Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So much for the whistling in the dark that the subprime crisis won’t affect Texas

And what it might say nationally and politically

D/FW existing home prices are down 3 percent from a year ago. And, that’s worse than the national average fall-off of 2 percent.

Despite folks in Texas (that’s YOU, Gov. Helmethair) doing this whistling in the dark, this is just another sign that tells me it’s more and more likely we’re facing a recession sometime next year.

As a political issue, then, things that should be on the table are better regulation of banks, mortgage lenders, etc. on subprime loans; better regulation of lending institutions in requiring a higher actual percentage of capital backing outstanding loans, better regulation of CDOs and other investment vehicles, and yes, Chuck Schumer, taxing hedge fund management fees, and other things, as capital gains.

Since $100/bbl oil (or above) will exacerbate the financial situation, we need to have presidential candidates addressing other issues.

Peak Oil. Forget, or get beyond, the shibboleth phrase “energy security.” Actually start talking about Peak Oil. Stop putting blinders on this part of our future. Tell Americans unless major changes are made now, this will be far more gut-wrenching than global warming, with major changes happening sooner.

The dollar, world currencies, inflation, etc. Talk more about why you think a stronger or weaker dollar is better. Be realistic about how much you think China can be made to do with its currency. Maybe Richardson’s idea, of announcing proposed Cabinet appointments in advance of the general election, is one way to signal planned economic policies.