The non-existent IMF/EU demands in exchange for a Hungarian loan

Viktor Orbán is making a liar out of me. Just twenty-four hours ago I gingerly put forth my opinion that the Hungarian prime minister may at last have realized that he is at the end of his rope and that an agreement with the IMF/EU is absolutely necessary for the sake of Hungary’s economic health. I was encouraged by Péter Szijjártó’s announcement that Viktor Orbán will pay an official visit to Germany and will have a lengthier talk with Chancellor Angela Merkel. I also thought that the Azeri fiasco made Orbán understand that a return to orthodox, well tested policies is the only solution to Hungary’s economic ills.

And then came this morning when I learned that Viktor Orbán is refusing to negotiate on the basis of a list of demands that the IMF allegedly handed to Mihály Varga, the chief Hungarian negotiator. The first question that crops up: when did this letter arrive? After all, only yesterday Orbán talked most optimistically about the negotiations. He emphasized that the positions are not too far apart and that there is a desire on both sides to conclude the deal. If all was well yesterday, then this letter had to arrive sometime late evening. Most unlikely.

Moreover, and much more important, the IMF doesn’t normally hand a laundry list of specific demands to the negotiators of a country asking for a loan. Instead, the country’s financial team puts forth proposals that they hope will satisfy the IMF’s demands for a sound economic policy. The finance minister with the assistance of the staff of the ministry works out a plan that best suits the particular country.

The Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary delegations gathered yesterday for a two-day retreat in Sárvár, close to the Austrian border. According to information received after the conclusion of the afternoon meeting, although Orbán gave a fairly lengthy talk he said nary a word about the Azerbaijan fiasco. On the other hand, it was known already yesterday that the IMF negotiations would be discussed. Antal Rogán, the new whip, “asked [Orbán] to inform the parliamentary delegation about the demands the IMF and the European Commission presented to the Hungarian government.”

Not surprisingly, it was Magyar Nemzet that already yesterday managed to get the list of alleged demands which they published in this morning’s print edition. According to this published list, the IMF demands a decrease in pensions; raising the retirement age; lowering the size of child support; raising the VAT; a privatization of state properties; restricting the number of travel allowances for selected groups; a decrease of the bureaucracy; the introduction of property taxes; lowering the expenses of local governments; a repeal of the bank levies; and government assistance to ailing banks. In addition, Magyar Nemzet noted that the transaction tax might be a problem.

By this morning the list grew even longer. Some of the people present who talked to members of the media mentioned a very long list of perhaps 20-25 items, including several that Magyar Nemzet reported: a cutback in the salaries of government and public employees; a generally applied property tax; the lifting of state control of energy prices; the privatization of state properties; and a decrease in expenses at the local level.

Doubts surfaced very quickly about these so-called demands of the IMF, especially since members of the media remembered that Mihály Varga, undersecretary in charge of the negotiations, specifically denied that the issue of property taxes was even mentioned during the talks. All in all, most reporters doubted that the Hungarian government had received any list of demands yesterday, certainly not these demands.

Then I remembered that András Simor, chairman of the Hungarian National Bank, mentioned on August 27 that the negotiating IMF-EU team had left a letter with the Hungarian government back in July and that the continuation of the negotiations would depend on the government’s response. At the time rumor had it that the Hungarian government hadn’t responded at all. I asked myself: could that be the list of so-called demands?

Viktor Orbán didn’t ponder the niceties of historical accuracy or internal consistency. This morning he received “the endorsement” of the parliamentary delegation and this afternoon he announced his decision on Facebook to “reject” these demands. He announced that the steps the IMF requires are not in the interest of Hungary and “at that price” the Hungarian government is not interested in a continuation of the negotiations. The Fidesz-KDNP delegation “authorized” the cabinet to work out an alternative plan in the next few days.

It took only a few minutes after that announcement for the forint to drop as much as 1.7 percent before paring its losses. Investor belief that Hungary will conclude a deal with the IMF has kept the forint strong. Just this year the forint has gained 9.5 percent against the euro. But gains, as we all know, can quickly turn into losses if the investing rationale becomes a fairy tale.

Both AP and Reuters immediately reported on Viktor Orbán’s decision and the news reached all the major newspapers within minutes. The funniest headline describing the affair appeared in the online paper Business Insider: “Hungary Just Flipped the Bird to the IMF over Bailout Terms.”

