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"Flipper" Mentality:

Washington Post real estate chat:

The Lovely Penn Quarter, D.C.: My friends and I came up with the idea last year that we could make a living by buying condos, living in them for two years, selling for a big profit and repeating. The appreciation would be more than we could make by working and the profits would be tax free. What could be better, right?

So I bought my first condo in Penn Quarter at the end of last summer. Now all my friends have decided to hold off. They say that they aren't sure real estate is "it" anymore. But I'm counting on my condo to appreciate significantly over the next two years to help me pay down some credit card debt I've been carrying for a while.

My condo hasn't really gone up in value since last summer, but I'm thinking the market is just taking a healthy breather before skyrocketing again. Should I be getting worried at this point or are my friends just being chicken littles during the market's pause in appreciation? I don't want to own my place if its not going to increase in value soon. Help!

I suppose I shouldn't be too harsh, given that I missed out on a lot of appreciation over the last several years by not owning. But really, the idea that there are people out there who thought they could make a living indefinitely by "flipping" condos just boggles the mind. It makes me feel like I could make a living selling money trees (or maybe Brooklyn Bridges) to naifs. As I pointed out last June, the launch of "condoflip.com" was "a sign of the housing apocalypse."

Home Seller:
You sure do go on and on about the housing market. We get it; its a bubble and you want it to pop asap so that you don't have to over pay when you get around to buying a house.
5.5.2006 10:39pm
J.M. Robinson:
You ought not be too harsh considering you're not an expert in valuing real estate or economics in general, in my humble opinion. Specifically that you don't distinguish the particular and largely independent nature of real property markets from the industry of real estate more generally is discouraging.
5.5.2006 10:39pm
M (mail):
_Do_ you have a money tree you'd like to sell? For how much?
5.5.2006 10:49pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Homeseller, we are watching the gradual unraveling of one of the greatest speculative bubbles in human history, to the tune of many, many, billions of dollars. Given that interest rates are climbing (and causing the bubble to deflate), I won't come out particularly ahead unless prices go down a lot, and I don't expect my posts to have ANY effect on that. But watching a worldwide speculative bubble unwind is something that we rarely get to experience once (as we did in 2000) much less twice, and it's extremely, and inherently, interesting.
5.5.2006 10:50pm
Kate1999 (mail):
I'm not sure I agree with Bernstein's view that the housing bubble is inherently interesting: I suspect he thinks it's interesting because it has impacted his life over the last few years.

With that said, here was another pretty amusing question from the same chat session:
Washington, D.C.: Hi Maryann, I bought a condo in a new building in Logan Circle, and just closed and moved in 1 month ago. To my horror, in a 59 unit building, there are 13 lockboxes hanging out on the back railing. I checked an online realtor site, and found 10 listings for sale. When I bought my unit, I was on a wait list and was told I had the "chance" to buy because someone dropped out. Is there anyway I can use my rights as a condo owner to limit the number of units on sale at any given time? Can I pressure the developer to ease the situation?

Maryann Haggerty: I can't imagine any situation where you could prohibit someone from putting their property on the market. Read those condo docs -- they may prohibit more than a certain percentage of non-resident owners. (Or they may not.) If they do, lean on the developer to enforce his own rules.
5.5.2006 10:54pm
Kevin Bryan (mail) (www):
If home prices in Boston/DC/NY/Cal drop 25-50%, as it seems they must, it won't be an ahistoric pop of the bubble. In fact, it would be the 4th such major property bubble in the last 20 years (Cal late 80s, HK and Japan early 90s). The pattern of asset bubble ends -> money into property -> bubble pops in property isn't strange; it goes back to the Dutch Tulip Mania at least!

What I don't understand, David, are all the folks who seem to believe the status quo is sustainable. Do they realize that the only ones who can afford to buy right now are people who already own houses? Have they seen the number of properties nationwide being bought by people other than those looking to move in? Do they understand that there haven't been any major changes in US demographics over the last decade that could precipate such a shift? It boggles the mind.
5.5.2006 10:55pm
Kate1999 (mail):
There was this one, too, perhaps with special resonance for this thread:
Springfield, Va.: The poster from The Lovely Penn Quarter, D.C. is the essence of the real estate problem in this area and across the country -- people who want to magically make loads of money without working for it.

Is it wrong to grin at the delicious irony that he/she is now suffering from the same condition that he/she has pushed upon the rest of us?

Nothing like a little schadenfreude to end the week.

