The following, is a reprint from April of 2008 for those who missed it. Nothing much has changed, except for the guy in charge.
On one side you have the upside down home owner, who is about to walk away and give the bank the keys. But the other side, the bank paid the seller real money for the house and the new owner signed a note to pay the debt. Many suggest that this serves the banks right for loaning the money so carelessly in the first place. Think twice about that, the money paid wasn't the bank's, it belonged to a depositor. Banks don't lose money, people do!
If we can agree that real estate is only the tip of the iceberg, then it becomes apparent that the financial banking system, is in a very precarious position. Throw in hedge funds and the visual aid is no longer to scale, it's not big enough (use your imagination). The Iceberg represents real money borrowed from someone who works for a living or has money in an investment vehicle. It doesn't belong to a hedge fund, bank, IRA or 401k, it belongs to real people.
Industries are downsizing and laying off people. The big auto companies and the airlines have reset their pay scale to be more competitive. The housing industry has [fill in the blank]. More people are looking for work. These major events should raise some alarm, but curiously no one seems to notice. The unemployment numbers are starting to add up.
Look for a major bankruptcy's like the one in 1932 when Ivar Kreuger the famous Swedish Match King committed suicide. The guy was the "Warren Buffet" of his time.
This is a slow but methodical meltdown. Real estate is where all of the castles have been built, and the stock market is our sand box to play in. Maybe Icebergs are a little like our government, most of it is hidden from view.
To a majority of Americans "The Economy" is just a concept, little understood. Most people have never studied basic economics. The "Group Think" is that Congress can fix what is broken. Congressional solutions are a little like trying to use your clothes dryer to dry the kitchen dishes and glassware. When the buzzer goes off, you can rest assured that everything is dry! You end up getting what you were promised, but it's not quite what you had in mind.