Posts Tagged ‘economy’

I heard on the news last night that the DNC has taken out an ad calling Americans dissatisfied with the government “angry mobs”.   Apparently, if you disagree with what comes out of Washington, you have no right to protest.

Pardon me, but the last time I checked, America WAS still a free country.

Has it ever occurred to these people that folks are MAD?

I know in our own community, there is an overwhelming sense of frustration at our elected officials for not listening to their constituents.  People are tired of having bailouts, handouts, stimulus, and everything else shoved down their throats and told they have to like it.

Funny that when Bush was in office and people protested his policies, it was a different story.  At that time, they were just “peaceful protests”.  It appears we have a double standard on our hands.

The DNC claims that the Republicans have paid people to go to these town hall meetings and shout, yell, or otherwise be disruptive.

I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat, so take that for what it’s worth.  I consider myself an Independent.  The Republican party has not paid me to feel the way I do, and I happen to AGREE with what people are saying in these town hall meetings.

More often than not, I find myself yelling at the television over the stupidity coming out of Washington.

My personal opinion is that folks in Washington are so out of touch with middle class, mainstream Americans, they have no idea why we should be upset.  They claim they are doing what they are for “the good of the people”.


Ask your representative what laws we have that give them the right to force these policies on us.  Ask them if they are willing to go on the national health plan they are proposing.  Ask them if they can live on what the average national salary is and live in a home that is on the national average as well.

They aren’t willing to do any of that.

That’s the point.

They want to tell us how to live, but are not willing to abide by the same rules themselves.

And this new Cash for Clunkers plan?  What are they going to do when folks start defaulting on these loans they’ve taken out?  This is a BILLION DOLLARS of our tax money being spent on this program.

How higher does the deficit have to go before it is enough?

The bottom line is this – people are frustrated.  Many of them have lost jobs.  Many are facing homelessness.  Most of us have lost something in this economic downturn.

We are tired of Wall Street executives getting OUTRAGEOUS bonuses with our tax dollars for a job they have NOT done well.

We are tired of Senators buying new airplanes for themselves because they don’t want to fly coach with everyone else.

We are tired of  “too big to fail” when regular businesses who make bad decisions are forced to close or go into bankruptcy.

We are tired of flooding our representatives phone lines begging them not to vote for things only to be told they will vote “for what seems best to them”.

In short, we are tired.

We are tired of not being listened to.  We are tired of being told that this administration “inherited the problem”.  Sorry folks – unemployment is worse now than it was in January.  It is officially your baby – you rock it.

We are frustrated.

We are average people.

We are all races, creeds, and colors.

Daring to speak out against what we know is wrong?

What did you really expect?

People can only be pushed so far before they start to push back.

Elections are coming in 2010.

I will personally vote for ANY candidate other than who our current incumbants are, just to get them out of office.

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We looked at furniture recently – just to get an idea of what was available and price.  While looking at one store, we were told that there are only TWO furniture manufacturers left in the US.  Everything else is made overseas and shipped in.

We were disappointed in the selection available – everything was leather or microsuede.  The salesman said that they have manufactured furniture that is “universal” so that it can be shipped to Russia, the US, or wherever.

My concern is this – what do we make anymore?

(Bad decisions on the part of our elected officials doesn’t count here.)

We have become a nation of consumers, not manufacturers.

I have started paying attention, and it’s hard to find things MADE IN THE USA.  Items made in China may be cheaper, but they have put Americans out of work, not to mention the quality of items is horrible.  I blame myself just as much as everyone else.  Too often I have purchased based on price alone instead of thinking about what our money is supporting.

The question is – what do we do about it?

For myself, I am trying to make a concerted effort to buy items made here in the US.  With all of us pinching pennies, it’s not always easy.  I worry about what we will do when we no longer grow our own food (we are dangerously close to this already).

Will we become a Third World Country and other nations have to ship relief aid to us?