Maryann Haggerty: It was so perfect that I have a hard time believing it could be real, but ...
5.5.2006 11:00pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Kevin:
(1) It's different this time.
(2) Everyone wants to live in ___ (NY, Boston, LA, San Diego, etc.)
(3) Real estate always goes up.
(4) Prices may stabilize, but they never go down.
(5) They aren't making any more land.
5.5.2006 11:02pm
therut:
What I find interesting in reading these threads is someone even cares about the market. Outside of BiG Cities, and resort areas people just buy a home and live in it. Alot of times for their whole life. Imagine that.
5.5.2006 11:22pm
byomtov (mail):
the idea that there are people out there who thought they could make a living indefinitely by "flipping" condos just boggles the mind.

Can you say "day trader?"
5.5.2006 11:34pm
ThirdCircuitLawyer (mail):
The VC's real estate posts are very interesting. At a psychological level, they are reaffirming: Many of us have feared that we were burned by markets in the past, and following the bubble is a way of assuaging our fears (at least for renters). It's classic: Everyone who sat by as a market took off has felt that they were missing the boat, and watching the market fall is a form of revenge. It's like the kid who was picked on in high school coming to a reunion in a Mercedes, laughing at the jocks who are now driving junkers. Fascinating, indeed.
5.5.2006 11:40pm
David Sucher (mail) (www):
Buying long-term investments for shory-term gain is risky.
That's why they are called long-term investments.
5.6.2006 1:02am
Lev:
davidbernstein

Then there is Part Deux:

Dear God, please give me another boom and I won't piss it all away this time.
5.6.2006 1:12am
Lev:
I believe it was Herbert Stein who said: If things can't keep going the way they are, they won't.
5.6.2006 1:13am
Kevin Murphy:
So, what's the difference between the following two people?

A: Buys house in L.A. in 1997 for $300K. Still lives in it. Current value $1.1M

B: Buys house in L.A. in 1997 for $300K. Sells in 99 for $500K. Buys house for $450K, sells in 2001 for $650K. Buys house for $600K, sells in 2003 for $850K. Buys for $800K, sells in 2005 for $1M, buys house for $950K, still lives in it. Current value $1.1M

The difference is simple. Person B has been borrowing money, pocketing the gains, and if the bottom drops out of the market he walks on the loan. In CA purchase money loans are non-recourse. OF course, he'd be wise to get out at a wash if he can.

Person A has a house with $800K equity.

Person B has pocketed $850K less fees, with less than $200K of that invested in the current house. Possibly much less.

Then again, when the eventual last sale happens, B has money and no house, A has a house. But B is NOT crazy.
5.6.2006 1:21am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
I wonder if certain parties will have the will to follow the "property bubble" to its true origin - the dollar being an unbacked, fiat currency and its extreme manipulation (devaluation) by the Federal Reserve. A lot becomes possible with a fiat currency that can be manipulated by a central bank - frequent and prolonged wars, the hidden tax of inflation, asset bubbles of all types, etc.
5.6.2006 2:18am
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
I just hope I can sell this house and move before classes start in august *please dont pop* *please dont pop*.

Right now it is looking like I will make 50-70k on this house, which will fund a significant portion of my living and educational expenses over the next 3 years. I bought a cheap fixer-upper and have spent the past 2 years working on it. I dont feel that I am "making money without doing work." Laying floor is a collosal pain in the ass.
5.6.2006 2:22am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I just moved into a northern California rental. The owners (a Mexican couple) bought the property for almost $600,000 about 18 months ago. As they both have modest jobs, I can't imagine how they can afford this house unless they have other family members helping them pay. Their monthly costs must be nearly $3,000, which should be more than half of their combined monthly gross income. My rent does not cover their costs unless they made a huge down payment. I sold my own place in northern California to take another job in early 2005 giving me a net gain of about 10% per year over a period of 6 years. If the housing market corrects at some point in the future, I will buy, but for now I'm quite content to rent, it's a bargin.
5.6.2006 2:39am
Maniakes (mail) (www):
American Psikhushka,
There have been speculative bubbles without fiat money. The classic examples of bubbles, the Tulip bubble and the South Sea bubble, both took place in a monetary enviroment of competing commodity-backed currencies.
5.6.2006 2:56am
John McCall (mail):
Kevin Murphy's scenario is unfair: Person B's houses are appreciating in value significantly faster than Person A's. Person B keeps selling houses at some price P and buying another house at some price Q < P, but in the end he has a house of equal value. Either Person B is assumed to have a perfect eye for real estate bargains, or Person A ought to have a much more expensive house.
5.6.2006 3:09am
Bill Woolsey (mail):
Why is the income tax free? Isn't the income taxable capital gain--at least the part that isn't reinvested?

