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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

       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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      Here we go, the Republican party is gearing up for next weeks Republican National Convention.  Sen. John McCain is ready to announce his running mate.  Conservative supporters are warning that funding and advertising support can, and will, be withdrawn if he chooses a running mate that is pro-abortion.  Two of the people he is considering as a running mate are pro-choice…that is Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Pennsylvania Govenor Tom Ridge. 

       Of course, abortion is only one issue.  There are many issues to consider such as gay rights, health care, the war and bringing home the military men and women, economy, bank failures, terrorism,foreign policy, housing market, joblessness, federal bailouts in the lending and in transportation, education, cost of living and social security issues…but, with many Democrats unhappy with the elimination of Hillary Clinton as a running mate for Sen. Barack Obama…many of her supporters have pledged their support over to John McCain.  All of these issues is important to voters; but the Republican party is typically conservative.  Conservatives are looking for leadership that is going to reinforce the party’s basic standards as well as provide some economic stability in the country; while at the same time, correcting some of the perceived errors in the present administration.

         Also in the realm of possibility is Minnesota Govenor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Mitt Romney…both anti-abortion proponents.  With all of the difficulties since the last election, it is a little frightening to be standing on the edge of the unknown this time around.

         Sen. John McCain has to be very careful about who he announces as his pick.  He doesn’t want to exchange many of his supporters, with deep pockets, for those unhappy Democratic supporters.  If he is wise in his choosing of a running mate…those Democrats will be additional voters not replacements for those who were supporters in the first place; it could have a big impact.  

          I guess we are about to find out…as it has been announced that Sen. John McCain has picked his running mate and will announce it to the American public on Friday at noon in Ohio.  His running mate will get the word on Thursday!  I don’t think that people have been this anxious about the political arena as they are this year…but then, most people agree…the climate in the American culture hasn’t been as critical as it seems, at this time…for a great many years.  The outcome is terribly important.  Let’s hope that the running mate is a pick that many can get behind without controversy taking away from the issues at hand.        

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         Don’t take this the wrong way or anything…it isn’t like i am saying she should have won the nomination…because as I have said before…i haven’t been terribly thrilled with any one of the choices we have had, put before us as a Presidential candidate; however, i was in my mind’s eye, thinking how “interesting” it would have been if when Hillary got up to give her speach for unity, if she would have said…ummmm..ya know…i have had alot of support thrown my way and well…i was thinking…maybe i will run on the party of a DemoPublican ticket.  LOL  I will just take my supporters and run with it!  Wouldn’t that have made a statement?  We all know how dissatisfied the Clintons have been with the process.  Still, from all reports, Hillary stood her ground and called for unity…and buried her alledged upset at the situation.

          I just hate the way that this whole thing has played out.  People will vote who they want to vote for and that is as it should be…vote your conscience.  However, i just don’t like all of the political maneuvering that has seemed to take place behind the scenes.  I don’t like all of the celebrity hoopla that has gone on in this campaign.  I am not a fan of let’s play pretend and say that we are a united party when you know, at the truth of it all…there was probably intense pressure, power plays, and promises for future support or endorsements; if only you do this for us…then, we will do “that” for you down the road.  Who do they think they are fooling with all of this circus entertainment?  It is detracting from the candidate and the foundation of his campaign.

            If the point of a national convention is to make the candidate stand out and shine in their moment of nomination…why  do we have all of the distractions that we have been hearing about for the last week?  Trot out the old school and relive the glory days, have the national anthem sung by a former American Idol contestant, negative attack political commercials, bring in the star power endorsements, celebrity poker games to benefit world hunger, twist the arm of a former competitor to push for unity from her supporters, placate her husband and give him a podium to voice a message that we all understand is crucial to our country’s well-being…terrorism…instead of his forte, which some claim is strengthening the economy, pick a running mate that can growl like a tiger…say what you really want to say and take the flack for it, tout the experience of said running mate who is embedded in the old school ways of running the country; all the while, taking the focus off of the inexperience and uncertainty of whether the nominee is qualified to run the country in his own right.  Don’t forget to add a little flash and dance celebration and emotional triggers about how historic this moment is to the evolution of our country to finally have both a black man, and a woman, running for President of the United States. 

           I could buy how far we’ve come as a nation, just for that particular milestone; if in fact, we didn’t pit those two “historic” candidates to run against each other in the same party, at the same time; and, if we didn’t have other members of the black culture calling the black candidate the “N-word” when they should have been extending him the respect he deserved as the candidate of choice.  The Republicans are getting ready for their moment in the sun soon…wonder what we can expect from that particular convention?  Oh man…isn’t it November yet?

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        It may just be a bit presumptious to say so…but, i think that there are so many people who are dissatisfied with both the Republican and Democratic parties that we are going to see something that i tagged as a DemoPublican.  That is to say, that people’s value systems lie somewhere in the middle of these two parties that have become so out of touch with their constituents.  Alot of conversations that take a political turn tend to reflect the consensus that people are unhappy with the choices.  The reasons for that statement are varied.  Some don’t like the personality, or the past mistakes, or the perceived lack of experience…on and on.  That is not new to this particular election..that is always the case to a certain degree; people pick the person with who they consider will do the country the least amount of harm and promote the most positive changes possible.