This has not happened overnight – it has taken decades of this slowly creeping into our way of life.  Pay attention to what you spend your hard earned money on.

Otherwise we may all be buying CDs to learn how to speak Chinese.

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As in, have we hit bottom yet?  I don’t think so based on lots of late night, bleary-eyed searches on the internet.  I heard this morning on the news that GM will need another $70 BILLION dollars in help before this is all said and done.

At what point is it enough?

I’ve been pondering a post about this for a while.  Granted, this is a layman’s point of view – I am not an economist, nor do I play one on tv, but I do pay attention to what’s going on in the world around me.

I realize there are a lot of factors at work here leading up to the economic mess we are in today.  However, there was a tipping point last year that was very clear from my perspective – the point at which consumers literally came to a crossroads and had to make some tough decisions.

What was that tipping point?  Gas prices.

When gas prices rose to almost $4 a gallon (and higher in some parts of the country), consumers literally had to decide between paying their mortgages and putting gas in their vehicles and food on their tables.  I know it put a serious dent in our budget, along with everyone else we know.

At that same time, food prices started rising, and have never come back down.  Gas eventually fell lower than I thought I’d ever see again in my lifetime, but food prices are continuing to go up.  More on that in a minute.

Now this isn’t rocket science – everyone can see when a family is stretched thin financially, it doesn’t take much for the house of cards to come tumbling down.  As people struggled to pay for food and gas, slipped behind on their mortgage payments and other bills, it publicly unearthed some very serious flaws with our financial system here in the US.

People borrowed money to pay for houses and cars they knew they couldn’t afford.  Greedy bankers eagerly loaned them the money knowing they wouldn’t be able to make the payments.  Some of the older folks have a saying for this – it’s called, “where two fools met.”  Banks did unspeakable things with volatile  loans – packaging them into bundles and selling them off to other companies, knowing it was just a matter of time before it all came to a head.

But there is a bigger problem at work here.  Corruption on levels previously unheard of within our political AND economic system.  Congressmen have their fingers in this mess, are hugely responsible for what has happened, yet they try to blame the companies when THEY are the ones who voted for deregulation, bailouts, and lots of sweet perks while patting themselves on the back for what a good job they did.

All of this “bailout” money that was supposed to solve our financial problems hasn’t done a thing – I can’t tell anything is any better, can you?  Companies are still laying off, people are still losing their homes, and families are still struggling to make ends meet.  People who have worked hard all of their lives for what they have are losing everything they own.  Yet the government is still printing money left and right, and guess who’s paying for all of these corporate bailouts?  Yep – the American taxpayers.

As previously mentioned, food prices continue to rise, and there is every indication they will continue to do so.  We have fewer and fewer farmers every year.  We are importing food at a never seen before rate, and are rapidly descending into a deeper abyss than ever imagined.

We personally know many families where someone has been laid off.  My husband is still working (thankfully), but his hours have been cut due to the slowdown.  If it hasn’t hit your home yet, be thankful – it’s a matter of time before it does.

An elder at our church told me recently that I had “lived the best years of my life already”.  It was a sobering statement.  I agree with him completely – I cannot see any way things will right themselves within my lifetime.

I encourage you to vote with your feet if you live in a state where they are continuing to pile on more taxes.  There are 50 states in this Union, and there are surely other places to live where freedom to use your money as YOU see fit still exists.   VOTE THEM OUT when the 2010 elections come up.

Our freedoms are not free – they have been bought with a price.  Our very way of life is at stake.

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Found this today and thought it was worth passing along.  THIS is one reason everyone needs to have food stored and also learn how to garden:


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I know all of us are pinching pennies nowdays, so I thought I’d do a sample of how you can add to your food storage/stockpile for about $20 a week using sale items.  Please note that Walmart rarely runs sales, but most grocery stores *do*.  Our local store puts a sale flyer in the paper each week, and I shop based on what’s cheapest.  Keep in mind that you want VARIETY in what you store.  You and your family would quickly grow tired of eating nothing but beans and rice every day.