But just as the press got excited about Viktor Orbán as one of those Europeans who are getting fed up with austerity measures, it turned out that the “list of demands” by the IMF is a figment of the Hungarian prime minister’s imagination. In no time Index got hold of the letter András Simor mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It was this letter, it seems, that Orbán decided to call a list of hard-and-fast demands on the part of the IMF. It turned out that there are no specific demands in the letter, only the long repeated request to implement measures the IMF and the Commission have been urging for years. There is nothing in the letter about the overhaul of the personal income tax regime or social spending. They do, however, want a restoration of the rights of the Constitutional Court, a demand blithely omitted from the official Hungarian reading of the text. The letter also asked the Hungarian government to give up the idea of a transaction tax on the Hungarian National Bank.

I really don’t know what to think. Magyar Nemzet, most likely relying on government sources, publishes a bogus list that the prime minister of the country confirms as genuine.

So, what are the specific suggestions that the IMF made in July? When the ball was then in Hungary’s court?  There were three items: (1) an exemption of the Hungarian National Bank from the financial transaction tax; (2) phasing out the special tax on banks and telecom companies;  and (3) a restoration of the rights of the Constitutional Court in dealing with budgetary issues.

In general terms, the IMF/EU want to see: (1) expenditure cuts; (2) a simplified tax system that burdens the private sector less; (3) incentives to boost employment and economic growth (partly through taxation); (4) lower burdens on companies and banks so that lending may start to grow; (5) regaining investor confidence; (6) transparent and calculable medium-term economic policy and regulatory environment; and (7) reforms (public transport and the curtailing of local government spending).

I think it is worth mentioning that Index makes it clear in the article on the true content of the IMF/EU letter that it is a highly guarded document handled as a secret record. Yet the reporter of Index was allowed to read the five-page letter and to take notes. Surely, there are some, most likely highly placed individuals in the government who consider the policies of the Orbán government so injurious to the country that they are ready to bring secret documents to light.

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129 comments

  1. Oh Charlie, Charlie, you are ARE the confused one! You made a comment about the USA mortgage crisis and I responded that your analysis was shall we say mere hearsay and not factual, so don’t pull that stay in the kitchen with me you moronic Londoner would be Hungarian macho man – and than produce a counter argument with your view on what took place in Hungary. Good Lord all these apples and oranges mixing is giving me a headache first thing in the morning. Adieu smart man.

  2. Zsuzsa :
    I do the best I can to support Canadian industry. I buy Canadian whenever I can. And yes, I am willing to pay the higher price. The product is always better and lasts longer. I am willing to go to 3 different stores to buy B.C. potatoes. And sometimes I have to, because we are inundated with Washington and Idaho produce.

    Despicable selfishness. Do you know how many poor Chinese kids you are depriving from a decent life when you refuse to pay them decent wages for the (undoubtedly crappy) products they put together? You should buy two so they together will last longer then your Canadian thing. Don’t you have enough already in your rich country? 🙂

    How did have wound up in Canada anyway? You spun the big wheel of countries with red and blue stripes on it – communism and capitalism – and it stopped at Canada. Sounds good. Easy to pronounce. Gosh, two more pegs on the wheel and you’d be living in Cuba. Hola, Zsuzsa! By the way is that a communist country? It used to be the same Russian satellite as you categorized Hungary but now the Russians are gone what is it? Please let me call them communists!

    As far as the collapsing, rotten dinosaur is concerned (the US) we are doing good. Thank you for asking. We’ve been in bigger doodoo in the past. We will climb out. A whole century passed and we still did not collapse. Maybe in the next. Despite of the predictions of the “moral vultures” this darn thing keeps changing but never collapses. These birds are watching societies from above waiting for the moment when these systems trip then come closer and start pulling them apart …

  3. Zsuzsa :
    It’s not the cheap loans that caused the US mortgage crisis. It was the result of outright banking fraud and it could happen because of their unregulated banking system. It didn’t happen in Canada, because the Bank of Canada would not allow it. So don’t blame the Americans who lost their homes, the crisis was created by the banks and was not the result of over borrowing. That’s a myth. This is another example of talk talk talk, simplifications and deliberate misleading. You are on the street, so that’s must be your own fault. This is typical Americanism, not capitalism.

