Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Need to Ask Again - Why are interest rates being kept at a low level?


According to the Federal Reserve the interest rates are being kept low for the following reasons: 
        To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens... Low interest rates help households and businesses finance new spending and help support the prices of many other assets, such as stocks and houses. (http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/money_12849.htm

I am having difficulty accepting these explanations when reviewing the data that others report:

    1)Business loans under $1 million fell 13 percent between June 2007 and June 2011, and the amount lent has declined 19 percent when measured in inflation-adjusted terms, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) statistics reveal. (http://www.american.com/archive/2012/may/why-arent-banks-lending-to-small-business-ask-bernanke)
   2)For 2011, the number of reporting institutions of 7,632 fell nearly 4 percent from the number in 2010, continuing a downward trend since 2006... The total number of originated loans of all types and purposes reported fell by about 780,000, or 10 percent, from 2010, in part because of a 13 percent decline in refinancings. Home purchase lending also fell, but by a more modest 5 percent. (http://www.ffiec.gov/press/pr091812.htm)
  3) ...through Q1 2012,  the total household net worth climbed quarter-over-quarter to $62.9 trillion. That's still something of a drop—about 5 percent compared with $66.2 trillion in 2007. (http://www.businessinsider.com/household-net-worth-2012-6) (emphasis added)


The reports of above do not support that lower interest rates helps households and businesses. So I look at the impact on unemployment for a justification - Does a lower interest rate correlate with an increase in employment? Wanting to be fair, I used ten years worth of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserves effective Federal Fund Rate reports to seek a correlation. Below is a chart with these average annual statistics for each - 
Unemployment doesn't appear to decrease with lower FFR
Looking at the chart for years 2005, 2006, and 2007 - it indicates that unemployment was decreased when Fed Fund Rates were rising. In 2008, the Fed Fund Rate lowered and the unemployment rate increased. In the following years (2009-2012) the interest rates have remained the same and the unemployment varied slightly. The ten year overview comparison of annual data does not indicate a correlation between lower Fed Fund Rate and lower unemployment. In fact, one could present an argument that there are indications of the opposite impact when looking at the chart. 

It appears that, there are fewer business and home loans being made, household values fell 5% since 2007, and the unemployment rate correlation is questionable. So, I have to ask again, Why are interests being kept so low?



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good Therapy - Not a Good Ask

video
I just created this video using Xtranormal website tools - It just makes me laugh. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years - I have helped raise  multimillions of dollars for so many good causes. These last few years, with the economic downturn, I have seen so many, many nonprofits struggle like never before. Then today, as more needs presented themselves, and dollars seem too stretch far enough, making this video, just made me laugh and put it all into perspective. The reality of the nonprofit world is that the nonprofit sector, almost always, really wants to do the best possible  and the donor, almost always, really wishes he/she could do more - we each really do just want to make a good difference and any step forward we make in that direction, is.. a beautiful dance :<)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hit Pause to Avoid Leading the Bandwagon

I just read on Forbes online (Abram Brown - Mexican Bribery Scandal Could Cost Wal-Mart $4.5 Billion; Shares Down 4%, April 23 ) that the WalMart bribery scandal could cost the mega-store $4.5 billion dollars. My initial reaction was, if bribery was used, 'heads will roll' for anyone who allowed those short-sited decisions! Then, I thought perhaps I need to gather more information: So, to put $4.5 billion into the possible perspective of Walmart, according to walmartstores.com 2011 financial report -
  • Consolidated net sales for the full year were $443.9 billion, an increase of 5.9 percent.
  • Consolidated operating income for the full year was $26.6 billion, up 4.0 percent from last year.
  • Walmart ended the year with free cash flow of $10.7 billion
Looking at Walmart's financial information makes my initial reaction to the potential loss change from "heads will roll' to maybe a "slap on the wrist." My first reaction to the Walmart story is only one example that points to a cultural shift caused by information now being so quickly accessible and feedback possibilities immediate. It has been a long-recognized human behavioral trait, that if a person speaks or writes (even stronger once it is written) a position, they will tend to defend that initial stance even when subsequent facts dispute it. Once a person makes a stand, it is harder for them to move from it.

