Candidate for HD 97 Carol Minjares’ Solution for Affordable Housing

by jhwygirl

A long-term free fall of the Missoula housing market along with all the foreclosures, collapse of the mortgage and banking industry and recession that goes along with it.

Long term.

She says “Missoulapolis continues to see the glass as half-full, portending free-market affordable housing in Missoula in five years. Yes, it can happen here.”

Yeah, that’s a candidate I can get behind!

I wonder if she’s going to wheel out those blue Minjares HD 97 signs she used last-time around, with that tiny tiny barely visible little elephant?

Minjares also offered this solution to affordable housing last September.

Folks, this is your local GOP in action. Carol Minjares is Vice-Chair of the Missoula County Repubicans and Secretary of the Five Valleys Pachyderm.

  1. Wow, this site looks hosed. I’ll try it in Firefox…

    J-girl’s solution to the housing problem: Stick it to the taxpayers in order to build deed-restricted “affordable” condos that end up costing more than market-based housing.

  2. I have never mentioned a tax Carol. Not even once.

  3. JC

    It’s funny that Carol mentions “stick it to the tax payers.” Because that’s exactly what the Bear Stearns bailout (buyout) is. And of course the Bear Stearns wipeout is part of the “market correction” that Carol would attribute to bringing housing prices down.

    Unfortunately, the taxpayers are going to get stuck with billions and billions dollars of costs of bailing out failing subprime mortgages. Which of course is a way of propping up the lending industry, and keeping them from having to pay the costs of predatory and poor lending practices. Let the government assume the risk, and the companies the profit. Crazy talk.

    It’s Bush’s policies (or lack thereof) over the last 7 years that is going to cost taxpayers trillions of dollars into the future. And the anchor-weight of all those unbudgeted costs and tax cuts are going to take a huge toll on the economy.

    And the conservatives sit on the sidelines and gloat because they have resilient personal budgets and large, tax-sheltered savings. And they wait like a flock of vultures to cast low-ball pittances to those whose housing values are sinking with the economy, laughing at how desperate people will grasp at any offer. And then hold them and rent them out to those who no longer can afford to own–until the market bounces back ten years hence, when they’ll sell them for a nice profit, back to those who are just starting to recover from the Great Market Crash of ’08.

    Yet these same people are the ones suggesting that a market correction (read deflation in housing prices of close to 50%) is the answer to affordable housing? Utterly hilarious, if it wasn’t so sad. And just how are families whose finances and credit ratings that have been destroyed going to get back into the market?

    So to go along with the republicans, I think it is time to suggest a tax cut. YES, a TAX CUT. Starting with doubling the standard deductions, and cutting the tax rate for those below the national median income. Then offsetting those tax cuts by raising the tax rate progressively for those over the median income.

    And a reprieve for those whose credit rating was destroyed by predatory lending practices. How about regulating the use of credit records and scores by lenders for those whose ability to borrow has been destroyed by Bush’s policies in the housing market?

    And of course, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, because they achieved their goal of accumulating wealth at the highest end of the income scale. And this is the wealth which allows the second phase of Bush & Co.’s act to sit on the sidelines, chortling as they pick off housing and real estate from bankrupt and foreclosed families and businesses, gloating about those people’s inability to work hard, sacrifice and save like they have done.

  4. Ayn Rand

    I don’t see any of you bench warmers filing for office…yes it’s easier not being held accountable isn’t it?

  5. JC

    What, filing for office is the new litmus test to be able to offer critique? Haha. Let’s all just run out and file en masse.

    I’d venture to say that for most of us who are not filing for office, that we are assisting the political campaigns of those we believe in. After all, isn’t that what democracy is all about?

  6. Why file? The Democratic Party already has all the best candidates this election season in every race. I’m sorry you guys have to scrape the bottom of the barrel over there, Ayn.

  7. Ayn Rand

    Oh Becca,
    what sentiment. Be sure to tell the 6 under 25 years of age conservatives, that have filed, that they are the bottom of the barrel. You are one class act! In fact, no don’t you tell them, I will, from you and the other America haters.

  8. Be sure you sign it XOXOXO!

  9. JC

    “you bench warmers ”

    “you and the other America haters”

    We are Americans, too, Ayn–just maybe not part of your vision of America, other than that as something to trickling down on. Your words speak for themselves.

