently unpredictable and also of little importance, since, over time, there was a general upward trend. Fed chief Alan Greenspan was calling any analogy between a stock-market bubble and a housing-market bubble “pretty stretched”, and said it was “really quite unlikely” that house prices would fall nationally.

Meanwhile, in June 2002, with the September 11 terrorist attacks still fresh in the national consciousness, President George W. Bush began tying home ownership and economic security to national security. “Part of being a secure America is to encourage home ownership so somebody can say, ‘This is my home. Welcome to my home’,” he had said, introducing a new programme designed to narrow the racial home ownership gap by getting 5.5 million new non-white Americans into homes by 2010. It was exactly the wrong moment.

If the people in the programme weren’t going to benefit, I was convinced someone was. Banks, I was sure, must want foreclosed property on their books – to what end, I had no idea. But there was profit in it for them somehow. (I had no idea about the complex securitisation which – for a short time – would allow banks to profit from riskier and riskier products.) Banks used the IDA classes to find an audience to pitch their products to. One volunteer recalls a bank pitching a zero-down-payment mortgage to one of the classes.

“Several banks affiliated with CFRC wanted to present the products. We’d allow them to do that,” said Tara Taylor, now CFRC’s chief financial officer. But, she said: “When it came time for people to make their loan decisions, we weren’t there to steer people anywhere.”

They advised people away from the zero-down-payment products – which, they were concerned, would quickly leave people in negative equity. Instead, they felt they’d be safer if they took out mortgages where they’d put 1 to 3 per cent down....

I couldn’t quit, but I couldn’t stay silent either. Teeth be damned. I was going to convince people that buying a home was a bad idea. I made a chart plotting Los Angeles home prices versus rents over several decades. It showed that every time home prices rose significantly above rental prices, they’d fall back in line with rentals again. It showed that – even including the late 1980s – never had home prices been so far out of line with rental prices.

I started showing it to my classes. I showed it to them whether their case managers were there or not. I showed the chart to my manager and told her I was explaining it to my class. It felt like open mutiny, but nobody seemed to mind. There I was, a 23-year-old telling a group of mainly middle-aged women that little they had ever heard about home ownership was true. The graph, which I labelled “LA housing prices versus rents”, proved it. In fact, it showed that financial devastation was looming for anyone who bought a home.

My classes listened politely. I also added a table to my presentation, showing how much money could be lost on a home when housing prices started falling. Occasionally, one of the people in my class would mention investing for the long term. Mostly, people said nothing. I was being a financial counsellor in the only way I knew how – and I sounded like an economics textbook.

In mid-August 2003, a few days after Dean published “Homeownership in a Bubble: The Fast Path to Poverty?”, and put me down as a co-author, I headed to a Hilton Hotel in Washington for a five-day course that would qualify me to teach the homebuyer education classes. I had hoped to leave before having to do this training, but the dental insurance wouldn’t kick in until September 1. I knew that many of the attendees at the conference would be working for non-profit organisations looking for ways to recruit people into homebuying. But I wasn’t prepared for the orgy of homebuying promotion that I sat through over the next five days. Try to get ministers to talk about the benefits of home ownership during their sermons … Tell people that a house is like a savings account, whereas when you pay rent it’s like throwing your money away … People can now use their section 8 vouchers – housing-welfare payments – to buy a house. Hoorah – even the homebuyers manual was called “Realizing the American Dream.”

What a mess, I thought. My manager called me on the last day of the course to find out if I had passed the certification test. I had. She sounded relieved that I’d be able to start teaching the homebuyers class. Meanwhile, I was plotting my resignation.

The day I got my dental insurance, I gave two weeks’ notice.

Simone Baribeau works as a web editor at the FT’s offices in New York

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

copy + paste

:dusts hands off:

a fine day's copyvio work!

Dutch Boy said...

"leftist community organizers, boiler room financial operators, the Bush Administration, the Fed, Wall Street, realtors, mortgage brokers, Congress, faith-based organizations"
A list of the usual suspects if there ever was one!

Anonymous said...

Jeez, I was blaming Alan Greenspan, and it turns out that if we had had national dental insurance plan, this whole thing wouldna happened. dave.s.

Geoff Matthews said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Steve-O:

The left-right conspiracy you mention is just business as usual. The whole left/right, Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative paradigm is primarily a show for the 99% of the population not in on the scam.

The real dividing line is elite vs. masses.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story. Instead of housing, it got me thinking about potentially unexpected positive consequences of the health care bill. A lot of people do work they hate or don't believe in for the insurance. Without employers and society having this sword of Damocles over peoples' necks to encourage obedience, we might see more risk taking and truth telling, even about HBD or racial differences.

