Why the Treasury Secretary is Wrong on the Wealth Effect of Stocks vs Real Estate

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had some interesting comments on the Housing Market reversal. He said he hoped declines in housing prices had been largely offset for
Americans by higher stock prices:

"We had a retail housing market in this country that was growing at an
unsustainable rate for a number of years, so we had to make that transition
from…unsustainable growth to a more sustainable rate," he said in a radio
interview by WTMJ Milwaukee.

"There’s been a correction, a significant correction," he said. "I know the
individual homeowner is feeling this concern as we have the correction.
Hopefully some of that impact has been offset by an equity market that has added
a trillion dollars of value and impacted positively peoples’ 401K, their savings
and other things."

This is a bit of wishful thinking on Paulson’s part (perhaps cheerleading is part of the job description of his Office). When we look at the most recent studies, we learn stocks gains do not remotely come close to impacting the average family the way Home price do. 

There are numerous reasons for this, but the big ones are "percentage of net worth" and the wealth effect.

How much does housing values boost the wealth effect and consumer spending relative to equities? The surprising answer: more than twice stock market wealth. That’s according to a new study by Christopher Carroll, Misuzu Otsuka and Jirka Slacalek. Their work led them to conclude that an increase in housing wealth of $100 in America eventually boosts spending by $9. A similar increase in stock market wealth produces less than half the result — only $4 more spending.

That makes sense, when you consider that for most families, their homes are their single biggest asset. But the note that the distribution between the two is very different — 68.5% of Americans
live in their own homes (and some recent data puts this as high as 70%). While ownership of stocks is widespread — studies put market participation at near 50% of all Americans — for the typical family, they have a rather small percentage of their net worth in equities. Indeed, in most cases, stocks are only their second or third largest asset.

And while lots of people do own publicly traded issues, the average account was small — only $35k or
$24,300, according to a Federal Reserve study earlier this year. Whether that is plus or minus a 10 or 20 percentage points has far less of an impact on the wealth effect than price appreciation in homes.

Why? The signficance of home prices that have doubled over the past 7 years is in the mortgage equity withdrawal that accompanied these asset price rises. MEW has fueled a massive spending binge, and has allowed "lifestyle changes." That’s the wealth effect at work.

There is a small paradox regarding this distribution of equity ownership. The top 1% of the country owns about 50% of all property in the U.S., including equities. Ironically, the folks who are most
aggravated about this are not the poor (who pretty much have accepted their lot in life) but rather, the bottom of the top Mil30_a03percent. A recent article in Fortune discussed this phenomena: "America’s income gap is arguably less likely to spark a retro fight
between proletarians and capitalists than a war between what I call the
"lower upper class" and the ultrarich."

The "Lower Uppers." How amusing is that for a class title? That article’s author, Matt Miller, writes with some degree of amusement, that this class is seething about the ultrawealthy:

"Here’s my outlandish theory: that economic resentment at the bottom of the top 1 percent of America’s income distribution is the new wild card in public life. Ordinary workers won’t rise up against ultras because they take it as given that "the rich get richer."

But the hopes and dreams of today’s educated class are based on the idea that market capitalism is a meritocracy. The unreachable success of the superrich shreds those dreams.

"I’ve seen it in my research," says pollster Doug Schoen, who counsels Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton, among others. "If you look at the lower part of the upper class or the upper part of the upper middle class, there’s a great deal of frustration. These are people who assumed that their hard work and conventional ‘success’ would leave them with no worries. It’s the type of rumbling that could lead to political volatility."

Lower uppers are professionals who by dint of schooling, hard work and luck are living better than 99 percent of the humans who have ever walked the planet. They’re also people who can’t help but notice how many folks with credentials like theirs are living in Gatsby-esque splendor they’ll never enjoy.

But I digress. In response to the  hopefulness of Hank Paulson — the wealthiest Treasury Secretary in history, he is clearly an Upper Upper — the wealth effect from a rising equity market will replace some of the lost wealth effect from a falling housing market. But dollar for dollar, it will be less than half as much. And, it will be far less widely distributed than the gains from home price appreciation.

One would hope that the Treasury Secretary — even one who is an Upper Upper — would be up-to-date on the latest studies on wealth effects.


