I would imagine there's a few HP'ers out there who suffered through the dot-com bubble - the euphoria followed by the desperation and panic.
I knew more than a few folks who were paper millionaires - and told everyone they knew. These guys worked for dot-coms, and had options that IF THEY COULD EXERCISE 'EM would make them millionaires. I highlighted the words IF THEY COULD EXERCISE 'EM because that's exactly where millions of people around the world find themselves today - with a big fat paper gain on their dot-condo or dot-house, but nobody who'll buy it.
The problem though with this epic Ponzi scheme compared to the dot-com boom and bust is that humans figured out a way to extract PAPER GAIN in the form of cash-out refinancing, or home equity lines of credit.
So paper gains turned into cold hard cash this time around - cash that was used to buy Hummer H2's, nice marble countertop counters and zero-something refrigerators, trips to Maui, and in some cases, hookers and cocaine.
But, as we all know now, this is going to end so badly, so so so badly.
Because that cash didn't come from heaven. It didn't even come from the bank. No, the cash came from the homedebtor's own pocket. He stupidly cashed out a paper gain (rule #1 - never cash out paper gains). He took it from himself, and with interest! And now he has to pay it back, or go bankrupt.
And that's why the Epic Housing Boom will be seen as more destructive, with more wide-spread impact, than the NASDAQ boom. It'll be about fake housing paper gains used to buy Hummer H2s.