Economic Summary of My Road Trip

I recently returned from my annual trek to the beach at the Alabama/Florida border.  It provides me with a “boots on the ground” view of the economy.  I-10 was busy on the July 4th weekend as usual.  On the other hand, the beach traffic thinned out dramatically by Wednesday, a sign of the economic times.  Wait times at restaurants were lighter than 2008-2009.  Last year the BP oil spill caused us to change destinations.  We did experience some minor oil splotches while in the water but were easily removed with my wife’s survival kit.  People are cutting their vacation costs in half and are eating out less.

It is clear that the economy is still suffering and the For Sale signs along the coast are plentiful.  Those who bought 2nd homes on the gulf coast are now trying to unload them.  The good times of vacation rentals may be near an end.  New condo construction is way off, only 1 currently being built in the area.  Foreclosures are being advertised on the banners following the airplanes that fly past us while on the beach.  What encouragement!

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is now voicing what we already know, tough times are ahead for many: 

Since his buddies, the investment bankers, were complicit in the meltdown, I am surprised that he is being called on as a point man to describe the current conditions.  As millions of Americans are expected to be saddled with the unbelievable debt that was racked up in part by following the paradigm of the high leverage era, the CEO’s of the investment banks took bonuses that would even make Bernie Madoff look like an altar boy.

We continue to move toward the cliff at breakneck speed as the average American focuses on the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando that has little to do with the future of America.  Gold is moving toward my initial $1,600 target as Ben Bernanke tried to surprise everyone with his next quantitative easing #3 (QE3).  Why don’t we call it Patriotic Printing 1 (PP1) so we can salute each time we hear about it?  It looks to be getting nastier out there while the loudspeaker in the local grocery store blares out: “Poop clean up needed on aisle four”.

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