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Why the Fed can't fix housing. Doh!


By RentingForHalfTheCost   Follow   Fri, 24 Feb 2012, 2:07am PST   7,359 views   29 comments
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/23/news/economy/federal_reserve_housing/index.htm?iid=Lead

Here is an easy solution. Stop the madness of backing the banks. It isn't a right to own a home in this country like so many think. It is something you earn. Only when we get back to that thinking will the fix be in place. In 2007 I remember my neighbors 19 year old son who only had a part time job at home depot thinking about buying a 400K house! You know what he ended up doing? Not listening to me in 2009 and buying a distressed for 330K only to lose it shortly afterward. How do you fix that? You make people accountable from the bottom to the top. Is it happening, yes. When it is over? Years from now is the best guess. The easy money slowed the process, but there is no easier than free, so here we go again. giddy up!

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PockyClipsNow   Fri, 24 Feb 2012, 2:47am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike (1)     Comment 1

What they mean by 'fix' is 'restore peak bubble house values from 2006'.

Its really sickening to watch them try this the last 6 years.

tony   Fri, 24 Feb 2012, 3:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 2

Only way fed can fix this by giving every household say $50k to spend on housing thereby increasing money available. Otherwise there is no hope. Good jobs are few and there is way too much supply of expensive houses!

Dan8267   Fri, 24 Feb 2012, 4:32am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 3

PockyClipsNow says

What they mean by 'fix' is 'restore peak bubble house values from 2006'.

That goal is mutually exclusive with the goal of having most Americans own their home.

bubblesitter   Fri, 24 Feb 2012, 5:13am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 4

You need energy to pump water up from where it is - same way it is going to take quite a bit of effort to keep the home prices inflated. Just a thought for some people don't understand economics but understand physics. :)

Zakrajshek   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 12:26am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 5

It is absolutely sickening to watch. And we really can do nothing about it. It is clear that those in control, Bernanke and his ilk, will do anything, anything, to prop up their failed policies and philosophy. Their giant arrogant egos will never allow them to admit their ideas have failed. How long will this go on... until these guys are somehow ousted.

freak80   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 2:06am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 6

I want a free lunch. I will vote for whoever will give it to me.

uomo_senza_nome   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 2:21am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 7

wthrfrk80 says

I want a free lunch. I will vote for whoever will give it to me.

That's the American spirit, LOL

The Fed and its associated banks can only control the supply-side of the credit and monetary base.

Monetary base has exponentially exploded since 2008 to prop up failed bank balance sheets.

the demand-side of credit is firmly on the side of the currency user. And the household sector wants to deleverage. The government sector is compensating for this deleveraging, trying to make the pain lesser but prolonging the pain further.

This demand-side is bloated with credit up to eyeballs at this point, that there is only one way to go. DELEVERAGE. Bring the debt levels back down to where they can be meaningfully serviced.

The other way is to meaningfully increase the wage level so that the debt can still be serviced, but there are political road blocks as well as limitations of monetary policy to have a meaningful impact on wages. Monetary policy is really just a financial repression of savers, forcing savers to take more risks than they otherwise would.

But bringing credit levels back down to meaningful levels means tremendous short term pain, stronger dollar -- none of these are good for both the political and the banking classes. Both these classes favor debtors as opposed to savers.

They are with the majority of the American people though ;) as evidenced by the below graph.

Dan8267   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 2:43am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 8

John Bailo says

The problem isn't housing.

The problem is wages.

Salaries are way too low for the current cost of living.

What about savings? If you dramatically increase wages to account for housing prices, then you are effectively wiping out 80% of the lifetime savings of people. You are also impoverishing anyone living on a pension, IRAs, 401Ks, and social security. If you raise those rates, shouldn't you raise the money people have in checking, savings, and money market accounts, too?

Remember, all these cost of living expenses have occurred due to the "quantitative easing" that our government did in response to the housing bubble.

uomo_senza_nome   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 2:57am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 9

Dan8267 says

If you dramatically increase wages to account for housing prices, then you are effectively wiping out 80% of the lifetime savings of people. You are also impoverishing anyone living on a pension, IRAs, 401Ks, and social security. If you raise those rates, shouldn't you raise the money people have in checking, savings, and money market accounts, too?

FOFOA's dilemma in full action here ;)

The endless conflict between debtors and savers due to the same medium used both as medium of exchange and store of value.

uomo_senza_nome   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 3:01am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 10

John Bailo says

That is to be our goal...increased purchasing power across the board.

