Property Grunt

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Overvalued Markets, Homeland Security and the Fed

I got this link from my good buddy Brokered. It is an article from CNN on the most overvalued markets in America. Coming in first is not Manhattan or Las Vegas but Naples, Florida. Scroll down and you will see this really nifty chart from most over valued to most discounted.

Acording to the NYT, Homeland Security is now distributing security aid based risk assessment not politics. Now they figure this out? Here is a sample of what the aid was spent on.

Set up after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Homeland Security Department's local and state grant programs have drawn repeated criticism from members of Congress and budget watchdog groups because the early emphasis on spreading the money around resulted in tens of millions of dollars going to some communities where, critics said, the terrorist threat was not as urgent as elsewhere.

Examples cited in recent testimony to Congress include $557,400 awarded to North Pole, Alaska, a city of about 1,700 residents, to buy rescue and communications equipment, and $500,000 to Outagamie County, Wis., population 165,000, to buy chemical suits, rescue saws, disaster-response trailers, emergency lighting and a bomb disposal vehicle.

One of the reasons why I think that New York had such a hard time getting funds was the perception that it is the destination of commerce and real estate that it would be able to pull itself out by taxing its entire population into the stone age. Which is what happened. However, we could have used those funds and hopefully these new requirements will make things easier for New York.

Mr. Chertoff, in a speech last month, said the changes he was considering would require an acknowledgment that the nation could not protect itself against all risks.

"That means tough choices," he said. "And choices mean focusing on the risks which are the greatest. And that means some risks get less focus."

I couldn't agree with him more. This is what should have been done in the first place.

What probably took everyone by surprise was when the Fed presented their minutes to the public and revealed that they are setting the parameters to end the campaign to raise interest rates. Besides trying to maintain a balance in the economy I suspect the fed is setting the stage fora smooth transition Mr. Greenspan's exit and Mr. Bernanke entrance. Another fellow blogger agrees with the fact that Fed's action events gives Bernanke some leeway when he comes in Let's see how thing go next month.