Category Archives: Housing Industry

Wall Street’s Supposedly Vacant Houses and Fish; Ann Curry’s House and the Harafish.

Some days on Wall Street, either you catch the fish or the harafish catches you.

Harafish is Egyptian and means the urban poor. It may be a slang term.

Bad things happen to vacant houses, when mortgage processors have gone rogue and the poor — that is, the homeless — have nowhere to go. NBC “Today” Show host Ann Curry just found out that a homeless man had been living in her empty $2.9 million townhouse on New York City’s Upper West side. The man was said to have been there for about a year. Curry and her husband have been renovating the house “for about eight years,” while living in Gramercy Park. It has been a magnet to other homeless persons too.

And why not? City shelters may have no space, and are sometimes dangerous. The homeless are chased out of public spaces like Central Park. Urban poor have been taking over rich people’s abandoned homes for centuries, just like in the novel The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz; although the story’s set in Egypt it rings a bell here.

The other fish story I’d been thinking of happened late last year. Remember when Bank of America changed the locks and shut off utilities to a house they had nothing to do with? A doctor came home from vacation and found signs all over his house saying Bank of America was foreclosing on it. The doctor had no mortgage with them, no connection whatever. He breaks open his door and the whole place reeks of rotting halibut and salmon he’d stored in his freezer before leaving — 75 pounds of it. If someone had been home, maybe that wouldn’t have… yeah, if a homeless person had been inside, maybe he’d have found the fish and taken them out before they made the place smell so bad. Maybe.

Either way, the Wall Street banks, mortgage industry, and the financial companies who helped create the changed economy we are now enjoying — are clearly responsible for a long, long chain of adverse events.

Happy New Year To All from Wall Street Bonuses

Wall Street posted all those great profits for the past year, and will be giving bonuses again, and even if Goldman Sachs is changing its bonus system, they’re acting as if it’s still a mystery why the housing sector hasn’t improved too. As Ilargi of theautomaticearth said, The economy has to recover for the housing industry to recover, not the other way around.

So what is “the economy”?

You and your job(s) and your bank accounts, your savings, stocks and bonds, your recent purchases, your loans to friends or customers, your mortgage payments, your rent, your businesses, the money that was stolen from you or you lost on the subway, how much you buy, how much you eat, how much you throw away;
your garden which yielded you bushels of tomatoes last year, your continuing use of your food dehydrator, your long showers and water usage, your energy usage, your car use and car payments, your (lack of )pay raise, how many days you took off work, your health insurance, your out-of-pocket medical bills, your childcare fees, your taxes, your Social Security payments, your Social Security income, your Medicare, your expectations, hopes and fears for the future;

and then the same for everybody else in the U.S.

The stock market is not the economy. The housing market is not the economy. Those two things are stuff some people invest in. They represent SOME of the activities of the economy.

Everything counts, not just those big indicators the media keep talking about. The economy is personal and public.