US’s Paulson says rising stocks offset house price drop
Reuters, Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:01am ET

Revolt of the fairly rich
Matt Miller
Fortune, October 25 2006: 8:43 AM EDT

Changes in U.S. Family Finances:
Evidence from the 2001 and 2004 Survey of
Consumer Finances

Brian K. Bucks, Arthur B. Kennickell, and Kevin B.
Federal Reserve Board, Division of Research and Statistics

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  1. Richard commented on Oct 26

    most folks won’t tap their stock market wealth as it’s tied up in retirement savings so while you’re happy to see your portfolio ‘staying the course’ and performing as expected it’s not like i’m going to spend more today considering i’m doing well on money i won’t see until i retire. houses on the other hand can be sold tomorrow and turned into instant cash to be spent. it’s a world of difference that makes the correlation somewhat suspicious.

  2. Craig commented on Oct 26

    Is the Treasury Secretary a moron or a liar? You choose.

    If the average equity holdings is, oh lets use a larger number than provided, say $50,000 instead of $35,000, then even a lower, lower, lower would get this math with little trouble..

    How much will $50,000 IN ACTUAL CASH MONEY have to make in order to keep up with a median home with standard financing? THIS is where Hank should hide in shame.

    If we take the median home (say $180,000 for laughs) and put 30% down, then we are making a return on $180,000 in which we have only $60,000 invested.

    So if we double our equity holdings in 7 years we have $100,000, but if we invest $60,000 in the home and it doubles in seven years, our $60,000 worked a lot harder for us. Even if we don’t take the time to deduct principle paid, that $180,000 turned into $360,000 of which we owed $60,000. A tidy $200,000 profit.

    Or for IDIOTS like Hank, DOUBLE the return of equities in the same time with about the same cash ventured.

    He couldn’t have gotten to be the wealthiest TS by thinking this way. Therefore I think he’s simply lying.

  3. Craig commented on Oct 26

    LOL! I mean $300,000 profit.

    Geez! Triple Hanks return.

  4. BDG123 commented on Oct 26

    Hank, Hank the angry dwarf. Are you kidding me? The head of GS talking to me about my finances? That’s a f*cking joke! This greedy bastard made what? A quarter to half a billion dollars in his time at GS. And, in coming to Washington got to take his kitty and roll it without paying any taxes? That’s American! At least as defined in Washington and Wall Street.

    Can you spare a quarter Hank for the millions of American children without health insurance? Or their parents who cannot sleep at night because of their constant worries? Please. Talking about how stocks are going to save us from a housing mess. It’s more Washington bull sh*t and people really have developed a severe distaste for political mumbo jumbo.

    Nothing against the mega rich. I’m all for it. Just don’t pretend to know what the little people are dealing with. Something happens to the human brain when you have that much money. It would happen to all of us. Or, most of us. He is speaking martian. I speak English.

    On a more serious note, Paulsen for President!


  5. JoshK commented on Oct 26

    IMHO, the wealth effect for both housing and stocks is overrated. Changes in income have the only real strong correlation with spending.

    What we have been calling a housing wealth effect is just the increased income effect of refinancing, and there is a limit to how many times you can do that trick.

  6. Mike commented on Oct 26

    Clearly unless the 2 assets are held in equal total dollar amounts, an x% change in the lesser asset is not equal to an x% change in the greater. Since, as you mentioned, for most americans their house is by far their largest asset, and significantly more so since it’s value has increased by 100% in 5 years, therefore…. the Treasury Secretary is a Republican. And what kind of surprise is that really?

    As to the lower uppers — indeed a hillarious moniker — I think it’s quite a bit worse than the guy you quote. In particular the scientists and the engineers have watched while the wealth generated by their hard work (and it is extremely hard, that’s why so few are able to even get through the schooling, much less do anything really innovative) has been siphoned over to a very small class of con men, and thieves — lying, no nothing, self centered, power hungry fools, who now run this country. These same ‘owners’ have just as an example, then gone ahead and cut funding for education, and made science and engineering conditional on it’s sales value. If that doesn’t spell Hindenburg to you, you are deeply naive. Just some quick numbers, the average engineer in the work force for 10 years, with a Masters (much harder to get than an MBA, and best choice for earning potential for an engineer vs. BS or Phd) earns approx (my data is old) 80K/Yr. If he can find a job. If they haven’t shipped his job to india. There is a fairly large class of ex-engineers who’s jobs went overseas. You may be able to take away a mfg’ing plant workers job and not pay at the polls cause the guy is too cynical, but to think you can do that to a guy with a degree in Physics is to well past smokin something and far gone into the deep hallucination territory.

