Friday, October 10, 2008

What's next?

First the economy was collapsing because of high gas prices, now no one is able to pay their mortgage and we are under threat of a worldwide recession and outright depression in the states.

At times like these I like to turn off my TV and look around. What will you see if you try this? Contrary to the talking heads spin, gas stations are not just open, they are packed with customers. I had to wait in line, car idling just to get to the gas pump. I chanced a look back at hwy 220 to see a steady line of cars in both directions. I saw no one walking, and no one on a bike. Perhaps they were sacrificing in other ways, skipping meals or wearing the same clothes for several days. I walked inside the station and everyone was neatly dressed in clean clothes, no one was outside begging change. The store had full shelves with multiple choices of anything I could want from coffee, pop, bottled water, energy drinks and so on. Several people added to their lunches a bag of chips, and not one, but two types of drinks. Not the most economical choice (a fountain drink) but a bottled drink which is more convenient when you eat as you drive.

Surely these well to do neighbors of mine must be simply indulging. Since the news sounds like the majority of Americans are facing foreclosure it must mean that I need to go see all of the houses in disarray. I drive through the neighborhoods which all look the same. There are a few more houses for sale, but I don't see any that have been boarded up or taped off. Nor do I see displaced people roaming the streets with shopping carts waiting for someone to take them to exchange an Obama vote for a pack of cigarettes. Perhaps this is an indication of the upscale area in which we live. When I moved here Keyser was not known for it's abnormal portion of success, but I contend that we must be the most affluential area in the country right now. I have approximately 2000 clients, I have friends and family in at least 12 states across the country and I don't know anyone in foreclosure. I asked a prominent realtor about the influx of foreclosures that he must be dealing with, he laughed and said, "come to think of it, I don't know of any". So I asked a realtor from Pittsburgh, none for her either.

So I will ask you, how many people do you know that are facing foreclosure? Have you made significant cuts to your own lifestyle? Sure people are slowing down in paying bills and getting behind, but do they still pay $3 per day for coffee and soda? Do they still buy powerball tickets? How many people live like we are in a major recession or on the brink of financial disaster? Last weeks homecoming game was packed with people and the concession lines were 10 people long while I was there. And all of that occurred before the major bailout bill was finalized. I am anxious to see who the next wave of major corporations that we must "bail out" will be. Will it be the banks again, or insurance companies, or professional sports teams, or amusement parks.

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