Is 1986 Coming Again to Houston?

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The ever-cheerful blogger Lou Minatti, by way of warning everyone about Houston's coming fiscal apocalypse, has unearthed a 1986 Time article largely comparing booming Massachusetts and oil-bust Texas.

Houston plays a part:

Houston is the big city hardest hit. The town once giddily expansive on oil money has an unemployment rate of 9.2%. Brilliant new skyscrapers stand nearly empty. Loans in real estate and energy portfolios are going bad; hotels are all but deserted. That temple of Texas giantism, the Shamrock Hilton Hotel, with a pool so large you could water ski on it, has closed.

There's a lot more -- a surprising amount, really, trafficking in the old cliches about "Texas is big" and all that.

Minatti says the bad times are coming again.

Except for some locations inside 610, Houston didn't participate in the real estate appreciation mania, and high oil prices have shielded us from what has gone on the rest of the country. That shield has fallen and Houston is about to get wacked in a big way. Bill White is hoping to keep the leaks in the levee plugged until he gets his chance to run for the US Senate, but I don't think the flood can be kept in check for his candidacy that long. It will get very bad here.

Let's hope he's wrong.

-- Richard Connelly

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


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