    It’s true to a lesser extent these points are true of other groups of educated professionals as well. Even lawyers, whose jobs are basically immune to export, have got a clear motivation to be looking around at our world today and saying ‘who the fuck are these assholes that are running things’ and to recognize that somehow we live in a society that is run by people with not only no morals, but no brains, and no record of accomplishment or doing. That power filters these days to the con men, and only the ability to con matters, nothing else. They too, even the shysters, have to start wondering at some point if this is in their interest.

  7. angryinch commented on Oct 26

    Very good points, Barry. I don’t know that I’m in the “angry 1%”, but I can understand the article’s thesis.

    Up until a few years ago, I think i could count myself in the top 1-2% of income. Yet I feel that i am losing ground, at a rapid pace no less. Especially when compared with the top 1% or the top 1/10th of 1% (like Paulson.)

    I’m not complaining since I’m still doing fine. But something doesn’t feel right. I’m not sure I can even make the top 5% anymore, not because i’m losing net worth, but because I’m not keeping up. That’s because I’m a conservative investor and not a CEO of a publicly-traded company nor a leveraged investor in RE or any other asset class.

    At this point, if you’re not heavily leveraged or harvesting the fruits of the option-laden publicly-traded coffers, you can’t keep up. Even if you’re in (or were in) the top 1%.

    And if you’re in the bottom 80%, you have no chance whatsoever. Paulson’s comments show you just out of touch Wall Street is with the plight of the avg American, let alone the plight (if you can call it that) of what used to be known as the top 1-2%.

    The rift b/w rich and poor and b/w rich and even upper-middle-class is wider in the U.S. than any other Western economy, and it’s getting wider. This is not a new story. But now we are also seeing the superrich separating themselves from the “formerly known as rich” as well.

    As we all might suspect, this won’t end well. But who knows how far folks like Paulson will take this before it blows up in all of our faces.

  8. angryinch commented on Oct 26

    The last stats I have seen show that 48% of American households own no stock. None. So this stock rally eliminates half the population right off the top.

    Of the rest, only 32% of households own more than $10K worth of stock. The top 10% own 85% of all equities, the top 1% own about 50% (plus or minus.) So it is bizarre for Paulson to think that this stock rally has widespread benefit when half of Americans get nada and most of the rest have maybe seen at best $1000-$2000 in gains. Not to mention, stocks go up and down. So this gain may only be temporary.

    By contrast, 69% of American households “own” a home. Most homes have doubled in value (many have tripled or more) in the past five years. As well, over $2 trillion has been extracted (read: debt) in HEW over the past four years. It will take a lot more than tacking on 100 SPX points to make up for this $2 trillion.

    Not only that, as some have pointed out, the vast majority of Americans have their meager stock portfolios tied up in retirement funds—for those who have any stocks at all. They are unable to take advantage of brief stock flurries by cashing out. Not so the superrich. Take the CEO of Danaher, for eg. His stock is skying right now. So what does he do today? He sells three million shares for a $150M profit. Not to mention, he was able to acquire those shares at a steep discount thanks to clever options timing. This route is unavailable to most Americans.

    So Paulson is up a tree to suggest that the stock rally is helping Americans cope with the housing issue. It ain’t the case. But for CEOs like the guy at Danaher, this rally is pure gold.

  9. JKH commented on Oct 26

    The relative wealth effects of housing and equities are pretty well understand by reasonable people, at least in directional terms. What Reuters said he said apart from the quote, and whats in the quote are somewhat different. Did he actually say the former? I find that hard to believe, and would cut him a bit of slack, unless that’s the case. If it is the case, its an outrageously incompetent analysis by the head finance official.

  10. Egghat commented on Oct 26

    You can find *a lot* of interesting info in the PDF linked on


    E.g. in 2004 the wealth of an average family consisted of 160K in “primary residence” plus 100K in “other residential property” plus 60K in “equity in nonresidential property” (page 23). So this amounts to 320K. (btw. it was 131+85+53 in 2001).

