666 Fifth Avenue

They call it “real estate” but beyond a certain point there’s nothing real about it. It’s just money in search of a place to land.

My curiosity about Jared Kushner’s finances is idle, fueled in large part by the street address of his company’s most infamous holding, the 666 Fifth Avenue building that was purchased in 2006 for a record-setting $1.8 billion, all but $50 million borrowed.

The building is apparently now worth more as dirt, according to those in the know.

I am not in the know. But I’m reading this article from Bloomberg that came out last summer and thinking, this is what the media and the players in DC refer to when they talk about “the economy.” It’s not the place in which I go to work and pay my bills and buy the stuff I need from the supermarket down the road. No. It’s a parallel universe of whacked-up numbers representing nothing but speculation.

None of it is real.

Well. Until the bill comes due. Which, on 666 Fifth, is in about a year.

But of course by then something equally unreal will have come to pass, more creative financing of the sort you and I can barely fathom.

This economy of theirs is nothing more than a digital game of hot potato. Pass the debt along. Pass it along again. Until one day it comes to rest in the hands — and on the backs — of ordinary people like you and me. At which point it will, at last, become real.

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