Increase purchasing power for just simply taking on too much debt? :-)

John Bailo says

We need people who can go out and buy more goods and services especially in large numbers.

Consume, Consume, Consume! It's all about just the aggregate demand right?

Since this is what we've been doing for so long, wonder how doing the same thing again will solve the problem!

Dan8267   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 3:26am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 11

John Bailo says

I'm not sure if I exactly understand your point.

My dad is living on a pension. If you increase everybody's wages two fold -- let's say by the power of fiat for the sake of argument -- then my dad's pension has to compete with much more money. You have in fact, impoverished my dad by raising everyone's wages without raising his pension. I can' support that.

I have a lot of savings in non-retirement accounts. These represent 12 years of saving while living within my means. 12 years of not gambling on the housing market, asking for bailouts, taking long vacations in Europe, etc. 12 years of working my ass off, sacrificing, and saving. If you increase everybody's wages 2 fold without increasing my savings 2 fold, then you have effectively halved my lifetime of savings. How could I support that? And how could anyone morally ask me or my dad to make such sacrifices?

Inflation is bad. It steals savings, future earnings, robs pensioners and those on social security. It encourages debt slavery and makes growth a necessity for survival rather than a boon.

Dan8267   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 3:30am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 12

John Bailo says

The only way to get there is to stop debt financing and give people wages so they can actively participate in the current society as full citizens.

The only way to stop debt financing is to get rid of the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking. I'm for getting rid of them both.

The only way to give people a larger share of the pie, i.e. bigger wages, is to eliminate rent-seeking parasitical behavior. We'd have to place a legal ceiling on the total compensation of all executives and board members so that their income could be no greater than the median income in their company including any outsourced employees, e.g., China/India/etc.

I'd be all for that too, but good luck getting anywhere on that issue without a violent revolution.

Dan8267   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 3:38am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 13

uomo_senza_nome says

FOFOA's dilemma in full action here ;)

I haven't heard that term before. Best description I could find of it in two minutes is:

FOFOA's dilemma: When a single medium is used as both store of value and medium of exchange it leads to a conflict between debtors and savers. FOFOA's dilemma holds true for both gold and fiat...

http://fofoa.blogspot.com/2011/05/return-to-honest-money.html

I'll look for a mathematical definition later and read up on it. I still don't have a firm grasp of the means and significance of separating debt from exchange. I suppose you could state all debt in a unit of measurement other than the exchange currencies, for example, barrels of crude oil. That would eliminate the debtor's motivation to inflate the currency of exchange, but I suspect it's trickier since people buy and sell debts for dollars. Even if debts were traded for something like oil, I think it would still affect the exchange currency do to affecting supply and demand of the alternative metric.

uomo_senza_nome   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 3:47am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 14

Dan8267 says

I still don't have a firm grasp of the means and significance of separating debt from exchange.

We are not separating debt from exchange per se here. Medium of exchange will still be dollars, but storing value is reserved for gold. Think of it this way: if you want to earn a real return, you need to take some risk. Then you are an investor. Stocks, bonds, real estate etc. all involve taking on some risk.

If you are a saver, then you are seeking 0 risk and 0 return. All you are hoping for is to shuttle your purchasing power to a future point in time where you'll have the same purchasing power retained. There's no means to do this today under just a fiat currency regime.

Triffin's Dilemma is well studied, well documented and even rightfully observed as a problem by China in 2009.

http://www.bis.org/review/r090402c.pdf

Exporting dollars for free stuff is an exorbitant privilege :)

freak80   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 4:12am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 15

uomo_senza_nome says

wthrfrk80 says

I want a free lunch. I will vote for whoever will give it to me.
That's the American spirit, LOL

Absolutely!

freak80   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 4:15am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 16

uomo_senza_nome says

Monetary policy is really just a financial repression of savers, forcing savers to take more risks than they otherwise would.
But bringing credit levels back down to meaningful levels means tremendous short term pain, stronger dollar -- none of these are good for both the political and the banking classes. Both these classes favor debtors as opposed to savers.

It's a damned shame, isn't it?

Mick Russom   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 4:28am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 17

Most people who have homes in the Bay Area didnt earn them, they just go a lucky break, and then they feel like screwing everyone else with crap zoning preventing any building.

Manufactured double wides are much nicer and cleaner than 90% of bay area real estate.

Johnjoe213   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 4:50am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (2)     Comment 18

What I want to know is where is the break for us people that did not make a stupid move and buy a house we could not afford. On top of that, it is us people who did not buy a house we could not afford who is bailing out all the people that did.

