A few weeks ago, I was taking the van service from my hotel in Manhattan to Newark Airport. It was early in the morning and the driver was listening to a talk show. I was half asleep and wasn’t paying much attention to the squawking except at commercial breaks when I kept hearing advertisements from a local mortgage company about first-time homebuyer tax credits.

The reason my thought processes kept waking up at the commercials was that:

1. It was such anomaly. There was a time, in the middle of this decade, when we probably heard nothing but commercials from mortgage companies, but that was at least two years ago.

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