Example using our current store sales:

10 cans veggies @ .50 cents/can = $5.00
2 cans PET milk @ $1.00/can = $2.00
2 – 5# bags flour @ $1.48/bag = $2.96
2 – 46oz cans tomato juice @ $1.18/can = $2.36
32oz dried pasta @ $2.00
2 cans fruit @ $1.00/can = $2.00
2 cans chili with beans @ .98 cents/can = $1.96
4# bag white sugar @ $2.00

All of this totals $20.28 plus tax and includes a variety from all food groups.

Or if you’d rather just stock up on canned vegetables while they’re .50 cents a can, $20.00 would net you 40 cans to add to your storage.  You will save money in the long run by purchasing this way, plus quickly add to your pantry each week without breaking your budget.

From the above list of items, you could easily make vegetable soup (which would provide more than one meal), a couple of pasta dishes (chili mac being one), fruit cobbler, chicken pot pie (just add some chicken to your list), several loaves of bread (as well as waffles, biscuits, pancakes), etc.  Your possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

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If you’ve watched the news lately,  you know the economic outlook isn’t good.  I hope I’m proven wrong, but I really think we’re in for some hard times ahead – worse than most of us living have ever had to go through.

The housing market in this country is nowhere near hitting bottom yet.  It can get a lot worse, and from what I’ve read lately by some leading economists, we’re not out of the woods by a long shot.  No one knows exactly what the outcome of this will be because what’s happening is unprecedented, and it’s on a global scale this time and not limited mostly to our country (as was the Great Depression in the ’30s).  I am not trying to cause a panic by saying that, but I do tend to be a realist.  After the stock market crash in 1929, the papers the next day were saying everything was fine and to keep investing as usual.  As Suze Orman says, “Focus on what you HAVE, not what you HAD.”  The stock market is not the safest place for your money to be, but that’s a whole other post.    😛

There are some things you can do to help get yourself and your family through this a little easier.  This is by no means a complete list, but some no-nonsense ideas that can serve as a buffer.  It’s time for everyone to get practical about their finances and way of life, and as Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.

1.  Pray. I mean that sincerely.  Ask the Lord to guide you and give you wisdom to make good decisions.  Whatever happens with our economy, I take comfort in knowing that God is still in control.  Nothing happens to us that does not go by His throne of grace.  If He says we can go through this, then we can.  That doesn’t mean it will be painless or easy.

2.  Pay off as much of your debt as possible. Consider downsizing to a smaller home if need be so you can more easily pay your bills.  If you have a two-income family, could you make it if one of you lost your job?  If the answer is no, then you need to reconsider some priorities.

PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD DEBT.  Start with the smallest amount first, then when that card is paid for, take that payment and move to the next bill.  Eventually, you will get it paid off, but you need to KEEP it paid off.  It will also give you a huge sense of accomplishment as you pay off the bills, and have fewer payments to make each month.

Don’t buy a brand new vehicle – buy an older model or at least a program car only if you HAVE to.  If the vehicle you currently have runs great and is paid for, keep it.  You will save a bundle.  If you do have to buy a new car, consider gas mileage and maintenance costs.  A Hummer may look really cool, but how will it look sitting in your front yard on blocks because you can’t afford to put gas in it?  Gas will eventually go back up.  Learn from our recent $4 a gallon lesson – it should have been an eye-opener.

Don’t buy furniture (or any other large purchase for that matter, i.e. bass boat, 4 wheeler, or any other “toys”) unless you absolutely HAVE to.  If you can make do with what you have, then do it.  I’d dearly love to have new living room furniture, but I won’t spend the money on it because I have a feeling we may need that money to live on.  A new couch will not feed my family in a crisis.

3.  Cut up your credit cards. If you feel you have to have one card for emergency use, put it in a bowl of water and freeze it so you don’t have instant access to it.   If you can’t pay cash for it, then don’t buy it.

