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The New York Timeson Sunday led its front page with an article about stepped up Wall Street hiring as a sign of anticipated economic recovery. TARP bailouts helped limit bank job losses, but Street firms still have a long ways to go before they ramp up personnel counts to frothy 2007 levels at the peak of transaction mania. This all brings up a question not addressed by any of the recent financial reform legislation—do we want to return to the pre crash markets of quick fire real estate deals and trades where investors look for short-term opportunistic gains in appreciation over long-term investment results from husbanding property cash flows?

Of course, Wall Street firms and many real estate middlemen (brokers, lawyers, advisors) make their livings off transaction volumes.  The more trades the more fees and cuts of the action. Where owners just buy and hold, many middlemen are largely cut out. Fewer deals mean fewer jobs and lower incomes so the markets orient toward generating big transaction volumes.

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