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While working out the other night in the gym, I was watching CNBC's business yak machine–they had on one of their “house” economists, the 30-something guy with the high forehead from Deutsche Bank, squaring off with a principal from one of the big real estate private equity funds. The topic was “Is commercial real estate the next leg down?” The economist rattled off rising vacancy numbers and talked about how increasing unemployment would crash office markets. The private equity guy said everything would be okay as long as the banks were lending TARP money so real estate borrowers could refinance. “Fundamentals have held up,” he said, “and there haven't been any transactions so values haven't dropped.” They went back and forth like this for five minutes and it was on to the next Bernie Madoff segment.

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