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NEW YORK (
) -- I sympathize with the people demonstrating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, but I think that they are demonstrating in the wrong place and against the wrong people.
They should change the name to Occupy Congress and get 2 million people to go down to the D.C. area, where unemployment is low and deficits high and where Congress hardly does any real work and lets the lobbyists decide. Real estate values in and around the Beltway have held up pretty well. So have wages. I wonder why all the states and cities should be cutting wages and the federal government and Congress are not cutting their own pay.
| I sympathize with Occupy Wall Street, but it's targeting the wrong place and the wrong people. It's time to Occupy Congress.
Wall Street is just a first or second derivative of Congress. Even after the mortgage debacle the federal bank regulators didn't catch the robo-signing problem. The states' attorneys general and private attorneys were the first to find the problem.
It will take time for the housing market to heal because Congress is not going to do anything about it. Eventually the states will settle with the banks and by 2013, we may be done with foreclosures. But it is possible that the foreclosures will not clear until the end of 2013.
We have a big election coming up and the tax issue and debt ceiling will roll around again. We have an out-of-control deficit with a super committee of Lilliputians trying to eke out $1.2 trillion of savings over 10 years, while last year's deficit was $1.3 trillion. In D.C., it is all a game to Congress and the president and ideology is what they practice. A priori knowledge is a big thing too. Pragmatism and listening to the 88% does not feature. The 99% who are protesting must include many people who like the way Congress does its job, because the public opinion polls consistently show that only 12% approve of Congress.
Maybe Congress and the rest of the D.C. crowd sent the Occupy Wall Street people to Wall Street to divert attention from what they're doing.
Digging deeper into real estate, let's look at why housing in many areas double dipped.
1. Congress allowed new homes instead of just existing homes to qualify for the Home Buyers Tax Credit in 2008 and for all the extensions Congress made to the original program that just added more supply to a bloated market.