    And for those of you decry the “America haters,” just which America are you referring to? Yours? Or the one illuminated in the Constitution as in “We the People…,” not we the businesses, or we the rich, or we the righteous.

    As much as you and your like may think that “America haters” are to be scorned and ridiculed–lesser than–their views on America comprise as much of what it is to be “American” as do yours. Maybe moreso, if they are grounded in the Constitution, as opposed to being based in, let’s say, “executive powers” or “divine rights.”

  10. jhwygirl

    Ayn – You just made my day by defending Carol Minjares’.

    Calling the collapse of the banking and housing industry the solution to affordable housing as “being held accountable” is indefensible.

    I repeat – this is the Missoula GOP at work.

    Sit back and watch the disaster – grab the popcorn as she is so prone to say – now that’s action – that’s problem solving.

  11. RP

    JC– You seem to have a problem with human intelligence, both with your own and with the people who paid too much for their houses. Why not drop all this retro-communist stuff you’re spouting about rich folks and just come out and say it: You hate smart people.

  12. JC

    RP, I’m commenting on the things I’ve read on Missoulapolis and comments on other blogs she’s linked to. If you don’t have a problem with pre-foreclosure vultures, that’s your problem.

    It’s just when the well-heeled point to the the housing market collapse as providing affordable housing in the next five years, when out of the other side of their mouths (and blogs), they’re preaching low-balling, well, at a minimum it’s intellectually dishonest.

    And if I really wanted to spout retro-communist gibberish at the smart people you think I hate, well, then I’d just preach that we nationalize the banking and home loan industry, institute a cap on corporate wages to a percent of minimum wage earners, do away with corporate first amendment speech rights, and…

    Conversely to what you might believe, I don’t hate smart people. I just don’t happen to think that money=intelligence.

  13. Well I agree JC that the Bear Stearns bailout is sticking it to the taxpayers too! What’s to disagree with there? I don’t stick up for the mortgage fraudsters and banksters and the investment vehicles that got us in to this mess. Also, don’t forget the incessant pressure on lenders to loosen their standards for certain groups. Boy did they ever.

    And what’s wrong with lowballing? It’s driving a hard bargain, which more people need to learn instead of politely rolling over and being “afraid to insult the seller.”

    The earth is shifting under our feet, and local govt, OPG, the Realtors and builders don’t want to acknowledge it. It looks to me that they really do not really care if prices come down. They’re protecting their own properties, and worried about decreasing tax revenues. They should be worried. Building permits have already fallen off a cliff. Other cities are laying off people, including planners.

  14. RP

    JC– Your writing is full of insinuations that there is something evil about people who are smart and make money: “[T]hey wait like a flock of vultures to cast low-ball pittances to those whose housing values are sinking with the economy, laughing at how desperate people will grasp at any offer.” Or how about, “…chortling as they pick off housing and real estate from bankrupt and foreclosed families and businesses, gloating about those people’s inability to work hard, sacrifice and save like they have done.”

    Okay, so maybe that is not hardcore retro-communism. Maybe that sounds more like another sappy magazine installment from Charles Dickens rather than the rigorous research of Karl Marx. But all the same, it is still shrill rhetoric that evades a simple truth: Some people are smarter than other people. And there is nothing you can do about that, other than wring your hands distractedly and make emotional appeals.

  15. JC

    Actually, RP, those impressions were gathered from reading the stories linked to by Missoulapolis and elsewhere. My description was actually quite lame. Here’s one from BebdBubble2:

    “But, if you firmly plant a scrote busting, steal-toed LOWBALL right in their crotch, you can actually make out OK, and that is IF AND ONLY IF you do NOT plan on selling in the next decade, and you can make that cracker shack pencil as a rental. And there are Realtors who are STARVING TO DEATH for you to play this game.

    So do me proud folks: Go out looking for a cracker shack, and walk proudly to the table and throw down a LOWBALL that ruptures every eyeball vein in the place.”

    And they get much more colorful than that. And I guess you haven’t had the privilege of having a Realtor come knocking at your door, asking about your neighbor whose home is in preforeclosure. I’ve heard some disgusting things from several Realtors looking to swoop in, trying to get first blood from the poor guy across the street from me trying to save his home.

    No, I’m not trying to insinuate anything evil about about smart people trying to make money. I just think that predatory lending practices followed up by vulturous realtor practices preying on people’s misfortunes paints a very bleak human picture on the headline grabbing stories of Bear Stearns and the national foreclosure crisis.

