Mark Zuckerberg, the kid who made himself a billionaire by combining the internet with the well-known human traits of loneliness, voyeurism and exhibitionism has now wisely used his fabulous wealth to cut down on his mortgage payments. He’s managed to cut the interest rate on his multimillion dollar home mortgage to just a few ticks above 1 percent. From Bloomberg’s:
The Facebook Inc. (FB) founder refinanced a $5.95 million mortgage on his Palo Alto, California, home with a 30-year adjustable-rate loan starting at 1.05 percent, according to public records for the property.
This makes a great deal of sense, and as the Administration’s various refinancing schemes suggest, it’s the patriotic thing to do. Anything we can do to help the private sector deleverage by cutting its frightful debt burdens will help the economy. And the idea has broader implications for the economy:
While almost all lending rates have reached historical lows this year, the borrowing costs available to high-net-worth individuals are even lower if the person is willing to bear the risk of monthly interest rate adjustments, said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with Bankrate Inc., a North Palm Beach, Florida-based firm that tracks interest rates. Large increases are unlikely anytime soon with the Federal Reserve signaling it will keep interest rates near zero for at least two years.
Okay, the ingredients seem to require that we have historically low borrowing/lending rates, we have an extremely credit-worthy borrower with a near infinite ability to focus wealth, we have an entity fully capable of bearing the risks — there’s little/no chance of default — and an economic situation that suggests these conditions are likely to extend well into the future.
Let’s see, who else faces these conditions? . . . OMG! Ben!
So I hereby propose a trade. We’ll give the private sector Ben Bernanke, and in exchange we get Mark Zuckerberg. As the new head of the Federal Reserve, Chairman Mark’s mission will be to refinance the US debt and open its meeting notes to everyone. Then he can change all the bankster’s e-mail addresses.
I think he can do it, because borrowing costs have never been so low, there’s a virtually unlimited ability to sustain the credit of the US — we can never default, you know — and the Fed can always create money if needed. This would be an ideal time to reduce the debt load and boost spending power to complement private deleveraging, by buying US Treasuries, and that will help the economy. We’ll call it Zuckerberg Relaxing, or ZR.
And don’t smirk at the thought of Ben Bernanke running Face Book. In fact, if may help to have the reclusive Ben, who hated anyone looking at his stuff, in charge of setting privacy and information sharing policies for the world’s most personal and embarrassing data base. And even if Ben screws up the company and needs a loan, there’s always Bain Capital.