Also, doesn't this require that one move into progressively less attractive homes? You buy a condo, let it appreciate, sell it, and live off the gains. You reinvest the original principle, but this now buys a smaller, less attractive condo. When that appreciates, you sell it, live off the gains and reinvest the principle. Buying an even smaller, less attractive condo.

It does sound like the person who describes this "plan" is kind of stupid.

Living off capital gains from real estate is possible. Doing it with your own home is doubtful. And it certainly isn't tax free.
5.6.2006 8:37am
Jody (mail):
I believe the idea behind real estate speculation is to leverage appreciation gains to purchase additional houses/condos. For example start with a 200,000 house with 40,000 down which appreciates to 300,000. Sell it, now you have 140,000. Buy two 300,000 houses with 120,000 down, rent one out and use part of the 20,000 surplus to make payments.

Wait until they appreciate to 500,000, sell, pocket 400,000. Buy 3 houses (1,500,000) pay 300,000 down. Rent two out and use the 100,000 to help make payments.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

The key is that you capture 100% of a house's appreciation, but only have to pay 20% down. This process scales even faster with lower % down payments. Also with more people owning multiple properties (and always looking to buy more) demand shoots through the roof thereby increasing prices and helping out the appreciation process.

Flipping by itself shouldn't make you rich (you still gotta live somewhere). Leveraging appreciation gains to purchase multiple properties can.

The problems come when you can't make the payments (a problem that becomes more sensitive to macro conditions the more properties you hold - but less sensitive to micro conditions). This can come from running out of renters which means you're getting no help on payments or that rent drops significantly. Or you could've taken one of the more exotic loans to help purchase more homes faster and after a few years of not moving a property the payments spike up. Couple either with decreasing house prices and heavily leveraged multiple house owners get hit hard across the board and the bubble pops.

So 1) the example of a flipping a single house isn't representative of the real estate phenomenon (though to answer questions about why B's house appears to be appreciating faster, presumably B is making improvements to each house as B goes along - improving kitchens are supposed to be the most cost effective for flippers) 2) Kinda obvious, real popping occurs when payments can't be made. As such a recession will probably represent a bigger "needle" than rising interest rates (even those who didn't take exotic loans may have to sell). However, more needles make the bubble deflate faster.
5.6.2006 9:22am
Cornellian (mail):
Here's hoping the bubble bursts in a big way before I have to buy.
5.6.2006 9:26am
Raw_Data (mail):
"In CA purchase money loans are non-recourse."

That's an interesting claim.
Is there basis to it?
5.6.2006 9:38am
davidbernstein (mail):
There's no doubt that one can make money speculating in real estate, and no doubt some condo flippers made money and got out. But not only did this guy make condo flipping a life plan, AND expect to make more money flipping one condo every two years than he could working, he came up with this plan after condo prices in D.C. had already quadrupled, and still seems to believe that condo prices can only go up.

In anything resembling a normal market, short-term real estate speculation is tough, because given transaction costs, you generally need a 10% increase in price just to break even.
5.6.2006 9:58am
DK:
The income is tax free because capital gains on homes are specifically exempted from taxes until they meet a rather large cap.

I found the washington post chat really depressing because the chat host was so ridiculously noncomittal. Oh, so you thought you could live entirely on home appreciation without working? Well, gee, I don't know whether you'll succeed or not! She is to bad investment as Paula Abdul is to bad singing, or as an enabler is to an alcoholic.
5.6.2006 9:59am
Positive Dennis:
You can make money doing this if you build (build in the sense you do it yourself) your own home. Even if you break even (including the wages you would have recieved if you paid yourself) the value of your labor will accrue to you tax free.

Positive Dennis
5.6.2006 10:15am
Adam K:

The income is tax free because capital gains on homes are specifically exempted from taxes until they meet a rather large cap.


Last I looked, it's a $250K exemption ($500K if married), but only if the home qualifies as your primary residence.
5.6.2006 10:17am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Maniakes-

Assuming you are correct, fiat currency and central bank manipulation certainly don't help matters. And with fiat currency you have multiple bubbles - the increasing supply of money flows from one asset class to another after each collapse. I don't know what stops that - maybe a currency collapse.

