Archive for December 19th, 2008

alumni21

by problembear

jodi rave is an award-winning writer/reporter for Lee Enterprises and we in missoula have been very lucky to read her for years. her new blog is now up. check it out.

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by jhwygirl

The Missoulian had an article out yesterday, headlined Regional Economic Outlook Optimistic for State. If you read it, it enters some caveats – like the fact that it doesn’t include data from November or December (the two biggest months of retail sales that push retail “into the black”?) and survey results showing regional business outlook rated poorly.

Big caveats, considering the headlines, right?

Meanwhile, over at the Helena Independent Republic, a headline reads “Business Leaders Have Gloomy Outlook for 2009.” It looks to be referring to one of the caveats referred to in the Missoulian article.

Then, later in the day, the Missoulian posts Montana Consumer Sentiment Slips to 15-year Low.

Now – I remember during the primary when one candidate – no need in naming the one in particular where it was clear that he was avoiding the word – refused to say “recession” even though it was clearly on everyone’s mind. Further, plenty of investor/real estate/finance sector people will not say anything to suggest anything less than “we never know when we hit bottom until it’s behind us,” meaning that you should buy, buy, buy because that’s what the need you to do, regardless of whether it is really the best choice for you, the consumer. So it’s understandable why news agencies would try to keep the message positive – or as positive as the possibly can, given the circumstances.

But are we at the bottom? 60 Minutes warns us otherwise. According to a report from last Sunday, a second wave of foreclosures is about to hit. I watched the piece on television, and although the article linked to there does cover about 99% of it as I remember it, it does lack the graphic which showed the mortgage foreclosures that have diseased this nation the last 2 years….and which showed the impending foreclosures that will hit this nation for the next two years.

We’re at the end of the first wave and at the beginning of the second wave.

These impending foreclosures – the statistics gathered from lenders and mortgage brokers – are from loans to good risk, good credit people – loans that had “teaser” rates of 1/2%, 1% – and which will be reset to 7, 8% here in the near future. So these loans put people in homes that pushed the limits (clearly this was the modus operandi of realtors and mortgage financiers everywhere – it’s what got us here) of what they could afford, merely by sliding them into mortgages at attractive immediate payments.

Now he housing market is in shambles. We’ve got homes that have lost value – and an inability of these soon-to-be-unteased loans to refinance because not only have the homes not gained any value, they aren’t worth what they currently owe on them.

Couple that with unemployment at a 26 year high, and you’ve got…well, you know….

Ouch.

libby_mainstreet

by problembear

patrick klemz does a great job of boiling it all down to an essence this week. let’s hope the long delayed upcoming trial in missoula this february brings some justice and helps to herald a new era of punishing bad behavior instead of rewarding it. next up- wall street CEO’s anyone?

and lest we forget it was a daily newspaper who broke this story in the first place. more proof that good old fashioned newsprint is valuable in a free society to expose crooked companies. very sad for many of the victims that the wheels of justice turn so slowly.




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