Understanding the real estate debacle – Learning more

Many of us are now numb to the real estate news. However, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t remain important or valuable both to learn about, understand and follow.

There is so much ‘noise’ on this issue. I remain astounded when I read/hear things in viable public forums that say that these troubles are due to the U.S. banking Community Re-investment Act (CRA) and ACORN.
• How can someone even say/write that?
• How can anyone really believe that?
Shouldn’t such people be either a) laughed off the stage with ridicule or b) fired for libel if not just incompetence?

Where does one go for good information, especially given how much is out there and how much bad/mis information there is. Fair question. Here are a few options:
• This American Life. The weekend NPR radio show. Believe it or not, Ira Glass, the show’s host has had more than one very good audio segment on this. They’ve interviewed actual people affected to get the real story. And, they’ve gotten specialists to give their opinions. It’s audio, too, so you experience the information in a different manner.
• New Yorker. About quarterly the New Yorker has spent some attention on this. They had a great one about a guy whose business is selling the foreclosed properties. And, they just had one on 7 days in a crisis.
• Wall Street Journal. Whether you are a fan of their point of view or not, they are a heavy weight on these topics, although I find it curious how harsh they’ve been to criticize government and less so on individuals in the private sector who created these challenges. Plus, a newspaper isn’t typically a place to find recommended actions, although I’d hope for more suggestions and solutions.
• The Federal Reserve. As dull sounding an institution as it is, various regional feds put out really thoughtful writings, all for free. I’ve read good stuff out of San Francisco and New York. St. Louis also had its topics.

I look forward to hearing others’ thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

Drew Tulchin is Managing Partner of Social Enterprise Associates, a triple bottom line consulting company specializing in financial performance, social impact, and environmental sustainability. Information available at www.SocialEnterprise.NET. He can be emailed at drew@SocialEnterprise.NET and welcomes comments.

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