Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Behind the Headlines

Las Vegas Hip, Hip, Hype

Home sales in the toilet: I don't blame the pundits, headline writers, and analysts, really I don't. They have to produce something that will attract people so their ratings increase so more advertisers can be attracted to pay higher prices for ads. What makes the whole engine run is that naive and lazy readers of and listeners to the headline writers and media pundits. Recent surveys show that a shocking number of people get their news from comedy and satirical news shows. Most people do not take the time to investigate or research on their own.That is why we get exactly the political leadership we deserve.

A recent headline shouted that a study shows homes still unaffordable. The implication from the headline is that homes are affordable by only a few. But homes are still affordable. Ok, perhaps the zero down loans for 105% of the appraised value no longer exist. It might take a family a while longer to save up for a 10% down payment on a home, but the market is flush with good deals.

Another recent headline bemoaned, "Five percent unemployment highest in years." Hello! It does not take a Phi Beta Kappa math major to subtract five from 100% and determine that the corollary of the headline is that 95% of the work force is not unemployed.

A third headline shrieks, "Foreclosure filings soar during '07," citing a report that shows 3.7% of houses in Nevada received foreclosure notices in 2007. Despite the fact that receiving a notice does not necessarily mean foreclosure will automatically follow (intermediate steps can often be taken), even at face value of the headline, the converse is that 96.6% of Nevada houses did not receive foreclosure notices.

In fairness, some good news was squeezed in among the fear mongering. Retail development "continued to flourish" according to another article. The number of hotel rooms continues to grow as does tourism.

So do your own homework. Don't copy the answers from somebody else because that person has his own TV program or writes about economics. Plenty of research is available. Remember, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. You can lead a man to knowledge but you cannot make him think.

A little blogging music Maestro... George Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So," from Porgy and Bess.

Dr. Forgot

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