    Maybe you’re justing feeling a bit guilty???

  16. RP

    JC– I do not recall you agonizing over the millions of people who were highballing house prices on the way up, cashing out equity and buying big cars and taking fabulous vacations with the proceeds. And you have not said a word about predatory borrowing practices. In any event, most economists agree with Carol Minjares that the free market will create all the affordable housing people need, on the way down:

    “My preferred metric is the ratio of home prices to rental rates. By that measure, average home prices nationally got way too high. We’ll probably basically retrace all that. So that’s about a 25% decline in overall home prices. Only a fraction of that’s happened so far. Of course, it varies a lot. In places like Houston or Atlanta, where home prices have not risen much compared with underlying rents, the decline will be relatively small. In places like Miami or Los Angeles, you could be looking at 40% or 50% declines.”

    — Paul Krugman, Princeton Economist
    (Forbes Magazine, March 17, 2008)

  17. Not Feeling Guilty

    Get a life, RC. Only 1 in 557 households are in some stage of default on their mortgages (RealtyTrac, Inc.).

    You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. And you’re making a laughingstock out of yourself with your weepy stories about the “poor guy across the street.” (Yeah, I know. He’s the 1 in 557!)

  18. jhwygirl

    There’s quite a list of foreclosures in this weeks Independent, Not Feeling Guilty.

    To be clear – there are many to blame – the adult that signed on the bottom line, but also the banks and lenders that were pushing these loans like bad crack to addicts of the American dream. They knew they were selling bad shit, that’s why they then turned around and sold these bad loads to places like Goldman-Sachs and Bear Stearns.

    And then those foolhardy folks – who knew they’d get the bail out because of the integral part housing and banking plays into the nationwide economy – bought the damned things.

    Plenty of blame, plenty of disgrace all the way around.

  19. Not Feeling Guilty

    You need to get off your high horse and stop making moral judgments for a whole society. This is a free country and people can lend and borrow money to and from whomever they please for whatever reason they please. When YOUR money is actually used to bailout somebody, then you can start complaining.

  20. jhwygirl

    MY money is being used to bailout everyone – remember that $600 check everyone has coming? Where is that cash coming from? Do you think they just print the stuff at whim? It may seem like it, but that really isn’t the case Not Feeling Guilty.

  21. JC

    We seem to have touched a raw nerve here. WHile it’s good and all to talk about the national picture, what we’re concerned about here in Missoula is the on-the-ground picture for affordable housing.

    When Carol talks about how deflation in median housing prices will interact with a 3-5% yearly median wage increase over 5 years to create a scenario where housing becomes more affordable, well it becomes more than just a math exercise. There’s a lot of assumptions here. Like median wage increasing at that rate during a recession.

    The other assumption is that in places like Missoula, that those houses declining in value that are placed on the market become available to the general public. All I’ve seen and heard from local Realtors, and from the lowball commenters on bendbubble2 are that this presents an opportunity for speculators.

    Realtors in Missoula are trying to pick off preforeclosures at a discount right now. Lowballers are looking to get what they can, and then rent them back to families in the community until prices recover in 10 years, whereupon they can be put back on the market at a price significantly higher than what they are paying for them right now.

    And with the bottom falling out of the lending industry, the median (not to mention those with lower incomes) income family is going to find a much more difficult time getting a loan as credit is tightened.

    So contrary to what Carol says, I don’t see the current situation doing anything over the next five years to advance affordable housing in Missoula. I see the opposite: families forced out of their homes, and those homes being bought up by speculators (Realtors and lowballers) and turned into rentals. My bet is that the level of family home ownership in Missoula will decline over the next five years.

  22. jhwygirl

    Not Feeling Guilty – I have expounded on that a little bit more, in case you are interest. Here. That was picked up by Reuters, btw.

  23. Not Feeling Guilty


    You wrote: “MY money is being used to bailout everyone – remember that $600 check everyone has coming? Where is that cash coming from?”

    1. The “rebate” money from the government is unrelated to creating affordable housing, stopping foreclosures or helping out Wall Street investment banks. It is a general fiscal stimulus intended to boost the entire economy by increasing consumer spending.

    2. Everyone is not getting a check, and of those who are, not everyone is getting $600. Forty-one percent of wage earners pay no federal income taxes at all. However, the great majority of them will receive rebate checks. Perhaps you should take up your issue with them. Try telling them “everyone must pay their fair share of taxes,” as the IRS says.

