Monday, May 16, 2005

22 Year Old Owns 13 Homes He's Never Seen

Stories like this one from Fortune are just what one would expect in a financial mania. "Zareh Tahmassebian is on the way to look at two of his houses in Phoenix. He is lost. Tahmassebian has never actually been to these particular homes. There are a few reasons for that: (1) He has no intention of ever moving into them, (2) he lives in Las Vegas, not Phoenix, and (3) he owns six other houses—and a half share of seven more—in the greater Phoenix area. 'Sometimes it’s hard to keep track,' he says."

"Tahmassebian, just 22, has spent the past four years in Las Vegas working as a mortgage banker, a job that he says paid him $250,000 in salary and commissions last year."

"'Where are my houses?' To get more help, he dials KB Home on another phone, and soon he has a gleaming silver clamshell at each ear. 'See this wood?' he says, gesturing to the slatted frame of the unfinished house. 'This wood made money for me! I don’t own it—but I own the rights. I put a 10% deposit down, I haven’t even made a mortgage payment yet, and it’s already gone up $45,000. What a country!'"

102 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Jim in Venice said...

Part of me wants to hate this guy for being part of the problem.

But most of all it makes me feel like a chump for going to college and getting a job that pays about 1/4 of that.

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in AZ and want to sell my home before real estate daytraders have ruined the market.
Thanks for this article.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger John Law said...

what a country? what a bubble!!!!

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make less than half, and I have a PhD (10 years of college).

He may still get the opportunity to learn some of the harder lessons in life when it all falls apart.

One of the guys I work for bought 4 houses in AZ a few months ago.

Sounds like it is swarming with speculators.

 
At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betcha a buck he comes from a very rich Iranian family. Don't assume he got all that with his initial $10,000 down -- there is almost certainly family backing in there, possibly in the company as well.

 
At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is Armenian.....it says so in the article and it sounds Armenian as well.

Not generally a wealthy ethnicity (if you are comparing to oil sheiks)

I believe more Armenians live in Los Angeles than any other place in the world.

They were the victims of Turkish ethnic cleansing about a hundred years ago.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Ben Jones said...

Jim,
I have a hard time believing what he says. It isn't unusual for self-percieved high-flyers to overstate just about everything.

Think about the guys situation. He works in the mortgage business, in LV of all places. He buys homes he has never visited (KB is notorious for shoddy work). If Vegas even slows, he will lose his cash flow, be forced to dump those houses and be bankrupt before he's 24. It would be funny if so much wasn't at stake.

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armenian makes sense, with the "ian" in the name. There are a lot of rich Armenians. Universally, they worked hard to get what they have, but I still doubt that this particular 22-year-old did all this with savings from his paper route.

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW. I am truly speachless. I just have one wish that this housing market keeps going untill the new bankruptcy law comes into play. That way this idiot will be ruined for the rest of his life. Stupidity must be punished.

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous moneyfornothing said...

All I can say to this young feller is: don't forget to sell. He's essentially buying Phoenix housing options, like you can do with puts and calls in the stock market. It allows you to leverage with very little cash. The problem with real estate is that it is illiquid. My guess is that much of the action right now in Phoenix is speculators. This young speculator is likely going to have to sell to other speculators. We'll see how that turns out.

I used to work with a population of panhandlers and street denizens in SF. The area (6th St) that most of them hung out in got very, very bad. It got to the point where no one would walk there. So panhandling became a tough business because there was almost no one left to bum money from except for other panhandlers. I used to laugh when some of these panhandlers would complain to me that they were getting panhandled themselves.

Looks like we might end up with a similar situation in some housing markets where the speculators are selling to other speculators while the regular buyers sit it out.

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger deb said...

It is very sad when a necessity of life (housing) is drive to such extremes by rampant speculation making it harder and harder for families to afford a place to live. And all the while people applaude these speculators as if they are brilliant "investors". Even the Fed gushes about how rising home prices have made us wealthy. Don't they see?

I have a hard time wishing ill on anyone, but when I read these kinds of tales, it leaves me hoping he learns his lesson somehow.

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the same thing in 1999 with recent immigrants buying dotcom stocks near the highs. Back then they thought "What a country" also....until March 2000 anyway, then they weren't so sure anymore. Big Bubbles actually REQUIRE a bunch of new, unsophisticated, inexperienced players who think they have just found a new perpetual motion money machine.

 
At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy is a con man who has bought into his own con. In order to make lots of money as a morgage broker you need to sell the risker, exotic but high profit morgages to the public. I bet the morgage bank he is working with is corrupt, phony apprasials, kickbacks you name it.

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just watching CNBC. They had an interview with the "Jills" thejills.com. They recommended buying realestate in Florida. They are flipping one guys property that he bought 1 year ago for 12M and trying to turn it for 19M. They say he got a great deal."Buy now as they have never had anyone lose money." The interviewer asked the Jills how long they have been in business? "10 years". Hmm. That would put them right at the beginning of the biggest boom in history, without any experience in a downturn.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I believe more Armenians live in Los Angeles than any other place in the world.
They were the victims of Turkish ethnic cleansing about a hundred years ago.)

There are enough in the L.A. area to have a Mexican/Armenian race riot involving 200-400 at Grant High School in March.
http://www.lavalleystar.com/media/paper295/news/2005/03/16/News/High-School.Riot.Closes.Child.Development.Center-895420.shtml

 
At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the same thing in 1999 when recent immigrants were buying dotcom stocks with both fists near the highs. They said "What a country" back then also. At least until March 2000.
Big Bubbles actually REQUIRE many new unsophisticated and overconfident players who think they have just discovered a new perpetual motion money machine. Many also think the rest of us non-participant bubble avoiders are morons for not 'cashing in' also. Professional traders know the enemies...EGO FEAR and GREED. Mr. Tahmassebian already knows ego and greed, soon he will meet Mr. Fear

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the same article

"In the past year the number of Phoenix homebuyers who identified themselves as investors has more than doubled, to 2,703. They bought 18% of all homes sold in the Phoenix area in 2004, according to Infocom, a local real estate research company. Phoenix builders, fearing that the speculative frenzy would damage their primary business, soon announced the same kind of antispeculation clauses that had proved largely successful in both California and Las Vegas.