Social media and online news have created an almost atomic catalyst for community response. This power should give us cause for concern. While information is just a click away, the formation of an appropriate response should require a broader look than the first twitter notice read and a deeper examination then a count of multiple 'shares' from a Facebook post. The newly created desire to be the first-in-the-know (e.g. - the commercial catch phrase "that is so 29 seconds ago") has allowed an opening for us to be manipulated and  has put the term 'bandwagon' into 21st century technology hyper speed.

Any  online call to action that requires act now, think later should probably be held suspect. As our societal culture evolves with high tech mass communication, it may behoove each of us to utilize our internal pause button long enough to do a little research on a subject...particularly during an election season.
  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Power of Words

Today is our gift. The challenges may be harder to unwrap, but this moment is our present. This video offers a great reminder - http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=Hzgzim5m7oU&vq=medium

Saturday, January 21, 2012

911 lesson - Never Go through life saying "I should have"

Boatlift, An Untold Tale of 911
This video (click Boatlift) is so moving - With much respect, I offer thanks to the people who answered the call for help. Without question, without hesitation, they came to help each and all - thank you for the heroism and for bringing to light, out of that horrific darkness, the goodness that resides in the hearts of humankind. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reasons to Laugh in 2012

I believe like many, I am ready to close out 2011. I thank the past year for the blessings that were born out of the struggles, but gladly greet in the 'new year.' So to befriend this fledgling relationship with the next 364 tomorrows, I meet it with a promise of appreciation and hope for joy. Looking to solidify my resolution, I found this youtube video and once again am reminded that laughing is just good for our health! (click on the above title to view) Happy 2012 to each and all! May you greet each day with laughter and say goodnight with a good laugh!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, life and death

In my early second trimester, 29 years ago today, I lost a child I was carrying.  This day, 29 years ago, is also when I had,what is called by most, the 'near death' experience. Since that time I have learned that the description of my experience is really similar to many others- the light, the questioning if I was ready, the presence of two people waiting for me - but, I have also learned that while the circumstances are similar each person's response is really uniquely their own.  This year the anniversary seems more poignant as it also falls on Easter. Easter, I have learned, has circumstances similar for most, is also very different for each person according to his/her response.  I hope that by sharing my view that others are encouraged to think about their own responses - to both Easter and life.

I still mourn the child I will never hold, but treasure the thought of their being.
Our life offers many rehearsals with series of small deaths and mini-rebirths.
Death isn't the end
Birth is only one beginning
Life holds both and is much more than either
We are really so loved

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Political Playground

The lives of many have been forever changed this weekend. The tragedy in Tucson reaches across the nation. Many are recognizing the need to end the extreme political rhetoric and renew our country's commitment to civil discourse, the core value of a strong democracy.  My son, Thomas Danler, and I were discussing how society can begin this shift. He offered the following example he had given to his eleven year old son.

There will always be people at opposite sides just like on a teeter totter. That is why it is very important that the people who make up the fulcrum are strong. The fulcrum has to be solid and of high integrity in order for the teeter totter to balance the opposite ends.

His explanation made me realize that I don't have to just hope that the "extremes" tone down their rhetoric. I can renew my commitment as an actively involved citizen. I can encourage all those who are also part of the wide fulcrum to remain stable, solid, and of high integrity. The role of the balancing fulcrum is more important during these times of polarizing stances.  Offering an opposing extreme view as an answer to another extreme only creates a false sense of balance which is easily toppled. A stable fulcrum of high integrity will move our country forward.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making dreams come true?

With all the generous charity drives being promoted during this holiday season, I don't want to discourage the much needed efforts, but I do wonder 'who is really giving and who is receiving?' I ponder the first Christmas and how kings and paupers alike brought what they could to the poor homeless family staying in a manger. They each brought presents but they still knew they were the ones being gifted. When I hear reports that the toys, food, and blankets are 'making dreams come true' I fear that it may be forgotten what a beautiful gift we are given when our charity acts are received. How blessed are those who recognize Christ among the society-labeled poor and how small in comparison are the gift of toys, food, and blanket to being able to share in recognizing the miracle of love today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Wreck Day

My father died almost eight years ago, but it was 53 years ago today that he was involved in a serious accident. He was a young man in his early thirties. He spent several months in the hospital and the doctors didn't expect him to live. He baffled all the medical profession by then refusing to die, so they challenged him again with this question: "Your injuries to your hip were so great that we have to fuse it - you need to tell us whether you want to sit or stand for the rest of your life. What do you choose?" My father responded, "I want to stand so I can look the world in the eye."

