Reading Response 2 – Mikaila Wenker

The excerpt from Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? was both insightful and a little humorous to me. On the surface, this thought of memes and skits like SNL becoming this new form of news intake is rather silly and a bit ridiculous. However, then I began reflecting on my daily routine with news as a millennial and realized that while I do read articles and find my own research, social media and memes can sometimes be my first view into a political topic. And that’s a little scary. So I suppose this topic is extremely relevant to the world and where we are today.

It’s amazing to think that memes are this concept that has just come into being the past few years and has really taken over the internet and people’s way of thinking. This article really made me see how even something as mundane – and usually stupid, honestly – as a meme was really designed. As time has gone on, one can argue they are becoming even more and more designed, intellectually speaking. These political memes take a rather low brow approach yet mold complex material into an understandable and typically funny medium. Although I personally believe memes are by no way the best way to inform oneself, I find it very interesting that someone saw the potential of this trend to become informational – especially to younger generations. It’s certainly an example of design adapting to society and the wants of the public.

It goes beyond just current political topics into historical memes as well. Once again, not as informative as reading a book but it is certainly a modern way to get an idea across. Intellectually speaking, well designed to fit the consumer. So here is a link to some history memes that might better show the entertainment ( and information) I’m trying to explain – enjoy.

Secondary Individual Research / Mikaila Wenker

Source 1  

Thesis: This article compares Cincinnati to the rest of the big cities in Ohio in terms of housing sales – out of the six, Cincinnati actually suffered the least. Additionally, this article delves even deeper to compare the different counties within the city to each other.

Source 2 

Thesis: Even at its peak, Cincinnati jobs were up .8% leading up to 2007 before the Recession – then dropped 2.1% from 2008 to 2010. Even by 2012, jobs were just up 1.2% so still not fully recovered from the Recession.

Source 3

Thesis: Even though unemployment rates rose from 4.7% to 10.7% over the course of two years, the city of Cincinnati managed to keep revenues fairly flat during the Recession and only dropping 2% at its lowest point. Especially compared to other cities, Cincinnati did rather well.


Synthesis: The financial crisis of 2008 was destructive all across the nation and Cincinnati was no exception with job lose and foreclosures. However, the city fared rather well comparatively to others and to this day continues to recover.

Taylor Frank – Secondary Research Individual

“After the Crash: The Lingering Results of the Foreclosure Crisis in Our Communities”

Source: Working In Neighborhoods (WIN)
Date Composed: 2015

Thesis: Cincinnati families were losing their homes, number of vacant properties grew, leading Working in Neighborhoods organization to map out all the vacant properties and gather documented foreclosures that grew rapidly from the financial crisis.

Useful Information:

  • Completed Sheriff’s Sales in Hamilton County fell 27 percent, from 2,418 completed Sheriff’s Sales in 2013 to 1,766 in 2014. This is the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the county since 2002
  • New foreclosure filings in 2014 fell 21.5 percent compared to new filings in 2013, from 4,268 to 3,350.This is the lowest number of new foreclosures filed since 2002.
  • Foreclosures filed by six lenders account for more than half (51 percent) of Hamilton County properties sold at Sheriff’s Sale in 2014. Banks completing more than 100 Sheriff’s Sales in 2014 include: US Bank (195), Bank of America (183), Wells Fargo (151), Fifth Third (149), CitiBank (117) and JP Morgan Chase (113).
  • Mortgages that were originated between 2005 and 2008 made up 35 percent of all completed Sheriff’s Sales in Hamilton County in 2014, according to County Auditor property transfer records. This number does not include mortgages that were refinanced or properties that acquired second mortgages during this time period.
  • Tax foreclosures made up 22.1 percent of all new foreclosures filed in 2014
  • The number of third-party tax lien certificate sales ending in Sheriff’s Sale has increased for the fourth year in a row, from 1 in 2011 to 42 in 2014.

Recovery: “Cincinnati — Sustained Growth from a Solid Foundation”

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Date Composed: March 2016

Thesis: Cincinnati metro area’s economy continues to deliver strong econonmic results, particularly with growth in the leisure and hospitality and construction sectors. These sectors, supported by a diversified manufacturing base, provide opportunities for the region to grow long into the future. Employment growth is strong and the unemployment rate has declined to its lowest level in more than ten years, remaining among the lowest of the metro areas in the Fourth Federal Reserve District.

Useful Information:

  • Cincinnati has yet to recover its pre-recession employment levels, but job growth remains solid.”
  • “Through the end of the third quarter of 2015, employment in the metro area stood approximately 0.5 percent below its pre-recession level. This performance was in line with the rate of recovery in Ohio, but lagged the recovery pace for the average of nearby metro areas and the United States, which have seen increases of approximately 1.5 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.”
  • “The Cincinnati metro area and the nation continue to see stronger income growth per capita than the state and nearby metros. Since the end of the recession in June 2009, income per capita in the Cincinnati metro area has increased by 4.6 percent. This is in line with the national average, which has increased by 4.7 percent.”
  • “Remaining above its post-recession low, homebuilding in the greater Cincinnati region is gaining steam. Housing supply remains tight, helping to prop up house prices. Multifamily vacancy rates remain low as apartment construction has yet to catch up with the growth in regional demand.”
  • “According to 2014 US Census Bureau estimates, Cincinnati is the 28th largest of the 381 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.”