Next time the Gov. Wants to Ram me in the @ss please use a little KY gel so it does not hurt so bad!

Mick Russom   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 5:38am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 19

The whole system is designed to promote risk taking.

The system is a ponzi, so its trying to find ways to get more people roped in and take risks.

What they want is the banking system to survive a collapse. If we all go down we will accept any terms, like when east and west germany combined, the currency swap was what it was, the bankers controlled the outcomes of everyone's life savings.

To this day east Germany is still depressed relative to the west. This is the kind of power banks have.

I see here in the US, the power is for those with extreme amounts of wealth (0.01%). The rest of us are pretending to do useful things. We are cogs in a machine which is creating more demands on our time (more work) even though "productivity" is at an all time high.

A stable currency with a low rate of real and nominal inflation creates lasting wealth.

Easy money and ponzi schemes make for boom and bust cycles that the banking cartels use to obtain the wealth of entire nations.

The Sheeple - We The People - should demand an end to this, but the power is so concentrated at this point the elections are just for show.

The middle class is going away. Prepare for a life of either violence of being a have-not.

uomo_senza_nome   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 5:40am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 20

Johnjoe213 says

What I want to know is where is the break for us people that did not make a stupid move and buy a house we could not afford.

Sorry Pal, the USG itself is a debt junkie :)

Johnjoe213 says

On top of that, it is us people who did not buy a house we could not afford who is bailing out all the people that did.

Indeed, but it's all good though: didn't you get all the money back through the green shoots recovery from 09 onwards?

futuresmc   Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 8:48am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 21

RentingForHalfTheCost says

You make people accountable from the bottom to the top.

It only works the other way. The madness will stop when the people at the top, not your 19 year old neighbor, stop getting bailed out. Those, like your neighbor will see them loosing everything for their reckless gambling and it will discourage the next 19 year old. Until them the moral everyone learns is that there are no negative consequences to speculation.

groundhogdaze   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 1:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 22

The Feds can't fix the housing problem because they are part of the systemic problem. My pet Peeve is reading articles that try to convince the audience that raising house prices is the right thing to do. Why is it that housing is the only thing where raising prices is portrayed as a good thing? How about "Oh no! Walmart's prices are too low, we've got to raise the prices, otherwise we will never recover" or "OMFG!!! Fed interest rates are too low, we must raise them, blah, blah blah"... All signs point to policies designed to manipulate us into incurring more debt & risk in exchange for our savings and our souls. Argh, they really got my goat. I'm out here sitting on my lawn waiting for my half price in America sale and looking for my pet goat Peeve (He keeps my lawn clean). Quit petting my Peeve, give me back my goat and get off my damn lawn.

david1   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 2:21am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 23

uomo_senza_nome says

Medium of exchange will still be dollars, but storing value is reserved for gold.

Why gold?

Isn't there already a store for value, known as TIPS? (if inflation is correctly applied to the return on the security)

That is, in order to have a store for value, we seek to assign a fixed amount of "wealth" to a medium. Money is the substitute for work and wealth is really only accumulated work.

So goldbugs want to use gold as a store for the wealth, which can be substituted for work at some point. So we fix 20 oz. of gold to one year of work forever.

How is this different from buying $32,000 worth of TIPS strips? In theory, the TIPS should have a real value of $32,000 forever. (Assuming the TIPS return over published inflation is really the risk free rate, which should be zero) No risk, no return.

This TIPS strip should be able to be substituted for one year of work forever.

The debtors role (the government) is no different with TIPS as a medium than some other entitites role would be with gold as a medium. Lets say it is the government in both cases. The saver can redeem his TIPS with the government for one year of work at any time. The saver could also redeem his gold for one year of work at any time if gold were the medium.

I don't see the difference. What I am missing?

uomo_senza_nome   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 2:49am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 24

david1 says

Why gold?

A simpleton like me likes to follow the footsteps of giants.

These giants include European Central Bank (which actually marks their gold reserves to market every quarter), Central Bank of India, China, South Korea and pretty much any other central bank you can think of. (except UK, which sold all its gold (!!)).

david1 says

Isn't there already a store for value, known as TIPS? (if inflation is correctly applied to the return on the security)

1. I'm not naive to believe government numbers on inflation.

2. Even if you take government stated numbers to be realistic, the Fed has taken complete hostage of the bond market that it really does not state the real risk of holding bonds.

Is China buying bonds or has their accumulation remained flat?

Consider: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2012/02/us-treasuries-negative-returns-almost.html

What this implies is that savers are by and large paying the US government to borrow from them.

