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Opinion Editorials

Tax credit dying, let’s celebrate the good news [OPINION]

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Stop crying already!

Yes (for the umpteenth time), the $8,000 tax credit is ending this week and it’s a blessing sent from above. Why do I say this? Not just because the country has been hanging from the teet of the federal government since the great crash, but because it has allowed the lending world to become dependent and outside of the game of risk for far too long.

Without the federal goverment’s aid, it’s true that most financial institutions would have fallen in the midst of crisis. The $8k tax credit (and TARP) gave institutions a chance to catch their breath, and a much needed steady flow of loans, but it’s time for these little birdies to fly once again, and put the old saying of “lenders lend” back into practice.

As evidenced by these reports here and here, consumers are telling the entire real estate industry loudly and clearly that it ain’t about the damn tax credit, it’s about actually qualifying for an affordable loan.

Fly, baby bird…

As I said, the teet of the U.S. government is dried up and Mama Washington is putting her old bra back on, and it’s cause to celebrate! Although there may be a short lull as lenders react and learn to find food on their own, the great news is that they will, and what you’ll get once that baby bird flies is (hopefully) smarter lending, smarter incentives, a more practical housing market, and solvency in values.

I suppose now the question is, which bird leaves the nest first in search for food? Who’s going to lead in this new real estate market and who will simply die?

April 30th should be a new national holiday, an Independence Day if you will, and it will be, so long as the White House keeps their hands off of the free market…

CC Licensed image courtesy of ttstam via Flickr.com.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Jim Duncan

    April 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Exceptionally well said, Benn. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking. The tax credit should have never been put in place. It’s free money, borrowed from potential enemies that ultimately has artificially propped up the market and has delayed the inevitable.

    Good riddance.

    • Justin Boland

      April 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      “borrowed from potential enemies”

      Actually, the Fed just prints money. I believe in politics that’s called “acting unilaterally” — where China gets involved is the buying of US treasury bonds. Those bonds all get auctioned after the fact, though, and the fact is: the Fed just prints the money.

    • Benn Rosales

      April 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      Actually, Jim, it occurs to me that what is fueling the economy right now are the roughly 48% of the country NOT making mortgage payments. Many of which are employed, but feel the cribs underwater in value and waiting for the auction. There are many things that are propping up the markets and fueling some growth, hell, look at Ford, GM, the tech sector, android phones, iphones, ipads, where’s that cash and confidence coming from? heh probably the increase in income they’re capping on that should be paying the mortgage – oh yeah… there’s pandemonium happening, you just don’t see it through the good news around wallstreet right now. That’s not welfare buying those new toys… that’s the anticipation of welfare that buys consumers out of costly bad loans, and foreclosure forgiveness- talk about money being printed… we ain’t seen nothing yet, unless lenders see and understand that what we used to see as gold credit is the new subprime and fire up the lending machines…

  2. BawldGuy

    April 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Lenders lend.

    Good stuff, Benn.

  3. Bruce Lemieux

    April 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Glad the credit is coming to an end. It will be interesting to see if we see a cash-for-clunkers effect for entry level homes over the next couple of months.

  4. Erica Ramus

    April 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Amen. I am hosting a Broker Open tomorrow, to FEED the agents, at one of my listings. My invitation said COME CELEBRATE with us! We’re going to enjoy a nice lunch and toast to “back to normal”. Whatever that means.

  5. Bryan Faircloth

    April 30, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I wish the tax credit had ended March 30 instead of April 30. As an agent, I would have received my hard-earned and well-deserved money sooner. 🙂

  6. Joe Loomer

    April 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Irreverent and awesome – great post Benn. My wife has four buyers she’s working in the next week – none of whom give a toss about the tax credit – one quote? “Would have been nice to get it, but we really are more focused on the right house in the right location and school districts”

    Keep carrying the torch!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Benn Rosales

    April 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I’m still curious though, who will step into CountryWide’ss shoes and lead in the new real estate market of lending? Who will define the new subprime, acceptable and unacceptable, and create loan packages that fulfill demand – by all accounts and every survey and focus I’m reading, consumer demand and sentiment is behind investing in real estate…

    Are we to just leave investors in the cold now? no second home? no loans that make sense in the jumbo markets?

  8. Justin Boland

    April 30, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Re-read this today and the ending confused me:

    “April 30th should be a new national holiday, an Independence Day if you will, and it will be, so long as the White House keeps their hands off of the free market…”

    I don’t anything to debate, I just wonder where you’d draw that line. Considering that recent AP piece about how 96.5% of all the home loans in 2010 were backed by the Other Big 4 — FHA, VA, Fannie and Freddie — and considering that since the Federal Reserve stopped their MBS buying program, Fannie and Freddie are picking it up to the tune of $200 billion…are these facts that worry you in terms of the housing market? Or do you think of that as “downstream” effects that will improve once Realtors have a clear playing field again? I can see how more organic home sales would create more appetite for new MBS/ABX buying, but I’m just wondering what your stance is.

