Monday, September 15, 2008

Well, this is the fourth day of often heavy rains.  The whole region has been inundated.  I grew up in this northwestern Indiana area and I can't remember flooding on this level before.  We had to go out on Saturday and found one of our major streets partly closed off with the street leading into a new strip mall under, maybe, eight inches of water.  We wondered if the street itself had collapsed but it was only water.  Only!!!  We saw one guy pull into a parking lot by one of our big grocery stores, park his truck, and get out in ankle deep water.  That was at the shallow end of the lake that had suddenly appeared in that lot.  Luckily the fellow had hip waders on.  We didn't so Mom parked on a dry spot and we threaded our way from one dry spot to the next to get into the store.  It is ironic.  August was the driest on record and, now, September, is the second wettest.  And it is only half over.  We have had schools closed by snow, on very rare occasions, but never due to rain.  Mom and I are high and dry--no flooding in our place, though we did have a couple of mighty rivers flowing swiftly down our streets on either side.  Sister wasn't so lucky and got about a foot in her basement.  They were able to move the most expensive, delicate, or necessary stuff out of the way.  She lives not far from where our family lived when I was growing up and we never had floods there.  The weather forecasters have promised us a week of clear and warmer weather.  I hope they are accurate.

To continue, we have had a couple of brief glimpses of sun and blue sky.  Hope we get more.  I know I said we needed rain a couple of posts ago but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Melissa at Shakesville has some pictures of her neighborhood and house.  She is somewhere just west of me.  Since I started this post we have heard from more of the family who checked to see how we are and conveyed info on others.  My sister-in-law has her two grandsons for the day.  Their mother found out subsequently that the IU Gary campus was closed and she had no classes today.  The older boy's school also closed.  That side of the family are all high and dry.  

I have been reading about the Lehman/AIG/MerrillLynch situation.  One of the sound bites on the news this morning reminded viewers that the banks in trouble represent only a small percentage of the banks in the US.  That may be true but (and this is my question) is what percentage of the US economy is tied to them?  How many of the rest of the country's banks, not yet in trouble, are tied to them?  During the 2001 economic downturn, when states and cities had serious economic problems, I began thinking about dis-economies of scales.  We always hear about the ECONOMIES of scale--how as entities grow they deliver more output for lower input costs.  But, I wondered, is there a point at which that process stops and then reverses itself.  I read recently that New York City has a deficit of $2B as does the State of Illinois.  I have wondered lately if the economic pain of letting these 800 lb gorillas die would be worse than the pain of trying to bail them out.  And I wonder who would feel the worst pain.  By the way, Chris in Paris and other bloggers at Americablog have taken notice of another McCain economic advisor who seems to think that all our gloom and doom is simply our own mental problem.  Maybe we should all think happy thoughts and it will all go away.

I think I need to get to my sewing machine and turn my thoughts to something far more pleasant. 

1 comment:

Elaine said...

And McCain still maintains, the “fundamentals of our economy are strong,” said this morning at an event in FL. Absolutely unreal!

The weather in MI has been similar to yours, plenty of flooding and even a tornado Saturday night. Gas where I live is now at $4.29/gallon.