Martha’s Vineyard Could be a Home for Six Million Refugees


    How many people could be housed at Martha’s Vineyard? 

    That question was asked on Thursday when the island located near Cape Cod announced that it was facing a “humanitarian crisis” after 50 people arrived seeking shelter. They were said to be refugees, many of whom might be from Venezuela's communist regime. They were said to have been transported to Martha's Vineyard on a plane that was sent to collect them after they arrived from Texas by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

    The island's authorities declared that the island's towns, residents, and “community-based, non-profit” groups were stepping up to provide shelter, food, health care and other services to new arrivals. They also noted the existence of the two “emergency shelters” that had been created “in case further arrivals occur.”

    What capacity does Martha's Vineyard have to accommodate refugees? Census data shows that there are 17,000 people who live on the island year-round. There are also around 14,600 homes that are located on the Island. We can estimate that each house has four bedrooms. Each bedroom is large enough to accommodate three persons. The island's sleeping capacity could be up to 175,200 beds, and there would be 158,200 beds that are unoccupied.

    In fact, this probably undervalues the capacity on the island. In the summer, the island is reported to house up to 200,000 at one time. If you could really pack them into the area, including people sleeping in living rooms, dining rooms, libraries, and offices, you could manage to house 400,000.

    Of course, there's plenty of land available on Martha's Vineyard that could be transformed into accommodation for refugees. In the present population density, there are around 194 inhabitants per square mile. That's about the same density as in Indiana, Georgia, or North Carolina. If we could increase the density up to the level for Washington, DC, which has 11,295 inhabitants in a square mile of land, then we would be able to easily accommodate around one million newcomers. This would make room for the island. Manhattan has 69,648 residents for every square mile. Based on our calculations, that means that there is space in Martha's Vineyard for six million people.

    Barack Obama, who owns a house on 29 acres that has 7 bedrooms, and 8.5 bathrooms located on Martha's Vineyard, could not be reached for clarification. The property has an exclusive beach that could be the official point of welcome for ferryboats that bring in newcomers. Maybe the former president can even be convinced to greet passengers who are boarding with “aloha” and a lei, according to the customs of the state he is native to.

    Is the Consumer Weakened Under Pressure Due to Bidenflation?

    Retail sales were less than anticipated in August, contrary to what you imagined from the positive headlines. The headline number was in the upward direction of 0.3 percent, beating expectations of flat figures, but the measure that excludes auto sales fell 0.3 percent, averaging less than expectations of a flat figure. The “control group,” which is basically retail sales, minus restaurants, autos and building materials, was also unchanged in July, and was below expectations of growth up to 0.8 percent.

    Also, there was a significant change to the July figures. Initially, it was reported as an increase of 0.4 percent, however the change brought it down to the level of a flat month. The July sales for the control group were down from 0.8 percent down to 0.4 percent.

    The figure for the control group is particularly important since it is incorporated directly into the Bureau of Economic Analysis's estimation of the Gross Domestic Product. The lower than expected figure caused economists and algorithms racing to reduce estimates of the third quarter's GDP. Bank of America said that the readings of the revised figures and the August report cut three-tenths of a percent off the estimate of its third quarter GDP, which lowered it by 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent. According to the Atlanta Fed's GDPNOW metric dropped by a factor of 1.3 percent growth in the third quarter to 0.5 percent growth.

    The Federal Reserve said on Thursday that industrial production dropped by 0.2 percent during August. That was lower than the expectation of flat numbers. Utilities production was down surprisingly due to a substantial decrease in electricity. This could be demand destruction due to inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) published on Tuesday indicated that the prices for electricity are rising by 15.8 percent over one year ago.

    Evidence for lower consumer demand was seen in the manufacturing production numbers. In the absence of motor vehicle parts and motor vehicle manufacturing, production increased by 0.2 percent, which is half of the growth in July. In addition to the declines in June and May, manufacturing production has dropped in 0.1 percent since the beginning of April, according to economists from Bank of America. The production of consumer goods dropped in August by 0.2 percent and is down 1.3 percent since April.

    The Philadelphia Fed's survey of manufacturing revealed that its reading of general economic activity has unexpectedly reverted to negative territory after dropping 6.2 in August and dipping to -9.9 in the month of September. The index is now at its third reading that is negative in the last four months. The market had been expecting that the index would fall, but it remained in the positive zone. The demand-side indexes for new orders and shipping both decreased during the month.

    The Empire State manufacturing survey by the New York Fed showed some stability following the devastating crash into negative 31.3 at the beginning of August. The September survey showed that businesses were holding steady throughout New York state. This is another way to say that it did not bounce back from the crash of August. It simply stopped crashing. The number of orders that were placed on hold grew and the number of shipments increased dramatically. The forecast is for the same—no more crashes, but nothing to show improvement. The New York Fed said that “firms were not very optimistic that business conditions would improve over the next six months.”

    With estimates of growth falling to a lower level with only a few more weeks in the 3rd quarter of this year, it's a high chance that the economy will experience the third consecutive contraction.


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