August 25th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Letters to the President #583: 'A double-dip? Uh…No, thanks'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/20/gal.foreclose0820.gi.jpg caption="I’ve been saying for some time that you have to get this housing situation solved first or nothing else you do will stave off the economic hobgoblins." width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: President Obama has repeatedly warned that the economic recovery is going to take long time. But now some economics types are warning instead of creeping forward, we could actually start going backward again. So I’m writing another letter to the White House while I can still afford it.

Dear Mr. President,

Ah ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya. That’s the sound of me covering my ears and refusing to listen. What is this I hear? The latest housing news (which was bad) has triggered another stock slide (which was also bad) and now I’m feeling bad (which is worse than I was feeling this morning.) The gnomes of the economy have gathered around their bubbling potions to chant warnings of (cue the dramatic music) a double-dip recession.

For my part, I thought a double-dip recession meant it came in the summer and was so short that we should celebrate with ice cream. Apparently, however, I was mistaken. Turns out it’s more like two recessions really close to each other with a little, slightly better few weeks or months in between. Or it’s one big recession with an intermission. Either way it’s not a positive thing.

I’ve been saying for some time that you have to get this housing situation solved first or nothing else you do will stave off the economic hobgoblins, and I can’t help but feel that this sort of proves it. A friend of mine, who knows a thing or two about economics, told me the other day that he gives you pretty decent marks for the stimulus spending. But he too said this problem with the mortgages and all the fear it has put into the markets is as troublesome as a dead rat in the soup kettle.

On top of which, lest you forget, the betting continues to run hot in favor of a lot, and I mean a LOT, more home foreclosures on the way. Hey, all those folks in the unemployment lines can’t make house payments with Monopoly money, and once the piggy bank is broken, it’s “drop off the key at the bank” time for many.

Look, I know you’re not happy to keep hearing this awful news. Neither am I.
But if you hope to head off this whole double-dippy business (and I trust you do) you’re not going to have much choice; you’ll have to make some hard choices about what you’re going to put on hold to take on the housing market again…and again…and again…until all the bad loans, one way or another, are dealt with. Without that, I fear the economic roller coaster will just keep pitching until we are all sick. And no one even wants ice cream, let alone a double dip.

Hope all is well. Spent most of the day working in Biloxi and once again it was hot enough to cook a roast. Call if you get a moment.


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Ronnie

    I sure am glad I DO NOT own a home – I used to think that made me look poor (which no one who has any pride at all can confess in this great nation where we are all upwardly mobile – OH YEAH!!)
    Now I'm grateful...I live in a rinky dinky li'l ol' house south of Atlanta and man, am I happy!

    August 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Chi

    I hope you dont mind my reading your letters to the White House everyday. Thank you for your writing, Tom 🙂

    August 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Boomer in Mo

    The media are going to talk us into a double-dip.
    Banks need to write down some loans. It would be better for them if they did because their foreclosed houses deteriorate rapidly. Some rural MO banks are actually selling foreclosed houses with nothing down, assigning the principal paid by the previous owner as a down and essentially letting the new owner take over the old loan. They are moving houses that way. Of course, it's pretty hard to take out a "liar loan" in a community where everyone knows your business. Small, rural MO banks generally have not been in trouble. It's the enormous, stupid banks that brought the economy to its knees.

    August 25, 2010 at 11:13 am |

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