4.  Have some cash in reserve, preferably onhand. Fireproof safes are relatively inexpensive at Walmart for the smaller ones and are easier to hide within your home.   I’m not saying pull everything out of your bank, but I do think you need to consider that the FDIC has HALF the amount of money onhand to cover all of the deposits in the US at the current time.  People in the ’30s lost everything when their banks failed.  Now I know that since the FDIC (a private institution, btw – not gov’t owned) was instituted, no one has lost a dime on their deposits.  I’ll give them that.  But what if your bank went belly-up and you didn’t have access to your money (i.e. debit card, checks, savings, etc.) until a new bank took it over?  Could you still put gas in your car or food on your table in the short term?

5.  Stock your pantry deeply. I’ve posted several times here about stockpiling food.  You could have $50,000.00 in the stock market, but will that feed your family if you didn’t get a paycheck next month?  Canned goods will keep for a couple of years (check your expiration dates) and rice, beans, flour, etc. will keep for literally years if stored properly.  Buy what your family eats, rotate your stock so you eat the oldest first, and keep like items together so you can find them more easily.  Learn to cook if you don’t know how.  You’ll save a ton of money by not eating out as often.  Also don’t forget to stock things like toilet paper, medications, personal hygiene items, etc.  You know you’re going to need and use them – why not buy extra?

6.  Learn how to defend yourself personally and your home. If food gets scarce, people will do anything to feed their families.  Buy a firearm and learn how to use it.  Buy extra ammo.  Take a self-defense course.  Evaluate your home and see what security measures need to be taken to improve the safety of your family.  Could your front door be easily kicked down?  What areas of your home are vulnerable?

7.  Have backups to your backup plans. Don’t rely solely on grid-powered methods of cooking, heating, drinking water, etc. in the event of an emergency.  If the power goes out for an extended period of time (even a week or two), you must be able to heat your home, cook food, and have clean drinking water.  If you have electric heat, buy a gas or wood heater for backup.  If you are on public water, consider storing at least two weeks’ worth of bottled water for emergency use.  A gas-powered generator is also a good idea, but you must have extra gas onhand to run it.  Gas grills can be used (OUTSIDE ONLY) to cook food year round.  You can even heat water on them to take a bath if you had to.  Disregarding such fundamental necessities will leave you extremely vulnerable.  Think outside the box – most people are so complacent they never think of “what if” until it actually happens.

8.  Learn new skills. This includes baking bread, gardening, sewing, hunting, fishing, quilting, knitting, soapmaking – anything that is useful and practical in making your life more comfortable in the long run.  Skills require time and practice.  You don’t want to wait until an emergency to learn how to hunt and kill a deer, then skin and butcher it to feed your family.

9.  Get fit. Now I’m preaching to the choir on this one in particular, because it’s an area I’m still struggling with, especially with the holidays approaching.  Fit people are healthier, get sick less often, look better, feel better, and are usually happier.

10.  Live simply, love deeply. Spend time with your family, and take time to unwind.  The breakneck speed most of us live with is not healthy.  Learn to say “no” – you don’t have to be involved in every activity.  Don’t waste time or money on things that don’t really matter in the long run.

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This list was originally prepared for Y2K, but it is still relevant, especially considering our current economic situation.  (And let me interject here that I did nothing for Y2K except fill the bathtub with water, and sit around on the internet watching to see what happened in Australia when 12:00am rolled over.  When it appeared they were ok, I went to bed and slept soundly!  Our current situation, however, has alarmed me beyond anything I’ve experienced thus far.  I urge you to prepare for a spike in inflation at the very least – whatever you can stock for your family now will help you down the road later.)


100 Items to Disappear First in A Panic

By Joseph Almond

#1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy..target of thieves; maintenance, etc.)

#2. Water Filters/Purifiers (Shipping delays increasing.)

#3. Portable Toilets (Increasing in price every two months.)

