Content posted by D. Clark Macpherson

The double-dip theory has been bandied about for well over a year. Inconsistent information about employment, housing and consumer sentiment is constant.  But, a couple of realities point in the same direction.


Politics and economics are indeed strange bedfellows and at no time in the history of this republic have they been more glaringly intertwined and interdependent. From the manipulations of the banking system to the resultant economic collapse, which began in 2008, and, from the political shell game, which attempted to calm, but not cure, the financial markets and devastation on Main Street, we have arrived at a temporary but costly standoff.


Recently, Suffolk County D.A. Thomas Spota investigated a former political friend, County Executive Steve Levy and found no evidence of criminality while relieving him of over $4 million in campaign funds that, according to allegations by convicted felon Ethan Ellner, were raised in part by a pay-to-play arrangement. Nevertheless, Levy announced that he would not run for re-election.


The “double-dip” in housing, which we have been anticipating since the much-advertised end of the Great Recession, has been associated with falling prices in 19 out of 20 major American cities. Manhattan may not be sliding but according to many brokers, most sales still reflect very negotiable prices. And, for rentals, prices have been holding firm in SoHo.


So far, the media coverage of buying up second mortgages on a foreclosed property— which, of course, has already deprived the homeowner of a place to live— has not explored the depredations of the credit monsters in America. We still have not completely moved toward the reality that rampant fraud on the part of investment banks (in order to sell off billions in mortgage bonds) is the culprit.

The real-estate story in the Hamptons is murky. Since East End brokers tend to start telling the truth about business 3 or 4 quarters after reality is painfully obvious, it is safe to say that sales are very slow, prices are off by 30 to 50 percent (from 2006)— depending upon which Hampton and how exclusive the location is— and certain price ranges do not move at all.


‘The Rape of the Tenant’— those are strong words.  And yes, and they are meant to evoke a strong response.


Many readers have followed my blogs and articles and sometimes wondered where it has all been leading. The reports about devastation in the municipal bond market, the financial difficulties experienced by villages, towns, counties, states and even countries, the slowdown in transfer taxes from real estate, and the apparent need to trim civil service workforce and pensions have been described for nearly two years.


Community Board #2, currently chaired by Jo Hamilton, has ignored several key issues affecting SoHo.  In the recent article “Selling Out SoHo” the SoHo BID controversy was addressed – a plan which is more a symptom of uptown social interests and Real Estate maneuvering than a benefit to our community.


There is significant more pain to come in the form of unemployment, evictions and bankruptcy for Main Street.  In case you are not familiar with the term “Main Street” that means you, me, and everyone not working for Goldman Sachs, et al, and not qualified to receive government bailouts.