Friday, October 13, 2006

Glass half-full

What do we know? In less than a week, there will be 300 million of us (and ever fewer Europeans). The Dow has been hitting record highs. And the housing "bubble" is no longer expaning. In fact, it is slowly deflating.

Economists are still divided on whether the housing contraction means sharp brakes on consumer spending. The pro and con views are nicely summerized in The Economist's Economic focus: Home Truths.

Interestingly, the coverage compares two types of mortgage-equity withdrawals, active and passive. The former includes home-equity loans while the latter includes cashing in equity for retirement. The two do not move in tandem.

As usual, demographic context sheds new light. The article also mentions that home-equity cash is being used by many to pay off credit card debt.

When it comes to the U.S. economy, it is very hard work being a steady gloomster/doomster.