And that he did. Each year after, he made us kids and mom wish him "Happy Wreck Day" because he explained, it was this day that he was forced to make a decision: In the time of adversity one finds out who they are and decides who they want to be. Dad decided that he wanted to stand by his wife and nine children... Nine kids all under the age of thirteen - I can't imagine what it was like for Mom and Dad. But I do know, they gave me a great gift by offering this unique view of life, where you look the world in the eye and only you decide, not fate or circumstance, who it is that the world is looking back at - only you decide who you are now and who you will be.

The truth of that view I have witnessed daily, there is no harm or misfortune that can ever take that decision from you. We decide and take each challenge as the opportunity to reevaluate and reaffirm who we are. Thanks, Dad, we miss you, but still today, thank you for teaching us to celebrate "Happy Wreck Day."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trapped in the Economic Cave-in for too long

It seems to me that the rescuing of the miners trapped for so long is analogous to so many who have been trapped in the hole of this recession: We were all just doing our work when suddenly the world caved in around us -we know there is life going on above us (we read of the tremendous profits and bonuses that large finance/investment companies are receiving) but somehow we are trapped in this dark hole. Perhaps, the miners will inspire us all and give us hope, perhaps this recession that is officially over will soon reach the depths of the cave that has held so many captive for too long. Too much time has been spent telling those who are trapped in this economic cave-in, what they should have done to prevent it or just throwing them day-to-day survival support. When what we need to do is to concentrate on providing a “phoenix” to raise those economically trapped into the sunlight. They, too, deserve, to be lifted out of the hole and onto solid ground.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Award is in those I am privileged to work along side (click for link)

It is an honor to serve the Arizona Supreme Court through working at the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. And, a privilege to work with the people I do - our board, staff, the courts, the State Bar, our volunteers, our grantees - each and all, strive for equal access to justice for Arizonans. Thank you so much for opportunity to work along side of you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Price of our three day weekend - July 4th

My husband just forwarded this email to me, and it is worth sharing... many men, women, and children paid a great price for this coming holiday...

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence ?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated,
but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!
(author unknown)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day thoughts - The Greatest Gift

I have been blessed with enjoying life with ten children. Seven I gave birth to and three were the precious gift of my marriage. I love them each dearly. They are all just really good people with tremendous minds, hearts, and sense of humor. They are without a doubt the greatest gifts, my husband and I, could ever give or receive from this world. To the two kids that I lost before they were born, I lift my love and I am grateful to have had you with me, even for the short while you were here. To my mom, thank you for life and all the love you have given. To all mothers, I hope this day is just one which celebrates the gift you have given (and received) all the other days throughout the year! Happy Mothers' Day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My son, Will, was musing this morning about women and shared,

"Girls love the Tin Man and the Scarecrow but never the Cowardly Lion."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Unintended Consequences

The government gave the banks large amounts of money to encourage lending and spur the economy. The large influx of funds, though, decreased the banks' need for deposits and thus, lowered the interest rates offered to the general public normally used to encourage increased deposits. Now, with the lower interest rates, the general public's funds are no longer generating interest - their money is not making them money. So, with this loss of income, people are being more careful about spending money. . . It makes me wonder how this was intended to work and where it went wrong.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Health Insurance Coverage

A news report recently stated that a great majority of uninsured adults are under 30 years of age. Wouldn't a large segment of this issue be resolved if the allowance for children to stay under their parents' health plan was expanded beyond the time in school? It seems that if we allowed children to be included under the parents' plan until they were able to secure their own health insurance, the solution would be simple. Why is health insurance eligibility tied to the IRS definition of dependent? Where is the correlation? Couldn't it be easily changed to have eligibility defined as (for example) -
in the last twelve years has been claimed as a dependent in at least two years consecutively - or, a natural, adopted, or stepchild covered under your health plan prior to reaching the age 18 and has not married, reached the age 30, and/or is not eligible under another group plan.

Or perhaps, we could encourage greater scope of school health insurance with an affiliate relationship offered to alumni.
I just wonder why it seems that national programs need to be developed without first just considering a simple solution within the system.