I don’t know. But I think so. Or if not an out and out bubble – this is not Japan in 1990, after all – a serious bulge.

But first . . . did you see David Brudnoy’s informative column in Saturday’s Boston Herald on the Pledge of Allegiance? If you don’t know its history, it’s well worth a click.

Also, hats off to President Bush for his forceful comments about Wall Street crime – accounting scandals, insider trading and the like. Never mind that Vice President Cheney seems very possibly to have profited from much the same sort of thing when he was at Halliburton, and that the President’s own insider sale of Harken Oil stock – much larger than Martha Stewart’s sale of ImClone – would seem to be an even more serious matter for review, given that he was on the company’s board of directors and audit committee at the time. (But he was also the President’s son, and the S.E.C. chose not to pursue it.) Click here if you need a refresher.

At the same time as the President was calling for full and fair disclosure to company shareholders, the White House continued to fight the non-partisan General Accounting Office’s request for disclosure of who the White House Energy Task Force met with while formulating national energy policy. After 300 days of White House intransigence, the GAO, for the first time in its history, sued the executive branch for access to requested information. That was more than four months ago, and still no info. Is it possible there is something here the Bush administration doesn’t want the public to know?

But I’m supposed to be writing about the real estate bubble. Why do I keep avoiding that?

Could it be that – like everyone else who owns real estate – I hope to avoid reality? That I hope prices have reached a permanently high plateau? That I, too, hope prices will remain firm here, or rise?

Let me be quick with two major caveats. First, I am no real estate expert. Second, there are all kinds of real estate – raw land, farm land, homes, condos, office towers, warehouses, hotels, retail space, industrial parks and more – in all kinds of places – rural, urban, suburban; North, South, East, West, Mid-West; slum, plum, and in between. For all I know, many of them are dirt-cheap.

But I’ve been watching prices in New York and Miami for a long time, and hearing a thing or two about prices elsewhere, and I worry that in some places, we’re in for rough sledding.

One final push to tackle this subject tomorrow.

 

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