#4. Seasoned Firewood (About $100 per cord; wood takes 6 – 12 mos. to become dried, for home uses.)

#5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)

#6. Coleman Fuel (URGENT $2.69-$3.99/gal. Impossible to stockpile too much.)

#7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots

#8. Hand-Can openers & hand egg beaters, whisks (Life savers!)

#9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugars

#10. Rice – Beans – Wheat (White rice is now $12.95 – 50# bag. Sam’s Club, stock depleted often.)

#11. Vegetable oil (for cooking) (Without it food burns/must be boiled, etc.)

#12. Charcoal &  Lighter fluid (Will become scarce suddenly.)

#13. Water containers (Urgent Item to obtain. Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY)

#14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won’t heat a room.)

#15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)

#16. Propane Cylinders

#17. Michael Hyatt’s Y2K Survival Guide (BEST single y2k handbook for sound advice/tips.)

#18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)

#19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula/ointments/aspirin, etc

#20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)

#21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)

#22. Vitamins (Critical, due 10 Y2K-forced daily canned food diets.)

#23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item.)

#24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products

#25. Thermal underwear (Tops and bottoms)

#26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets &  Wedges (also, honing oil)

#27. Aluminum foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking & Barter item)

#28. Gasoline containers (Plastic or Metal)

#29. Garbage bags (Impossible to have too many.)

#30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, paper towels

#31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake liquid every 3 to 4 months.)

#32. Garden seeds (Non-hybrid) (A MUST)

#33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)

#34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit: 1(800) 835-3278

#35. Tuna Fish (in oil)

#36. Fire extinguishers (or.. large box of Baking soda in every room…)

#37. First aid kits

#38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)

#39. Garlic, spices &  vinegar, baking supplies

#40. BIG DOGS (and plenty of dog food)

#41. Flour, yeast &  salt

#42. Matches (3 box/$1 .44 at WalMart: & Strike Anywhere &  preferred. Boxed, wooden matches will go first.)

#43. Writing paper/pads/pencils/solar calculators

#44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime)

#45. Workboots, belts, Levis &  durable shirts

#46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, & No.76 Dietz Lanterns

#47. Journals, Diaries &  Scrapbooks (Jot down ideas, feelings, experiences: Historic times!)

#48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)

#49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers,etc

#50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)

#51. Fishing supplies/tools

#52. Mosquito coils/repellent sprays/creams

#53. Duct tape

#54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes

#55. Candles

#56. Laundry detergent (Liquid)

#57. Backpacks &  Duffle bags

#58. Garden tools &  supplies

#59. Scissors, fabrics &  sewing supplies

#60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.

#61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)

#62. Canning supplies (Jars/lids/wax)

#63. Knives &  Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel

#64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc.

#65. Sleeping bags &  blankets/pillows/mats

#66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)

#67. Board Games Cards, Dice

#68. d-Con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer

#69. Mousetraps, Ant traps &  cockroach magnets

#70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks…)

#71. Baby Wipes, oils, waterless &  Anti-bacterial soap (saves a lot of water)

#72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.

#73. Shaving supplies (razors &  creams, talc, after shave)

#74. Hand pumps &  siphons (for water and for fuels)

#75. Soysauce, vinegar, boullions/gravy/soup base

#76. Reading glasses

#77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)

#78. “Survival-in-a-Can”

#79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens

#80. BSA – New 1998 – Boy Scout Handbook (also, Leader’s Catalog)

#81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)

#82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky

#83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts

#84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)

#85. Lumber (all types)

#86. Wagons &  carts (for transport to & from open Flea markets)

#87. Cots &  Inflatable mattresses (for extra guests)

#88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.

#89. Lantern Hangers

#90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts &  bolts

#91. Teas

#92. Coffee

#93. Cigarettes

#94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc.)

#95. Paraffin wax

#96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.

#97. Chewing gum/candies

#98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)

#99. Hats &  cotton neckerchiefs

#100. Goats/chickens

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