By the time those measures were in place in Phoenix last fall, however, the swarm of investors descending on the city was almost too much to stop. At one of the construction sites of big builder Toll Brothers, a van full of investors from Las Vegas pulled up to a sales trailer shortly after the antispeculation measures had gone into effect. According to a Toll Brothers spokesperson, the saleswoman on call was so flustered by the group’s displeasure at being denied an opportunity to invest in such a scalding market that she had to radio headquarters for backup. "They all wanted to buy multiple properties, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer," says the spokesperson. "They were trying to climb in and give her their deposits. She had to lock herself in the trailer."

 
At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a pretty funny story... oh, man... i hope that guy has an exit strategy... besides selling his properties to a great fool... or should i say to another speculator...

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The houses aren’t exactly throwing off cash: Tahmassebian estimates that he loses $3,500 a month on them, since he doesn’t bother to rent out all 15. "If I’m negative on a few, that’s okay," he says. "I’m in it for the appreciation." In seven months, he estimates, the 15 properties have appreciated from $2 million to $3 million. He’s planning to sell in the next two to three years, but if the market does crash—which he doesn’t expect—it wouldn’t be a disaster, he says: "You just hold on till it comes right back up."

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger deb said...

He's going to hold on with neg cash flow of $3500/mo? Good luck.

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous John Vosilla said...

We all should be wondering what the hell is happening to this country when now we have had perhaps the two greatest manias in our 230 year history in the space of only six years. As a child I heard the horror stories of the dark days of the great depression and Hitler from the older folks who lived through that time. Is the fact that no one under 70 today has ever experience bad times in this country be a reason for the perceived invincibility. Greenspan especially should be ahsamed of himself for being the the driver at the wheel and helping the shop till you drop mentality, endless access to credit and the destruction of the incentive for hard work and creativity. Meanwhile in the equity markets most small cap public companies can't even get a bid as they sink to zero in a depressionary spiral and long term treasury yields signal extreme weakness outside of the real estate economy.

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Comes right back UP" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BWHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

""You just hold on till it comes right back up.""

man oh man...

it's all so EASY! LOL...

he's 22, so we know he hasn't had time to build up any savings, unless he inherited it, so HOW is he going to "just hold on"??

this kid has a very nasty surprise ahead of him

DenverKen

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous John Vosilla said...

"The houses aren’t exactly throwing off cash: Tahmassebian estimates that he loses $3,500 a month on them, since he doesn’t bother to rent out all 15. "If I’m negative on a few, that’s okay," he says. "I’m in it for the appreciation.""

Perhaps this is part of the reason inventory levels appear still low in markets like Phoenix and Vegas. There were very few for sale or rent signs in the recently build communities I visited lately. Why sell today when you can get 20% more in six months or compound the problem by also renting it and depreciating a brand new home.

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you guys have access to Fortune you must read this article. Here is another part



Back in the Excursion, however, Stephen keeps the subject of the bubble alive. "I love all the talk of the bubble," he says. "It eliminates all the chickens. Then I can buy cheap when the bubble does burst. But it’s important to stay ahead of it. That’s why I’m liquidating in Phoenix to start buying in Texas. You gotta keep the money moving."

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$250K at 22. I doubt it.

I'm 32, with a PhD in electrical engineering. Making $85K in Boston.

What that BS kid do for society to get $250K/yr. If it's not a lie, then this country is finished.

Can you say "Roman Empire?"

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger desi dude said...

yesterday at a birthday party, i met a few of my ex-colleagues.

They tell me that few people there have bought 4/5/6 homes each allover LV/SoCAl/Phonex. I know many of these guys since I worked with them for 6/7 years. Most of them are tech guys with a good job at a local utility co.


I cant imagine them having enough cash to buy so many homes.

One guy visited phoenix two weeks ago after cahsing out 200K from his condo in calabasas and wanting to get into action.

he was out bid by others and he had to return empty handed. He was telling the friends that the house he was bidding on is a sh*t hole and he would pay 200K even in LA.

another friend/ex-colleague bought a condo in arcadia (LA-burb) after waiting so long. a 1400 sqft, three level condo for 455K, a similar one some else bought for 400K a year and half ago.
This has put pressure on couple of others and they were asking me 'When would it come down?','I dont think it would go more tha 10/20 percent'. these are people with whom, I've discussed the bubble nature of this market for more than 6/12 months in the past.
in a way they are scared to buy, another moment they are afraid that they will loose the gains/action or will be unable to buy for ever.

i could only tell them that if they want to buy go ahead. but plan on the exit strategy and dont make assumptions either about the period of % down when it goes down.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger goleta said...

OTOH, it might be a good thing for this country to trap young people like him for the next 40 years as slaves to
solve the coming social security and medicare problems. Last time I checked, when one declares bankruptcy, the taxes owed may not be forgiven and there is no time limit for the governments to get the owed taxes back.

With 13 homes in the down market, he can easily owe millions of taxes and he'll have to spend the rest of his life repaying the Fed and states. Is this the grand plan of Greenspan?

Even if he moves out of the US, IRS will still track him down. US immigration laws forbid citizens from denaturalizing citizenship to dodge taxes.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger desi dude said...

"he would pay 200K even in LA."
change it to
he wouldnt pay 200K even in LA.

