Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Request for information

So, by my math, Friday’s stock market close put the Dow at under 50% of the the ’07 peak for the first time. That feels significant to me. In our hometown of Hood River, we’ve lost since we departed the last new car store – none of the big 3 nor any imports (never had ‘em) remain – and a huge landmark hotel.

Any stories of what it’s like out there? Any news stories out there you can refer me too for more reading? Links much appreciated. Thanks. P


Al said...

Bill Maher reported that the average home price in Detroit is 18,000 (yes, only 3 zeroes!!). This stat seemed very troubling to me as we just bought a house for much more than that and yet probably one of the cheapest in Hood River! What is the "real" value of our house - what would we do in a serious housing bubble bust like Detroit? Oregon is at almost 10% unemployment (apparently a psychologically scary mark like 4000 dead in Iraq), but our local County has one of the lowest rates (6.5%) I wonder if this County can ride out economic storms due to the Ag/tourism base of the area - you are not likely to lose the Gorge as a Scenic tourist destination and playground and the fruit business is a 'real' commodity. Our agency (Center for Living) is edgy with talk of cuts. We are okay until June 30, 2009. The State Leg has to make up the 2009-11 budget and there is talk of significant cuts (maybe 20%) to social services. This will definitely affect our clients (especially the uninsured poor as Kulongowski suggested gutting help to unisured people needing mental health - medicaid will not be cut). We may have to make significant cuts in our budget and staff. The Hood River County Court already is closed on Fridays to save $$. There was an interesting take in NY Times recently about the crystal ball fortune telling of the "how bad is it ...will it get worse." All over the map predictions of doom and prosperity just around the corner. (we haven't axed our NYT subscription yet!!) My take is media and pop culture seems to have taken 'recession' as a given, but not a panic.

Kay said...

The headlines here are dire on a daily basis. News this morning had another large local business in Eugene closing. Oregon is often hit harder than some other states, although Michigan seems the worst at the moment. You're probably already reading the NYT online—that's what I'm reading—in addition to our local paper, the Register Guard. The conservation non-profit where I work was 11% down on funds at the end of last year and I know other agencies are facing similar situations. But hopefully the stimulus will kick in and have a significant effect which may not be seen until 2010. We're just keepin' on keepin' on. Hugs to you and yours.

Brother David said...

No specific article to back this up, but I am of the opinion that the DC response has been too little, too scattered, to soft. By too little I mean that it is a waffle: throw some money here, not enough money there. I would prefer a decisive course of action in either direction: bailout or hands-off. If they're going to do a bailout, go nuclear and put tons of money out there with clear guidelines on how companies - and banks in particular - need to spend that money. (hint: not on bonuses or retention agreements or whatever you call them, not on corporate jets, not on acquisitions. You need to 'spend' it on loans/investments to people and organizations that will use that money in other ways and keep the cycle moving. The velocity of money has dropped precipitously, which means people are hording money instead of investing it, loaning it or spending it. Note the events of last week where in the UK they printed up a bunch of money...and used it to buy their equivalent of treasury bills. That's like taking it from one pocket of the government and putting it in the other. )

An equally valid yet opposite course of action by the US would be the nuclear option of bailing nothing out, letting the chips fall and cleaning up the mess once the dust settles. Some will say we can't afford to let the likes of Citi, AIG, BofA fail. My response is to ask how well we can all afford what we're seeing right now with investments down 30-50%, unemployment rocketing and confidence gone. And how's that half-bailout of AIG working out for you?

Hang in there, everyone.

The VanCott's said...

There are glimmers of hope with people being creative to navigate the downturn. A new service we found is the "soup lady" who delivers 2 yummy mason jars of soup and bread to us each week for a reasonable fee and once a month we get a quiche!

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