In general-

What's this "getting rich without working" crap? Did this place suddenly turn into a communist re-education camp? Most of these people worked for their down payments, and they work to pay the mortgage payments. They are putting their money at risk, and if it works out they deserve to be rewarded for it. If it doesn't work out, they suffer the losses. That's how a capitalist system works. If you don't like it there are several communist countries you can move to. And before the conversation turns to unions they invest their pensions in real estate, stocks, and bonds too.

What's this perception that putting your money at risk shouldn't be rewarded? It's like every generation is going to have to learn for itself that communism is worthless nonsense after inflicting bloodshed, theft, and misery on millions upon millions of people.
5.6.2006 10:34am
Raw_Data (mail):
"Unearned" income (in terms of the US Tax Code) is the best kind of income.
5.6.2006 10:40am
Ted Frank (www):
Kevin Murphy's "flip" scenario doesn't work for Person B.

1) Person B's transactions fees are $180,000 plus state recordation taxes. In California at least, his property taxes are three times as high as Person A's, but that's an anomaly we can ignore.

2) The model assumes a 20/80 mortgage each time. Add another $50,000 in after-tax interest expenses to Person B's account over the nine years, though perhaps that's counteracted because he invested his equity wisely.

3) If Person B has an income that permits him to have an $800k mortgage in the last trade, why did he buy a $300k house in the first place? Even if he's a lawyer, his income has doubled, not tripled over that time.
5.6.2006 10:46am
Pete Freans (mail):
I believe in many markets, prices will not only stabilize, but drop as flippers and other mortgagors are desperate to make their monthly payments. As interest rates continue to rise, many flippers late into the market will choose to cut their losses. This translates into a buyers market which will give those spectators to the housing boom an opportunity to capitalize on the flippers' mistakes. Yes, your interest payments will be slightly higher, but I would much rather assume a higher interest rate on a smaller priniciple than a lower interest rate on an bloated, overpriced home. You can use the tax benefits of a higher interest rate to offset your financial liability and you have a smaller principle to tackle. Of course finding THE dream home for your family is incalcuable.
5.6.2006 10:51am
Smithy (mail) (www):
The liberals have promoted a something for nothing approach to making money for years. Witness the tech bubble that Clinto created. This is just another manifestation of this. The trouble is that when the bubble bursts, it isn't just the liberal speculators who pay -- it's the entire country that feels the consequences.
5.6.2006 12:00pm
Raw_Data (mail):
Clinton created the tech boom...in league with ZOG, I assume?
5.6.2006 12:24pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The liberals have promoted a something for nothing approach to making money for years.

That's rich! It's the Right that glorifies the idea that investment income is better than income from wages and should be taxed at a lower rate. That the Paris Hilton's of the world should pay lower taxes on their unearned income than someone who is working forty hours a week at whatever hard, dangerous job you can imagine. That inherited wealth shouldn't be taxed.
5.6.2006 12:26pm
Peter Wimsey:
While I'm sure the housing bubble is unendingly interesting to the minority who actually live in an affected area (urban NE, DC + subs, FL, and parts of CA) and are interested in selling or buying, and at least theoretically interesting to people who own homes in those areas and are not planning on selling, it is of little interested to people who don't live in those areas. And should have little effect on the country as a whole.

AFAICT, only a a very small number of people actually try condo-flipping - far fewer than were ever involved in day trading, for example.
5.6.2006 1:03pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
The notion that income from capital - interest, dividends, rent, capital gains, etc. is "unearned" is pretty much nonsense. Someone created value to earn that capital in the first place, and if they put it at risk they deserve to be rewarded for it. (The exception is people that accumulated capital by stealing it - in those cases the capital should be seized and returned to the rightful owner.) There are plenty of places around the world where there is a lot of labor but no capital - those places are poor. So capital is a necessary component of the economy, and those that invest their capital deserve to be rewarded for it.

Same thing for intellectual property - royalties, licensing, etc.

This is not a partisan issue - politicians on both sides tend to be wealthy and they all benefit to some extent or another from "passive" income.

