What Do You All Think About the Economy?

18 02 2009

It’s no secret that the economy is in the toilet. Even jobs once thought to be insulated from even the toughest times are being eliminated. Decreased tax revenue has districts laying off teachers, hospitals are letting employees go, I bet even undertakers are seeing spending decrease.

There’s no argument that things are bad. But there is plenty of argument about who is to blame and what can be done to fix it. Our government is passing out money left, right, and sideways. There was last falls bank bailout, which edged close to a trillion dollars (may have even surpassed that amount by now, I can’t keep  up anymore.) There were loans to the automakers, who are now asking for more money. Then there is the latest stimulus bill, again edging uncomfortably close to the trillion dollar mark.

Will any of it help? How quickly? And at what price to the future?

The entire debacle brings up something that has been painfully obvious during the past decade–the ridiculous partisanship that exists in Washington. It doesn’t take Scooby Doo to sniff out the mystery of where politicos stand on most anything–all one has to do is see which party they are a member of.  Most any vote is made along such succint party lines, I wonder if the people wouldn’t be as well served in sending a group of trained chimps to Washington. Simply coach each chimp into how to vote, then the people can decide how many democrats and how many republicans monkeys will make up the Congress and Senate.

chimp_at_typewriter

This is no time for political posturing. We need leaders who will do what is NEEDED, not what will make it easiest for them to win their next election. Leaders who will take action that is best for the country, not make decisions that are best for their party.

I’m no economist. I don’t even  balance my own checkbook, so I don’t have the answers. But I do try to look at any given issue from a variety of angles, and I don’t look to Rush Limbaugh, the Huffington Post, or the email forwarded to me by the old lady down the street to form my opinions. (If you visit discussion boards, or even read the comments that follow many news stories, it’s almost laughable how so many people allow themselves to be parrots for pundits. Laughable if it weren’t so pathetic!)

The first question might be, should the government provide stimulus at all? Should companies that have fallen victim to their own risky practices and shoddy products be given money from the public coffers? Will pumping trillions into the damaged economy shore it up, or ultimately push it over the edge?

They are complex questions, and ones I don’t pretend to  have the answer for. The truth is, I don’t think even the greatest minds know exactly what caused it, what will fix it, or how to keep it from happening again.

What I do know is that we have become, by and large, a nation that lives beyond it’s means. The average home has gotten larger while the average family has gotten smaller. What were once luxuries are now necessities. The savings account balance has been traded for the credit card  balance.

And our politicians have spent, and spent, and spent without any plan or, seemingly, concern for where the money was coming from. And before anyone points any fingers, BOTH parties are guilty of this. In fact, during my lifetime, the national debt has grown at greater paces under Republican presidents, which makes me wonder what, exactly, conservatives are conserving anymore. Politicians have, in the past, been unafraid to make the painful decisions. During WWII, tax rates went higher, rationing went into effect, all to cover the needs we faced then. Not now. How much have we spent on the War on Terror, with nary a cut elsewhere or a tax increase to cover those costs? Just charge it for the next generation, is that our answer?

So, what should be done? Anything? How should we pay for it? What should be cut to pay for new spending? What lessons can we learn from this mess? Has it changed, forever, how you view your own finances?

 

*update…there is a site up, http://www.recovery.gov/ that promises to track where the stimulus money is going.

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7 responses

18 02 2009
Little Miss

Wow, you have a lot of points going on here. Here is my opinion. I don’t think there is any one reason for the way things are right now. I think it’s a combination of things. I think the obvious party lines you see drawn right now are the result of a clear difference of approach. And yes, I’m republican, but I’m also open to sincerly hoping that whatever our current administration is doing will help. I don’t think throwing money at it will work.

My father used to teach me that my debt problems would not be solved by getting more money. My debt issues would only be stopped by my looking at my spending and learning to live within my means. Exactly what you are talking about here. We are a society that has learned to live on debt (aka “free money until the bill comes”) and keep having to have more and more and more.

The current situation has forced me to be more frugal and really walk that talk. I’m clearing out clutter and learning to make do with what I already have. I don’t purchase anything on credit any more, not even in a rent-to-own store. If I can’t pay for it with cash – comfortably – I don’t buy it.

I don’t believe that the big companies that caused much of this problem should be bailed out by the government. But there’s the sticky wicket. If we let those companies fail, look how many jobs will be lost, how many people will lose their homes, and so forth.

There isn’t an easy answer, and although I’m republican, and I don’t like the spending included in this particular bill, it *is* to the point that the government has to do something, and I applaud Obama for stepping up to the plate as best he can.

18 02 2009
The Vinyl Villager

Little Miss…well said. you echo many of my thoughts on this. Theres a lot in the current bill that I think is GOOD spending…Im just not sure if it belongs in the stimulus bill. Some of it is no doubt to our good LONG term…which is great. Id rather stitch up the cut than put a bandaid on it. But I wonder if its not more of what we’ve had too much of–namely, being REactive instead of PROactive.

18 02 2009
Alan

Nice blog here, and I am in the same mindset that you are. I don’t have the asnwers but I don’t know that bailing all of these businesses out is the best way to get our economy back on track either. So…I don’t know. But I will say this…I have been happy with what President Obama has done so far. he has tried to be open minded and seems to be working to make Wasington more aware of what the rest of us are going through. He won’t perform miracles, but I definitely trust that he will do more for our country than the previous President. And lets hope he gets this country moving in the right direction…because we need a little good news right now. And America…lets get rid of the credit cards…okay?

18 02 2009
thegirlfromtheghetto

Oh, god, come to Michigan, where the economy has been horrible since 2006, and bad since 2004. At first I was secretly glad auto workers lost their jobs … now, its affecting everything. Terrified I’m loosing my government job that I hate. We’ve lost so many businesses over the past three years … somebody needs to come here soon.

And Alan, i hear you on the credit cards … I live debt free. Everyone else should, too. Best way not to lose a house. So is selling the one you own first before buying a second? I know WAY too many idiots who have two houses … wtf?

18 02 2009
Random Real Estate

A friend of mine recently attended a promotion for a meeting centered around “The Secret”. The subject of debt came up and I kid you not, this is what was said. “You’re only as rich as the amount of debt you can carry.” WTF?!? The speaker went on to use Donald Trump as an example. A) Most of Trump’s holdings are not personal but belong to a company thereby insulating his personal assets in the event of bankruptcy B) How many times has bankruptcy been declared by this man? I’m supposed to take this as good advice and spend 1500 or whatever amount to attend this seminar?!? You must be out of your frickin mind. I am scared that is the message being sent to the general public.

19 02 2009
Noe Noe Girl

Bingo on folks living beyond their means! Seems the more I save the more others get! The ones doing the right thing always get the short end of the stick. I dont have the answer but biting off more than you can chew is something mama taught me that you should never do because every action has consequences. I teach that to my son. I am proud to say that I dont need bailing out and I am not part of the problem!

19 02 2009
Liz

After I wrote a small novel in place of a comment, I realized I needed to do an entire post on this subject. I’ll link over here to you when I do. 🙂

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