         In this particularily historic Presidential election; people have  been trying to come to terms with issues that have plagued our country and tried to find the alignment within the party that they most closely associate themselves with.  That has become harder and harder to do with the economic reality that faces our nation; not to mention, constantly changing boundaries relating to levels of personal privacy as it has been invaded on the pretext of safeguarding our country in matters of national security.  Add into that mish-mash the polarization of voters applying personal religious belief systems towards determining which candidate to vote for.  Many people are conflicted on that issue; which candidate’s actions most closely reflect their own belief systems. 

          There are so many issues that have not even begun to be addressed by the candidates that it is a little worrisome.  Issues that demand addressing include things such as joblessness, homelessness, health care, education reform, addressing issues that impact the banking systems, transportation systems, homeland security, terrorism, how to provide and manage energy costs and concerns, etc.  These are the issues that people care about and base their votes on…not which celebrity gives them a personal endorsement or what music the candidate listens to; come on…get real and deal with the things that matter!

         Underneath those issues, runs a very heated debate about who should have been the Democratic nominee; experience or the lack of is important.  When Florida and Michigan delegate votes were discounted…this changed the course of the competition between Sen. Barack Obama.  There has been a strong battle between supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.  The split has been protracted and continues today…going into the Democratic National Convention this weekend.  Even some of the speakers have privately expressed unhappiness with the process; such as Bill Clinton, former President of the United States.  He says after the election he will speak his piece; of that, i have no doubt.  Sen. Hillary Clinton…now, I can’t even imagine how much pressure she is under.  She wanted to be in the place that Sen. Barack Obama is now standing; barring that…she, i am sure would have been happy to be his running mate…that did not happen. 

           How difficult it must be to stand up there and promote unity in the party when i am sure….that has to be the last thing she wants to do is encourage support for Mr. Obama.  Add into the drama, all of the “celebrity” endorsements that Sen. Obama is getting and it is turning into a bit of a 3 ring circus.  Today there was a report on a CNN research poll that said since picking Sen. Joe Biden… the run for the Presidency has become tied at 47% between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama…compared to percentages that showed Sen. Obama in the lead with 51%, just last month.

         Everyone has an opinion on how this will play out.  Some attempts have been made calling for unity in the Democratic party…but, there is great unhappiness still under the surface.  Those that thought Sen. Hillary Clinton should have been the front runner, then fully expected Sen. Barack Obama should give her due consideration for the position of his running mate.  When it became obvious that she was passed over; and, he chose Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate those who felt slighted have pledged to vote for Sen. Obama’s competitor Sen. John McCain. 

           The Republican party has to get out their position on the issues as well.  We dont need to see a few months of showboating by either of the candidates…we need to get down to the nitty gritty and quit wasting everyone’s time on surface nonsense.

          There is much work to do on both the Republican and the Democratic side to convince voters that the person that they choose to cast their vote for is deserving and capable.  In the meantime, DemoPublicans are going to be the deciding factor in this election…God help us all to make the correct choice, without compromising the things that are most important.

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       Have you heard about the Presidential Dollar Coins?  The US Mint is honoring our Presidents in the order of their service to our country; by producing coins with their likeness on them.  The goal is to honor the Presidents, and to save the country millions in production costs that the paper dollars incur just by the wear and tear that they receive during their use.  The coins are expected to be more indestructible.   By lasting longer than the traditional paper dollar; it will save the United States, a good chunk of change 🙂  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist saying that!

       This year’s coins are:  Presidents, Monroe, Adams, Jackson and Van Buren.  On the back of each coin is an image of the Statue Of Liberty.  Along the edges of the coins are the words, In God We Trust and the year as well as the minting mark.  You can check out their site here:  http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/%241coin/ and there you can find out the release schedule as well as how to direct order the coins and coin boards.  Most banks or credit unions either have the coins or can get them for you as well. 

       I have been seeing television commercials encouraging the use of the Presidential Dollar Coins.  In fact, there seems to be an experiment going on by the US mint to try four test marketing communities.  There are four cities that are being used to test the public’s willingness to use the coins in their daily lives.  Those four cities are:  Austin-Texas, Charlotte- North Carolina, Grand Rapids-Michigan, and Portland-Oregon.  These cities will be urging their citizens to use the coins for everyday tasks; business owners will also be part of the plan of encouragement.  It is hoped that this experiment will increase the demand from other cities to trade paper dollars for coin. 

       I wonder though, if technology will keep up with the experiment.  Will vending machines, automated car washes, pay telephones, parking meters, toll booths, and the like accept the coins, in place of the traditional paper dollar?  Will you be more likely to use the coins, use traditional dollars, or, use the coins for collecting purposes?