“Economic Growth Drives Demand in Cincinnati Commercial Property Markets”

Source: Colliers International
Date Composed: 2015

Thesis: After the 2008 FInancial Crisis, the Cincinnati Commercial real estate market witnessed growth across occupancy in office, industrial, retail and multifamily properties; some to historic levels as in the case with industrial.

Useful Information:

  • “The story of the year is job growth as the region’s unemployment rate dropped 90 basis points to 4.3 percent by the end of December, while the labor force increased by 2.2 percent.“
  • “REDI Cincinnati’s year-end report indicates that more than 14,000 jobs were created or retained during the year, of which 7,700 were new jobs.”
  • “Along with job growth, personal income is forecast to grow an average of 5.7 percent over the next ve years, outpacing both the U.S. and Midwestern projected averages.”
  • “In Cincinnati, occupancy increased during the the year by 120 basis points to 95.5 percent. Rents increased by 3.1 percent year-over-year; above the market’s ve-year average of 2.6 percent.”
  • “Cincinnati’s multifamily construction activity and quarterly deliveries remain above average, with 250,000 permits forecast to increase by nearly 70 percent in 2016”

Overall Synthesis: Cincinnati was effected by the financial crisis in 2008, but was one of the cities that was least effected comparable to the other cities throughout the United States. The data and research found from the resources above show that Cincinnati is recovering well from the financial crisis, in some cases such as the increase for the demand of industrial industry has made strides of success. There are still some foreclosures around the city, but foreclosure filings have gone down through the years, a 27% decrease in filings from 2013 to 2014. Even the jobs in Cincinnati has grown since 2008, but is only 0.5% under the pre-recession line in 2015. Cincinnati has been making strides to build their economy stronger than pre-recession, and continues to build it.

Reading Response 1 Mikaila Wenker

In a nutshell, I think the Wall Street and The Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Crisis article puts it best – “the crisis was not a natural disaster, but the result of high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.” While reading this article I kept having the reoccurring feeling of a Wolf of Wall Street vibe; that is, just the overarching theme of greed from all sides of finances. Deception in the accuracy of AAA credit ratings to investors is even dubbed “perhaps more than any other single event triggered the beginning of the financial crisis.” In this category a statistic that really stuck out was that traditionally, investments with a AAA rate have less than a 1% chance of incurring defaults and failures yet in 2007 over 90% of AAA rated investments were later downgraded to “junk status.” But inflated credit ratings proved to be just one of the four leading causes the United States Senate found to lead to the infamous financial crisis. In yet another case of financial greed, high risk lending from banks like Washington Mutual acted as a catalyst to this ‘race to the bottom’ by emphasizing high risk loans to borrowers for their own financial gain. By the time these risky mortgage investments get to the investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, all care and securities for finances go out the window. These banks begin to set up structured finance transactions which enable them to profit at the expense of their clients. For example, in 2007 Goldman Sachs knowingly sold Timberwolf securities to clients at prices above its own book values and then within days they marked down the values causing clients to experience a price shock. As a result, Goldman made a $1.7 billion dollar gain at the direct expense of its clients. At the end of this article, I found it very directly outlined the financial crisis and gave key step by step segments to all those that contributed.

The second article, however, took a much more politically bias approach. While the Wall Street and The Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse article looked towards the active participants that drove to the financial collapse; the 2008 Housing Crisis article from the Center for American Progress took a much more defensive approach by outlining the ways government programs saved the market to the best of their ability. The main point I took from this article was that government programs and government led lending was a safe bet in the 2000s. Programs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provided safe investment opportunities that really saw little defaults even throughout the financial crisis. However, problems arose when Private Sectors pushed for lending outside the government backed opportunities. As discussed before, this really pushed bank’s clients towards riskier investments which solely profited the private sector at the expense of the public. At the end of the day, it all comes down to those in positions of power that were supposed to be trustworthy really just came back to extort those who provided trust and life savings into them.

I can honestly say I knew close to nothing about the 2008 Financial Crisis before reading these two articles but now I truly do feel more confident about the issue and can address the beginning and the issues. After reading these articles and taking notes, I did however find an outside source to be very helpful as a way to visually sum up what I had read. “Subprime Crisis in a Nutshell” is a video I found on youtube that really helped me to better understand the situation because it took all these big financial terms and institutions I had read about and made them into a visual infographic. Truly acted as the ‘glue’ for me to piece all the information together. Here is the link.