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Posts Tagged ‘cost of living’

        Titanic, the US economy & rescue boats; what do they have in common?  Much!  Do you remember seeing the pictures of the Titanic ship as she prepared for her maiden voyage?  It was large, it was the ultimate in luxury and it was celebrated as “unsinkable”.  The US economy has sort of lived in luxury even if it has been on “borrowed/credit” monies.  I think many thought the structure of the US economy was unsinkable as well.  We now know differently because of the financial crisis that many have been working so hard to “rescue”.  It is common sense, if you live outside of your means to pay for it…you will loose it all.

          While i think we will probably be saved from the fate of most of the passengers and crew of the Titanic; there are some who will definately suffer.  This morning on the news programs it was announced that the biparisan effort to “fix” the economy has reached a tenative agreement on the way to do that.

           What we need to do is wait to see the methods that are employed in this fix- it solution.  Waiting feels a bit wrong because things are so very important and desperate for many Americans.  There has been suffering already.  Some of the suffers have already been in extreme situations…loosing their homes, filing bankruptsy, working more than one job trying to make ends meet; some have been successful in changing their financial direction and some were not.  Hearing that taxpayers are going to have to fix this problem with more taxes when they are already pushed against the wall is terrifying.  So, some quick explanations of this “bailout”  is very important to calming the fears of the public.

           It is going to be crucial to learn lessons from the Titanic experience.  Even now, knowing that it sunk, knowing that lives were lost…do you think that if the passengers and crew on that ship had each had a bucket and a will to survive that they would not have made the trip up and down the stairs to make an attempt, several times over, to try to bail out the water in the bowels of that ship?  Of course they would have. 

           Had that ship had more lifeboats (rescue boats in our case) would more lives have been saved?  Certainly.  So, What does the Titanic ship and the US economy have in common…they both needed rescuing, they both carried movers and shakers, people had a vested interest in saving them both, lives were and are at stake in both situations.  Can the US economy survive when the Titanic ship did not?  It is possible!

          Let’s pray that the bi-partisan plan has figured in enough rescue boats to save not ONLY the large banking systems, the mortgage companies, the credit card organizations; but, the people at the base of each of those situations…the taxpayers…the recipients of those services.  The little people who are drowning in the flood as we speak need their own rescue ships; or, the overall plan will fail. The future impact of this bailout is not only important to the US but to the global economy as well.

         We must not forget that any of those businesses cannot possibly make a comeback if the little people can NOT afford to make use of those services…and, they can’t do that if they are loosing their jobs, their homes, their families to the high cost of living!  We all want and need to survive…the will to survive is there; if there are enough rescue ships in this plan, we may just be able to keep the ship of the US economy floating long enough to make it healthy again.  We all may be traveling at a lower level than luxury or first class…but, that is alright…at least we will have the chance to recover.  We just have to adjust how we think and make choices in our day to day lives that are within our means to pay for them…what a novel idea!

            

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        I read that the host of a tabloid television show, The Insider, is leaving the show.  Pat O’brien has been on The Insider since 2004 he was the host until he had a couple of stints in rehab for addictions.  He made tabloid news himself when he left recorded messages sexually harrassing a female person on the phone.  Before he was the host of the Insider, he was on Access Hollywood for something like seven years.  Some people watch those shows regularily.

         So, he is leaving the show now.  It has been said that the decision to leave is a mutual one.  Yet, no real reason has been disclosed for the leave taking.  However, there has been speculation from; he slipped in his sobriety again, to, he is leaving because of an email that he sent to the staff at The Insider.  The email supposedly alledges that the staff of The Insider is out of touch with their real life viewers; who are struggling with day -to- day financial survival, and are not interested in the elite Hollywood fashions and over-indulgences of the stars. 

           If it is true that he was let go from the show for holding that opinion…i would tend to agree that the powers that be, are indeed out of touch.  However, I am sure that Mr. O’brien could have gotten that message across in a much more effective way than sending an email.  It is a valid point to say that mainstream America is struggling to maintain some semblance of financial stability…hearing about celebrities who toss away untold amounts of money on non-essentials is a bit of rubbing it (their wealth) in the viewer’s faces. 

           In general, i think the viewers would much rather hear about celebrities who are doing “good” in the world, with some of their “excess money”, than to hear about the latest mansion they bought or, how much money they spent on their last shopping spree!  In that, i agree in the theory behind the alleged email.

           I think that there will be a backlash in the sports world, the celebrity arena, the political figures, and other areas of our culture that continues to endorse reckless handling of money.    Reality for most people is not financial wealth; after the collapse of our banking systems, the mortgage crisis, the credit card crunch; and, the constant raising of prices of gasoline, home heating prices, and necessities such as groceries.  The American public is fighting to regain a financially secure life.  The impact of that is going to carry over into all areas of life including entertainment shows!

