Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Observations

Back from my first real vacation since moving to California 10 months ago. Tried to ignore the news as much as possible, but noticed a few things.

Holiday Sales: The overall decline in holiday sales is no surprise. What is a surprise is that on-line sales declined by as much (or even a little more depending on the data source) as traditional sales. I didn't expect that at all. I wonder if this is a holiday anomaly (people wanted to go out shopping even if they were going to spend less), or a sign that the boom in on-line retail is waning. If there is any hopeful news in this season for shopping centers, I guess this is it.

Governor times unpopular announcements: Making controversial or unpopular announcements late on a Friday or before a holiday is the oldest PR trick in the book. The Governor did it twice last week making the $41 billion budget proposal on New Year's Eve and the Delta Vision announcement recommending a peripheral canal without legislative or voter approval on a holiday weekend Friday afternoon - thereby ensuring skimping news reports and reporters inability to contact opponents. Both moves were disapointing, but understandable.

Obama stimulus plan changing and faces delays: We need this now, so it is disapointing to see Congress already predicting mid-February for getting it done. This makes it even tougher for state budget makers in CA and elsewhere who won't know the extent of federal help for some time. I am a bit surprised by the extent of corporate tax breaks in this morning's proposal. The details are not as clear as I expected at this point.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. The governor's timing on budget issues combined with Congressional delays in the proposed stimulous is just disasterous. Seems there's not enough urgency about aid to the states. Paul Krugman had a good piece in the Times while you were done singling out our governor for criticism.