In fact, passive income is a crucial component to class mobility. I would guess that most people who have moved up in economic status have employed "passive" income to do it at some point. In many cases there is no other way to do it. Are you saying that you want to stop this as a way of class mobility? Do you want a permanent caste or serf system - your father was a landscaper so you must be one too? Or do you just want people that you like to move up in economic status, and the people you don't like to become poorer - the Nazi model for economic status?
5.6.2006 1:06pm
dick thompson (mail):
Freder,

The difference is that the investors will invest their money and create jobs for people. The liberals who get the something for nothing will do nothing with it and thus not create jobs. The ones doing something for nothing are from opposite ends of the spectrum. Note also that the liberal supporters (see Hollywood liberals et al) are more than happy to partake of the investment credit and then preach against it. See who screams the loudest when their toys are taken away. Compare the requirements of Cheney and Kerry as they travel. Check the Babs manques and their requirements for travel with the private jets because they don't want to mix with the common people. Hypocrisy, thy name is LLL dems.
5.6.2006 1:06pm
lucia (mail) (www):
A: Buys house in L.A. in 1997 for $300K. Still lives in it. Current value $1.1M

B: Buys house in L.A. in 1997 for $300K. Sells in 99 for $500K. Buys house for $450K, sells in 2001 for $650K. Buys house for $600K, sells in 2003 for $850K. Buys for $800K, sells in 2005 for $1M, buys house for $950K, still lives in it. Current value $1.1M


Oh good! A quiz. Many have already mentioned taxes. Here's another difference:

If the Guy B used a realestate agent and paid a commission of 6% on each transation (the average in the US), his net "gain" is $754 K. Gal A who bought and held has a net gain of $800K. So she's ahead $46K!

If Guy B lived in the house, he also probably paid moving expenses. Guy B almost certainly spent money to improve each house. If Guy B didn't live in the house, he had to pay rent during this period.

For Guy B to pull ahead of Gal A, he either needs to make much, much more on each transaction, act as his own sales agent, rent the unit, and/or do something to offset the costs of selling, moveing. Most of the things he would need to do are called "work"; when other people do them for you, you have to pay them.

Also whether you make money or lose money, you still need to file your taxes. Someone needs to do some paperwork and devote a bit of timekeeping track of the new mortgage, moving expenses, improvements. Guy B has a lot more paper work to track! This is an activity may do not enjoy and call "work".

I'm sure there are people who can flip properties and make a living. Doing it consistently is called "work".
5.6.2006 1:24pm
Tennessean (mail):
Those who think that the purported bubble is only in play in DC, NE, CA, and FL should take a look at any other growing area (e.g., Nashville, Las Vegas).
5.6.2006 1:47pm
SenatorX (mail):
Last I looked, it's a $250K exemption ($500K if married), but only if the home qualifies as your primary residence.

Aye and the qualification is you must have lived in the residence 2 of the last 5 years. Clearly though falling in this range is huge help if you are trying to profit.

The poor sucker in the blog is going to be hurt. The bubble has way popped, for those that are still clueless. Not sure what other indicators you need than for sale signs everywhere and inventory going through the roof. Interest rates going up, cost of goods going up, value of dollar going down, and even things like insurance in Florida all deflate the housing market. Clearly condos get hit first as it is a softer market and that is what everyone has been seeing for the last quarter plus. We are starting to see housing prices drop 30k+ in north Florida in areas that are not even considered "bubbles" really.

Oh and just to throw a wrench in that Person A/B puzzle. We have assumed Person A didn't refi under the barrage of low interest offers and then spent most of the equity loan on crap thinking (falsely) that the money well would always be filling.
The well is drying up fast and it won't rain for another 5-8 years so people should position themselves accordingly. Liquidate fast and hard (...and you are almost too late) then wait to buy when prices are low, or plan to cover the monthly costs on RE till the next boom comes around.
5.6.2006 2:04pm
David in DC:
Interesting property for sale in the DC area that I noticed on a walk last night:

http://tinyurl.com/hf9mb

Built in 1779, it is in Brookeville, MD. It is currently known as the Madison House. During the War of 1812 Madison fled Washington just before the British burned it. (Fodder for W&M when they excoriate one of our other stalwart allies...haha.) He stopped in Brookeville and stayed here. Brookeville was the capital of the US for one day and this was the "White House". Also, the house was a stop along the Underground Railroad. Decades after the civil war a secret room was found under the family room during some renovations.

All in all, a bargain at a cool $995,000 :-)

Uncle Tom's Cabin was recently bought by the county for a million dollars.
5.6.2006 2:17pm
Fishbane (mail):
In fact, passive income is a crucial component to class mobility. I would guess that most people who have moved up in economic status have employed "passive" income to do it at some point.

Bingo. This is the secret.