 
At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't doubt the kid's income and I don't care either :) I saw what happened in the .com boom and it'll happen again. Fellow I know well made over a million a year owning a shady .com with no experience and no education (barely finished HS). What's he got to show for it now? A couple of used cars. Everything, literally everything gone. If I had to choose an emotion to feel for this real estate speculator kid it would be pity and fear. Fear that he'll take his downfall so hard he'll blow his brains out.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous LV_realprop said...

I dated a realtor gal for awhile after first moving to LV las year. She told me she made 150K at the time and I couldn't believe my ears. In hindsight, she probably did pull that in with how the market has been. Go figure. She was dumb as bricks but had all the necessary physical attributes pleasing to the eyes which I guess is good enough to sell homes here. It truely has reached ridiculous proportions here in what growing up I thought was a desert outpost.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Memphis said...

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous said...

WOW. I am truly speachless. I just have one wish that this housing market keeps going untill the new bankruptcy law comes into play. That way this idiot will be ruined for the rest of his life. Stupidity must be punished.

Unfortunately, the greater number who will be punished are those who have lived off equity in recent years to stave off calamity or just to put off facing a rapidly declining standard of living (the later is culpable, but human), and young families who believed the hype and actually wanted to do the responsible thing.

Between job changes for my spouse (IT) and landlords bailing out of the "landlord business", we've lived in 4 homes over the last 6 years, and I'm tired of it. Our current landlord died this year and anyone's guess if his widow will sell or give us another year. I'm sick of it, but I remind myself, here, that this is not any kind of time to buy. Then again, having taken the lessons of buying at the top of a market in California ('89), I have perspective that saves us from making a suicidally "sensible" choice. I'm going to enjoy seeing certain parties get burned, but selectively. Lots of casualties will not have been part of that greed-ego thing in the first place.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger deb said...

My burning question is will the Fed ever actually acknowlege what we all know is going on? And better yet, will they finally decide to do something about it?

RE speculation is starting to look like the elephant in the room. If they (the Fed) just pretend it isn't there, it will somehow go away. They are starting to look more than a little ridiculous.

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I dated a realtor gal for awhile after first moving to LV las year. She told me she made 150K at the time and I couldn't believe my ears. In hindsight, she probably did pull that in with how the market has been. Go figure. She was dumb as bricks but had all the necessary physical attributes pleasing to the eyes which I guess is good enough to sell homes here."

That's nearly a prototype of successful real estate salespeople.

So dumb they believe their own babble. So dumb they truly don't have any doubts.

The most successful agent where I used to live (small town) played off her looks on a regular basis.

 
At 11:01 AM, Anonymous heynow said...

(t is very sad when a necessity of life (housing) is drive to such extremes by rampant speculation making it harder and harder for families to afford a place to live.)

Very good point, Deb. It's one thing for speculators to carry speculative stocks to extremes. But that doesn't really hurt anyone except for other speculators.

But speculating on single-family housing is something which has never really happened before to any great degree outside of unique circumstances like the great South Florida land boom of the 1920s.

(For a fun look at that bubble, rent "The Coconuts" with the Marx Brothers. Great line by Groucho posing as a real estate salesman trying to hustle a crowd of eager homebuyers, ""You can have any kind of home you want. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stucco.")

The presence of speculators in housing is like having speculators bidding up the price of heart surgery or water or energy (remember Enron in Calif in the late 90s?). It always ends badly.

The govt could end this right now by forcing banks (as they did brokerages) to stop lending with so much leverage. Require buyers to put 10 or 20% down. Require lenders to raise lending standards. Or they could make special rules that effect speculators and not regular homebuyers. They could make the rules much more stringent for those buying homes that are not intended as primary residences.

I'm not fan of government intervention, but the fact is, the Fed is the org manipulating interest rates and creating these market dislocations. Simple conservative financial rules (such as requiring down payments) could go a long way towards bringing the market back into equilibrium.

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger deb said...

I think they are terrified that we are way past the point that the market could be brought to "equilibrium" with any kind of a soft landing. The longer they wait, the higher it goes, the worse the end will be.

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way that bush is going to step-in for some type of intervention... this is the only thing that he's got going for the economy under his administration... and i bet ya he is leaning on greenspan real hard to take a pause on rate hikes...

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous historybugg said...

(I'm not fan of government intervention)

Fact is, govt's intervene all the time. Mostly they intervene to create booms.

The S Fla land boom of the 20s was a case in point. Local politicos in Fla fueled the boom (and the resultant bust) via all kinds of special legislation designed to assist real estate speculation.

Here's a good link:
http://www.floridahistory.org/floridians/1920's.htm

"While not all land speculating met with success, most investors in the beginning stages of the Florida Land Boom made a profit selling the land to others. An elderly man in Pinellas County was committed to a sanitarium by his sons for spending his life savings of $1,700 on a piece of Pinellas property. When the value of the land reached $300,000 in 1925, the man's lawyer got him released to sue his children. In the 1920's in Florida the difference between genius and idiot was never so narrow."

"Florida voters liked the business prosperity and elected business supporter John Martin, thrice mayor of Jacksonville, to serve as Governor on a platform of expansive construction and development. The Florida Legislature in 1924 passed laws prohibiting state income and inheritance taxes, moves designed to convince wealthy visitors to make Florida their permanent residence."

"There was plenty of evidence that the Florida Land Boom was on swampy ground. Forbes magazine warned that Florida land prices were based solely upon the expectation of finding a customer, not upon any reality of land value. New York bankers, losing money over Florida investment, attacked the entire operation as one great sham. By 1925, there were other signs. Companies were laying off construction and other blue collar workers while the number of realtors and auto mechanics was still increasing."

