Monday, November 05, 2007

Down and out in Palm Beach

by Capt. Fogg

I know people who were living the good life in Florida a couple of years ago, many of whom have their homes and yachts on the market in the vain hope of selling out and moving to cheaper pastures in the Carolinas. Foreclosures in Florida are up 53% from the previous quarter and double last year's numbers. Retired people are out lining up for low paying jobs. Affluent Palm Beach County chalked up nearly a billion dollars worth of mortgage defaults in the first 6 months of 2007, up 531% from last year. No, that's not a typo.

Realtors seem to be disappearing and one man, whose business is making For Sale signs for real estate agents reports that he's being stiffed right and left to the tune of $40,000 worth of signs. Community food banks are running out of food as more middle class families find their cupboards bare. Commercial real estate vacancies are sharply up. It's beginning to seem a lot like a recession despite the official assurances that the economy is growing.

The Palm Beach Post reports this morning that "a local bankruptcy lawyer received 250 applications for a $10-an-hour receptionist job in his office. . Many of the applicants were real estate and mortgage brokers used to sky-high salaries."

Sure the test of two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth has not been met; not nearly, but somehow whatever it is that's trickling down these days isn't prosperity. With chaos apparently growing and more wars looming it's hard to maintain the kind of faith the administration is selling and no "Mission accomplished" moment Bush might manage to stage is going to make me more confident.

Cross posted from Human Voices


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Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That is truly frightening Fogg. If Palm Beach is in that bad a way, then it may well be time to call it a recession.

9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

All that "irrational exuberance" is finally hitting a brick wall and I don't think we've seen the worst of it yet.

4:39:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The real estate market here was really exuberant, but my feeling is that the economy is unhealthy for a number of reasons, at least as far as anyone but the very very rich. Boat sales, for instance are a disaster in this area where everyone has a boat, but mega-yachts are doing just fine.

7:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wasn't the florida real estate market an indicator before the great depresion? awesome. I can't wait to be a third world country

10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an apropos piece from Fafblog (may it rest in peace):

Stand tall, Florida!

Florida has been in the news lately - and for something other than election fraud! - where millions of residents are once again battling the elements for the right to continue living in an overheated swamp infested with blood-sucking insects and killer reptiles. You make Giblets proud, Florida! Your devotion to the suburban colonization of nature is absolute!

Yes Californians get an earthquake now and then, yes it snows up north. But only you have decided to shuffle off to an enormous foul poisonous bog afflicted with giant man-eating lizards which is routinely punched from the sky by storm titans who seek to blot it from the very sight of God!

You have recognized that it is Man's Great Destiny to colonize every inch of the planet even - no! especially! - those parts of the earth that are so comically inhospitable that the assembled forces of God and Nature lash out in a concerted attempt to destroy their aged, enfeebled residents on a regular basis! If you liked sunny weather you could have moved to Arizona. If you liked tourist traps you could have moved to Las Vegas. If you liked vast political corruption you could have moved to Chicago. But your Faustian striving for a ranch home in a noxious wind-battered wasteland has driven you to boldly live where no one else would ever want to before!

Giblets awaits the day when humans will build gated communities at the bottom of the ocean, in the heart of the Sahara, on the Moon, inside active volcanos, within the snarling engorged throats of mad and slavering Elder Gods! Let no region, no matter how inhospitable, slow your suburban sprawl! You are the pioneers of tomorrow, and from Giblets's sane and survivable mild north Atlantic climate, he salutes you!

Gee, what's there to miss?

3:01:00 PM  

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