Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hooverville 2009 Style

Just a quick note tonight.

The signs that we are slowly sinking into an economic depression are becoming rapidly evident.

Lets get real for a second: Most of the middle class in this country of people live paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps some have a few thousand squirreled away in the bank. This might buy them a month or so...nothing more.

The video below is a sobering reminder of what happens to many of these people when they lose their jobs. How many millions have to go on permanent camping trip before Washington puts an end to the fraud on Wall St?

Millions of middle class Americans are running out of options as Rome continues to burn.

Don't worry though, not everyone is suffering, Wall St is preparing to pocket record bonuses in the billions of $$$ courtesy of speculation using the US taxpayer as a backstop.

Again America: Where is the anger?


getyourselfconnected said...


I for one am pissed off.

GS has 3X (or 4X or whatever) earnings "growth" and they are not to pay a 50% tax on that until they are totally devoid od government money? Heck, most of their growth was crap asset write ups and brokering US bond deals, what a country.

Meanwhile the people that matter are getting hungry and losing their homes (both owned and rentals, both are equal to the evictee) and nothing can be done.

Not a good mix.

All my best.

Tom said...

Hi Jeff

I posted this a couple of days ago at another site but it seems appropriate here.

This from the Book "And there was light" by Jacques Lusseryran a blind hero of the French Resistance who spent the last year of the war in Buchenwal. It is an incredible book.

"Of myself what can I say why was I never entirely bereft of joy. But it was a fact and my solid support. Joy I found even in strange byways, in the midst of fear itself. And fear departed from me, as infection leaves an abscess when it bursts. By the end of a year in Buchenwald I was convinced that life was not at all as I had been taught to believe it, neither life nor society. For example, how could I explain that in block 56, my block, the only man who had volunteered day and night, for months, to watch over the most violent mad, to calm them down and feed them, to care for the ones with cancer, dysentery, typhus, to bathe them and comfort them, was a person of whom everyone said that in ordinary life he was effeminate, a parlor pederast, a man one would hesitate to associate with? But here he was the good angel, frankly the saint, the only saint in Invalid's Block. How account for the fact that Dietrich, the German criminal, arrested seven years before for strangling his mother and his wife, had turned braved and generous? Why was he sharing his bread with the others at the risk of dying sooner? And why, at the same time, did that honest bourgeois from our country, that small tradesman from the Vendee, father of a family, get up in the night to steal the bread of other men?

These shocking things were not what I had read in books. They were there in front of me. I had no way of not seeing them, and they raised all kinds of questions in my mind. And last of all, was it Buchenwald, or was it the everyday world, what we call the normal life, which was topsy-turvy?

An old peasant from the Anjou whom I had just met-how strange that he was born only six miles from Juvardeil- insisted that it was the everyday world which was askew. He was convinced of it.

Brooks said...


Hearing that guy talk about construction made me shiver.

I'm still employed as a commercial architect but things are bad and getting worse. Most of the medium-large sized regional general contractors had 18-24 months of work when this whole thing began. We are approaching 18 months right now and most of them still have some work but nothing in the pipeline past Jan-Feb 2010. The smaller contractors ran out of work months ago. People like tile reps and other suppliers are all still providing product for projects but almost all of them mention January as the time when work runs out. Architects have been suffering for at least a year. The stimulus did nothing for us, as most projects being built are simply projects that governments had delayed for various reasons. We were paid for those drawings last year. The money is gone. My civil engineer tells me that they are laying people off on the design side while hiring on the Construction administration side.

I know many architects that are one school bond project away from being out of business and those projects are going out to bid in November. Guess what? School Districts are not issuing bonds as subdivision growth for new schools has ground to a halt.

Worst of all, the number of RFQ's for Municipal and county work on the street right now has dried up like nothing we've seen before. The lead tracking services have regular updates for projects (parks, fire stations, etc.)that have been put on hold to FY2012. This is all due to decreased sales tax revenues statewide.

Finally, my commercial lending officer buddies tell me that they are not lending ANY money for CRE above 50% LTV and that is only for AAA borrowers, in other words people who don't need the money. They are all working 60 hour weeks on work-outs for defaulting CRE loans.

Of course the news tells us that the recession is over. I guess they are saying that so that the depression can begin. It looks really, really grim for early next year, far worse than it does right now. These tent cities will grow like wildfire.

I'm in Texas, one of the states that has not been hit as hard. I can only imagine what it is like elsewhere.

Herb said...

This is a pretty cool time-lapsed map of the job gain/loss over the past 4 years. It gets really scary at the end:

Jeff said...



I hope the huge profits at the large banks rile up America. These huge bonuses are VERY bad from a PR standpoint.

As the serfs starve, an announcement of a $4 billion bonus payout to Goldman employees at Christmas time might incite riots.

I hope it does. Gaming the system with my money and then keeping all of the profits for myself infuriates me!

Jeff said...


good stuff.

Staying positive through this will be important.

Thanks for sharing.

Jeff said...


Your post made me wanna hide under a desk.

WOW! I can't say that I am surprised but I didn't think things had gotten that bad.

I wish you lots of luck in your business. I have a friend thats rolling out a CRE refi program right now.

the CRE guys are concentrating on getting their debt rolled over versus starting new projects.

Hang in there. Business in my line of work has come to a standstill as well.

I really don't know if I will make it to 2011.

Save save save is my mantra right now.

I agree with you about 2010. It's going to be a long year.

Jeff said...


Well at least I live in a green

Great chart. I think many of us have to consider relocation as things continue to deteriorate.

Those that have the ability to move and are not stuck in a house they cannot sell will fare better then most.

Great info tonight fellas.

Keep em coming!

JoeMI said...

I've learned a few lessons in life when trying to motivate people about important issues.

1. People don't care until they are personally affected.
2. People tend to be sheep and will do what they are told by the "authorities."
3. Usually it's not worth your effort trying to convince others to be upset, angry, or prepared.
4. You can only be responsible for yourself and your family. Prepare to help the ones you love.
5. Don't tell anyone what you are doing to prepare.

Anonymous said...

Scary, I feel bad for the people living in "tent cities", I would hope some of these people earning huge pay would be charitable and open thier wallets to help. I'm starting to think we have an even bigger issue at hand then whether the economy is on the mend or not, I think we are experiencing a global over population that is overunning any production that can be achieved to support such numbers. I'm thinking out loud right now but I wonder if that was an underlying issue in the 30's and WW2 thinned the population out some and we have had several wars in the folowing decades until the past 25 years. There really needs to be a righting of the ship with these huge disparities of pay without crippling capitolism to support more population.

CT-Hilltopper said...

Like Matt Lauer said, a lot of the American people are a couple of paychecks away from being homeless.

This is something that isn't going to get any better during this "jobless recovery". There are going to be a lot more people in these 2009 Hoovervilles before this depression is over.

Just think, the train isn't completely off the tracks yet.

This is going to be really bad. Worse than we expected.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you 100%. Most people are simply clueless and hopeless.

Anonymous said...

Let them eat cake.