I grew up extremely poor (we didn't have running water, and stole electricity). I'm now 34, and my net worth just crossed the 7 digit mark a couple of months ago. I'm in the process of buying a nice house in rural NE, moving away from Brooklyn, and I owe it all to working my ass off and building and buying passive income streams. The ironic part is that the most significant of them have been IP, and I don't personally agree with most extant notions of IP. But, they're there, and who am I to complain?
5.6.2006 4:28pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The difference is that the investors will invest their money and create jobs for people. The liberals who get the something for nothing will do nothing with it and thus not create jobs. The ones doing something for nothing are from opposite ends of the spectrum.

If you are earning money from investments, that says absolutely nothing about how that money is spent. I could make $100,000 dollars a year from a trust fund my daddy set up for me and blow it all on whores and drugs. I have not contributed anything to society and the return on my investments have only enriched drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes.

On the other hand, I could be a union plumber working sixty hours a week making the same $100,000 a year. If I spend frugally and invest wisely my excess income would actually be creating wealth because it would be invested in things useful to the economy, even stocks. Yet that plumber would be taxed at a higher rate than the trust-fund brat (and have to contribute to Medicaire/Medicaid and Social Security) because his $100,000 came from wages, not investment income.
5.6.2006 4:59pm
DonBoy (mail) (www):
American Psikhushka has linked two propositions that are very different. One proposition is that, in order to encourage useful risk-taking, we find it useful to have a system where risk-taking that is intended to create value is rewarded when it is successful. The other is that risk-taking, in and of itself, is morally deserving of reward when it "pays off" in whatever way is relevant; stated like that, it's obvious that some risks are "just gambling", and not of any moral value. (Which is not to say that you're aren't entitled to your payout from the casino if you win, but it's not the same kind of statement as in the first proposition.) The question is, is flipping condos more like useful risk-taking, or more like just gambling? Note Beerslurpy upthread, who put time and money into actually improving his property -- that's what I'm calling "useful risk-taking", but it's not what we're mostly talking about as "flipping".

And, on the 1990s tech-fueled stock market: as I recall the talking points back then, the Republican view was that the runup that ended in 2000/2001 was the inevitable result of Reagan's economic policies from the 1980s. This remained the story up until after the market crash, at which point the 1990s were retroactively named the "Clinton bubble", and Reagan had no longer ever had anything to do with it. See Cato from February 2001, for instance.
5.6.2006 5:04pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
DonBoy-

Well that's the thing - socialists and communists (and others) will call everything "gambling" because they want to seize everyone's property and "manage" (actually control) it themselves. (Making themselves the new "elite", of course, but they don't like to emphasize that to the "proletariat". No busybody likes to admit that at the heart of the issue they just want to be able to tell you what to do. Often this effort is directed to making sure everyone has less than them - no matter how much smarter, educated, harder working, creative, etc. other people are.) Austrian economists want people to be left alone to make their own decisions with their own property.

Take real estate. Some things can tell you that investment is becoming speculation - replacement values, comparisons to other areas, rent v. own comparisons, rate of price increases, etc. - but there are always factors you may be missing. Better to let people make their own decisions with their own property. (Of course socialists/communists want to make decisions with other peoples' property.) If you want to try to change their minds do it with persuasion - not by stealing from them using the government as proxy.
5.6.2006 9:03pm
mr.meade (mail):
I guess I must be some sort of Communist, since I think all forms of income should be treated equal by governmental tax-collecting agencies. Tax investments, corporate income, inheritances, labor, flipping condos or burgers, cutting hair, pensions, and whatever else at one rate, and then all this class-warfare nonsensical talk of "rewards" and other perceived entitlements can go back to the country club where it belongs (yes, my tongue is in cheek.)
5.7.2006 2:15am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Freder-

Fine - if taxes are higher for earned income versus "unearned" or passive income lets cut taxes on earned income until they're at parity. And then keep going until a flat tax of about 15% or less. Of course spending will have to be reduced as well, and also the size and scope of government. Glad we agree, heh heh.

As far as "trust fund brats" go, their families created tremendous value (exception being theft) at some point, and have a right to spend their money on whatever they want, including their kids. As long as they aren't violating anyone's rights or property, it's really not anyone's business. Of course if they are violating someone's rights or property they should face the consequences, just like anyone else.
5.7.2006 2:55am
Raw_Data (mail):
So I assume all the bears have shorted the home builders - Toll Bros, Centex etc -- and will soon be rolling in the dough.
5.8.2006 2:01am
SenatorX (mail):
So I assume all the bears have shorted the home builders - Toll Bros, Centex etc -- and will soon be rolling in the dough.

Yes.
5.8.2006 10:00am