           If Mr. O’brien has had a change of heart over the types of stories that he felt his show should cover…he has to acknowledge that he also contributed to the environment of that show, for quite a period of time.  That however, doesn’t mean that a person can’t change their actions and raise awareness.  Good luck to everyone involved.  Let’s get real in our expectations and our actions…stop living in a fantasy world that very few people experience.  If the television executives cant do that…then, let those select few be their audience! 

           The Insider is supposed to be about the entertainment world…and it isn’t entertaining to their viewers to watch those who have been blessed financially live in ways that are wasteful when they are struggling to live above the poverty level.

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       Labor Day is celebrated traditionally on the first Monday in September every year in the United States.  The original idea came about in 1882; it is a bit of a controversy who came up with the idea but most agree it is one of these two men, Peter J. McGuire a carpenter or Matthew Maguire a machinist brought the idea to the American forefront.  The reasoning behind a Labor Day was to celebrate the men and women in this country who work so hard to contribute to the infrastructure of our country by the manual labor and the sweat of their brows.  This Day is to honor them by giving them a day off from work and to recognize all that they do for their families, their employers, and their communities.

        It has become a national holiday, that over the years …the reason for the celebration has been diluted by the activities surrounding it.  There are picnics, festivals,tele-thons, fireworks, cookouts, parties and get-togethers…all of which are wonderful.  However, the reason for the Labor Day needs to once again be brought to the forefront; as people work harder than ever to build businesses, products, and services…but, seemingly the American Worker gets farther and farther behind in their earnings and their savings.

         Today, it was announced in the news that personal incomes dropped by 0.7% in the month of July alone…this is the most noteable drop in income, in over three years.  This comes as a disappointment as the government had issued those tax incentive rebate checks that were supposed to stimulate the economy.  It just goes to show that the fine balancing act that is the American economy, is more than just a little off kilter.

          The American worker works longer hours, and has more financial burdens than they need; and, are saving less than ever before.  The uncertainity of job security hangs over everyone’s heads as corporations and businessess outsource work to citizens from other countries, or outright move their businesses overseas to save money.  It costs more to do business now just as it costs workers more to exist. 

            The cost of living seems to be raising the stakes as workers struggle with rising gasoline, food prices, health care, education costs, home heating fuel and fluctuating mortgage payments, foreclosures, and bank failures. 

            Business companies and workers alike need to come back to the idea of the solid  American work ethic and the celebratory rewards from their employers for loyalty of service to their employees by investing back in the American economy.   CEOs and Administrators need to stop demanding and expecting so many perks and rally up behind some sacrifices that pump some new lifeblood into the network of reliable work histories of the American people.  Workers need to work hard to build up the assets of their employers.  We can learn alot from our forebearers in how they earned, saved, and how this country was built from the ground up.  The American worker who went before, often worked in unsafe working conditions. 

              We have come a long way in making working conditions safer due to labor unions and the worker creating an awareness about those issues, as well as child labor laws.  We can learn from both the good and the bad.  People who work hard and are reliable and trustwory as well as dependable; should be rewarded with job security, appropriate income, and benefits.  Companies who value their workers and develop stability should be praised and encouraged.  Together they are what this country needs to get the balance back where it needs to be.  We need to encourage more teamwork between employers and employees.

               So this weekend, as you celebrate your well earned time off to spend with your friends and family with a variety of R & R…let’s keep our priorities straight.  Celebrate and honor the traditions of those who came before and helped to trailblaize for the American worker of today; when you work…work hard and give your best quality.  Companies…if you have workers who don’t do their jobs and don’t give of the appropriate level of work…let them go…there are plenty of workers out there who will. 

                America has become a bit off balance.  There are those who work hard and are proud to do so…and there are slackers who are proud to be slackers.  There are companies who struggle to provide good products, and services who honor their workers with appropriate rewards and there are companies who don’t.  Unions sometimes will get behind a worker who shouldn’t necessarily be backed up if they are in the wrong.  There are occasions where it is hard for a company to dismiss a worker who isn’t working up to the appropriate standard of employment…don’t back up the worker who is in the wrong…it costs the company money, it costs the laborers in morale and it takes jobs away from workers who really want to work and would work hard for what they earn. 

                The next American President needs to create more opportunities for workers to have jobs and not just in the large metropolitan areas…there are plenty of potential employees who live in the suburbs and in the country areas who need good paying jobs.  We need to teach our young people how to work, how to take pride in a job well done and how to respect those in authority over them so that they learn how to be a good employee.  Maybe the next American President could take a page out of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legacy and create something like the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps which created an environment of employment, did amazing things for our environment, provided for families, and built a generation of dedicated hard working individuals who gave something meaningful to their country and their communities.  That would be amazing!