"In 1925, the inevitable began to occur in the real estate industry. Land prices had reached such a zenith that new customers failed to arrive and old customers began to sell their land. Caught without customers, many realtors folded up business."

"The news of the Florida Land Bust crippled the tourist market. Despite the continued boom in the United States Stock Market, people no longer trusted buying Florida land. And yet, the land was merely overpriced. As if the land collapse was not bad enough, a terrible hurricane hit South Florida in September of 1926 with winds in excess of 125 miles per hour. The hurricane was an unwelcome coup de grace to the Florida Land Bust. The major developments were in ruins, many of them unable to recover."

"It would take years to rebuild the confidence and spirit of the Florida Land Boom. When the Great Depression hit Florida, it had a limited impact since so many Floridians were already in weak financial state. A year later the arrival of the Mediterranean fruit fly would hurt the citrus industry. Certainly, many Floridians wondered if Florida would ever see again such wonderful and confident times as the Florida Land Boom."

Sometimes God has a sense of humor...

 
At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The govt could end this right now by forcing banks (as they did brokerages) to stop lending with so much leverage. Require buyers to put 10 or 20% down."

..indeed they could, and at the same time usher in the Greater Depression.

Suddenly there would be very few buyers and lots of panicky sellers. And a true housing crash.

That's the entire problem. Greenspan has painted himself into a corner, and the rest of us along with him.

I think the stock market is waking up to the situation. Deflation is in the air. The gold and silver mining stocks, which normally do very well in times of rising inflation, are absolutely taking a shellacking in the market. Many are down 40 to 50 percent since December. Long term interest rates are FALLING, not rising. These things foretell deflation.

And what is the most likely trigger of inflation? Falling real estate prices. The market is forecasting the future. In 6 months this real estate bubble will be over, if not sooner, at least in my opinion.

..DenverKen

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry..obviously meant the trigger of DEFLATION, not inflation in my previous post...DenverKen

 
At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I put a cheap mattress in the parking lot and went to the second floor balcony and jumped off and was fortunate enough to hit the mattress, I'd probably be bruised at lease. Third floor - broken bones, and so on to more gruesome results.

The residential RE market in most of these areas is riding in aone-way elevator that just continues on to the next higher floor. Sooner or later the market has to take the leap. But the parking lot (equilibrium) didn't move, it's in the same old place. Splat.

 
At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"$250K at 22. I doubt it."

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous bessiethecow said...

(The residential RE market in most of these areas is riding in aone-way elevator that just continues on to the next higher floor.)

Good analogy. The higher we go, the more painful the result when the market turns down.

It would be bad enough just to see lower prices. But when you couple lower prices with the fact that so many have extracted and spent their equity via HELOC, you have a very serious problem.

I wouldn't be so concerned if I felt that the damage would mostly be contained to the newbie speculators. But millions are being led down the primrose path and are being encouraged to cash out their "gains" at low interest rates.

But these are paper gains, not necessarily permanent gains. The only safe way to cash out real estate gains is to sell the property outright. Borrowing against inflated equity is dangerous. I don't recommend everyone sell their home, but I strongly discourage anyone from borrowing against their property gains or assuming these gains will never evaporate.

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"$250K at 22. I doubt it."

Yes, it's crazy but they could make that much ... and more. I know of someone with just a HS degree working for CountryWide in the Bay Area and she does bring in almost that much in a good _month_.

With median SFH price in the 600K and most better homes going for 1M or more all she has to do is to originate $30 million of loan and at commission at .007%, that would come to 210K. To be sure, it's not easy to originate $30M of loan/month - even with all the buying frenzy that we see around us - because the competition is fierce. However, when one is willing to lie, cheat, and do just about whatever it takes to see the loan go through (inflate borrower's income, making up companies and jobs that don't exist for borrowers, producing fake check stubs and W-2 statements, etc ...) the money is there to be made. And this girl has been consistently making 100-200K/month for the past year.

How long can this go on? It's anyone's guess.

 
At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should see what is going on in South Florida. Just about every apartment complex is a condo conversion. In the last month over 500 condos came on the market within a mile of my home. In coral springs florida I counted 5+ complexes in the last 5 months. There are over 1,200 units and thats just one city. They claim they sell out in just a few days.
I've been to a few of the sales kick offs, at first interested, then just to see whats going on. Looks like 99% Morgage brokers, realtors, & out of state investors. It is absolutley nuts. When will this end? Im afraid for our economy and what this will bring when its all over.

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(You should see what is going on in South Florida. Just about every apartment complex is a condo conversion. They claim they sell out in just a few days.)

Well, you know what they say. They ain't making condo conversions anymore.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

speculators = idiotic realtors playing musical chairs

 
At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"$250K at 22. I doubt it."

"...does bring in almost that much in a good _month_."

In one month?

That would be a over $2M in one year? Why did I spend 10 years of my life learning science and eng when some idiot with a high school degree can scam $2M a year from the system.

Our society reeks.

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Zareh Tahmassebian says, "What a country!"

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

""That's the entire problem. Greenspan has painted himself into a corner, and the rest of us along with him.""

HE DOESNT GIVE A SHIT!!! HE'S OUTTTA HERE SOON...THE GUY BEHIND HIM WILL BE LEFT HOLDING THA BAG.

GENUIS!

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

""That would be a over $2M in one year? Why did I spend 10 years of my life learning science and eng when some idiot with a high school degree can scam $2M a year from the system.

Our society reeks.""

INDEED IN THIS COUNTRY THA HARDER YOU WORK / MOST HONEST YOU ARE THE LESS YOU MAKE IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT IS THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET,,,ITS THE OPPOSITE THE GET YOU THE AMERICAN DREAM.

SAD BUT TRUE!!! GENUIS!!!

 
At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>That would be a over $2M in one year? Why did I spend 10 years of my life learning science and eng when some idiot with a high school degree can scam $2M a year from the system.

