As you know, Michigan is in a unique situation relative to the rest of the U.S. economy. As I walked around the neighborhood today, I saw homes for sale that have been standing vacant for months, even years... and this is a good, middle-class neighborhood.
One only needs to read the headlines to understand that this is not a temporary situation for Michigan. Nevertheless, Michigan is lumped together with the rest of the nation when it comes to economic policies, particularly that of the Federal Reserve.
In the past, when disaster struck other parts of the nation, Michigan was quick to respond with aid... both financial and volunteers. Michigan is not a physical disaster area, but it is rapidly becoming a financial disaster zone; especially southeastern Michigan.
As the auto manufacturers, suppliers and support industries lay off thousands of people, the Federal government continues to proclaim the strength of the economy. These statements are akin to a doctor saying you are in perfect health so enjoy life... while your hand is gangrenous.
Michigan business and the state's economy has been struck by a convergence of forces that threaten a malaise for the next decade. Part of the problem lies in the history of union excess and poor business management. Another contributor has been the foundering of Detroit and it's weighing down economic growth in the area. Still another part is the government's willingness to let Japan and China manipulate their currencies to the benefit of their exporters and the detriment of our producers... a particularly vexing problem for the auto industry.
Perhaps it is time for our economic policies to reflect the disaster that Michigan faces. For example, rather than penalize Michigan for the inflationary pressure of the Florida real estate prices, perhaps Michigan should be given a lower prime rate to at least stabilize its business and housing situation. Applying the same prime rate to Michigan as Florida is creating a depression, not just a recession. That's just an example. The federal government has always treated disaster areas with a different set of rules than the rest of the nation. Perhaps it is time to apply those different rules to Michigan until the state is whole again.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
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Climate Change - What Is and Is Not (Short List)
- Dr. Benny Peiser - Climate and Social Commentary
- Images and Issues Related To Climate Change and Global Warming - downloadable 5.4mb Adobe file
- NASA - Earth's Fidgeting Climate
- NASA - Deep Freeze and Sea Breeze: Changing Land and Weather in Florida
- Dr. Pielke - A new paradigm for assessing the role of agriculture in the climate system and in climate change
- Dr. Pielke - Unresolved Issues with the Assessment of Multi-Decadal Global Land-Surface (3+mb pdf)
- Dr. Pielke - An overview of regional land use and land cover impacts on rainfall
- Canadian Scientists Views On Global Warming
- Dr. Patterson - Urbanization and Temperature Changes
- Dr. Patterson - Ocean Sediment Changes and Solar Influences
- Dr. Patterson - Geological Record and Climate Change
- .........Dr. Timothy Patterson
- Multi-scale analysis of global temperature changes
- Dr. Scotese - Climate History
- Dr. Hulme - Language of Climate Catastrophe
- Dr. Pidwirny - Causes of Climate Change
- Climate Science - Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
- ...........Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
- ICECAP - Climate Change Commentary
- ..........RealClimage - Scientific Staff
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- ..........World Climate Report - Scientific Staff
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Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map
CO2 Cap and Trade
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
- O. Henry
The Independent (UK)
FEDERAL RESERVE & HOUSING
February 3, 2006 Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
November 28, 2007 FED VICE CHAIRMAN DONALD KOHN
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.”January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...
What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?
- Bruce Hall
- Michigan, United States
- Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)