Economy Will Improve -- But When?

Tim asked me a question this week that's been asked of many recently—here's his chime into the Greek chorus: When do you personally feel the overall US economy will turn for the better?

My hunch, Tim, is that we're almost halfway there. The upcoming election could and should turn things around a bit—a nudge here and there through some quick maneuvers by whoever lands in the White House (though I won't yet go into which candidate would really make things better—next time). But we're still feeling the massive ripple effects of the credit crisis. Foreclosures are at previously thought insane levels and lenders are still scrambling to shore up the deluge of bad loans. Adjustable mortgages are still adjusting and job losses are still coming in strong. Credit-card defaults are partially an aftershock of the mortgage crisis so we have a few months to go there and wages aren't keeping up with inflation. And let's not get started on the price of gas and groceries…

We are a resilient bunch, Americans, so surely we'll dip a bit more in the upcoming months but soon enough we'll be digging ourselves out (hopefully with some regulation from Washington and reforms by the banking industry) and building ourselves back up like a tweener in a sand-castle contest. But this time, we won't be building our homes of sand, but brick by brick.

Just what we don't need ... a 70's-style wage/price spiral.

Double-digit inflation anyone? --Elizabeth, FL

Posted on: 30 Jun 2008 7:11 P.M.

Let both sides of this mortgage mess stew in their own juices for a while. Greedy buyers combined with greedy bankers? Couldn't happened to a better bunch. After 42 years in the banking business, all this talk about uneducated buyers and over helpful lenders is a bunch of crap. All parties knew exactly what they were doing. The chickens have come home to roost. --Jim, FL

Posted on: 28 Jun 2008 10:58 A.M.