Is this an effective economic stimulus for the real economy, or a sophisticated form of seignorage being performed by the Fed on behalf of its member Banks?

Interesting experiment. I hope Benny's model has the right risk parameters plugged in. If not, as Fed policy errors go, this one could be memorable.

No wonder certain alternative stores of wealth are rallying as a haven from this soft confiscation.

david1 says

The debtors role (the government) is no different with TIPS as a medium than some other entitites role would be with gold as a medium.

Why should gold be lent to the government? Gold should be widely distributed for its greatest use and should never be lent, only bought and sold outright.

Why should I trust a government that's on an exponential debt binge?

david1 says

The saver can redeem his TIPS with the government for one year of work at any time. The saver could also redeem his gold for one year of work at any time if gold were the medium.

The saver doesn't have to lend his gold to the government, he gets to keep it however long he wishes. He can sell it when he wants to consume his wealth.

And yeah right, governments don't lie, don't cheat, don't go to unnecessary wars etc. etc.

david1 says

I don't see the difference. What I am missing?

If you still don't see the difference, you really should be having your eyes closed.

david1   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 3:12am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 25

uomo_senza_nome says

Why should gold be lent to the government? Gold should be widely distributed for its greatest use and should never be lent, only bought and sold outright.
Why should I trust a government that's on an exponential debt binge?

That isn't what I am saying...what I am saying is that should be decide to peg gold's value, there needs to be some sort of clearinghouse for the exchange of the medium of storage (gold) for the medium of exchange. With TIPS, as long as the government remains viable, they serve as the clearinghouse for the exchange of the medium of exchange and the medium of storage.

For the purposes of our discussion, I am not saying that it needs to be the government, only suggested that to make the discussion simple. Choose any clearinghouse you'd like, but there needs to be one otherwise scarcity will come into effect and the value of the medium of storage will not remain constant.

So if there needs to be a clearinghouse, how do we avoid the pitfalls you mentioned with THAT clearinghouse that have infilatrated our current clearinghouse? (The government)

If we do not need a clearinghouse, how can we assign fixed value to the medium of storage and insure it is applied evenly?

uomo_senza_nome says

If you still don't see the difference, you really should be having your eyes closed.

Honestly everytime you mention this idea I try to wrap my head around it. Apparently I'm just a simple fella and can't get it. Give me a break. I used to think I was a pretty bright guy..

uomo_senza_nome   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 3:36am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 26

david1 says

That isn't what I am saying...what I am saying is that should be decide to peg gold's value, there needs to be some sort of clearinghouse for the exchange of the medium of storage (gold) for the medium of exchange

Pegging the gold value is the root cause of several problems.

If you have time, read this essay. It's a 5-part essay that attempts to paint a picture of a Monetary System Architecture that can resolve the conflict between debtors and savers.

It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it ~ Aristotle.

These are the 5-part message ID's.
Aristotle (2/7/2000; 7:15:24MDT - Msg ID:24589)
Aristotle (2/7/2000; 8:10:15MDT - Msg ID:24593)
Aristotle (02/07/00; 10:52:39MDT - Msg ID:24602)
Aristotle (02/07/00; 13:14:18MDT - Msg ID:24610)
Aristotle (2/10/2000; 3:37:44MDT - Msg ID:24877)

Here are some relevant excerpts:

There is a subtle but important distinction here between being "nothing of value" versus being no *thing* of value. A dollar (or any other fiat currency) is certainly no longer a *thing* although it once was (back in those days of yore when it was defined as a certain weight of Gold.) But it does in fact have value--a value it finds in measure of the success with which it retains the original Concept of value it represented at the time of its origination...at loan creation. This "Concept" is built on a unit foundation of arbitrary size, to be sure; and there can be no doubt that this remains a fundamental weakness for it to serve properly as money (medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account.)

Gold must be removed from these currencies so that governments are not tempted to manipulate its perceived value in order to give a boost to their own currency. The goal would be that sudden value shocks will be avoided because at all points in time the currencies will be fairly valued against Gold--there won't be an inevitable and recurring "day of reckoning" in which the pent-up false perceptions are unwound amid calamity and crisis of confidence. Gold must also be removed from any element of the monetary system that would seek to make loans using Gold because, as we've seen, these confound Gold's ability to reach its true physical-based fair market value. Gold derivatives must also be done away with for the same reason. Gold must remain a pure monetary asset, bought and sold and owned outright--nothing else would be allowable. National fiat currencies will ably serve the market's various needs to borrow funds...after all, that's how fiat currency is born in the first place.