    How “free” does the market need to be?

  9. Jonathan Benya

    April 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

    May she rest in peace. As much as the bump in business is appreciated, free markets need to reign supreme in order for this economy to recover.

  10. BawldGuy

    April 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Hey Benn — I’ve been closing investor loans consistently, albeit sometimes with much thrashing about. My guess is that direct lenders, big ones, will lead the way with investors. That’s what I’ve been experiencing the last couple quarters.

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Opinion Editorials

‘OK, Boomer’ can get you fired, but millennial jokes can’t?

(EDITORIAL) The law says age-based clapbacks are illegal when aimed at some groups but not others. Pfft. Okay, Boomer.

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Boomer sad

A brand new meme is out and about, and it’s looking like it’ll have the staying power of ‘Fleek’ and ‘Yeet!’

Yessiree, ‘Okay, Boomer’ as related to exiting a go-nowhere conversation with out-of-pocket elders has legitimate sticky potential, but not everyone is as elated as I am. Yes, the Boomer generation themselves (and the pick-me’s in my age group who must have a CRAZY good Werther’s Original hookup), are pushing back against the latest mult-iuse hashtag, which was to be expected.

The same people happy to lump anyone born after 1975 in with kids born in 2005 as lazy, tech-obsessed, and entitled, were awfully quick to yell ‘SLUR’ at the latest turn of phrase, and I was happy to laugh at it.

But it turns out federal law is on their side when it comes to the workplace.

Because “Boomer” applies to folks now in their mid 50’s and up, workplace discrimination laws based on age can allow anyone feeling slighted by being referred to as such to retaliate with serious consequences.

However for “You millenials…” no such protections exist. Age-based discrimination laws protect people over 40, not the other way around. That means all the ‘Whatever, kid’s a fresh 23 year old graduate hire’ can expect from an office of folks in their 40s doesn’t carry any legal weight at the federal level.

And what’s really got my eyes rolling is the fact that the law here is so easy to skirt!

You’ve heard the sentiment behind #okayboomer before.

It’s the same one in: ‘Alright, sweetheart’ or ‘Okay hun’ or ‘Bless your heart.’

You could get across the same point by subbing in literally anything.

‘Okay, Boomer’ is now “Okay, Cheryl” or “Okay, khakis” or “Okay, Dad.”

You can’t do that with the n word, the g word (either of them), the c word (any of them) and so on through the alphabet of horrible things you’re absolutely not to call people—despite the aunt you no longer speak to saying there’s a 1:1 comparison to be made.

Look, I’m not blind to age based discrimination. It absolutely can be a problem on your team. Just because there aren’t a bunch of 30-somethings bullying a 65 year old in your immediate sphere doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere, or that you can afford to discount it if that somewhere is right under your nose.

But dangit, if it’s between pulling out a powerpoint to showcase how ‘pounding the pavement’ isn’t how you find digital jobs in large cities, dumping stacks of books showing how inflation, wages, and rents didn’t all rise at the same rate, or defending not wanting or needing the latest Dr. Oz detox… don’t blame anyone for pulling a “classic lazy snowflake” move, dropping two words, and seeing their way out of being dumped on.

Short solution here is – don’t hire jerks, and it won’t be an issue. Longer term solution is… just wait until we’re your age.

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Opinion Editorials

Uber CEO regrets saying that murder is part of business

(EDITORIAL) Uber CEO calls murder a mistake. Should society support a business that seems to think death is just part of the cost of doing business?

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Uber Pickup

On February 21, 2016, I woke up early to notifications about a shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An Uber driver shot multiple individuals. Although I live in Oklahoma, the Facebook algorithms correctly deduced that this incident would be of interest to me. I have family and friends in Michigan, some in the Battle Creek area, just miles east of Kalamazoo. Later that morning, I learned that one of my friends had been killed in the incident.

Uber was criticized for the incident. Lawmakers across the country called for tougher background checks on Uber drivers. It was a PR nightmare for the company. Ultimately, it was the driver who was charged. Earlier this year, the driver pled guilty to all counts against him and was sentenced to life in prison. Uber continued operating, although then-Governor Rick Snyder did sign legislation that increased regulations for the ride-sharing industry.

I say this out of disclosure. This Uber tragedy affected me in a way that may cloud my opinion. I believe that Uber should be regulated more than it is. But recent events have made me question why society supports Uber and what I believe is a toxic culture.

