Monday, November 30, 2015

The Economy Is Dead So What Happens To TPAC?

In 2008 when the so called recession hit I was working as the general manager of a metal recycling company in Greensboro that bought scrap metals from the general public as well as companies. Prior to the crash were were paying upwards of .15 cents per pound to the general public for scrap steel. Our competitors all paid competitive prices, sometimes higher and sometimes lower.

When the so-called "recession" hit prices fell to .08 to .10 cents per pound.

I was cleaning up the shop over the weekend and loaded some scrap on my pick-up. Had I had place to keep it I would have waited but as it is in our way I loaded it up. Today I tossed it off the back of my truck at the metal recycler. It brought .02 cents per pound.

Prices locally are actually more than twice as high as some other places as shown by this screen grab I took from Rockaway Recycling in Rockaway, New Jersey:

Prices are subject to change at any given moment so the prices you see on their website may not be the same as the screen grab.

Scrap steel is currently trading at the lowest prices of the last 50 years. And other metals aren't faring much better.

Economic experts have long considered scrap metals to be a reliable indicator of the condition of the economy. If metals prices are down then manufacturers and builders aren't buying metal to build new things. It means people aren't buying. Even copper which is in short supply as copper mines world wide are being mined out is half the price it was in 2008.

Now the problem for the Greensboro City Council and the supporters of the Steven Tanger Center of the Performing Arts-- the thing the News & Record never tells you-- is that the money raised to build the TPAC isn't actually in their greedy little hands.

The fact is: that money is only pledged to support the project and currently that $30 Million or so is invested in stocks, bonds and the futures market. The City nor the TPAC supports have their hands on that money yet. And what is among the things that are very heavily traded on the futures markets? If you guess scrap metals you'd be right.

I'm thinking at a time when the global recession is now without a doubt a global depression and Greensboro remains the heart of the #1 hungriest metropolitan statistical area in the United States, we the people might be better served if City Council put off any decision on funding TPAC and planted vegetables on the land intended for the Steven Tanger Performing Arts Center. You could even call it the Steven Tanger Downtown Greensboro Community Gardens.

And folks, please share.