Last month the Fed carried out its fourth auction of short term loans to commercial banks. The hope is that the banks will lend the new money to individuals and businesses, who will in turn put that money to work in our economy. A day after the auction, a half point cut in interest rates was announced at the Fed meeting. This “double-whammy” was designed to prevent the country from sliding into a recession.

Back home in Indiana, it was the Indiana Senate’s turn to deal with economics, in particular with Indiana property tax issues. Deal with taxes they did, voting to change our Indiana constitution to cap homestead property tax bills for individual homeowners at 1% of assessed value. (Rentals would be capped at 2%, business property at 3%) The not-so-good part is that these caps will not take effect until 2009.

On the corporate scene, the last week of January was a mixed bag of news for our state as well. Pfizer announced it is eliminating 660 jobs at its plant south of Terre Haute, largely due to a declining demand for antibiotic drug manufacture. In the very same week, Governor Daniels unveiled news that Defender Direct, a home technology company in Indianapolis, plans to hire at least 300 workers now and to add 800 more jobs statewide over the coming few years.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am an eager reader of news about money matters. Each news item represents much more than statistics to me. In a way, I’m processing the news “with two hats on”. Needless to say, I’m concerned for myself and my family as residents and homeowners in Indiana. But in addition, I’m always thinking about all my clients who visit me in my Indianapolis bankruptcy law office and my other three Indiana bankruptcy law offices, and how changes in the economy are affecting them and their families.

I know all too well how devastating the effects layoffs can have on people’s financial security. I know that downsizing is one of the three main factors in bankruptcy, along with divorce and medical bills. At the same time, I’m grateful that in this country and this state bankruptcy is available as a safety net when bad fortune overwhelms good people.

Filing bankruptcy is a big, often frightening step, for an individual or a business owner, and I’m gratified that my work can help people use that step to make a fresh new start.