What's your take on the economy and our economic future?

My father lost his father in the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918. His mother remarried and his mother and step-dad used the proceeds of a insurance policy, left to my then infant father by his father, to purchase a house. During the depression they took in boarders ($5 a week room and board) and his step father tried to find work in his trade - carpentry. The step-dad built a tool chest on wheels and was often gone for weeks at a time pulling his cart and looking for work. Finally, it was too much for him and he took his own life ... leaving behind an insurance policy to repay my then @ 12 year-old dad. It was a bitter time. Folks who lived through it have never forgotten.

I'm not trained in economics. I'm not sure what the future holds. But the signs are troubling and getting worse rather than better...in my opinion.

Unemployment percentages are a way of hiding the meaning of unemployment. It's a lot less alarming to say X% than to point out that over 9 million Americans are unemployed and to not mention that, assuming many of these folks have dependents, there are perhaps 15-20 million people without any way to pay their bills and eat and keep a roof over their heads.

Mortgage interest rates are headed down. If you have the means and good credit, loans are available for significantly under 4%. Housing sales are off something like 30%. Energy prices are going up. Tomatoes...not the fancy "ugly ripe" heritage ones...just plain tomatoes were $2.49/lb today at the HT...in the middle of summer.

So many states are in the red I can't count all of them...and it's measured in $Billions in every state. We (New Hanover County) voters approved a small increase in the local sales tax to save our libraries...and the county said "thanks" and promptly raised our property tax.

Meanwhile, Congress can't seem to extend unemployment benefits...and even tho Obama announced $2 Billion in renewable energy funding, it was nothing compared to the $33 Billion funded to keep the war going in Afghanistan. Add the death and suffering and it's beyond despicable.

My guess...we're on the thin and crumbling edge of a serious depression. Your thoughts?

Comments

There are signs of life...

I talk to executives in the construction business every day in my job. Heavy highway and civil construction has been on the upswing, and commercial construction is showing some signs of life. Single-family residential and condo development, especially in Florida, is still lagging badly.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

A new Lowes (hardware) is going up here

and that's about it in Wilmington unless you count DOT stuff. Camp LeJuene is, I hear, installing solar water heating and some folks from here have gotten jobs there. Other than that I'm not hearing much positive news.

Wilmington just spent a bunch of money buying furniture for the new (and highly controversial) convention center that, to my knowledge has few if any bookings.

Stan Bozarth

Military Construction...

...is booming at Bragg, Lejeune, and Cherry Point.

For example, the FORSCOM/USARC command headquarters at Ft Bragg is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011....the total design-build contract was nearly $300 million.

Check out the North Carolina Military Business Center for more about the $6-7 billion on MILCON projects in eastern NC between now and 2013 or so.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

From my limited view of the world, I'm not optimistic....

and it has to do with the attitude of the Feds in acting against the population. The Fed is still loaning billions to the big banks at zero or very low rates. As a result, you would be hard pressed to find anyplace to have a CD with a 2% return. People on fixed incomes, like myself, were paying some bills with that return a few years ago, but now have to dip into savings. Some might say why not invest in stocks or bonds that yield more, but the flip side is there are so many crooks running our corporations, why put my remaining cash in their hands? And I'm sure there are millions like me, feeling the need to be real cautious, plus the large amount of unemployed, who now are being dumped from the extended unemployment benefits, and you have a sinking feeling setting in. Meantime, Geithner and Bernanke and all the banksters are feeding each other, thinking the world is happy again!