    On page 19:
    “Direct and indirect family holdings of stocks”

    “Families with holdings”: 48.6 %.
    “Median value of families with holdings” 24.3 K.

    So the average value must be somewhere between 10 and 15 K.

    I’m quite sure that “Direct and indirect family holdings of stocks” doesn’t include IRAs and such, but nevertheless it’s clear that wealth from property is much higher than from stocks.

    Bye egghat

  11. Craig commented on Oct 26

    Are we kidding?

    The same Americans that even if they made 6X more with RE as above, don’t understand that borrowing on that “home equity” is secured debt, as opposed to CC’s which are unsecured debt.

    Sure a lot of folks in debt against “paper” returns secured by their home.

  12. Mark commented on Oct 26

    Ya gotta love how they keep revising down last months housing figures in order to produce nice headlines for the press. Today’s release case in point. I show last months release at 1.050 M units. Today they say it is 1.021M units. From that point yes it is a 5.3% “gain”. Next month they will revise it down and the gain will disappear. The games go on.

  13. angryinch commented on Oct 26

    Who said irony was dead?

    “Wall Street is taking more risk and using more leverage not only because the market allows it; the market almost commands it. Assets-to-equity is up 29 percent for the securities industry as a whole since 2001; for Goldman Sachs, it is up 49 percent. At the latest reporting date in May, Goldman showed $32 billion of equity to support $799 billion of assets, for an assets-to-equity ratio leveraged at 25-to-1.”
    —Grant’s Rate Observer, Sept 22 2006

    “U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, along with 12 Treasury officials and bankers, will team up on October 19 to promote wise credit habits for U.S. teens as part of the ABA’s ‘Get Smart About Credit Day’. Paulson will invite students from McLean High School to the Treasury Department for a lesson on using credit cards and the importance of a positive credit history.”
    —Treasury Department press release, Oct 18 2006

  14. KirkH commented on Oct 26

    9.7% home price drop/plateauing/soft landing. Can’t wait for Lereah’s next quote which will probably be something like “The media scare tactics are working as we predicted. We remain confident that home prices will remain stable even though they’re still 20% overpriced nationally.”
    From Yahoo News

    New Home Prices Fall by the Largest Amount in More Than 35 Years

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The median price of a new home plunged in September by the largest amount in more than 35 years, even as the pace of sales rebounded for a second month.

    The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, a drop of 9.7 percent from September 2005. It was the lowest median price for a new home since September 2004 and the sharpest year-over-year decline since December 1970. The weakness in new home prices was even sharper than a 2.5 percent fall in the price of existing homes last month, which had been the biggest drop on record.

  15. ari5000 commented on Oct 26

    Markets in the red today — it’s almost shocking now to see people selling…

    Whenever the selloff does happen — it will inevitably happen out of the blue — much too early than people might think — probably right after another round of “good” news.

    Gold is finally perking up in the past few days.

    Feels like somethings changing as we speak.

  16. jkw commented on Oct 26

    Whether the news is good or bad is up to interpretation. When the market is rising, good news means growth and bad news means rate cuts. When the market is falling, good news means rate hikes and bad news means slowing growth. The news is irrelevant.

  17. wunsacon commented on Oct 26

    As a representative of the upper mid’s, I’d like to say I share the same frustration as you lower upper’s.

  18. my1ambition commented on Oct 26

    Don’t worry KirkH. Lereah will be right soon!

  19. teddy commented on Oct 26

    Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results, yet always expecting something different. All of us have our pulse on the government statistics ready to act on those “numbers” in a nano second if necessary as they are released. We feel we must trust those “numbers” because our financial health depends on it. Yet, week after week, month after month, quarter after quarter, these “numbers” are changed SIGNIFICANTLY. How long do we continue to watch these “numbers” over and over again, trusting and acting on them, and expecting them to help us, only to find out later that they didn’t ?

  20. sport commented on Oct 26

    Hopefully some of that impact has been offset by an equity market that has added a trillion dollars of value and impacted positively peoples’ 401K, their savings and other things.”

    It is just about the ‘story’. There is enough credibility on surface of argument to make the case, useful pre election.