If you wanted money, then you're the idiot for studying science and engineering instead of combining either accounting/finance or science/engineering with a law degree, in preparation for a career as a finance/bankruptcy or patent lawyer, respectively. Mortgage banking and real-estate in general is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, but specialty areas of law have long been known to be the guaranteed path to riches. So why does anyone become a scientist/engineering instead of going into law? The answer is that you can't succeed at something which takes brains, whether it be law or science/engineering or accounting/finance or medicine, unless you have your heart in it. If you like the excitement of science and engineering, but then take a detour into law just for money, you will be a failure and you won't get the money after all. I choose the excitement of computer programming, which I feel in love with at college, and ended up with both job satisfaction and wealth, before finally stressing out and retiring young. I'm sure if I had gone into finance/law, I would have been bored out of my mind and the result would have been a disaster.

Anyway, if you really want money, you can always start your own business as a scientist/engineer and make fabulous sums of money. Consulting chemical engineers specializing in clean coal and other alternative energy technologies should do particularly well in the future.

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you wanted money, then you're the idiot for studying science and engineering"

What I wanted was a comfortable life, with the ability to buy a home and pay my bills without worrying about every little penny.
Instead, I graduated after the central-bank-induced tech crash and had to reinvent myself all over again just to make a meger living.

Please don't lecture me buddy...maybe you should have tried starting off in computer science after the tech crash of 2000.

You clearly were on the other side of the bubble.

A science and eng education should ensure a good life. It does NOT anymore, and that is why this nation is going down the tubes. The finance enconomy has distorted everything.

 
At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I graduated after the central-bank-induced tech crash and had to reinvent myself all over again just to make a meger living."

Starting a tech career 4-5 years earlier when you were trying to be part of the tech bubble sure was a great decision. Huh?

Stop whining, please. Somehow I think you'll be part of the next bubble, whatever that is.

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality is that CS majors will get less and less opportunities. Money or career. This is a sad reality of globalization.

I would love to see scientists and engineers get more money/respect, but it is the market who decides that.

(Don't get me wrong, I started my CS career after the tech boom.)

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Starting a tech career 4-5 years earlier when you were trying to be part of the tech bubble sure was a great decision. Huh?"

Hey, buddy, I started my tech career in 1990 with a degree in applied sciences.
Then a BS in Physics from 1992-1995.
Then a MS in Computational Physics from 1995-1997.
Then a PhD from M.I.T. in electrical engineering from 1997-2002.

Don't assume things. It only makes you look ignorant.

 
At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't assume things. It only makes you look ignorant."

No, your background is just what I expected. If your degrees counted for much then you wouldn't be whining, now would you? Those who emphasize education are often left behind when it comes to a career. PhDs are often looked at as arrogant know-it-alls with marginal commercial skills. Let alone those in the humanities! A MA/MS is a plus, a PhD is often a big minus.

(I've got a PhD and have worked with dozens of others. There are Silicon Valley "PhD horror stories" going around at cocktail parties.)

 
At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you should leave the engineers alone.

My guess is that the percentage of engineers on this board is well out of whack with the percentage of engineers as a whole....they tend to be able to look at numbers and see when things make sense.

And as far as talking about being "stupid" about being an engineer, it is the country as a whole that is stupid for allowing the outsourceing of engineering.

In the eighties and nineties we outsourced manufacturing.

We are now outsourcing engineering and technology fields.

The only thing left will be left the service economy (we can all flip burgers for each other, and change each others oil).

Not sure how long that will work.

There are very few "Value-Added" professions left in the US it seems.....professions where you add to the net worth of the nation rather than facilitate capital transfer.

Just my 2-cents. Of course, I also happen to have a PhD in Engineering as well, so I may be biased.......

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous bulldozer said...

(The interviewer asked the Jills how long they have been in business? "10 years". Hmm. That would put them right at the beginning of the biggest boom in history, without any experience in a downturn.)

I saw a similar story that's stock market related. It was an interview with Bill Miller. He's the "legendary" mutual fund manager from Legg Mason whose claim to fame is that he has beaten the S&P 500 (which many funds benchmark to) for 13 years straight or something like that.

He's more or less a perma-bull, "never bet against America" kind of guy. He's famous for being very bullish on Amazon and loaded up at the bottom again in 2002. He did well with it. Last year, even though Amazon was tanking, he reiterated his bullishness. Turns out he was selling it. Oh well.

Anyway, in the interview, he prattled on and on about why you always need to be in stocks. Then he said, "Ever since I started in this business in 1982..."

There you go. He started in 1982 and caught an 18-year bull market. Until 2000, he had no experience with a bear market. He's still wildly bullish even though the S&P has gained 0% since 1998. Maybe stocks will go up, maybe they won't. But it's hard to listen to someone whose whole career has coincided with favorable market conditions.

So hearing these "Jills" talk about how RE always goes up and then learning they have only been in the business since 1996 makes me wince.

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous methuselah said...

(In the eighties and nineties we outsourced manufacturing. We are now outsourcing engineering and technology fields.)

I sure hope we will have the opportunity soon to outsource some of these mortgage brokers and realtors™. I don't want to paint with a broad brush, but we have far too many people in this country working in shuffling money and loans back and forth to each other or taking a piece of a financial transaction.

I don't suggest we all become factory workers again, but when your fastest-growing and most lucrative profession is money-changing you are in trouble.

 
At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"PhDs are often looked at as arrogant know-it-alls with marginal commercial skills."

I have found that stems from the insecurities and short-comings of those hiring. At my current job, may PhD was a huge plus because the partners making the hiring decision are intelligent and secure in their capabilties.

I've been part of hiring meetings since I joined my firm, and PhD candidates are put at the top of the list.