Anonymous said...

Just like Steve takes apart a lot of experts on racial issues because "political correctness makes you stupid," Dean Baker's Beat the Press blog uses arithmetic and common sense to debunk prominent macroeconomists who are blinded to reality by ideology and simultaneous equations.

Calling the housing bubble early was one example.

He's also rare among economists in admitting immigrants aren't needed because of some unskilled labor shortage, and that because of immigration, blue collar jobs like construction no longer have good pay. He also thinks the quality of life in Japan would improve if they let the population decline rather than ramp up immigration, because retirees could be supported by productivity growth.

Finally, Dean's arithmetic calls out the hysteria over the "soaring" budget deficits, fomented by people like Peter Peterson who want to gut social security and social insurance generally. Our debt is very manageable, and long term problems are almost entirely due to our broken health care system. If you do the math, it's just as devastating to the convention wisdom as Steve's number crunching on test scores, so will be ignored by the innumerate elite for similar reasons.

Anonymous said...

This guy (Simon) is obviously a fake. A conservative Republican who opposes home-ownership for all, disguised as a do-good liberal.

LOL.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."The left-right conspiracy you mention is just business as usual. The whole left/right, Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative paradigm is primarily a show for the 99% of the population not in on the scam.

The real dividing line is elite vs. masses."

Exactly. Today's conservatism is nothing more than liberalism lite.

John Seiler said...

And don't forget state-level plans. Such as that signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger around 2005, which promoted low-income home "owner"ship in a state where, even before the nutty housing boom, only about 30% of people could afford a mortgage.

In his 7 years of misgovernance, there is no bad policy Arnold failed to impose.

Arthur Levitt said...

When some historian writes in forty years about the decline and fall of the American empire (or about the crisis that ended the republic), he will reprint that part of Baribeau's article. It really covers several bases, and not just about housing.

I also agree with comments # 5 through # 7. Its too bad this article hasn't gotten more attention.

ben tillman said...

... But since I was a new employee, I wouldn’t qualify for dental insurance for another three months. I started giving the financial education classes.

Why would a recent college graduate care about dental insurance? Nothing is going to go wrong with your teeth between the ages of 20 and 50. And why is someone from the D.C. suburbs writing "programme"?

Etwas klingt falsch.

Anonymous said...

From the Article:

".... In the case of the LA programme, for every $1 someone saved, up to $1,000, the person would receive a $4 match."



Man I hope Im reading that wrong. The taxpayer's palms are going to evolve to the point that they permanent adjoin his ankles and he has to eat with his nose on the ground like an ardvark if our government doesn't stop doing this to him.

Melykin said...

Ben Tillman wrote:
"Why would a recent college graduate care about dental insurance? Nothing is going to go wrong with your teeth between the ages of 20 and 50. "
=====================

Wisdom teeth.

ERM said...

Why would a recent college graduate care about dental insurance? Nothing is going to go wrong with your teeth between the ages of 20 and 50.

I had a root canal at 27. Bad luck. Also don't forget wisdom teeth.

And why is someone from the D.C. suburbs writing "programme"?

FT style guide, doubtless.

Big Bill said...

Thanks for the info, Steve. A couple years ago I was trying to identify the connection between ACORN and the mortgage industry and came across this webpage.

It described the ACORN loan program which lent money to poor folks with no hope of ever paying it back (the link above spells out the terms).

The part that caught my eye was the one-day (!) homeowner training program that ACORN gave and the recipients were required to take in order, I am guessing, so the banks could mark the "ACORN-educated homeowner" check box on the loan form, issue the sh!tty loan and have it insured by the taxpayer.

Somehow ACORN was getting paid by the feds to put on the courses. That's how they got their 30 pieces of silver. I knew that, I just didn't know how.

Now Simone gives us the inside view -- what actually went on in those one-day training classes.

It was as I suspected: run 'em through the course, read a few preprinted sales spiels on how good owning a home is, then ACORN washes their hands of them and turns them over to Bank of America for crucifixion.

The one piece still missing is what the taxpayers paid to the community activists for each of the po' folks they screwed into a sh!tty mortgage?

What did those one-day-long homeowner training sessions cost the taxpayer? Was it thirty pieces of silver? More? Less?

Is there anyone out there who knows?

polistra said...

Very important point: the use of rental to estimate real value of housing.

This bubble was enabled if not caused by the formula, repeated endlessly by economists and politicians, that "The only way to measure value is the price that was actually paid." This sounds empirical, and I'll admit to being fooled by it. But it's not really empirical. There is such a thing as real value of shelter, and rentals give you an empirical measure of the real value of shelter.

