Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm back

A week in Las Vegas has meant no blogging but I hope to make up for it over the next few days. I'm still amazed how difficult the Ballagio, our supposedly luxury hotel, made it to access the internet. Free wifi in the lobby but with no place to sit. No wifi anywhere else including its many restaurants and bars or at the pool. In the room there was an ethernet port with service @ $15/day/laptop (and the cable, if you didn't have one, was $13). Nor was wifi readily available elsewhere on the strip from what I could tell. Oh well, enough complaining.

The stock market is in a nosedive this morning over the impending bad news for GM and Chrysler. Again, the ups-and-downs of the markets will drive you crazy if you pay too much attention to them (though it is hard not to). That said, there are still a number of voices saying we are a long way from being out of the woods and there is still not enough being done either in terms of stimulus (especially in Europe) or in restructuring the financial system. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism draws attention to an article in Financial Times regarding continuing trouble with the banks. One quote:

Even if a recovery were to start early in 2010, as some optimistic forecasters believe, most of the pain of the recession is still ahead of us: unemployment and default rates will rise sharply everywhere. Most of the pain in the financial sector is also still ahead of us. This will feel like a depression long after it has ceased to be one.

In my own congregation I am hearing of reduced hours and mandatory days off. Yesterday a woman told me she lost her well-paying administrative job of 18 years when the company went out of business. An importer of items for fund raising programs, they were unable to get financing to carry them through this lean time. I am afraid this story is being repeated with small companies across the country but with little publicity.

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