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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

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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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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Our Embarq phone bill has a charge this month of $13.69 for VOICEMAIL ID THEFT SRVC. Let that soak in a minute. The charge is listed under Long Distance. There are a couple of problems with this. We have neither long distance  nor voicemail service. But ESBI at Coregmedia.com is doing its part to protect us just the same. If only Homeland Security was so on the ball. 

 The bigger question is how does one go about stealing voicemail identity — assuming I had such a thing? Do they hire Rich Little to immitate the voices? Perhaps he needs a job after that disasterous gig at the Washington Press Conference. Embarq tells me by law they must bill our phone number any charge sent to them. It’s for MY convenience. Are you getting a warm fuzzy feeling about all the people out there looking out for us?

Perhaps what I really need is  PHONE NUMBER  theft protection now that I know that’s all the unscrupulous need in order to bill me. Oh, the charge is now in dispute as will future charges be. (They can’t stop the engine that is set up to bill me monthly for several cycles at least.)

I checked; this scam isn’t run by AOL, though the (very nice) Embarq employee asked me if AOL was involved! He also said most people don’t check their bills and notice something like this only after months of charges. You won’t do that, will you?

Check that phone bill, people, especially if you surf the net and this low life company has a chance to grab onto you. Let’s shut this operation down!

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