How does Uber keep managing their corporate profile?

Uber seems to weather their PR crises fairly well. They’ve been criticized for inadequate background checks. Sexual harassment allegations at corporate headquarters shook up the management team. Uber has suffered data breaches. In 2018, the organization settled with the FTC for $148 million. Still, the company enjoys a market share of transportation services.

In 2018, Dara Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia took over at Uber as its new CEO, replacing the CEO and founder Travis Kalanick. It was reported that Kalanick “led the company astray” from its moral center. Khosrowshahi said at the time, “In the end, the CEO of the company has to take responsibility.”

Just days ago, during an interview, Khosrowshahi said that “the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a ‘mistake.’” It was a political murder. Khosrowshahi compared the assassination to a self-driving accident with an Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian. It didn’t take long for Khosrowshahi to issue a retraction, saying that he “said something in the moment (he doesn’t) believe.”

Is Uber’s culture toxic?

Khosrowshahi says that his comment shouldn’t mark him as a person. He thinks that what he said was a “learning moment.” When a CEO misspeaks in an interview that isn’t just local, but international, maybe we should pay attention. According to him, murder isn’t a big deal. I wonder if he would say that if it was his father who died, or his friend who was killed by a driver.

When my friend died in the Kalamazoo shooting, I had to seriously think about how I viewed Uber. My friend wasn’t even using Uber at the time. She was getting into her own car at a local restaurant with some friends of hers. I recognize that Uber wasn’t responsible for the driver going on a shooting spree, but I have to wonder if it was Uber’s culture that led to a lack of response at the time.

Uber’s new CEO seems removed from how its services affect individuals and communities as its previous CEO did. When a company thinks that murder is a “mistake,” maybe it’s time to rethink about supporting a service that doesn’t seem to think about people, its employees, its drivers and its riders.

It may be more convenient than a cab, but it’s time to look at Uber’s real impact on society. I hear Uber saying that innocent deaths are just the cost of business. Is that the basis for a billion-dollar corporation?

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Opinion Editorials

Funny females are less likely to be promoted

(CAREER) Science says that the funnier a female, the less likely she is to be promoted. Uhh…

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funny females promoted less often

Faceless keyboard warriors around the world have been — incorrectly — lamenting that women just aren’t funny for years now (remember the “Ghostbusters” remake backlash?).The good news is they are obviously wrong. The bad news? When women dare to reveal their comedic side in the workplace they are often perceived as “disruptive” while men are rewarded.

That’s right. Women not only have to worry about being constantly interrupted, receiving raises less frequently than men despite asking for them equally as often, and still making nearly $10,000 less than men each year, but now they have to worry about being too funny at the office.

A recent University of Arizona study asked more than 300 people to read the fictional resume of a clothing store manager with the gender-neutral name “Sam” and watch a video presentation featuring Sam. The videos came in four versions: a serious male speaker, a humorous male speaker, a serious female speaker and a humorous female speaker.

According to the researchers, “humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females.” Translation: Male workers earn respect for being funny while their funny female coworkers are often seen in a more negative light.

There are, of course, several reasons this could be the case. The researchers behind this particular study pointed to the stereotype that women are more dedicated to their families than their work, and being perceived as humorous could convey the sense they don’t take their work as seriously as men.

Psychiatrist Prudy Gourguechon offered another take, putting the blame directly on Sam the clothing store manager, calling out their seemingly narcissistic behavior and how society’s tolerance for such behavior is “distinctly gender-based.” She says these biases go back to the social programming of our childhoods and the roles mothers and fathers tend to play in our upbringing.

So what are women supposed to do with this information?

Gourgechon’s status quo advice includes telling women to not stop being funny, but “to be aware of the the feelings and subjectivities of the people around you.” While recommending an empathetic stance isn’t necessarily bad advice, it still puts the onus on women to change their behavior, worry about what everyone else thinks and attempt to please everyone around them.

We already know that professional women can have an extremely hard time remaining true to themselves in the workplace — especially women in the tech industry — and authenticity is often a privilege saved for those who conform to the accepted culture. We obviously still have a long way to go before women stop being “punished” for being funny at work, but things seem to be progressing, however slowly.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts last year on the improvements that have been made and the changes that still need to happen, including encouraging men to step up and do their part. In the wake of the #metoo movement, CNBC recommended five things men can do to support women at work. There are amazing women in STEM positions around the world we can all admire and shine a spotlight on.

All of these steps — both big and small — will continue to chip away at the gender inequality that permeates today’s workplaces. And perhaps one day in the near future, female clothing store manager Sam will be allowed to be just as funny as male clothing store manager Sam.

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