Rohit's Realm - Current Events

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April 26, 2006

The Nebulous Road to News Junkie-dom

Considering my long and unabated exposure to the world of current events—my father read multiple publications daily even before the Internet—I suppose it was only inevitable that I would too one day succumb to the slippery slope of obsessive news junkie-dom. You can't say I didn't try, though.

November 12, 2007

Norman Hsu, Real American Hero

For those readers (sadly!) not encumbered by the addiction I unabashedly described 18 months ago as news junkie-dom, Norman Hsu might not yet be a household name, and his truly bizarre rise and fall in the world of fashion and politics not yet the subject of parlor conversation. More's the pity; he is quickly becoming my hero and role model. [...]

November 26, 2007

Suffer the Subprimers

For all but the most blissfully unaware of readers, the current brouhaha in the financial markets stemming largely from the continuing collapse of the subprime mortgage market should not be news. Markets first seized up this summer following stagnating house prices across the country and higher than expected defaults. Since then, much blood has been let: several companies that were major originators of such mortgages have gone belly up; thousands of jobs have been (or are soon to be) cut; and in the last month or so, two CEOs of large (investment) banks (Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch; and Charles Prince, Citigroup) have been pushed out amidst historical writedowns associated with subprime losses.

With shit hitting the fan so fast and so hard, it seems nothing—perhaps not even the U.S. economy at large—will come out unsullied. As with any mess of this proportion, our faithful representatives in Washington D.C. have only recently arrived upon the scene, mostly to point fingers at one other ex post facto, or, in the alternative, at evil-doers of one sort or another. And almost without fail, their solution has been to punish corporations that made such loans, and force those who hold the debt now to alleviate the stress on homeowners. An article in today's Wall Street Journal highlights pressure exerted upon one such company (Citi) to help out borrowers facing large and untenable interest rate resets, and thus, a rather significant risk of losing their homes. For some reason, very few people seem to be concentrating on the misdeeds of the borrowers rather than those who gave them the money; at the risk of sounding like the unsympathetic bastard that I likely am, I will take up this position that no one seems willing to defend. [...]

September 27, 2008


With so much going on in the past two weeks in the worlds of politics and finance, what with capitalism coming to a grinding halt and super-geriatric McCain single-handedly swooping in to rescue us from a cohort of spendthrift, earmarking incompetents who fundamentally do not understand the economy (whoops, did I jump the gun on Monday morning's headline on Fox News?), the consummate news junkie in me has been quite remiss to have been stuck in callback interviews all day, thus cut off from both my computer and my CrackBerry™. The last I ventured into this mess was November of 2007, when I argued that at least some responsibility for the meltdown must remain with those at the bottom of the pyramid of lies that took on loans larger than they could afford. The events of the last two weeks confirm that the banks deserve much more of the blame for enabling those liars and fools.

While there is much to discuss this week between the first presidential debate last night, the ongoing negotiations (subscription required) in Washington, DC over the Administration's proposed $700 billion bailout,1 and the sad death of legendary actor Paul Newman, I would like to focus on a death of another kind this week, that of my beloved bank of nearly ten years, Washington Mutual.

August 16, 2009

The “Rentership” Society

The (often overlooked) Weekend Journal has an essay this week that to me seems absolutely indispensable for anyone who cares about how we move out of the financial shit storm in which we are currently ensconced. It briefly documents the centuries old American obsession with home ownership, and all the US government has done since the Depression, both covertly and overtly, to make the dream of ownership a reality for tens of millions. Of course, we all know where all that assistance led us decades later: the debacle that is GSEs like the infamous Fannie and Freddie, now on taxpayer-funded life support and operating in a zombie-like state.