Perpetuating The Myth

            Ground Hog Day! Come ‘round again (with or without Bill Murray). Buckeye Chuck reported not having seen his shadow; everyone looking to spring. Kent Mallet headlined The Newark Advocate with just such pronouncement. “Licking County Economy Bounces Back” (2-2-14) Home sales up! Home sale prices up! New car sales up! Commercial building up! Residential building up! On the down side foreclosures are down, bankruptcy down. Analysis can almost smell the flowers.

 

            The headlines and stats are great news if you are a banker (are you?). More homes, construction, and car sales are being financed at higher prices while losses are being trimmed with a decline in bankruptcies and foreclosures; also good news for real estate agents. Both bankers and agents were the primo spring prognosticators interviewed by Kent Mallet. He did throw in a shadow, though, and that is “Cathy Virgallito, spokeswoman for Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling organization based in Columbus, said the economy continues to recover, but the effects of the recession remain. “We do see some improvement,” she said. “People were losing jobs all over the place. Now, they’re working but getting paid less, and it continues to be a struggle to balance their budget.””

 

            Join with John Lennon and me (and Bill Murray) won’t you, for a virtual karaoke rendition of “Imagine” —  a busy grocery store parking lot that is, outside Kroger or Walmart, (number one and two grocery retailers in the world!). The parking lot is jammed. Folks cruising for a place to park “their” cars while dodging meandering cart pushers. But that car they are driving doesn’t necessarily belong to them. Indeed, a large percentage of the cars in the lot are not “owned” by the folks that drove them there. As a matter of fact, a large number are rented, leased. The non-owner occupant rate of residential real estate in Newark is over 43%. And yet Mallet continues to perpetuate the myth of all must be coming up tulips and daffodils because the bankers and real estate agents are doing well (real estate agents likewise act as property managers of rentals. Analysis won’t go into the intricacies of how the previous high foreclosures contributed to the growth in demand and availability of residential rental). The article is definitely not false (the stats back Mallet up), only the picture portrays you as a banker. Are you?

 

            ““People were losing jobs all over the place. Now, they’re working but getting paid less…””

 

 

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