BUZ LIVINGSTON: You can lead a horse to water...

Published: Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 05:23 PM.

There was no mistaking the Texan at Grayt Coffee Shop. The SUV out front with Dallas-area plates hinted one was lurking. Texas, particularly Houston, is my favorite foreign county and no passport is required. Sherry’s staff professionally waited on me while I took a seat and lent this big talking Texan an ear. Little did I know Larry McMurtry's canny observation, “Dallas is a second-rate city that thinks it’s first rate,” would prove perceptive rather quickly

“Everythang's rigged. Remember back in the tech bubble. I loaded up on technology stocks. Ya know Michael Dell started building computers in his dorm room in Austin. I bought some Dell and buncha others on margin from my broker, dadgum him. Anyhow, I started gettin’ margin calls and had to sell on the way down. Lost my shirt.”

Being charitable and cautious, I kept quiet, got another cup of coffee and bought a sausage biscuit. I texted Susan I would be a few minutes late.

He started again “To heck with stocks, you can’t trust Wall Street. I heard about all the money people were making flipping condos and lots in Florida and that worked good for awhile. My buddy told me about 1031 exchanges so I wouldn’t have to pay any taxes. The banks loaned me money with nothing down but by 2009 I owed more on the lots and condos than they were worth. They took ‘em from me. I still have some lots up in Freeport. Wanna buy ‘em?” 

This is getting interesting, but sad.

“Darn bankers ought be in jail. It ain’t right."

He makes a good point. Generally speaking, the financial masters of the universe made out just fine. Banks too big to fail socialize risk and privatize profits; it’s good work if you can get it.

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