    3. The money is coming from government tax revenues, which it should not have collected in the first place, because taxes are too high to begin with. The situation is similar to the property tax rebates handed out in Montana last year. The state over-taxed property owners.

    I find it extremely disingenuous of you to rhetorically ask, “Where is that cash coming from? Do you think they just print the stuff at whim?” and then propose one scheme after another to create affordable housing with other people’s money.

  24. “this presents an opportunity for speculators.”

    It looks like they’re already at work from what you say. I say, let them catch the falling knives. It will take a few years for this to play out. Right now the primary bagholders are the younger Realtors and builders who went in too deep with their own speculation, and those who bought recently, at the top, with 100% financing and really have no skin in the game. I’ve talked with some of them and can’t believe how they just bought a few months ago and already trying desperately to sell or at least rent out.

    The whole “struggling to save their homes” overstates and sentimentalizes the situation. People need to move on, get the albatross of their back. Plenty of people have recovered from these kinds of losses. And sure I could be wrong, but I think my information is as good as the mayor’s.

  25. Not Feeling Guilty


    You seem to be the one suffering from a case of nerves. For the life of me, I cannot understand why you keep hyperventilating about rudimentary economics.

    You wrote: “Realtors in Missoula are trying to pick off preforeclosures at a discount right now. Lowballers are looking to get what they can, and then rent them back to families in the community until prices recover in 10 years, whereupon they can be put back on the market at a price significantly higher than what they are paying for them right now.”

    Assuming that is the investment plan, what is wrong with that? Do you have a problem with people risking their own money? Do you have a problem with affordable rental units?

    You wrote: “My bet is that the level of family home ownership in Missoula will decline over the next five years.”

    That may well be the case because of tight lending standards. But you forgot to mention that home ownership was artificially inflated over the past five years by loose lending standards. The proper level of home ownership is determined by market forces

  26. JC

    Carol, any family that is in preforeclosure is struggling (or doesn’t care if they lose the home). Why you choose to call that “sentimentalizing” is perplexing. And yes, albatrosses are no fun, and life does go on.

    But my concerns are still valid about how we choose to provide affordable housing in our community, who can purchase that housing, and who must rent.

    I saw a comment on Missoulapolis where the point was made that Missoula can build affordable housing, but the person driving in off the interstate at Orange street is buying it up. i.e. our community’s efforts at building affordable housing aren’t being realized by Missoulians, they are being taken advantage of by out-of-staters who can outcompete Missoulians for the slim pickens. This sort of trend, while not of concern to realtors and speculators, should disturb the average Missoulian worried about his/her future in this valley.

  27. JC


    Judging from your comments, you don’t live in Missoula or know much about the town. First off, rentals prices in Missoula are anything but affordable. And of course I don’s have any problems with people risking their own money–as long as I don’t have to subsidize the losses of speculators.

    I’m pointing to the dichotomy of Carol saying that market forces are going to combine (decreasing median house prices and increasing median wages) to provide more affordable housing in Missoula over the next 5 years. But when that housing that is becoming more affordable is picked up by speculators or migrating families, then nothing is gained by the Missoula family that is looking to get into a home.

    Carol’s (and so it seems your) argument that the market will take care of our needs 5 years hence is full of holes, and it can lead to complacency with our community’s efforts to provide affordable housing in many different ways.

    We cannot ignore the effects of the economy and housing prices (whether it be rental or mortgage prices) on our community. People can toss their grand free market economic theories into the ring, but as a community we have to deal with the issues of how to provide for things like health care, education expenses, basic services, and retirement. And when housing costs outweigh the budget, all of these other needs take a hit. And that has social costs to our families and communities. Social costs that our local citizens end up having to mitigate.

  28. Not Feeling Guilty


    There seems to be a strong undercurrent of megalomania in your purported desire to help everybody in Missoula. In fact, it sounds to me like you want to run the entire economy of Missoula.

    Well, give it a try. I am sure you will have a lot more affordable houses than you ever imagined, mainly because everybody will have moved away.

  29. JC

    NFG, you obviously have no connection with the Missoula community (or at least the segment of the Missoula community that will be most affected by the current recession and upcoming housing price deflation) or you wouldn’t be saying such things.

    I have no desire to help everybody–not everybody needs help. But when market forces out of our community’s control adversely affect our neighbors and their families, well, that is when a real community pulls together to solve problems.