Sale price and stock price do not measure the value of the house or the company; instead they measure [Steak + Sizzle], or most of the time just Sizzle.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story. Instead of housing, it got me thinking about potentially unexpected positive consequences of the health care bill. A lot of people do work they hate or don't believe in for the insurance. Without employers and society having this sword of Damocles over peoples' necks to encourage obedience, we might see more risk taking and truth telling, even about HBD or racial differences.
----

Of course if the gubbmint supplies your health care, you'd better not say mean things, right?

Anonymous said...

There is such a thing as real value of shelter, and rentals give you an empirical measure of the real value of shelter.

So the real value of the monthly payments on the mortgage should be what?

80% of the monthly rent on a similar rental property?

[Which would allow the landlord to gross 25% above his own mortgage?]

75% of the monthly rent for a similar rental property?

[Which would allow the landlord to gross 33% above his own mortgage?]

I have no idea what landlord gross profits are, or ought to be...

Anonymous said...

BTW, there is also the question of how the tax code distorts the value of a property in favor of owners, and against renters.

Owners get to write off the interest on their home mortgages; I don't know that landlords get to write off the interest on their [commercial] mortgages [and then pass on those savings to their renters].

So that makes owning much more valuable than renting.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"Owners get to write off the interest on their home mortgages; I don't know that landlords get to write off the interest on their [commercial] mortgages [and then pass on those savings to their renters].

So that makes owning much more valuable than renting."

Only if the interest on the mortgage is more than the standard exemption you get anyway, such that itemizing is worth doing. Takes a fairly giant-sized loan to do that.

Also, as a homeowner, maintenance and repairs come out of your pocket, which CAN be sizable. And if an unexpected catastrophe happens that you have to use a credit card, even more so.
Plus, if you need to move to another city for work, you have to find a new occupant (renter or buyer) or take the hit.
Homeownership is NOT for everyone.

Escapist said...

Hi Steve,

There is a lot of lamenting on the right blogosphere (including on the housing crash, bailout etc), but a shortage of creative, positive and legal solutions for out-maneuvering the left, particularly solutions which don’t necessarily rely on linear power, nor good decision-making on the part of either the majority of the populace, nor the politicians.

This comment is meant in a tongue-in-cheek/friendly tone: I notice you’ve got the usual curmudgeonly lamenters and predictable HBD-MRA-PUA Gameboys on your blogroll – why not add someone with new ideas and an as-yet unseen perspective in this corner of the blogosphere?

My blog is:
http://escapistart.wordpress.com/

I’m a lurker-reader of your blog, a youngish single successful (Evil Career Witch?) conservative-libertarian woman (of an atypical ethnicity for this region of the blogosphere) and a first-time blogger.

The blog is designed to be “entertaining conservative-libertarian” (with upcoming humor spin-off), focuses on sharing new ideas/specific legal and positive solutions (in areas including economics, immigration, entitlements, and how to get to the point of being able to implement them), with dare I say, a bit of seichel (see my future post on a strategy for Social Security/Medicare). Of current posts, you might particularly like “Ms Pelosi, Tear Down These Chains”. I’ve got over a hundred good posts in reserve (plus I write new ones periodically), which I am publishing over time, to give people a chance to discover the blog, read, etc. These will include commentary (from a new angle) on the Gameosphere crowd, MRA-PUA etc as well.

If you find the blog interesting (after reading current posts, or future ones), a link from your blog would be appreciated (I will link back). Also, if you’d like to comment etc, you are of course most welcome.

Thanks,
Escapist

Melykin said...

Escapist wrote:
"...These will include commentary (from a new angle) on the Gameosphere crowd, MRA-PUA etc..."
=========================
OK, I think I know what "game" and PUA are (I looked them up once before) but what is MRA? Google is not helping, unless it is one of these things:

MRA may refer to:
Magnetic resonance angiography
Mail retrieval agent
Mandibular repositioning appliance or mandibular advancement splint for sleep apnea
Market Reduction Approach
Marketing Research Association
Marin Rowing Association
Massachusetts Rifle Association
Men's rights activist
Metal Roofing Alliance
Microcredit regulatory Authority
Minimum reception altitude
Moral Re-Armament
Multiple regression analysis
Multiresolution analysis
Mutant registration acts (comics)
Mutual recognition agreement or mutual recognition arrangement
Mountain Rescue Association

Escapist said...

@Melykin:

MRA = men’s rights, which to the uninformed sounds potentially reasonable until you take a look at the Spearhead comments section (my advice: don’t).

The point is that Gameboy (MRA-PUA) philosophy appears to be a great path towards immediate acceptance and high-fives on the right, while those outside the right’s typical demographic are often viewed as inherently suspect.