    I disagree with this assessment. Nobody blames those who lost their houses (although they can blame themselves for stupidity, no smart person takes a loan that s/he cannot pay back). The reason the loans were so cheap was not the banks’ fault, it was the government’s fault. The government, through its loan guarantee agencies (Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) wanted to enable “the American dream”, the ownership of a house to everyone, regardless of their income. Thus it loosened the requirements for guaranteeing the loans to the banks. The banks were not stupid, they took advantage of the free money. And that is how the crazy real estate market started, until it collapsed.

    Lately banks have been trying to recover some of the monies they lost by foreclosing properties with unpaid loans (people are just walking away from houses they cannot pay for, many of them now worth half of what the loan on them is). There are so many cases like this, that banks hired people to sign papers required during the foreclosure procedure, since the people who need to sign cannot keep up with the work. Lawyers are after the bank for this “fraud”. But nobody is denying that the foreclosures are legit.

  4. gdfxx :

    Zsuzsa :
    It’s not the cheap loans that caused the US mortgage crisis. It was the result of outright banking fraud and it could happen because of their unregulated banking system. It didn’t happen in Canada, because the Bank of Canada would not allow it. So don’t blame the Americans who lost their homes, the crisis was created by the banks and was not the result of over borrowing. That’s a myth. This is another example of talk talk talk, simplifications and deliberate misleading. You are on the street, so that’s must be your own fault. This is typical Americanism, not capitalism.

    I disagree with this assessment. Nobody blames those who lost their houses (although they can blame themselves for stupidity, no smart person takes a loan that s/he cannot pay back). The reason the loans were so cheap was not the banks’ fault, it was the government’s fault. The government, through its loan guarantee agencies (Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) wanted to enable “the American dream”, the ownership of a house to everyone, regardless of their income. Thus it loosened the requirements for guaranteeing the loans to the banks. The banks were not stupid, they took advantage of the free money. And that is how the crazy real estate market started, until it collapsed.
    Lately banks have been trying to recover some of the monies they lost by foreclosing properties with unpaid loans (people are just walking away from houses they cannot pay for, many of them now worth half of what the loan on them is). There are so many cases like this, that banks hired people to sign papers required during the foreclosure procedure, since the people who need to sign cannot keep up with the work. Lawyers are after the bank for this “fraud”. But nobody is denying that the foreclosures are legit.

    I have to agree with you; those bad, bad ultra right wing governments should never have given a free reign to the banks to regulate themselves. Regulation my foot! So then banks throwing toxic mortgages and selling them in bundles to unsuspecting investors and to stupid governments is really somebody elses fault. Yeh, the devil made them do it. Gimme a break! May the ideals of the endless American pyramid schemes live on. Riiiigt.

  5. Thanks An, exactly. I did post earlier but my post didn’t show – again – I wonder if it will appear later as it did before. I am starting to think my views need to be scrutinized. Oh well maybe I should leave this happy place.

  6. Zsuzsa :
    Thanks An, exactly. I did post earlier but my post didn’t show – again – I wonder if it will appear later as it did before. I am starting to think my views need to be scrutinized. Oh well maybe I should leave this happy place.

    Leave? Why ever? You have opinions; you marshal facts behind them; you care. Whatever those opinions are, here you will find people who take them seriously, although of course you will read comments principally from those who dispute them.

    Stay. Please stay.

  7. Zsuzsa :

    Thanks An, exactly. I did post earlier but my post didn’t show – again – I wonder if it will appear later as it did before. I am starting to think my views need to be scrutinized. Oh well maybe I should leave this happy place.

    If you refer to some kind of censorship here I’m afraid you’re wrong.Wordpress occasionally wthout any rhyme or reason ask me to approve comments. Sometimes my own. After 7:00 p.m. I’m normally not at my computer and therefore the comments appear only next morning when I wake up.

    Although I don’t agree you about the IMF and the banks in general but I certainly would never interfere with your postings.

  8. Zsuzsa, So what do you think about the Latina maid in New York City, who bought two townhouses in Queens? The poor gal, got duped by greedy capitalists? The people who lost their houses were all the ones who clearly could not afford them in the first place. They were were gambling on two things: 1. The price go higher and they sell the house 2. Uncle Sam will give them money to keep it. Come on. Capitalism is maybe evil but common sense is not.