Although I've seemingly cut Gold out of the monetary system, that is not the case at all. Gold qualifies as the only true money; being able to function as a unit of account, as a medium of exchange, and as a store of value. A fiat currency only meets the first two elements, but they fail as a store of value. Therefore, Gold will be be the money of savings, while national currencies will be the currency of commerce. They will all float relative to each other, and constantly seek out their proper value.

david1 says

If we do not need a clearinghouse, how can we assign fixed value to the medium of storage and insure it is applied evenly?

A freely floating gold price will act as a barometer that shows the fiscal health of individual nations. If any nation engages in too much fiat currency printing or issuing too much debt, you'd know clearly by a soaring gold price.

Each nation can manage its own economy as much as their fiat currency masters (policy makers - fiscal and monetary) are able to do so.

david1 says

Honestly everytime you mention this idea I try to wrap my head around it. Apparently I'm just a simple fella and can't get it.

Actually, it doesn't even have to be gold. Think of something that cannot be debased, cannot be printed at will and something that can universally be accepted as a wealth reserve, something that is not tied any nation.

The last part is very important because that is the root cause of Triffin Dilemma, we see it in action to this very day.

david1   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 4:06am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 27

uomo_senza_nome says

freely floating gold price will act as a barometer that shows the fiscal health of individual nations. If any nation engages in too much fiat currency printing or issuing too much debt, you'd know clearly by a soaring gold price.

I'll read the essay tonight.

However I am not sure how the statement above is different from the current system. How does this make gold a zero risk zero return medium of storage?

I read the essay (or blog, whatever it was) you posted on the history of the conflict between savers and debtors. My response is well, that is one way to look at it. I happen to agree with nearly every economist and sociologist in the world. I don't believe in a vast conspiracy which is the heart of all of these types of ideas.

It is the nature of labor to raise against capital when the imbalance between them becomes too great. It seems to me that if the war between savers and debtors has played out as stated in the blog, then savers would make the decision to prevent what happened during the Frech Revolution and stop saving.

As shown then and now, the opposite is true. Savers are saving even more...

uomo_senza_nome   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 5:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 28

david1 says

However I am not sure how the statement above is different from the current system

It is much different because of the paper gold market. There's a history of gold price manipulation that has been documented quite well.

Here's a brief read: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-is-spot-price-of-gold-and-silver.html

david1 says

It is the nature of labor to raise against capital when the imbalance between them becomes too great.

You need to make a distinction between real capital and imaginary capital.

The sustainability (and, indeed, the very survival) of the global economic ecosystem is predicated not on balance in the monetary realm, but on the delicate balance between real production and real consumption . It is the flow of actual physical gold that, at least prior to 1922, moderates and regulates this complex balance because gold, like real production and consumption, exists in the physical realm and is therefore not subject to the politics of easy money.

The outflow of real capital from any zone signals the need to produce more and consume less. The inflow of real capital signals the need to consume more and produce less. The price mechanism transmits this signal to individual actors in the economy. The inflow of real capital will raise prices vis-à-vis real capital, which makes exports more expensive abroad, lowering exports and raising imports. The country with an inflow of real capital will have to start consuming more of its own production or else it will just pile up and rot.

Likewise, the country with an outflow of real capital will have to start producing more than it consumes. Again, this signal is transmitted to individual actors via the price mechanism. With less real capital upon which credit flourishes, credit will contract, general price levels vis-à-vis real capital will drop, the purchasing power of real capital will rise, and real capital will become more expensive in terms of goods and services. Exports will rise because exportable goods will fetch a higher price abroad, imports will slow because local prices have fallen versus the vanishing real capital, and people will have to begin producing more than they consume in order to survive.

Full link .

david1 says

Savers are saving even more...

in imaginary capital. There's a lot of obscuring signals in the economy so it is hard to consolidate thoughts into something coherent.

david1 says

How does this make gold a zero risk zero return medium of storage?

Gold functions that way simply because people value it as real capital. I have been asked this question numerous times before and the only answer I have is gold gets its value because people ascribe value to it.

FunTime   Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 8:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 29

Johnjoe213 says

What I want to know is where is the break for us people that did not make a stupid move and buy a house we could not afford. On top of that, it is us people who did not buy a house we could not afford who is bailing out all the people that did.

Not my favorite part of democracy. The people have voted and I am not one of them. Maybe we start our own political party/organization? Savers of America? There's not many of us right now, but maybe we can grow.

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