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3/19/10

We Will Still Need To Wear Shades...






Phoenix Economic Crisis Solutions in Six Paragraphs


Part Two: A follow up to my post Phoenix Economic Crisis in Six Paragraphs http://bit.ly/a0nS7T Low Tide, Waiting for Second and Third Wave...


Residential Mortgage/Lender Crisis: We need to acknowledge that since the '93-'94 recession, we intensified a decades old delusion of an economy built on housing construction, that was unsustainable. The mortgage/lender standoff is an actuality that must be resolved in a variety of ways, although the answers are not easily attainable, to avoid becoming another Detroit or Cleveland somehow they must be worked out. The populist notion of "walking away" is not acceptable with few exceptions. The process of mortgage holders admitting some responsibility for leveraging when they did and lenders accepting their share of accountability in this situation is without doubt an extremely difficult one.


Unemployment/Underemployment: We should accept we aren't an overly educated (but certainly not a poorly or undereducated) population. We do have very strong customer service and mechanical skills and polite, conscientious, motivated people with a good work ethic. We should actively seek to attract jobs that match what we are really good at doing. We're excellent at high end customer service centers, warehousing and shipping, aviation and communications, healthcare, hospitality and tourism. We have our fair share of software and technical companies and do quite well in manufacturing and transportation. We should focus and capitalize on those qualities and sectors.

State Government: Our state government needs reform but not more regulation and taxes. Our last six Governors have not served us well by design, lack of skill and/or default. Our current Legislature, with few exceptions, is a disgrace. We are a testament to why legislated term limits don't work, a lesson the nation should strongly heed and learn from. "Clean Elections" has been a farce and exacerbated a corrupt campaign contribution system even further. The reorganization implemented by Bruce Babbitt and the Legislature in the seventies was timely and well intended  but no longer works for us.

It's interesting to note that the Babbitt era reforms were primed due to the force of hand of the Federal Government and Federal Mandates during an unpopular Presidency. We now face a similar situation with a divisive US Congress, unwieldy onerous Federal Mandates and another unpopular President. As Arizonans it is time to reclaim our independent nature and reshape our government to make sense for us today.

Commercial Real Estate: The elephant in the room could be our greatest asset. We now (or soon will have) a large inventory of cheap office, business, hospitality and retail space. We still have a great climate and now is a great opportunity to attract businesses and jobs, based on simple supply and demand of available space and an abundant work force, motivated by an extended period of unemployment. Our climate allows us to benefit from Las Vegas' fiscal situation and reputation. What happens in Arizona is generally clean and healthy as well as acceptable to companies, conventions and visitors.

Immigration and Population: The topic of illegal immigrants is a complex one and inspires emotions of every range. A Rasmussen Poll on March 18, 2010 indicated that 59% of all Americans say the US should continue to build "The Fence" along the border. Those of us who have lived here for decades cannot remember a time that illegal immigration has not been a problem for our state. It was not until the problem started spilling over into more distant states that it became a heated national issue. There are no easy answers but somehow all sides must come to the rational conclusion that illegal immigrants of any background in the US, under these economic conditions, is fiscally unfeasible. We need to recognize our legal population needs to be stabilized at a sustainable level for the harsh environment of the geography we exist in. We must invest in education in an analytical meritorious way, recognizing that it will take several generations to build the employee base that attracts leading edge employers.

Acceptance: We have relied on unsustainable economic enterprises in an environment that is not capable of sustaining a large population without damaging our environment to the point of damaging and permanently devastating it. Realistically, although the entire country is in (at a minimum) the worst recession since post WWII, we are for all practical purposes, in a depression. The best indicator of the future is the past and looking at history. In that context, we are quite capable of pulling ourselves out of this condition but it will require hard work, consistent and unified effort, with a sustained ability to perpetuate progress one step at a time.