Monday, January 28, 2008

In Storm Lake 'Woebegone' Things Above Average

The provocative progressive editor of the Storm Lake Times, Art Cullen, has penned a piece that simultaneously blasts the Bush Administration's stimulus package and calls attention to some remarkable growth in his northwest Iowa community.

Back in Storm Lake Woebegone, things are above average. Last year saw $42 million in new construction, much of it commercial. But there were 133 housing unit starts in The City Beautiful in 2007, a boomlet like we have not seen here in many years — if ever in our lifetimes.

We did not see the housing boom that other markets had since 1990. Dickinson County enjoyed a surge in construction that was steady over the decade. Now there are 400 housing units on the market in the wake of the housing bubble burst. Omaha and Des Moines are hurting. Storm Lake is not. As a banker from Estherville told one of his chums, “We’ve been in a recession for the last century, so we are immune from it.” There’s a grain of truth in that.

And here is Cullen on the Bush stimulus package:

The subprime housing mess has the world financial markets in a roil, and Congress has jumped in to make things worse. The latest news is that Washington wants to cut everybody a check for at least $300, so they can make a down payment on some electronic gadget that is made in China. This should rescue us, for sure.


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