       

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      Are you tired of trying to find family activities that you don’t have to apologize to your kids for; inevitably, many of those so called family activities, violate the very family values that you are trying to instill in your children?  Well, here is an event that you won’t have to justify taking your family to.

       It is the National Baby Food Festival in the Baby Food Capital of the World.  Gerber baby food company is known around the world for it’s innovative production of baby foods and products; and it is celebrating in the town where it all began, Fremont, Michigan. (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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       We all know that the economy in the United States isn’t as healthy as it could be.  We know that gas prices are sky rocketing, we know that everything keeps going up except the average American’s paycheck.  Food prices in restaurants and grocery stores keep climbing because they have to pass on the cost of gasoline increases that it takes to produce and ship their products. 

         The media has been building up the idea of stockpiling food…it is not a new idea…Grandma used to do it too…it is called, preserving food.  Everyday family life has changed dramatically, but not all of it is for the good.

       Canning, drying,  and freezing food is in it’s own way, stockpiling food for when the prices and the availability cause food to be scarce in a home. It used to be a fact of life that to get through a winter you had to do this to survive.  I am a baby boomer so i remember when it was the way things were done.  Then, as i transitioned to adulthood and rasing my own family, i did the same thing for a time; when life was about stretching the money we had, to make it last long enough to feed the children.  

        As the children aged, we started to buy our food in bulk, in the fall can good sales, that the major grocery stores do every year.  Over the last 8 years or so, you started finding that the can good sales weren’t as cheap as they used to be.  You began to get less can goods, for the same amount of money…everything started to cost more.  Some people are never going to want to take care of canning, drying, or freezing their own food…they will just continue to pay whatever it costs in the stores.  But, i feel that in the last decade or so, we are starting to see many families looking to learn some of the old ways.  It is going to become more common as young families want to feel more in control of what they put into their family’s diet and save money at the same time.  

        Already, farm markets are making a huge come back.  The media is touting ways to save money and help green up our buying habits, by buying locally grown produce when we can.  This helps us cut down on how much pollution is put into our environment by cutting down on how far the produce is shipped across the country.  It is all about making some sacrifices and using our buying power to make a statement of dedication.

        I think you are going to see a resurgence of people growing and preserving their foods.  Especially with the last couple of years experiences with salmonella outbreaks, contaminated feeds, and the common usage of cancer causing pesticides.  The average person is wanting to eat food that is healthier and the more we learn about producing food that is organic and full of nutrients…the more that people are going to demand a higher standard of quality.

        So, my hat is off to Grandma & Grandpa and all of us who are brillant enough to understand that not all of the old ways are to be passed over for the quicker, easier, and more popular way of doing things.  We can accomplish much when we commit to using wisdom from the past, with wisdom from the present…to use wisdom for our future!

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      Great news…those tax incentive rebate checks that the government is promising will be on their way in a matter of days, to those who requested direct deposit.   For others…it will be here by the middle of summer.   Isn’t that great?  

       Curiously, while the announcement that the checks were going out a week ahead of schedule was being announced in the media; the news was plastered with the bad news that rice sales are being limited, by some chain stores, due to rising costs; as well as, fear of food hoarding.   Other troubling financial concerns are highlighted on the evening news at a frightening rate.

        The gasoline prices keep increasing.  Farmers are in distress because of the cost to produce our nation’s food supply.  Grocery shopping is becoming a lesson in financial management.  Heating our homes is equal, for some families, to planning a major household purchase.  Homes are being foreclosed on in record numbers; and now, the latest news is that even rental homes are being foreclosed on causing more homelessness.  Food banks can’t stay stocked in basic necessities; charities are in need themselves.  People are dying for lack of medical insurance to cover their physical well-being. 

          Is this country trying to recreate the Great Depression?   Where is Franklin Delano Roosevelt when we need him?   Our national economy is taking a nose dive.  Corporations are moving outside of our country’s borders.  Layoffs are at an all-time high.  Schools can’t get enough funding to keep quality teachers and tools.  School violence is making education a joke; our future leaders are not going to be competitive with other nation’s leaders if these trends continue.  The children in our country are filled with hoplessness.   All around our country, the morale is beyond the typical hysterical feeling one achieves when riding a roller coaster. 

           Does anyone seriously think that these $300.00-$600.00 checks are going to ignite tax payers to run out and make purchases to stimulate our economy?  No way, people are going to use that money (for the most part) to survive!  I love what I read on one online forum….the writer said something to the effect of, “Yippeee…that is three tanks of gasoline for me!!!”   Sad isn’t it?  A van or large truck can take up to $100.00 to fill.  Some people still have not received their checks…here is a number you can call to check on the status of your rebate check if you have not yet received it:  I don’t work for the IRS so i wouldn’t know about when someone would be receiving their rebate; however, here is a toll free phone number to check on the status of someone’s rebate and whether they will be receiving one or not. 1-866-234-2942 Good luck to you.

  Let’s at least be honest here…that money will come in handy…but, if anyone expects it to change the economy’s health…they are fooling themselves.  So…really, what are you going to do with your check?  

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