Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Know it's been awhile

As life would have it, I have not been true to the blog, but I hope that is all over now. I wanted to write every day, but sometimes life intervenes with our hopes and dreams: as they say "Life Happens" and it can be quite eventful. So let's catch up.

The biggest problem facing us all is the current economy. Ted and I were out of work and on unemployment which meant keeping in touch with the Union Hall and trying to wait out the crunch, and since Ted is a foreman there was an additional hope that he would get called back to work as a supervisor.

Of course, as life happens, neither of us got called to work. Now Ted is really smart about getting through the rough times. People are always trying to "keep up their standard of living" but when that entails two cars, or higher rates for cell phones etc. that are no longer required due to your circumstances, now is a good time to trim excess baggage.

For me the trim was easy. I got rid of all the cable that I pay for, and replaced that with Netflix for 8.99 per month on my PC. How does this work? My TV was costing more to run than my PC plus my cable bill was about 4 times the netflix charge.

I cut $80. off my electric bill and $40.00 off the cable, then I cut about 25.00 off my insurance by letting them know I wasn't driving to work.

Ted, on the other hand, went to Carmax and sold a car that he still had to make payments on. This also lowered his insurance, rid him of a car payment, and gave him back some of the money he has used out of his savings to get by until he could find work.

So, today they voted on extending the unemployment and while the extension has passed that first hurdle ( finally) there are more hurdles to come.

First of all, the state I live in, has not ratified legislation that would allow the unemployed here to qualify for any extensions. Since the extensions were expiring, they never voted to keep them in many states. Only 15 states currently still have extended benefits.

Another major hurdle, according to John Fritze "The measure now faces a final vote in the Senate and must also clear the House of Representatives."

So, what  does this mean to you and me? Time will tell. The problem is not with extending unemployment so much as with creating jobs. It has gotten to the point in the US that we think too close to home, and not for the big picture. Extending unemployment does not create jobs, nor does it mend a floundering economy. This is just a band-aid, much like a cap on a leaking oil-well.

Their major hurdle is how will the extensions be paid. If our government does not start making the hard choices soon, there will not be any US to worry about. Deficit spending is not an answer.

Tax breaks to the wealthiest companies was supposed to have far reaching impact by virtue of job creation. The idea was simple, I will give you a break, if you will create  a certain number of jobs. The problem is that the jobs either did not last, or were eventually sent over seas. The bail out of the finance companies was also supposed to trickle down, in effect giving us lower mortgage payments and debt forgiveness for those who qualified. 

Unfortunately that meant that you would have to pay taxes on the break you were given, but they didn't tell you that. They also didn't tell you it would affect your credit rating, nor did they tell you that the new deal (according to the applications I read) would only entitle you to a lower payment for a portion of your mortgage, (ie. 6 months with one of the banks I checked).

So, here's what it means to us. We have to forget about what we think we are worth, and go back to working for what we can afford to live on. Then we have to cut back on our expenses, get rid of some of those credit cards that are not a life saver, but rather an anchor that continues to drag us down.

The point is, America has to stop living for today, and go back to living for Tomorrow! You cannot expect to retire on Social Security if you cannot live on what you make, but have to supplement your income with loans and credit.

In order to stop our country's deficit spending, we have to learn to stop it at home.