Anyhow, the point was that a 22 year old mortgage broker should NOT be making $250K. That is just another sign the huge housing bubble.

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree that engineers and scientists are the lifeblood of a nation. China is producing them like gangbusters. Sadly, the US produces more MBAs (what a joke).

I have few former engineering classmates who have gotten MBAs and they had mentioned that is was the biggest joke they had ever seem compared to the difficulty of their engineering classes.

No wonder the US is going down the tubes.

 
At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a scientist who jumped to business..have to agree. Biochem was 10 times as hard, but business returns 10 times as much money.

 
At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Jim in Venice said...

"I have few former engineering classmates who have gotten MBAs and they had mentioned that is was the biggest joke they had ever seem compared to the difficulty of their engineering classes."

As an MBA, I'll have to agree with you. None of my MBA classes were as hard as my general education astronomy lectures in undergrad. And I can do most of my work half-asleep. Yet, my salary isn't too much lower than Mr. Engineer from Boston, and I have about 6 fewer years of education. And, if I wanted to work the long hours, I could easily double that salary in the next 6 years (but I'm not that much of a go-getter - I like to be home at 5:30, thank you very much).

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an engineer. However, I should probably get a PhD in Finance. I know what the research topic should be - price bubbles!

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger goleta said...

There is a disturbing trend with many tech companies in Silicon Valley. While their stocks were beaten down after the tech bust, engineers that do the real work are commonly the first to let go, probably because their jobs are now being done in India or China. The only ones that see more stock options and salary increases are high level managers, mostly MBAs.


No wonder fewer and fewer high school graduates want to become scientists or engineers nowadays. There is much more money to be made in the zero-sum game of financial world. The hottest science to college kids nowadays is psychology, the only science useful in dealing with people to transfer their money to your bank account.

 
At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a disturbing trend with many tech companies in Silicon Valley. While their stocks were beaten down after the tech bust, engineers that do the real work are commonly the first to let go, probably because their jobs are now being done in India or China. The only ones that see more stock options and salary increases are high level managers, mostly MBAs.


No wonder fewer and fewer high school graduates want

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable how you people are spiting venom on someone who's a bit more lucky or a bit more brave then you are. Enjoying counting someone elses money instead of making your own huh?
"Why did I spend 10 years of my life learning science and eng when some idiot with a high school degree can scam $2M a year from the system." The bottom line is that he IS making $250K a year and you are NOT. So who's the idiot now?

 
At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Don said...

"Who's the idiot?" is a very interesting and profound question. May I suggest you read 'Fooled by Randomness' and reconsider your position.

Basically, given the universe of engineers and the universe of mortgage brokers you need to consider not just the income of each data point, but also the probability of hitting that data point. So someone who is making 2M / year will be making much less adjusted for probability because its very rare for a mortgage broker to make that much.

Failing to correct for probability is basically calling everyone who didn't buy a lottery ticket an idiot because there was a winner.

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous nostradamus said...

(The bottom line is that he IS making $250K a year and you are NOT. So who's the idiot now?)

Booms create a lot of temporary geniuses. I knew a lot of them in San Francisco in the late '90s. I had the opportunity to interview many of them. I can't tell you how many 22-year-olds with freshly-minted B.A.'s in English or Communications were working as Directors of Marketing and making six figures plus stock options. They were cocky and felt bulletproof. But as we now know, it didn't last long.

A science or engineering degree will last a lifetime. It may not be a ticket to the big money but it will likely make you employable for a long time. Sure, there are lots of 25-year-old GED-certified mortgage brokers out there right now pulling down a few hundred grand. But I guarantee you that in a few years, the majority of them will be filling out applications at Starbucks and will be damn happy to get the position.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous mathwiz said...

---

My favorite quote from the Fortune story is from Zareh Tahmassebian: "You can buy one $200,000 house with cash, or you can buy 20 with 10% down. Which would you rather have?"

Of course, you can't answer that question without the answer to this question, "How much and how fast will these houses appreciate in value?"

If the answer is, "They'll appreciate a ton and very soon," then i'll take 20 of them, thank you very much.

If the answer is, "Looks like the market is tapering off here and might decline for a while," then i'll take none of the above.

Let's say the market dips 10% (a very minor sum given the run up) and shakes out the speculators. If you had one home fully paid for, you would lose $20K plus sales fees to disengage from the "investment." If you had bought 20 homes, you would lose $400,000 plus sales fees.

And, oh by the way, let's hope Zareh's "investing" skills are stronger than his math skills. 10% down payments on twenty $200,000 homes is $400K, not $200K. But what's a few hundred grand when everyone's gonna get rich anyway.

 
At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:45, 3:11, 4:20

Talk about arrogant know-it all's... Based on your posts you must have a PhD in bulls**t...

Who do you think you are that you can berate the career choice of someone else. You must be joking if you think your computer programming career is better and more challenging that that of an engineer. You were stressed (boo hoo, talk about a whiner) and decided to retire young, give me a break you arrogant pr**k, (as you said about mortgage and real estate brokers), you were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, period...

-----------------------------------
Anon 3:02

You don't need to explain yourself to that ego maniac; he obliviously has an axe to grind or a Napoleon complex...

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nostradamus

Nice post.

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous johnkd said...

---

Priceless passage from the Fortune story:

"In Miami, the euphoria has reached, in many cases, truly over-the-top proportions. Consider a party thrown last month by one of the largest developers in town, for a soon-to-be-constructed condo called the Ivy. White stretch Hummers carried guests between three party locations as bikini-clad models decorated with real-estate-themed body paint paraded amid massage tables and lychee martinis. Brokers and investors mingled with choice buyers and hotshot international clients. The party was well attended, because getting in early on a Florida condo at pre-construction is the new version of scoring a spot in an Internet IPO."

Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud. But when someone is trying to sell me an "investment" by picking me up in a limo, surrounding me with dancing girls and plying me with lychee martinis, I would start to wonder whether I am in a financial transaction or a casino.

I think this anecdote pretty much sums up how naive speculators are being treated the same way casinos treat "whales"---entertain 'em, get 'em drunk, get 'em laid, then fleece 'em.

 
At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mathwiz

Also an excellent post.

 
At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don,
With all due respect for those who spend time, money and effort in achieving a degree and career in either scientific or engineering career (or both). I did NOT called everybody who did not drop their full-time jobs in order to chase a phantom of get-rich-quick real estate investment an idiot. On the contrary. Yes eductaion is a lifetime investment and I would be the first one to agree. But the parade of "Oh my God, He's 22 with HS diploma and makeing more money then I do with the PhD degree and THAT IS WHAT MAKES HIM AN IDIOT!" comments strikes me as an unbelievable showcase of people's envy, greed and makes me feel sorry for the fellow human beings. Why do you people care if someone got lucky? Why do you care if someone happened to be in the right place in the right time? You know someone is born of the Royal Family and never had to work in his entire life and definetely has more money then any PhD on the planet. Should we call him an idiot and count his money? Why not? He didn't EARN his money unlike this guy in the article. Yes he did not study long and hard but does it mean he did not deserve his money? He IS working. Whether we think his job is harder then ours or not. My point is: If you ladies and gentlemen believe that this guy is getting something for nothing why don't you try and do the same? You have much better education and knowledge then he does. Why not? Go ahead! Get rich. And if you can not do the same thing for whatever reason then don't you thing that you are not exactly in the position to call this guy an idiot?
P.S. Can anyone of you scientists and engineers honestly say that you never dreamt about your company going IPO and you becoming a millionare overnight? It is perfectly normal to desire financial independence. What is not normal from my point of view is to badmouth those who could make it.

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger deb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger deb said...

Can we please cool it on the career debate. This has been a great blog because people have posted intelligent, well thought out commentary on the subject at hand. Please realize that some of the above posts were just done to incite controversy and ruin a great discussion. Please don't respond when people are just trying to bait you, just ignore them.

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I posted the 2:45 comment but none of the subsequent comments.) I really have to wonder about the intelligence of someone who would get a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from MIT who didn't enjoy the work for its own sake, or whose primary goal was to get rich. A Ph.D in EE from MIT is hard work! And surely with a Ph.D in EE you should be able to comprehend compound interest well enough to understand that it would take decades for your increased salary due to a Ph.D. to make up for the money and time you spent on additional education beyond a B.S. And I never said computer programming demanded a lot of education. The work itself can be extraordinarily demanding and tends to attract some extraordinarily intelligent people, but as for education...hell, even a high-school diploma isn't really necessary. Nor am I flaunting the fact that I got rich quick. I did get rich, and the business I started had nothing to do with the dotcom boom. Furthermore, I am sure I could have done equally well in today's environment. There is tremendous demand for cost-savings in areas like medicine, which has been almost untouched by technology so far. If you really want money, then start your own business. When you get more work than you can handle, take advantage of internet technology and outsource the extra work to the third-world like the big players do. If you aren't willing to start your own business, then that indicates that money is not really what you want, so quit complaining about other people making money.

BTW there is nothing new about business people with a HS education making more money than Ph.D. scientists and engineers. Think of all the guys who started McDonalds franchises back in the 1960's and got rich, while Nobel prize winners earned nothing more than a university salary. I fail to see what is wrong with this.

 
At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who do you think you are that you can berate the career choice of someone else. You must be joking if you think your computer programming career is better and more challenging that that of an engineer. You were stressed (boo hoo, talk about a whiner) and decided to retire young, give me a break you arrogant pr**k, (as you said about mortgage and real estate brokers), you were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, period..."

You've created an imaginary villian. Different people...

 
At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(You've created an imaginary villian.)

What has happened is the guy is starting to realize, AFTER having spent 10 years studying and racking up massive student loan debts no doubt, that he doesn't really like engineering for its own sake. But he can't opening acknowledge this to himself because it means he's a complete nitwit, since anyone with common sense would have realized this many years earlier. I've never despised Ph.D.s in the natural sciences or engineering because I also assumed they got the Ph.D in order to enjoy a peaceful life in a research lab. But listening to this guy makes me wonder that maybe the science and engineering Ph.D are actually as stupid as the humanities Ph.Ds.

 
At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another PhD's (Candidate at this juncture) comments. I do the work for its enjoyment sake. My advisor and I have had a few long discussion regarding the hollowing of America's engineering ability. The attitude that keeps me sane is that this is what I love doing and will do regardless of the rewards. By the way I'm in my later 30's w/ wife and kids.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks American engineering is being hollowed out is dead wrong. Grunt work is being shunted over Asia but the US continues to be a leader in innovation. Innovation means creating new technologies and businesses, not getting a salaried job doing the same old stuff that was done twenty years ago--that is the stuff that's being outsourced.

The future is very bright for anything having to do with alternative energy, biotechnology, materials science, to speak nothing of continued development of telecommunications and information technology. And be sure to think international. The Chinese have a HUGE need for pollution control technology for example.

 
At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone from the cheerleading camp is trying to divide us up here...

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger goleta said...

Let's not forget top technology pioneers like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Lawrence Ellison never got college degrees. They chose not to, not because they were not capable of getting one.

 
At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point of the PhD argument is that education should provide enough money too achive the American dream of owning an affordable home. With inflated housing and outsourcing of engineering, that is barely possible in America.

Many PhD's love what they R&D life, but have had to abandon it to achieve enough money to support their families.

