Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Europe's Arizona

This is a quote from "Arizona on the Aegean."

Ray Hartwell has written a column for the Washington Times called "Europe's Arizona." That would be Greece, which has an enormous problem with illegal immigrants -- mostly Albanians and, to a lesser extent, Turks. As in Arizona, it is estimated that roughly 10 percent of the population in Greece is there illegally. And many of the problems that the illegals bring with them are quite similar.
Illegal immigration didn't cause Greece's financial collapse, of course. But Ray argues persuasively that illegal immigration is making the economic situation worse.
Click on the link and read the entire article.

Monday, August 02, 2010

This Mess Has Got Me Depressed

Depression is not a word that generally applies to me. My marriage is good, my children are healthy, my grandchildren are perfect in every way, my life is busy and filled with laughter and happiness. So why do I feel depressed?

It's this economy and what it's done to people - and I mean people I know and love - not some "people." First, though, is the fact that I am sad about the death of Ron's sister, Betty, in Florida. She was a victim of old age. After selling their home in Myrtle Beach, she and her husband, Frank, moved to St. Petersburg and bought a condo in a high-rise by the water. They were fine for several years, then Frank got a diagnosis of lung cancer and died within two years. And those last two years were extremely hard on his wife, since she never left his side except to go grocery shopping.

After Frank died, we all thought Betty would move to California to live with their daughter. But the timing was off. The housing bubble had just burst and the condo that had been worth $400K was now unmarketable. She had it on the market off and on for two years, and wouldn't come down to a price that might have drawn buyers, saying "I'm not going to give it away." So she stayed there, waiting . .. waiting.. . waiting. Then she got an infection that spread to the plastic valve in her heart and then she was terminal. She wasn't strong enough to survive the heart surgery to replace the valve and antibiotics can't work on plastic. So, after two months of pain and suffering and (although it's not important, probably a bill of about half a million) she passed away.

There are so many "if only's" in that story, it just makes me sad. Now her kids will sell the condo for $150K and that will be that.

And my daughter's mother-in-law is facing foreclosure on her condo, she's walking away from her car lease, and declaring bankruptcy. My friend and her husband are walking away from their house that three years ago they were thrilled with, but now see as a really bad investment since it's worth about half what they paid for it. They found out this weekend that about 5 or 6 of their neighbors are going to do the same thing. My son refinanced his house to pay off his ex-wife to get her out of his life, and was hoping and praying that the market would recover before the loan adjusted so that he could either sell it or refi it again into a 30-year fixed. But no. He's going to try to short sale it.

I feel like I'm on an island and the tide is coming in. Where can we move? I can't bear to watch what's coming - I don't think the worst is over.

And forget about the kids that are looking for jobs!