    But I guess if you are living in a gated community, or don’t associate yourself with those of lesser means, then I guess I understand your viewpoint. I just don’t happen to think it is relevant in a discussion on affordable housing in Missoula.

  30. goof houlihan

    I remember a time in Bozeman when the private sector was in the tank. The government and university workers engaged in vulture capitalism with a vengeance.

    Lots of people in govt think the good old days were the mid 80s but those of us who lost it all prefer now, where there’s an economy and a hardworking guy or gal can have a decent job.

  31. Not Feeling Guilty


    When you talk about providing things like “health care, education expenses, basic services, and retirement,” not to mention home ownership and probably two-dozen other things, I think you are in fact talking about helping everybody, or at a minimum, a huge swath of the population. That also implies you wish to control a large segment of Missoula’s economy, which is, as I said, a symptom of megalomania.

    I would be interested in hearing more about your Grand Economic Vision for Missoula. How far will you go in your quest to rearrange the local economy? How much money—or how many new laws—do you think you will need to achieve your vision? And do you expect any unintended consequences from your actions?

  32. JC

    NFG, you misread my words. When I say “as a community we have to deal with the issues of how to provide for things like health care, education expenses, basic services, and retirement,” I refer to the struggle that people overburdened with housing costs have to provide these needs for their families. And when families struggle, the costs spill over in the community in many unintended ways. It’s why we have things like Partnership Health Center, Missoula Housing Authority, Missoula Agin Services, the Povarello Center, lack of curbs and sidewalks in many parts of the city, kids leaving high school early, and on and on.

    “And do you expect any unintended consequences from your actions?”

    Actually, I would be more interested in your views on the unintended consequences of Bush’s economic policies over the last 7 years.

  33. Not Feeling Guilty


    Well, if you do not want to talk about your plans for managing the Missoula economy and taking care of everybody’s day-to-day needs, I guess that is your prerogative. Perhaps you will publish something definitive when you run for office.

    I am not familiar with the economic policies of President Bush, and I am therefore not in a position to comment on whether his policies had unintended consequences–or no consequences at all, for that matter. The truth is, I pay very little attention to government economic policy, because I learned a long time ago I am solely responsible for my own wellbeing, an idea you might want to consider for yourself and others.

  34. JC

    “The truth is, I pay very little attention to government economic policy, because I learned a long time ago I am solely responsible for my own wellbeing”

    In other words, you got nothin. Didn’t think you had anything positive to contribute to this article.

  35. Not Feeling Guilty

    I see you truncated my quote. To paraphrase something you said earlier, it looks like I touched a raw nerve.

    I have plenty to add to this discussion, all of it positive to counterbalance your negative ideas. But it seems you are so steeped in economic ignorance and an absurd sense of self-importance that you are beyond any remediation applied by me. However, I have no doubt that a free market will ultimately give you—and anyone who adheres to your mistaken beliefs—a very thorough smackdown.

  36. JC


    Well, for starters, your “free market” has already dealt a “smackdown” blow to millions of American homeowners, and millions more to come.

    Putting aside the personal insults that you replace rational discourse with, I have one final question for you, and if you choose to resort to vitriol, instead of reason, we’re done here:

    What do you have to contribute to the discussion of affordable housing in Missoula, which is the topic of this blog?

  37. Not Feeling Guilty


    “Vitriol”? I think you better check the definition of that word. Either that or check your personal sensitivity setting.

    You also might want to check the definition of “millions” while you are at it, or in the alternative, the definition of “hyperbole.”

    The free market allows people to freely buy and sell houses at prices everyone freely agrees upon. There is nothing you can do to change a perfect system. All your schemes will be in vain and will ultimately harm the very people you so effusively claim to care about. That is the history of those who would fool with perfection.

    And there ends my contribution, unless you were talking about me sending you some money. In which case, I would not spend too much time hanging around the post office if I were you.

  38. Anonymous

    Well this has certainly been unenlightening. May I offer some middle ground? Is anyone here aware that MT is one of just 12 states that does not allow home price disclosure? This is a crock. It creates a realtor monopoly, and we all have an interest in ending it.

    For more info, see Not in Montana and M Gal posts on today’s Housing Bubble Blog.

  39. I am aware A and I agree – it is a crock….

    Call me a cynic, but I doubt Carol agrees.

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