    There is another piece in the puzzle. That is the CDS. The credit default swap. Basically a insurance on these mortgage backed securities. CDS was not regulated the same way as insurance, no backing assets were required. This is by my opinion that fueled the mortgage boom. No problem with mortgage backed securities, who cares they are fake AAA, they are insured (no risk). So give me more and more … So the industry started cranking out mortgages, the sub-prime category was born, the “undocumented-dirt-poor-immigrant” category was born and the pyramid scheme started. It wasn’t really a pyramid scheme. It was rather like the game when the music is on and you dance around a bunch of chairs and when the music stops you have to sit down. Whoever still stands loses. If all goes well AIG will be the one without a chair and US government will hand them one. Of course when the dance stopped a few banks also stood standing.

    Definitely the government regulations are to blame, because nothing illegal happened. But taking an adjusted rate mortgage with a 1% teaser rate that goes up to 15% in 5 years with 70% debt income ratio is not the “system’s” fault.

  9. Thank Eva. That darn WordPress! I thought it was just Blogger. Some of my oldest foodie friends have been unable to post of late. Thanks Wondercat for the kind words but I don’t have the time. Please don’t respond haha. I haven’t been commenting on the new posts. I want to go back to lurking. Petofi I promise I will write. I am making doughnuts and preserving ketchup. See Charlie, maybe I rather cook. But not because you told me to.

  10. Zsuzsa :
    I have to agree with you; those bad, bad ultra right wing governments should never have given a free reign to the banks to regulate themselves. Regulation my foot! So then banks throwing toxic mortgages and selling them in bundles to unsuspecting investors and to stupid governments is really somebody elses fault. Yeh, the devil made them do it. Gimme a break! May the ideals of the endless American pyramid schemes live on. Riiiigt.

    “Unsuspecting investors”? What’s that animal?

    Aren’t you contradicting to yourself? Gimme a break! Everybody was part of the scheme. From the hedge funds to all the way to the homebuyers. One more thing just to show how evil I am. I got my super low mortgage and my house with 97% LTV in the middle of this frenzy. I can’t even say that the government is wasting my tax money for bailouts 🙂

  11. This has not only been a problem in the USA, but also in many European countries, Spain and Hungary I know about. There just were too many houses built and people left their old houses/apartments – in the Canary (we’ve been there on holiday) you see thousands of empty apartments in large complexes (some of them finished, some not …9 and I’ve read somewhere that all together there are more than a million “un-needed” and empty apartments.

    Other people moved into bigger places – leaving the other houses empty, in Hungary e g.
    Even here around Héviz (which some people call the richest part of Hungary) there are many old houses/new apartments/hootels/restaurants for sale – many of the owners/builders went bankrupt.

    Just a few days ago we saw a report on German tv about people in the USA who lost their home of 30 years because the guy lost his job. In 30 years they had not paid back the original loans – instead they piled loan on loan to buy shiny new things like cars and computers …

    I also know personally a couple here who bought an apartment for 6 mio Forint – and took out a loan of 8 mio Forint, spending the rest of the money …

    Now they have to pay back at least 10 mio – because the loan was denominated in CHF …

    So who’s to blame ? The guys who sold these loans or the stupid people themselves ?

  12. wolfi :
    n 30 years they had not paid back the original loans – instead they piled loan on loan to buy shiny new things like cars and computers …

    Haha, a shiny new computer …

    Exactly. Because of the low rates and easy approval the refinance market was also booming. People took out second mortgages with the inflated house values as collateral. Most of these home equity loans were adjustable rate mortgages. Now whose fault is that? Let me guess. The evil bankers who sit on big sacks with the dollar sign on them and wear cylinder hats … at least the teapublicans say so.

  13. London Calling! (Post attempt 2!)

    Oh! ZsuZsa! ZsuZsa! ZsuZsa!

    I think you have had a senior moment! – And it’s quite typical of some people to get nasty when they are not confident of their ground. “Moronic Londoner, would-be Hungarian macho man” (I’ve made more sense of it with correct punctuation) is an interesting concept – but I think Hungarian macho-man would not have been using a sewing machine like I have today!

    Your insult is a bit too strong for Eva’s blog – but anyway it’s unnecessary. I accept your apology(1)

    Au contraire – now look at your comment #39:

    “……..Meanwhile the same leaders recklessly borrowed money and promptly frittered all the money away. Western banks moved in and just like in the good old USA the people were given personal loans they could not afford and now Hungary is bulging at the seams with homeless families………”,

    This was the first time that American Loans entered the debate – introduced by you – and I only countered your argument. I accept your apology(2).

    I think you should go and lie down for a while – but don’t let the Pogácsa burn. And try and leave the cooking sherry alone?