  21. Robert Cote commented on Oct 26

    If people could “invest” in stocks with little or no or negative margin theeir wealth effect could go from $4 per hundred to $9 per hundred like real estate. Oh wait, we tried that in the 1920s didn’t we?

    This explains the reason the Fed is more concerned with a housing bubble than the preceed (and pre-seeding) stock bubble. The 2001 stock pop was addressed (defered) by going from 6.5% to 1% and cranking the printing presses. The 2006 house pop would in proportion need to have -2% lending and unfortunately the printing presses are already running at full speed.

  22. Michael C. commented on Oct 26

    MSNBC front page – “Analysis: Worse may be over for housing market.”

    [sarcasm] Must be true. [/sarcasm]

  23. John commented on Oct 26

    BR: discusion of upper upper reminds me of david cay johnstons book on taxes. If you take that 1% owning 50% or so of everything and break it down again the numbers are something like the top .1% own some 70-80% of those 50% of assets (not to mention what they control). Most of those .1% pay no taxes. The tax burden is shifted down to the upper to the lower lower. Add in conspicuous consumption of the upper upper and it is no wonder they are starting to get upset. Maybe the revolution does start with the lower lower, they have the most to gain by a change in the system, the most to lose if it stays the same and enough money to effect a change.

  24. scorpio commented on Oct 26

    Robert Cote: how do u know “the printing presses operating at full speed”? serious. i thot the FRB stopped publishing money supply numbers. i think they did that because they knew they were going to flood the economy prior to the election (like Arthur Burns for Nixon in ’72, which unleashed that decade’s stagflation) which would SEEM inconsistent with their supposedly tight 5% short rates. and they didnt want us to see it. all of which helps explain this sharp rally. but where do u see this number now?

  25. Big Al commented on Oct 26

    There were some SF stories awhile back, where the level you were born in was pretty well fixed, and these levels where named that way, IE upper-upper, lower-upper, lower-lower, etc. Can’t remember the author, the hero was called Joe Haldeman, perhaps this was the genesis of the upper upper designation.

  26. Whammer commented on Oct 26

    The “lower upper” thing is pretty interesting. I am a “lower upper”, as are a lot of my friends — at worst we’re in the top half of the top 2% instead of the bottom of the top 1%. :-)

    My wife and I both have MBAs from top-tier schools. We are in Northern California, so from a real estate perspective we are in worse shape from a price/value standpoint than most parts of the country, but I suspect this situation is not that unusual. We have a pretty high income, but it is in the form of salary, not capital gains or dividends. So we pay approximately 45% marginal income tax on our incremental earnings.

    We get stock options, but not in senior management quantities. Our house is worth a crapload of money, at least to normal people, but is not particularly nice. Our kids go to public schools in a good school district (hence some of the reason for our high house price).

    We have not inherited a bunch of money. We don’t have a fancy home theater system. We don’t have fancy cars — well they might be sort of fancy but they are old.

    We don’t have anything to complain about, really. However, there are lots of other people around who appear to be doing a lot better than we are, and it is hard to explain on “merit”. We will most likely *never* do a whole lot better than we are doing right now, because the only way to do it is to get lucky through some kind of tech stock bubble that will most likely never happen again in our lifetime.

    As we get older, the concern is that our employers will be increasingly likely to want to hire younger/cheaper workers. So, here we are, in what should be a “comfortably affluent” position, worried about our situation (at least I’m worried).

    That seems bogus and unfair, and it kind of makes me crabby. I totally understand how nobody should feel sorry for me.

    Yet, I definitely resent the fact that others, not a whole lot more talented (or in some cases, clearly less talented but luckier in one way or another), are able to dominate the economic landscape. Seething? Not really. But the phenomenon as described seems accurate.

  27. Bruce F commented on Oct 26

    I thought the market was an infallible god.

    Why doesn’t anyone want to venture into the territory of, gee, maybe all those crazy socialists are right? Or that it would be a good idea to have one or more healthy leftist parties in this country.

    Thirty plus years demonizing anyone promoting the idea of the Commons has its drawbacks.

    Check out Thomas (pre What’s the Matter With Kansas) Frank’s essay “The God That Sucked” for a prescient forecast.


  28. tech98 commented on Oct 26

    Yet, I definitely resent the fact that others, not a whole lot more talented (or in some cases, clearly less talented but luckier in one way or another), are able to dominate the economic landscape.

