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Driven by fear and greed by ProQuest


The seeds of the "sub-prime mortgage crisis" were sowed by people getting fat commissions giving mortgages to borrowers who never should have been approved. Families with no income, job or assets were told, "No problem. Just sign here and you can have a large, variable rate loan" These junk loans were repackaged, given exotic names like assetbacked commercial paper, and resold to the largest financial institutions in North America. When interest rates rose, home values decreased and borrowers walked away from their properties. The smart money didn't look so clever.Sadly, this riverboat gambler mentality has infected the charitable world as well. In recent years, a sizable industry has sprung up: promoters promising people that they could give to "charity" and get back tax savings equalling or even exceeding their original investment. These complex, leveraged products-also called tax shelter gifting arrangements-appeared to work for a while. I've met people who say they've used these products for several years without problems, so why should anyone be concerned?

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