    Hearsay – not factual? Really ZsuZsa – you do need to have a sound basis for your statements – what on earth do you mean? Are you on the same planet?

    Maybe you can take the woman out of Hungary – but you can’t take Hungary out of the woman?

    I anticipate it’s probably Au Revoir confused woman – although I might prefer Adieu.
    However drop the insults.

    (However no need to respond – I see the regulars are tearing you to shreds).

    Regards

    Charlie

  14. Zsuzsa :
    Thank Eva. That darn WordPress! I thought it was just Blogger. Some of my oldest foodie friends have been unable to post of late. Thanks Wondercat for the kind words but I don’t have the time. Please don’t respond haha. I haven’t been commenting on the new posts. I want to go back to lurking. Petofi I promise I will write. I am making doughnuts and preserving ketchup. See Charlie, maybe I rather cook. But not because you told me to.

    Oh, no! Please don’t!

    We are doomed. Every time when somebody shows up and argues with intelligence and wit after a while decides to go back to lurking mode. Depressing. Don’t give it up Zsuzsa. We are really bored of Kovach …

  15. London Calling!

    Honest ZsuZsa – I tried but after 47secs I got bored with the patronising drivel.

    About as relevant as some of your other contributions.

    Regards

    Charlie

  16. Ach, CharlieH. Remember H L Mencken’s postcard, sent to EVERY correspondent on NO MATTER WHAT theme: “Dear Sir or Madam: Thank you for your opinion. You may be right. Kind regards…” — says it all, nessy pah?

  17. Has this been mentioned already ? (I really don’t know, too much going on right now)
    http://www.facebook.com/DemocracyInHungary

    This “United for Democracy in Hungary” is a really good FB community, has a lot of links – of course also to Hungarian Spectrum!

    If I weren’t on facebook already it would motivate me to join!

  18. Eva S. Balogh :

    Zsuzsa :
    Thanks An, exactly. I did post earlier but my post didn’t show – again – I wonder if it will appear later as it did before. I am starting to think my views need to be scrutinized. Oh well maybe I should leave this happy place.

    If you refer to some kind of censorship here I’m afraid you’re wrong.Wordpress occasionally wthout any rhyme or reason ask me to approve comments. Sometimes my own. After 7:00 p.m. I’m normally not at my computer and therefore the comments appear only next morning when I wake up.
    Although I don’t agree you about the IMF and the banks in general but I certainly would never interfere with your postings.

    Something is wrong with WordPress, yesterday I tried three times to post and when i clicked on the post Comment button, the post disappeared. I gave up on that particular post, i guess the WordPress robot did not like it ;-).

  19. Zsuzsa :

    gdfxx :

    Zsuzsa :
    It’s not the cheap loans that caused the US mortgage crisis. It was the result of outright banking fraud and it could happen because of their unregulated banking system. It didn’t happen in Canada, because the Bank of Canada would not allow it. So don’t blame the Americans who lost their homes, the crisis was created by the banks and was not the result of over borrowing. That’s a myth. This is another example of talk talk talk, simplifications and deliberate misleading. You are on the street, so that’s must be your own fault. This is typical Americanism, not capitalism.

    I disagree with this assessment. Nobody blames those who lost their houses (although they can blame themselves for stupidity, no smart person takes a loan that s/he cannot pay back). The reason the loans were so cheap was not the banks’ fault, it was the government’s fault. The government, through its loan guarantee agencies (Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) wanted to enable “the American dream”, the ownership of a house to everyone, regardless of their income. Thus it loosened the requirements for guaranteeing the loans to the banks. The banks were not stupid, they took advantage of the free money. And that is how the crazy real estate market started, until it collapsed.
    Lately banks have been trying to recover some of the monies they lost by foreclosing properties with unpaid loans (people are just walking away from houses they cannot pay for, many of them now worth half of what the loan on them is). There are so many cases like this, that banks hired people to sign papers required during the foreclosure procedure, since the people who need to sign cannot keep up with the work. Lawyers are after the bank for this “fraud”. But nobody is denying that the foreclosures are legit.

    I have to agree with you; those bad, bad ultra right wing governments should never have given a free reign to the banks to regulate themselves. Regulation my foot! So then banks throwing toxic mortgages and selling them in bundles to unsuspecting investors and to stupid governments is really somebody elses fault. Yeh, the devil made them do it. Gimme a break! May the ideals of the endless American pyramid schemes live on. Riiiigt.

