Curses are like young chicken: they always come home to roost, to quote the title page of Robert Southey’s poem The Curse of Kehama, published in 1810.
The controversy over the handling of home foreclosures came back to hurt the nation’s biggest banks with a vengeance today. There may not be a lot of sympathy on Wall Street for people who missed their mortgage payments, but then again, there probably isn’t much sympathy on Main Street for the practice of “robo-signers” to approve home seizures, especially since banks probably shouldn’t have extended many of the defaulting mortgages in the first place.
Investors have no room for sentiment either way. They dumped bank stocks on fears a prolonged investigation into potentially shoddy foreclosures, one of the biggest legal probes of the mortgage industry in decades, will eat into profits. The fear: it will delay sales of bank-owned properties, draw fines from regulators, and spawn lawsuits from both homeowners and investors in mortgage-backed securities. Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan admitted it could slow down the recovery in the housing market, but said “we’re hoping it won’t kill it.”
On election watch, an interesting story on why the Afghan war is just not an issue for most voters, and another from Ohio about Democrats’ efforts to substitute organization for enthusiasm. Democratic strategist Chris Kofnis underlined what he called “the brutal reality” for his party. “Either we close the so-called enthusiasm gap before election day, or its going to be a really bad election day.”
There wasn’t much enthusiasm, though, when President Barack Obama held a televised “conversation” with an audience of young people. The brutal reality? We all know Obama’s ratings have fallen, but it was still striking how all that energy around “hope” and “change” had dissipated.