I can't get behind all the happy talk about the economy.
Monday my lovely wife and I went with another couple went to dinner and a show in Portland Maine. The city looked pretty dead. To be fair, it was a Monday, but so close to Christmas there usually is plenty of activity. Last year I remember more people being out on the street in the middle of a major snowstorm.
We didn't make reservations at the restaurant. Had a great table. During our long leisurely dinner, the place never got very busy.
At a recent party we went to, a lot of people were out of work, or working fewer hours than they wanted to.
A number of people I know are flirting with foreclosure. Most aren't talking about it publicly, but have confided in me. Some of the people in trouble surprised me. A friend of my wife's just moved her father out of his foreclosed home. That came as a surprise as last I knew he owned the place free and clear. He had a decent pension. The only thing I can figure is that he must have gotten caught up in the the refinance mania of recent years. Beyond driving a nice pickup, I've no idea what he might have done with the money.
It's not only my local economy. I keep in touch with friends and family all over the country. Everyone's felt the impact. I hear from a friend in Kentucky who's factory drastically reduced worker's hours. I hear from my dad in Florida who's neighbor can't find work, has sold his car, most of his furniture and had most services shut off. Dad's been giving him groceries to eat. The guy doesn't qualify for state benefits, so he's not in the statistics. Chatted with the guy driving the recycling truck this morning. He usually operates heavy equipment in Massachusetts. The only work he can find is doing the recycling twice a week.
My information might be anecdotal, but ask yourself: Is it much different than what you've seen around you? I hope it is and my observations are just a statical abnormality.