    Obviously you did not read a word of what I wrote.

  20. wolfi :
    Just a few days ago we saw a report on German tv about people in the USA who lost their home of 30 years because the guy lost his job. In 30 years they had not paid back the original loans – instead they piled loan on loan to buy shiny new things like cars and computers …

    I have to add to this that some people lose their homes not because the mortgage loan but because they cannot pay the real estate tax.

  21. Zsuzsa :
    [youtube

    Oh boy.
    I see what you’re doing here.

    When the Jehova Witnesses show up at my door (they sneak in a copy of the Watchtower in a colorful brochure) I always go like “I’m sure you right but I’d don’t care”.

    PS:
    Ok, sometimes when they ask “Do you know what is God’s name?”
    I go “Howard?”
    “???”
    “… you know. Howard be your name …”

  22. gdfxx :
    I have to add to this that some people lose their homes not because the mortgage loan but because they cannot pay the real estate tax.

    Well, this isn’t that typical in the US but happens. The typical real estate tax is around 1% of the home value, re-appraised every year. Ours in Fairfax County, VA is 1.1%. This means that since the seventies it went up from 100 dollars to 500 dollars a month. Most of the places have some kind of assistance, mostly for seniors. But this is a big difference between Hungary and the US (the idea of the real estate tax just recently came up with fake IMF demands fiasco). The money stays local and gets spent on schools and roads and what not. There is a reason for our home values going up and that is the quality of life which is paid with the local taxes.

  23. London Calling!

    Wolfi:

    In England we have a looming crisis that may or may not be looming elsewhere.

    It is the ‘interest-only’ mortgage.

    This mortgage was intended to be used in conjunction with an insurance product – usually an ‘Endowment’ Insurance Policy – invested mostly in stock exchange equities.

    But many people didn’t bother with the insurance product. They gambled that the rise in equity in the house would be sufficient to pay off the mortgage at the end of term (usually 25 years in England).

    Many who did buy the endowment have been told that it won’t be sufficient to pay it off either.

    Many of these mortgages were arranged less that 25 years ago – so a looming peak of ‘foreclosures’ awaits.

    Such was the lax regulation that very few mortgage companies checked.

    Of course none of the people were to blame – those nasty Banks and mortgage societies just milked the plebiscite who should have been protected from their own stupidity. Vultures sitting on the roofs watching the high-street stripping them of their hard earned cash – shocking. They should have been prevented from reading the contracts – as they of course couldn’t read. Most were signed with an ‘X’. And could understand mortgages even less. Of course they couldn’t understand those car-purchase credit contracts either their intelligence and understanding was that low. They should all have been given a credit-guardian who held their hand through these very complex negotiations. That Ultra-Right-Wing government is the main Vulture. And now it has all gone tits up – they should have all their funds reimbursed and be able to live in the house for free. Any pension funds affected by the drop in value of the shares should be nationalised – like they have done in that other country – er…er escapes my mind at the moment.

    Regards

    Charlie

  24. wolfi :
    I also know personally a couple here who bought an apartment for 6 mio Forint – and took out a loan of 8 mio Forint, spending the rest of the money …
    Now they have to pay back at least 10 mio – because the loan was denominated in CHF …
    So who’s to blame ? The guys who sold these loans or the stupid people themselves ?

    When I bought a home in the US a few years ago I quickly found that everyone was pushing us to spend as much as we could and then some. Why? Because everyone in the chain ended up making more money on the transaction. Thats pretty much all they cared about. We very quickly reeled in the agent to a more sensible price range but I can see how easy it would be to be seduced into buy a house that is a struggle to pay for. The system rewards spending and under those conditions, a ton of questionable loans were made. Under those conditions it doesn’t take that many defaults to start inflicting real pain on the lenders. Add in the funky repackaging and great way to accelerate that pain. I was completely unsurprised when the entire house of cards (no pun intended) collapsed.

  25. London Calling!

    Mutt!

    Oh! Right!

    Jehovah’s Witness was it? I didn’t get that far – now I understand!

    Everything is a conspiracy; everything is far right; or everything is a Russian conspiracy; trenchant views held against all reason; no room for compromise; extreme self-delusion; unquestioning belief. Fundamentalism.

    It all falls into place.

    A religious Trolless! – Glad it’s gone (if it has).

    Thanks for the enlightenment! (I was completely off-beam with the cooking sherry!)

    Regards

    Chas

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