Monday, November 05, 2007

Down and out in Palm Beach

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.


d.K. said...

I just finished a vacation where one of the co-guests was former governor/senator Bob Graham. Except for Cuba, which we didn't discuss, he seemed very "on" and his wife was lovely as well. I enjoyed talking with him a lot, and just bought his book. As a Floridian, I'd be interested to hear your views of him. He didn't get much traction in the 2004 presidential contest, so I don't know much about him, but he seemed a refreshingly rational political voice. I'd be interested to hear your views sometime on how he lead your "interesting" state.

Capt. Fogg said...

He was a popular senator but I haven't been a Floridian long enough to have a meaningful opinion other than to say I would gladly trade him for Mel Martinez and perhaps for Bill Nelson as well.

Welcome back. It sounds like you were on more than the average vacation!

d.K. said...

Thanks Capt. Fogg.

It was a great vacation, but Sen. Graham happened to be a speaker - we we'ren't traveling in the same party :), but I did manage to corner him and his new book, which points out the Bush/Saudi family connections on the cover impressed me.

Capt. Fogg said...

It's strange that Americans pay so little attention to those connections and in fact demonize the people who point it out rather than believe the truth.

The question is not "are the Bushes in bed with the Saudis," but "who's on top?"