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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

My lucky charm, the resident black racer, showed up at exactly 2 p.m. yesterday. As you can see from these charts the market immediately started upward. Too bad he crawled away after a while, taking the market along. Yesterday’s dip wasn’t as bad as previous days, though. What will today bring? Where is my lucky charm?

 

Note: I had to remove the chart because I posted a live one, which is totally not relevant. Trust me, it went up at 2 p.m.

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We are missing the real lesson of Joe the Plumber, the citizen who asked a question of Obama at a rally. He wanted to know how an Obama tax increase to taxpayers making over $250,000 would affect him when he buys the plumbing company he is working for.  A simple question that has become a new game called “Kill the Questioner.” The Google engine heated to fiery red immediately after the report aired. We soon learned Joe had no plumbing license, made only $40,000 (How could he afford to buy a company, we were asked.) and owed personal taxes to the state. Keith Olberman even did a six-degrees-of-separation search that placed “someone with Joe’s last name” as a cousin of Charles Keating of S&L fame.  

Courtesy The Inquisitor

Courtesy The Inquisitor

 

 

So what is the real lesson? This is it. If you attend a rally, town meeting or ask a question at a debate, be very, very sure all your parking tickets are paid, your alimony is up to date, you scrubbed your computer of X-rated sites you visited last week, watch only PBS, listen to classical music and don’t pick your nose at the traffic light. I jest — but in truth. The REAL lesson is DON’T QUESTION AUTHORITY. Got it?

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MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics writer says Social Security checks are going up $63 a month for the typical retiree — the largest increase in more than a quarter century but likely to seem puny to the millions who have been watching in horror as Wall Street lays waste to their retirement nest eggs.

 

He goes on to say the Senior Citizens League said (doesn’t he believe them?) it did a study that indicated people 65 and over have lost 51 percent of their buying power since 2000, with the price of home heating oil and gasoline more than doubling since the beginning of the decade and such food staples as eggs and potatoes showing big increases as well.

 

Well, I guess seniors were the only consumers to face these increases for eggs and potatoes, heating oil and gasoline. How does that work? You’re under 65, you get a discount? Oh, I forgot. You get a discount all over the place if you are AARP age. Don’t forget 10% off Mondays at TJ Maxx, Tuesdays at Marshalls (or vice versa).

 

If Crutsinger has really taken the pulse of seniors, what a bunch of whiny, ungrateful, wrinkled old buzzards there are out there. We are talking 5.8% increase. How many younger workers do you know who got that kind of raise this year? (Excluding CEO’s of failed, bankrupt and bankrupting companies)

 

Yes, those felonious Wall Street crooks laid waste to retirement eggs, including ours, but who are we to expect hard working, young wage-earners to make up the difference? Their 401-K’s got battered, too.

 

So if you are a senior, stop your sissy, pathetic whining and enjoy your 5.8% raise by spending it where young workers who are contributing to the Social Security fund every working day will get a little benefit back. Maybe with the new money circulating around next year a few of their tedious, grinding jobs will be saved. It’s the least you can do.

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All last week as the markets tanked I crowded onto the website of Wall Street Journal like a moth to flame. And today the Dow ends up over 900 points. Is this for real or a euphoric blip? Should I have been selling today when the market didn’t tank after 3 p.m.? Only time will tell.

 

To my credit, I didn’t bite on any of those commercials flashing just below the market report all last week. The Jack Daniels bottle all but danced out of there and poured me a drink. Now that I understood the targeted marketing concept, I watched for someone to sell spots on the ledge of the 14th floor of an office building. A news story  running below was about San Francisco’s plans to install a chain net under its bridge, though its not there yet.  Wink Wink

 

For today, I will settle for pinning the tail back on the financial donkey. Besides I’m out of Jack Daniels.

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Ask yourself one question. Do you want McCain or Obama tinkering under the hood of our economic engine as it is sputtering and choking? All I can say is, either of them better have a darn good set of wrenches. Somebody needs to demand names of prospective staff and cabinet posts — and don’t allow them to get coy. McCain admitted he knows little of economics. I frankly don’t see anything in Obama’s background that gives me hope.  Marry off our country to a rich one or get cash from a nefarious friend don’t seem to be viable answers for the situation we are in. One of those light weights will be keeping your country’s checkbook. I can’t think of anything more important than knowing who will be sitting beside him licking the pencil lead.

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Ellen Goodman’s article (Self-serve and Slave) in the Orlando Sentinel this morning had my head nodding all the way through. She drew the line at a dinner invitation to a restaurant where they hand you a platter of raw foods and a hot pot. She decided if she wanted to cook her own food she would eat at home. Ellen, we are sisters under the skin.

 

Perhaps I carry it too far. It annoys me to choose what goes on my hamburger. It’s a hamburger! Put everything on it like they do in Texas. I understand the concept of personalized sandwiches, but still don’t like to have to decide on each ingredient in a sub sandwich. I have to make those decisions in my kitchen every night.

 

But forgetting about food, Goodman recalls all the jobs we have to do for free now that stores once paid workers to do. We’ve been distracted by jobs sent overseas and don’t see how many jobs have stayed right here—but shifted to us – the ultimate free labor.  Ramming that first nozzle into our gas tank was the “gateway drug to self-help.”  Before we knew it, we were conducting our bank business with an automated phone or the Internet, storing our own medical records, copying and delivering reports, picking up scripts because our doctor stopped calling them in, analyzing our own prescription drug plan needs, weighing and slapping a price tag on produce, even checking out our own goods at Home Depot if we were so sappy, etc. etc.

 

Now I am picturing our parents or grandparents, poor as church mice by our standards, some living through the Depression, yet in many ways they were treated like royalty. Grocers kept a running tab for them, bankers knew and looked out for their finances, mechanics knew their car as well as their own, milk was delivered while they slept, clothes  brought to the fitting  room, doctors came to their home, long-time insurance agents advised on every aspect, and on and on. Sure they had to make many of their clothes, grow and can much of their food, share a family car, but the niggling little “unpaid jobs” that add up to a whopping weight on our shoulders were not present. They used that energy to help neighbors—and got help the same way.

 

You hear so many older people say they never knew they were poor. Maybe it’s because they weren’t. Maybe they were our rich ancestors.

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