Saturday, February 7, 2009 stimulating!

Wow, what an amazing day! It got up to at least 55 degrees here, and an incredible amount of snow has melted. I can see patches of lawn! Ken washed his Mustang! I went out without a jacket! I have one more day of taking care of Shane's kitties, and there's a car wash on the way. I'm going to get Slick washed tomorrow. We know they'll get dirty again soon enough, but it's important to wash all the salt from the roads off of cars as soon as possible. It's rough on cars.

I just got the ribs in the oven, so they can cook for a few hours (we eat late). As I was cutting the slab in half, Ken asked, "What are you having?" Hardy-har. These look pretty meaty, so I think there will be plenty!

Uh oh...looks like A-Rod is A-Roid. Tsk tsk.

Well, it looks like they're getting closer to agreeing on a stimulus package. I know some of you won't agree with me, and that's okay by me, but I believe this is necessary to "prime the pump" and get things flowing again. The downturn is a vicious cycle, a snake that eats its tail: people caught in the crunch spend less on goods and services; businesses losing money cut back on workers and/or hours; people cut back more on goods and services because they have less take-home pay; businesses cut back further. And on and on and on. I'm no economist, but it seems to me that unless we jumpstart things, it's going to cycle down and down until the problem becomes even worse.

Actually, I think it will get considerably worse in the coming months, and I hope no one thinks this stimulus package is going to magically erase our woes overnight. It took years to get into this mess, and it's going to take years to get out. But I believe that if we invest money now in repairs and improvements, it will create desperately needed jobs. I mentioned yesterday that our neighboring county now has a 15% unemployment rate. That is frightening. And I think we need to keep in mind that there are real people behind all these numbers. It's easy to toss around numbers like 15%, or 50,000 more jobs lost...those aren't just jobs, those are people (one of that 15% is my brother-in-law). People who might lose their homes, or be unable to pay for needed medicines and health care, or who can't pay their heating bills.

Would the market eventually correct itself? I would think so. That seems logical. But can we really afford to wait a couple of decades for it to reach an equilibrium? Not when there are people suffering, and I believe some are suffering.

Having said all that, I will say that we, as consumers, definitely need to rethink our crazy behavior. Plenty of people have been living large for quite a while now, and it's time to stop the insanity. I took an Economics class in high school, and a Personal Finance class in college. Is that even taught in high school anymore? And my college class was an elective. Let's make these things mandatory, and maybe our future generations won't make the same bonehead mistakes we've made. I'm not pointing fingers at any particular party, either (although you probably can guess who I would point at the most for deregulation...and with the biggest finger). The blame crosses party lines, and the solution has to as well.

I had no problem with the Republicans wanting to cut some of the stuff out of the bill. Focus on job creation, because that is definitely the most crucial thing here. But keep in mind that what might look like it would squeal if you poked it could very well be something that does create jobs. (For example, Dan said that a friend ridiculed the grass seeding of the Mall in D.C. Dan pointed out that it would mean hiring a local company to put down the seed. Job creation.) Everyone, especially those companies getting money, also needs to keep in mind that this is not a handout, it's a loan that will need to be repaid. That's why I had no problem with the President setting a limit of $500,000 on some executives' salaries, those from the companies who are getting a piece of the pie, until the loan is repaid. That's not enough for managing a company that deals with billions of dollars? They need to pay the big salaries to attract the best people? As Craig Ferguson said, "Cry me a fucking river." Tighten your belt the way so many others are having to do because of your mismanagement. If you budget wisely, I think you can live on half a million a year!

I was telling Ken today that it really is kind of amazing to be living during this time. It's historical, but in such a bad way. My great hope is that we, both personally and collectively, will eventually emerge from this having learned an invaluable lesson. We have to be smart with our own spending and with our finances, and we have to keep an eye on--while doing our best to keep our hands off of--the practices of the financial world. I believe we can get out of this...but as Bette said, fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.


  1. Hard to believe that President Obama will be less than 20 miles from here on Monday. Go Elkhart.

  2. It is tough. I was just fussing today that it seems like we pay out more than we take in now.

  3. I agree that our young need a better understanding of fiscal responsibility. They leave our homes at a point that we have paid our dues and have a lot of luxuries... and they think that they should have these as soon as they leave home as well. So.. out come the credit cards and the beginning of their own debt. OY!

  4. 55 degrees. Oh for 55 degrees here.....

  5. i went without a coat here today too.

    i think when i get my real camera dilemma solved i am gonna start making my cat pose for that crazy cat bad grammar site. she needs to start earning her keep.


  6. I heard we reached 58 here today for a few hours. It didn't feel that warm to be honest. I wish we would have gotten the truck washed today, you can barely tell what color it is!

  7. It's amazing to me that they don't have more personal financial classes in school... I worked in payroll for 8 years at the school district and was floored when a couple of young teachers came to find out why there was money taken out of their checks... "What's State Withholding and Fed Withholding mean?" THEY WERE TEACHERS who didn't know they had to pay taxes!! TRUE STORY!

  8. Man, 'Possum Kingdom' is such a cool song!

    I was watching a news program talking about the economic situation this evening. I think I mainly agree you, since I can't find anything to disagree with!

    Now, I am a little sore at the weather ... if my bike could have made it from Thurs to Fri without cracking ..!

  9. Hi Beth,
    First, thanks for the good wishes for my father. He's doing much better now. I don't know what to think about the Stimulus package ... there are parts of it I like (mainly the infrastructure initiatives) and parts that seem confusing. But I do agree we need to do something and that the focus needs to be on job creation!

  10. Good post, Beth. I'm sure it is going to take some time to correct this financial mess we are in. I just don't know how to deal with it while that is happening. I got caught in this downward spiral at a very bad time (like there would be a good time). As I've said before, the only solution I see would be to die about five years sooner than I'd planned on.

  11. ah, yes, that wonderful moment of wearing NO winter coat....what a day yesterday must have been! LOL And ribs too? Ken is a lucky duck.
    i agree with you on the stimulus pkg. Anyone want to talk about job loss and fears send them to my house. As you know, it is all driving me more insane.

  12. Yes, I think it's gonna get bumpier. That seems almost certain.
    But if President Obama (I like that phrase) can get this package passed this week, history will look back and note that he passed a huge recovery plan in his first four weeks. Not bad for somebody who was untested, eh?
    I saw something recently that suggested as soon as this passes, Obama and Congress will addresss how to spend the Bush Tarp Part 2. More fun.
    I think we're at a crossroads and a lot of other countries, friend and foe, are watching closely.

  13. I have mixed feeling about the stimulus package myself, but I am inclined to agree with you that it is probably necessary right now. Hard times!

  14. I am a sissy, 55 is still too cool for me to wash the Y'all are tougher than me. I want at least 65 degrees. That kitty pic is cute! Kelly

  15. I hate to even listen to the news anymore. It's always so depressing.


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