That was the original poster's point. America has become a "finance economy" which is the source of most of our problems, including housing and credit bubble which has added no value to our nation

 
At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW, 86 messages...it that a record for one article on this blog?

Seems like the engineering discussion is a passionate one, and I for one understand that.

The fellow who was speaking badly of engineers/scientists needs to realize that the majority of them have worked very hard and gotten the shaft over the last few years. Combine that with the fact that many are starting off and can't afford homes, and you can understand their sentiment.

Seeing some kid make $1M shuffling mortgages would annoy anyone who is working hard and getting no financial reward for their contribution.

Liking what you do has nothing to do with it. One still needs to have enough cash to enjoy life.

Case CLOSED.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger goleta said...

Unfortunately, when facing reality, people have to follow where the money is. With pure sciences like physics, math, or biology, permanent research positions are few compared to the number of Ph.Ds fresh out of school.

Even PhD from a top school in the field with outstanding research achievement do not guarantee a permanent job and the lucky ones that get any temporary research jobs at all have to live like academic nomad on 1-5 year of post-doc contracts with less than $50K salary.
So the bubble basically shut the door of home ownership. Many of them can't even keep their marriage, as they can't stay in a town for over 5 years and usually are far away from their spouses who have non-academic careers. Those PhDs would have had much better chance to make many times more money as a business manager, lawyer, loan broker. or realtor.

There is usually no immediate commercial value in new science discovery, but in the long run, the economic impact can be enormous.
For example, the discovery of transistor has resulted in an industry worth trillions of dollars. Has this country done enough to stay ahead in the new discovery, or has it just shown the new generation how silly it is to dedicate 10+ years in sciences and end up with nothing?

 
At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What has happened is the guy is starting to realize, AFTER having spent 10 years studying and racking up massive student loan debts no doubt, that he doesn't really like engineering for its own sake. But he can't opening acknowledge this to himself because it means he's a complete nitwit, since anyone with common sense would have realized this many years earlier."

It's stunning to me that someone in an applied field would sit out the field's biggest bull run in history ('90 - '00) in school. A significant percentage of PhDs are unemployable due to their 'eccentric' personalities, and there's simply NO work in many disciplines (e.g. sociology, ethnic studies).

It can be quite hard finding appropriate work for a PhD too. One of the guys in astronomy who found an internationally publicized comet couldn't find any work whatsoever. At the end of the cold war there were plenty of nuclear scientists in the USSR driving taxis.

There are 1,000s of people who go into grad school with a 10 year committment and have no clue about their marketability, and don't work on their interpersonal/political skills. School can be nothing more than an indulgence. Some students choose school to avoid "real work" too.

Nobody owes you a living, even if you think you are "due" and have put in the time. New PhDs can have problems because (1) they are overqualified for low-to-mid jobs relative to average applicants, and (2) they do not have a string of accomplishments to compete with senior PhDs.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger goleta said...

" At the end of the cold war there were plenty of nuclear scientists in the USSR driving taxis."


I heard China, Iran, Cuba, and north Korea have hired them all. OTOH, nowadays you can still get the best help in solving difficult math equations from a taxi driver or newsstand owner.

 
At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's stunning to me that someone in an applied field would sit out the field's biggest bull run in history ('90 - '00) in school."

What did you expect people to do...drop their research in mid-progress so that they could jump onto the bandwagon?

If that's what you would have done, then you must be very fickle.

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What did you expect people to do...drop their research in mid-progress so that they could jump onto the bandwagon?

If that's what you would have done, then you must be very fickle."

Not in the slightest. There are plenty of lifelong students who never work or take time off. They have little perspective on the working world, perhaps thinking school will never end. If one took off a year or two when jobs were plentiful then they'd be much more competitive when the degrees were complete. (And likely not complaining about not finding work.)

PLENTY of academic advisors recommend this approach.

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If one took off a year or two when jobs were plentiful then they'd be much more competitive when the degrees were complete."

Wrong. Not PhD advisors want you to slave away in the lab, and would not allow you to take a "year or two" to work.

Sorry friend, but it does not work that way in the majority of cases. A friend of mine was not even given permission to leave for a summer internship!

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Wrong. Not PhD advisors want you to slave away in the lab, and would not allow you to take a "year or two" to work.

Sorry friend, but it does not work that way in the majority of cases. A friend of mine was not even given permission to leave for a summer internship!]

That's NUTS! In my grad school easily 50% of the students did it this way! Or, if not that they'd do it before grad school!

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wrong. Not PhD advisors want you to slave away in the lab, and would not allow you to take a "year or two" to work."


What about Silicon Valley being filled with "ABDs" or All But Dissertation students? Some go back to school, some keep working.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this talk of science jobs an their dollar worth doesn't go the heart of this blog. What our 22 year old nitwit is doing is negatively impacting hard working if not well payed scientist by artifically pushing up the price of homes. This impacts everybody. Our 22 year old millionair on paper deserves to be burned.

 
At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally hope that 22 year old becomes a debt slave and works the rest of his life paying off his debt masters.

One can dream...

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger desi dude said...

I just wanted this post to reach 100 soon!

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another PhD chiming in here, with my thoughts on this topic.

Should ones education enable one to have a comfortable financial life?

Damn right it should, otherwise as time goes on, fewer people will strive to be educated and advance basic science and engineering. What I fear is that it's already too late for the US. There will come a time when all we do is service each other, and China will lead the world in R&D.

 
At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a person in R&D should have additional tax deductions, since the contribute to the knowledge base of the nation, and yet don't get much in return.

Or maybe, they should be given housing credits that they use as a down payment.

 
At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But wait, if you have a PhD you are a winner in life's lottery and should be taxed more heavily to share the benefit with others!

 
At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Will said...

I'm just bummed out because I missed the confetti drop at the 100th comment. :(

 

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