Good News, The Great Recession is Over!
On the way in to the office this morning, I counted 14 new construction projects. Three of them are new upscale housing communities, two of them were warehouse complexes with at least 20 acres under roof, and the rest were new office buildings (a few of them 15+ stories high). Where is all this money coming from?
When I see new construction like this, I can’t help but think "how much is this going to cost me and my family?" I mean ultimately, we (the country) are the ones that will end up paying for this construction with the inflation tax.
Is the country really in a recession? I see no evidence of a recession outside my door. This just makes no sense. What do you see outside your door?
Thanks for your input.
Outside my workplace door, I see a huge construction project. Its an apartment complex of probably 50 to 100 new units. It was initially started as private apartments by a contractor back in 2007, then it sat still for 2008. Now they are at work again. HGAP (Homeless Grant Assistance Program, a program through CTED, is a state program funded by Federal Housing and Urban Development) funds are being used to provide a place to discharge offenders in jail, as the jails are too full.
Outside my door from home, I see DH’s car, which needs a jump to start, but which he doesn’t use much because he hasn’t been able to find work since being laid off in October.
Across my street is one abandoned house, not even listed for sale. Just abandoned. A couple nights ago we saw someone in the house using flashlights. On the other side is another house, abandoned by the elderly couple who lived there; however, their children come out monthly to make sure the house and yard are taken care of. Further down the street are two houses in foreclosure. Directly next door is an RV parked in the driveway, where two adults and two children are living until the dad can find employment again.
This is in Whatcom County, Washington state – a place not considered to have been hit particularly hard by the recession.
Oh, and worst of all, Folger’s coffee, $5.99 a can last year, is now $11.39.
Thank you SkylightMT for your input. I thought I was losing my mind!
I get the feeling that it may go from everything is okay at the start of a week to martial law at the end (doubt martial law will be called in Canada though). I suspect (here comes the dread) that it will start with a news announcement about UK or Ireland or some such country has gone bankrupt then the dominoes will quickly start to fall.
I really really doubt they have anything to try and re-inflate the bubble and I get the feeling that suddenly bang, something finally breaks and people will suddenly realize what a mess were in. Then the violent protests will start. I don’t see an asset bubble far greater than the one that caused the great depression doing nothing but causing a mild recession.
I run a Community Food Pantry. I see: a 12% increase in usage over the past year. I see people who donated food last year asking for help now. I see people in "blue collar" or "pink collar" jobs getting sacked with no warning. I see older workers getting fired for no reason other than to cut the budget and they won’t be able to retire with dignity. I see people who thought they could get a new job easily when they were laid off -10 months ago. I see middle-class people who never asked for help before now sit crying while they ask for help. I see the nearly-completed construction project down the street – something like 40 new shoppes (high-end consumer craziness) put on hold for "a few months". I see tradespeople jumping at the chance to bid and show up on the job with no lunch day after day, working very hard even while starved just to get paid at the end of the job. I see a blank space on the website that I used to send folks to when seeking part-time jobs.
The song that keeps running through my mind is Buddy Can You Spare a Dime….
"There has never been a better time to be a farmer!" Lynn Miller, Small Farmer’s Journal
We hear and read that things are getting better, thanks to the sage decisions being made on our behalf by our wise leaders in Washington, DC. It is good to know that we plebs are being wisely led by the Patricians inside the Capital Beltway. It is equally good to know that they make decisions based purely on the Public Interest, heh, heh.
In particular, I am SO glad to learn that the tough times may be over! Please join with me in this classic song from the New Deal Era. Here are the lyrics. I vividly remember this song being played by brass bands during political rallies back during the 1950s. It is a toe-tapper.
Happy Days are here again, the skies above are clear again…
So let’s sing a song of cheer again, Happy Days are here again!
Altogether shout it out now, There’s no one who can doubt it now…
So let’s tell the world about it now, Happy Days are here again!
Your cares and troubles are gone. There’ll be no more from now on — from now on…
Happy Days are here again. The skies above are clear again. So let’s sing a song of cheer again.
Happy Days are here again!
Um, why am I not comforted by this? Why do I have this uneasy feeling that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse (War, Disease, Pestilence and Famine) are breathing down my neck?
My previous post was tongue-in-cheek but this one is deadly serious. Mainedrfrmr states that he runs a food bank. I can ratify his comments. A retired businessman, I have devoted the past 3+ years of my life to full time volunteer service for the American Red Cross. As a result of my Red Cross connection I serve as a voting member of the local Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Board (as the required Red Cross representative), which is funded by an annual grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA"). Basically, our county receives a small (about $110,000 to $120,000) annual FEMA grant and we decide how to allocate it. Many other counties throughout the USA receive such annual grants. We allocate our tiny grant to local relief agencies such as The Salvation Army, our local food bank and similar organizations. The Red Cross is ineligible for this type of grant money since it is a disaster relief agency among other things. But FEMA likes to have a Red Cross voting member on each local board to provide objectivity and perspective. That’s me.
As a result of my service on this board, and my Red Cross service, I have become a humble man. I see firsthand the poverty and misery that surrounds us. While it is true that some less fortunate people have an exaggerated sense of entitlement and are not quick to say "thank you" for help, there is plenty of human misery these days to go around. In my Central Texas county our local food bank has seen a tripling of demand over the past year. A local homeless shelter is hard pressed to meet the demand for housing. Things are tough. Those of us who have food, clothing and shelter should count our blessings daily. I am humbled by what I have observed.
If you can give a bit of money to help those who are struggling, please do so. If you can volunteer your time to help a local relief agency, that is equally valuable. Please take a bit of time to investigate the situation in your local community. Then, make your decisions accordingly. This volunteer work has been the highlight of my life and I have no regrets. Please consider helping if you can spare a bit of time. There are lots of local volunteer opportunities in your area.
Oh, and worst of all, Folger’s coffee, $5.99 a can last year, is now $11.39.
I think the most tragic news here is that you drink Folger’s coffee?
sorry – quoted below
Report from Newport Beach, CA, ground zero in the House of Cards:
Honestly here is what I see from my neck of the woods. A few friends losing jobs (and they have plenty of savings and family backups), others sending emails for job openings in their companies (and a referral bonus if someone they referred is hired), all my friends freaking out to one degree or another figuring something is wrong, one friend losing a house on a short sale (she bought at the top of the market despite the warnings), another friend who is just really stupid who bought a house in California’s ground zero at the top o’the market (for a ridiculous price in the middle of nowhere….but hey, only a one hour drive to work in Orange Co), in the Inland Empire, with a subprime/liars loan, the whole nine yards- he is still there, hasn’t paid on his mortgage since, oh maybe October. Bank is working with him….in the meantime, he is renting all of his rooms and basically making money off his house. (you would not believe how often this story is repeated here in California and…..excuse me for being way too politically incorrect but this is happening primarily among our Hispanic community). My wealthier friends are buying up real estate figuring they are getting great deals. Here in coastal Orange County, anectodotal evidence indicates that there are bidding wars going on for prime real estate. My real estate agent friends are doing OKAY, not like the good ol’ days but still selling. No one has asked me for a loan, no one I know is close to hungry. Tomorrow I am going to a "jewelry party" (ok, this is not my style but a very good friend is putting it on); lots of women are signed up and I dare say the jewelry lady is going to sell lots of jewelry. My friends and I continue to go out as usual, which means spending money. I only know two people in debt. I went to Target the other day – it was packed.
I think this is all borrowed time and money but when I looked at my world – everything seems A-Okay. I believe that is not the case. But most people out there believe it’s going to be A-Okay. And that is why the Great Recession is Over – or not.