On an unrelated note, I can’t imagine why younger/single women in particular (or indeed, any group outside the typical demographic) tend to be driven away from the right, even though in a number of areas (e.g. right to self defense, sensible immigration/borders, opposition to Islam, economics etc), the right has a much better deal. It is simply inexplicable, but surely MRA-PUA theory has the answer. MRA PUA Gameboys = advertising bots for Feministing.

And now the obligatory friendly arm-twisting: Steve, you’re still linking to Welmer’s defunct blog? What have he, or Roissy, said recently that is truly new/different, non-predictable, or for that matter, represents an actual pragmatic, positive strategy in areas such as economics, immigration, etc? I’ve got a number of posts along the latter lines (coming soon: “Room at the Top”)

Just sayin’.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,
Homeownership promoters like to compare federal assistance for low-income homeowners to the GI Bill, but recipients of the latter were, well, military vets! Not unskilled, uneducated female household heads, immigrants etc. That's obvious, but is there any data on GI bill recipients and things like subsequent BK's,foreclosures etc? How many WWII vets even took GI bill assistance in the first place for buying homes or going to school? Did their subsequent performance in paying off home loans and salary justify it?

David
Irvine, CA

David said...

Ayn Rand (Alissa Rosenbaum) was a nut, but she had a few interesting ideas nevertheless.

One was "the fallacy of the frozen abstraction."

A frozen abstraction is the product of reification-in-reverse: it's regarding some concrete thing as an "intrinsic good" in error. The result is called "frozen" because no one, but no one, is willing to examine it or question it.

"Homeownership" is one of those unexamined notions, frozen in people's heads as Good (capital letter "G").

"Diversity" is another so-called Good, never to be examined or doubted. It's frozen solid.

These frozen Goods lead to crazy prescriptions. Everyone who can fog a mirror MUST eventually own the deed to a house! Diversity MUST be society's top priority! Population MUST increase!

Religious fanaticism never went away. It merely changed its objects to concrete (or more exactly, material) ones. We went from - for example - Charity is a Good, to Full Employment is a Good.

A College Education is a Good. Never mind that most college educations are a waste. Everyone in our society MUST have a degree - let's make it happen!

carol said...

Anon, when I bought my first house, my father asked if I could get 1% of the price if I were to rent it out. That was the old rule of thumb small-time property investors used.

The answer was yes, because I had bought at the end of a long down market (1990) and the payment, interest and insurance was less than the rent I was paying for a house much farther from town.

Some say a house is worth 100x monthly rent, others say 120x if it's a good house in a desirable neighborhood.

Most people don't know this stuff and fell for the econ 101 saw that something is "worth" whatever price it fetches on the market.

Anonymous said...

Escapist, increasing non-NAM population is crucial to survival of said population.

So, be fruitful and multiply.

kudzu bob said...

Roissy's blog = lightning.

Escapist's blog = lightning bug.

Anonymous said...

"MRA = men’s rights, which to the uninformed sounds potentially reasonable until you take a look at the Spearhead comments section"

Every point of view in the world looks bad, if you judge by the most extreme anonymous comments on some blog.

Anonymous said...

"... But since I was a new employee, I wouldn’t qualify for dental insurance for another three months. I started giving the financial education classes.

Why would a recent college graduate care about dental insurance? Nothing is going to go wrong with your teeth between the ages of 20 and 50.

That's not true, just ask me.3 months, probably not, but 5 years, yes

Escapist said...

You peeps are totally right – what was I thinking?

Thank you for your kind words Kudzu Bob. Anonymous, I shall make sure to replicate myself forthwith, as Nordically as possible.

And to that end, I’ve decided that being a swarthy woggish slightly-Asiatic female is just not the way to go. I have decided to become something far more alpha in an upcoming post.

Go to my next post (not Ms. Pelosi, but after that - to be posted shortly) and you’ll find an evil Easter egg.

Hugs,
Escapist

David said...

>being a swarthy woggish slightly-Asiatic female [...] Hugs<

Expect the date requests to roll in ... in 5, 4, 3...

SexyPterodactyl said...

That would be great. I'm always looking for fly wingmen to assist in my MRA PUA activities. My transformation is complete...

Escapist -> Sexy Pterodactyl
(for part of the time)

Also: Has it occurred to anyone else in the blogosphere that the fact that elites can dominate the playing field actually presents certain opportunities for those with strategy, organization, funding etc? Particularly in situations where you are unlikely to get rapid enough buy-in from the majority of the populace (e.g. on fiscal conservatism).

My upcoming Escapist post "Room at the Top" addresses a way for fiscal conservatives to benefit from this phenomenon.