    Or, in the case of the dull-witted tool in the White House with the verbal skills of a 4-year old, supremely untalented but with stellar family connections. His very presence is an insult to everyone who has worked their butt off and honed their skills to grab a humble slice of financial comfort. We are ruled by con men.

    Nepotism, the ‘old-boy network’ and similar corrupt non-meritocratic mechanisms have been social poison throughout history.

  29. blam commented on Oct 26

    The wealth effect from the current market is likely to rival the wealth effect from the dot com market, hanky.

  30. Whammer commented on Oct 27

    tech98, you got that right……..

  31. DavidB commented on Oct 27

    and I always thought upper uppers, lower uppers and middle lower lowers were to be used in discussions of medical conditions. How things have changed!

    I will take issue with this though:

    “Here’s my outlandish theory: that economic resentment at the bottom of the top 1 percent of America’s income distribution is the new wild card in public life. Ordinary workers won’t rise up against ultras because they take it as given that “the rich get richer.”

    As an ordinary worker who lives, moves and (more importantly) observes among my fellow ordinaries I will testify that it is not that most people believe that the rich get richer. Not only do most of us know that they get richer because the system is skewed in their favor but the reason they don’t rise up is because they are so busy keeping the treadmill going they can’t step off long enough to punch someone in the nose.

    I am seeing this more and more too. They are keeping the ordinaries and averages so busy that not only can they not stop to complain they are more often not able to gather enough extra to get ahead. It is only by avoiding the consumerism brainwashing and actually making sacrifices in life that people can make a difference in their lives these days and that kind of effort is becoming rare indeed.

    With that understanding I can see why it would take those with the ability to stop their lives full force to take on the ones up the ladder from them. They are the only ones left with the ability to do anything.

  32. Whammer commented on Oct 27

    DavidB, interesting point, and I think you may be right. The reason that the “lower uppers” (non dental category) may be starting to fight is that we have more time/energy available to us to dedicate to the cause.

  33. tjofpa commented on Oct 27

    Never saw anything more disgusting in my life as an American than G W on the same stage as Tony Blair.

    Somthing IS changing. The USD is starting to TANK. Take a look at a monthly of the $ and focus in on Nov/Dec 2000, 2002, and 2004.

    (ah hem, I called the top in the $ on this very blog on Mon Oct 16th.) ””&
    What’s the symbol for patting one’s self on the back?

  34. D. commented on Oct 27

    “With that understanding I can see why it would take those with the ability to stop their lives full force to take on the ones up the ladder from them. They are the only ones left with the ability to do anything”

    After going through I don’t know how many useless restructurings, my frustration with Corporate Canada boiled over…

    My husband and I are in the top 1% in Canada as we both enjoy lucrative careers. In 1999, we made a pact of living on one salary so we could finally put our foot down and say no when some boss would ask us to do another useless task. Of course, people around us think we’re below them financially because of our relative thrift! There is so much debt out there that today, unless you are financially savvy, it’s hard to know those who have money from those who are in over their heads.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back is when my boss subtly asked me to go “spy” on a colleague, I told him he was naive and not so subtly told him to get lost. He was appalled and couldn’t believe someone at my level had the nerve to refuse. The average Joe is so much in debt and afraid of losing his income that he takes any kind of BS that comes his way.

    My boss did everything in his power (statistical analysis, you name it) to find something wrong with my work. He couldn’t find anything wrong so he waited 1 year for the next restructuring and threw me in the pot.

    My husband and I are trying to fight the system but around us, people are baffled by our moves. They think we’re losers (I guess suffer from low EI!) and just can’t stay on the treadmill!

    We’ll need a recession to be able to take on the majors. Right now, it’s like standing in front of a freight train!

  35. JDM commented on Oct 27

    This discussion of lower uppers versus upper uppers is SO right on. There really is something to this.

  36. AnotherMonkey commented on Oct 27

    I think the Upper-uppers are next.

    When the tide of naked short sales and, oh, the $400 billion or so FTDs (that the SEC is so terrified about) finally bubble to the surface in the next year or so, it will make our little loss on the monopoly board look like checkers.

    They’re in for either Twister or Snakes and Ladders…

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