Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...
One of the cornerstones of economic recovery after a recession is the ability and desire of banks to lend money to credit worthy borrowers. Borrowers- businesses and individuals- depend upon banks to provide capital through loans to purchase equipment, expand their business, and hire new employees. History shows us that contractions in lending have preceded recessions or lengthened the time it takes to recover from a recession. Simply put, if banks do not lend, then the ability to grow business and the economy in this country will be stunted for some time. Why is this point important? In January, U.S. banks cut their their commercial lending- lending to the businesses in our communities- by $100 BILLION, a -16% annualized pace. Banks are responding to the economic and regulatory environment in which they find themselves and have adjusted their lending activity accordingly. This does not bode well for a quick and sustainable economic recovery.
We had a tragedy at my house this past week. My dogma was run over by my karma.
MSN.com had an article this past week in their real estate section entitled "America's Most Miserable Cities" which was a subjective ranking of various municipalites based on their misery index. The metrics in the index were taxes (both sales and income), crime rates, unemployment, commute times, public corruption, and the performance of a particular city's pro sports teams, if applicable (?). Cleveland was rated the worst; Memphis was third. The article and the list can be found at http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=23468980. One of the aspects of the quality of life in the cities listed is the fact that there is the presence of numerous government programs that range from transportation initiatives to public housing to welfare. T