Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Limbaugh: Bubble Is Journalist Propaganda

Former President Ronald Reagan told America in the 1980s that they should "move where the jobs are."

Now, 25 years later, conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is telling people to move where the cheap houses are, which is pretty much the same as telling them to move where the jobs aren't.

On his show yesterday, Limbaugh said the so-called "Housing Bubble" is a creation of jealous journalists. He said scribes like my wife and I are stuck in their own misinformation bubble of sorts. Because we write for publications in job centers (some call them "cities"), these reporters can't afford housing, so they convince themselves that there's a crisis. If they just stepped out of these desirable, metropolitan areas, and drove a few hundred miles into the sticks, they'd find plenty of houses in places like Rush's brother's backyard that can be bought for pocket change.

He says journalists want to make people think there's a bubble, to create a housing crash so that we writers can finally get into the market ourselves, to profit from other people's losses.

Now, I ask you, do you really think a journalist would do something that irresponsible? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

Some highlights of Rush's pontification follows (it's abridged here, but the whole transcription is at this link):
I wish you could have seen the collective faces of my trusted, loyal staff down here when I asked the question: "Do you think buying a home is more expensive now than ever before? You're wrong." You should have seen their faces. You know why this attitude exists? I will -- (interruption) No, no, no. (interruption) Snerdley, just hang on here. See, everything is about you. But you live in an expensive part of the country. You live in a very expensive area. South Florida is a growing area. There's a lot of demand out here. You live in an expensive part of the country. The financial news, like most other news in this country, is written by people who live in very expensive places. The news on the economy is written by people who live in high-cost-of-living places: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington, and so the national reporting on the economy is skewed by their own personal experiences.


We have a "housing bubble," right?

Well, look at where the people who write about this live. They can't, because they're journalists. They can't afford these places, so they're hoping for a bubble so they can finally get into a house that they want real estate prices to come down.


My brother has a huge house. He has huge acreage. He lives in the outskirts of Cape Girardeau, a huge house. You ought to see his backyard. He's gotta baseball field, soccer field, jungle gym. It's huge. It's absolutely huge. The house is huge. You put that house here - I'm not going to tell you what his house is worth because I don't want to give up his privacy -- but I have that much money in my pocket (laughing) and it's huge. Well, I'm not trying to be descriptive here. You put that house here, and you're talking ten million -- with that much acreage, and the size of his house, you're talking ten, $12 million. Look at Tiger. Tiger Woods just buys this place up at Jupiter Island, and Jupiter Island is north of where we live. It has have a population of 2,700 people., He paid $30 million, $40 million for ten acres.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble