Monday, March 15, 2010

Mis Represent

Some things are worth nitpicking and other things are not worth this level of attention. For example, if you have nits, it is totally worth your energy to go through the picking process. One thing that to me is worth this additional energy and makes me crazy is when Michigan is subtly slighted in forms of national press. There are plenty of things that don't require subtlety, so the perceived modest digs are all the more frustrating and unnecessary.

Despite our modest recent house purchase, the national housing market did not instantly bounce back as Maureen and I anticipated once word got out that we were in market for a home. Apparently, not even my influence stretches that far. These types of reports are coming out less frequently than mid-to-late last year, but a new report came out today that indicates that mortgage delinquencies/foreclosures are at a new all-time high. The situation in housing continues to worsen, but the pace of deterioration has slowed since last year (we still live in an interesting world where things getting bad slower is a victory). As usual, the write ups on the study are innocuous and boring, but there is one part in the CNN Money article that, while minor, is offensive to the image of Michigan. This part reads:

"The worst-hit areas are the usual suspects: the boom-and-bust states of Florida, Nevada, Arizona, California, plus the economically savaged areas of Michigan and Ohio. Also up there are Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana and Illinois. But few states are escaping the problem; it's just that the worst states are so, so bad it makes the others look relatively good."

I, as a potential outsider harshly judging Michigan, would take this sentence to indicate Michigan as the 5th worst state in the country in terms of mortgage delinquencies and/or foreclosures. The vague wording "also up there are..." would lead ignorant me to believe that the immediately following list of states has its share of problems, but nothing like the "economically savaged" state of Michigan. In fact, if you look at the table corresponding to this poor analysis, every one of those "Also up there states..." has a worst delinquency/foreclosure rate than Michigan, some several percentage points worse. My frustration with consistent poor Michigan reporting like this, I believe, justifies me actually stealing the chart from CNN and including it below.

Michigan reporting like this is nothing new, but it remains my responsibility (and you if you're not a terrible person) to point out inconsistency like this to others in the nonstop image battle in attracting residents, businesses, tourists, and whatever other types of creatures (excluding Komodo Dragons) want to live here.

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