Monday, January 05, 2009
David Lereah's mea culpa first came to my attention weeks ago and has been noted on many other blogs and websites, the former Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors finally fessing up to the fact that, for many years, he was simply a shill for the real estate industry.
At the time, it seemed like interesting news, but, even more so, it was a sad and pathetic development that really wasn't worth commenting on.
Then his mug showed up in the January print edition of Money Magazine (see below) which, around here, is normally bathroom reading material and, as a result, perused after sometimes lengthy delays from the day it arrives (there are many other highly objectionable items in the current issue of Money which, hopefully, will be enumerated in the days or weeks ahead).
All of that still didn't cause the story to breach the threshold that would cause something to show up here, but when this appeared at CNN/Money a short time ago ... well, that was it.
It was as if Money Magazine, perhaps guilt ridden after serving as such good "cheerleaders" along with Mr. Lereah a few years back, was more than happy to produce a scapegoat who would happily confess so they wouldn't have to.
Here's a brief history as to the reasons I might say something like this:
Note that the first item above is memorable for the following pearl from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, less than a year before he retired:
"Even if there are declines in prices, the significant run-up to date has so increased equity in homes that only those who have purchased very recently, purchased just before prices actually literally go down, are going to have problems".They were dispensing all kinds of horrible (and costly) advice in 2005.
Anyway, Money Magazine has enough things to worry about now that its millions of readers are starting to catch on to the fact that "stocks for the long run" might mean much longer of a run than they had ever imagined.
It makes sense for them to attempt to disassociate themselves from any complicity in the burst real estate bubble, given the current condition of equity markets.
But, back to real estate and Mr. Lereah...
To get the full effect, you have to see the scanned image from the print edition:
Pathetic, just pathetic...
Leaning against his granite countertops when hundreds of thousands of former homeowners who thought he was telling the truth back in 2005 had to turn their granite countertops over to the bank, the little smirk, the casual tone, the change in outlook, the ham-handed acknowledgment that he was wrong but that he was just doing his job, so, it was understandable that he might be wrong and him taking responsibility for being wrong now is quite a noble thing to do.