                We want to celebrate the best of the best.  Whether you are an executive, a laborer, a clerk, a stock person,a doctor, professor, janitor, or a truck driver, etc…it doesn’t matter, it is about the quality of person that you are; your integrity, and the willingness you have to earn what you are paid for. So what does Labor Day mean to our country today?  It could very well mean the difference between building up our economy or the total collapse of the very infrastructure that this country was founded on.  Buy American… Happy Labor Day weekend!

           

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     I don’t know about you…but it really upsets me to hear about companies that keep cutting retirement benefits for those who have worked all those years for those benefits.  I really believe it should be illegal to change the benefits, due to a retiree.  I think whatever benefits were in the contract at the time of the worker’s retirement should be enforced until death.  A retired worker lives on a fixed income provided by the pension and benefits afforded them at the time of their retirement…taking that away or lessoning what they receive is at the very least immoral in a world that we all know is getting harder and harder to make ends meet.  Reducing the income of a person who based their decision to retire on what they were promised at the time of the retirement just feels wrong.  How can we expect them to survive in a world that the cost of living is rising disproportionately to the amount of money they receive on a monthly basis; reducing that amount should be considered criminal. (more…)

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        You know what…i don’t know much about foreclosures on a home; but, my family came closer to it than i want to think about this past winter.  I know that foreclosure is happening to more and more people.  I live in a state where the economy is all but paralyzed.  People are loosing their jobs, left and right.  The cost of living is skyrocketing.  I know people who are working two jobs and still are struggling to survive.   I also know people who have gone to donate blood and plasma just so that they had gas money to drive back and forth to work.  This puts the quality of life into the depression era, as far as I am concerned.  Foreclosure can happen to anyone because, right now, the economy stinks.

         This past week, we have heard about a couple of high profile people, Evander Holyfield and Ed McMahon, who are possibly loosing their homes to foreclosure.  One of them, Ed McMahon seems an unlikely candidate to loose his home to foreclosure…however, Ed explains his situation.  He says that he wasn’t paying attention to how his money was managed by business people.  He also says some personal difficulties such as divorce and a broken neck decreased his finances and his ability to work.  He says that he worked hard all of his life.  Alot of people are in the same situation…maybe they can’t even retire or pay for their child’s college because of their financial situation and the possible loss of their home.

           Ed McMahon talks about the million, or so, people in the United States that are now facing foreclosure and says that he understands how people are working hard and due to their personal circumstances they could lose their homes.  Many of them, Ed says, didn’t do anything wrong…maybe they lost their jobs or face medical, financial difficulties…but because of those situations…they are being forced out of their homes that they worked so hard to have.  He says he would like to tell them to find the best help available and to not give up. 

         Those explanations are real life for alot of people.  It has been recently estimated that 1percent of home mortgages have gone into foreclosure from January- March of this year alone; that is around 447,723 families.  Divorce, job downsizing, health issues and the economy are putting more and more people in jeparody of loosing their homes.  For most people, their home is one of their biggest assests or investments.  How does this concern you?   Let’s take a look… 

          The problem is…as the economy worsens…more people loose their homes and that means that more homes are on the market.  Say you want to sell your home…how are you going to do that with all of the houses sitting empty on your street, in your neighborhood, or your town or state?  And if you are lucky enough to find someone who wants YOUR house….will they give you what you have to have financially for it?   Housing that is devalued further complicates the issue.  Propety values plummet in areas where there are many foreclosures.   When people owe more on their house then it is worth, because of the devaluing of it…they can’t sell it without taking a huge financial loss; not to mention coming up with the money to move somewhere else.  The stress and the emotional toll it takes is devastating.  It is a bit like a chain reaction…because then their credit is damaged…and finding another place to live is difficult, relationships take a beating in times of financial crisis too.  Other people can be quite judgmental and often people feel ashamed of what they are going through.  The changes that a family has to go through in a foreclosure has a far reaching impact on schools, jobs, relationships, health and emotional well-being.  I heard a random number tossed about in a news report of between 7-8,000 people enter into foreclosure procedures a DAY!  Those numbers are staggering…and devastating to our economy.

         There are those who say…well, those people shouldn’t have tried to live outside of their means.  That may be true in some circumstances; but, many of those in foreclosure had good paying jobs when they bought that home in good faith, they may have been in perfect health when they bought their home, the economy might have been healthier at the time of the home purchase.  Life is full of changes; foreclosure can happen to anyone!

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