Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thoughts on the Economy

Seems like we are always hearing about how good the economy is, how the unemployment is low, and how new jobs are being created. Well, from this point of view, it doesn't look so good.

If the economy is so good, why does it seem like most of our income goes out on fuel? Now, mind you, I do not have the latest and greatest gas-saving car (can't afford the payments). I drive an older Bravada, but still manage to get between 18-20 mpg, not bad for an all-wheel drive. After the snow here two years ago (29+ inches in two days), the van I had didn't cut it anymore. Besides, with a full frame, it is much stronger than the minivan I used to have, and used about the same amount of gas.

As I stated before, it seems like the price spikes quickly, but takes forever to go down. The profit made from these oil companies (who just happen to be good friends of the Bush Administration) is an outrage. Seems like the amount of profit made each quarter is about the same percentage as the difference between what we were paying over a year ago and now. Seems funny, doesn't it?

The high fuel price just contributes to higher prices at the grocery store. The store we shop locally does a good job of holding the line, but they are also competing against Wal-Mart across the street. I don't shop for groceries at Wal-Mart, because I like to keep my money at home, or at least out of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Ordinary people, who would normally be making a good living on the wages they make, are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet. By the time they pay the weekly bills, visit the grocery store, and buy gas, there is not much left. They still have to contend with credit card bills, utilities, etc. Oh, and then there are the little things like: clothes for the kids for school, books, school lunches, etc. People are reeling from the effects of this. What is the current administration doing about it? Absolutely nothing, nor do they care. As long as their cronies keep contributing to their war chests, they're happy. Congress is doing nothing, either. They're too concerned with remaining in power, and siphoning money from the rest of us. As long as they can continue to stay in power, we as a people will suffer.

On the subject of unemployment, I noticed an article today in an Indiana blog, Taking Down Words, which can be read here. According to TDW, in a print edition from the Indianapolis Star:

"Unemployment in Indiana has hit the highest level in three years, preliminary government figures show. The rate reached 5.7 percent in July, up from 5.2 percent the previous month. That's the highest the state's jobless rate has been since June 2003, when it climbed to 5.8 percent. However, the figure is subject to revision as government analysts receive more detailed information in the coming months."

Hmmm, so much for low unemployment. Our beloved governor (cough, cough), will surely blame the previous administration for this, as he is prone to do.

As far as new jobs, most of the new jobs being created are lower-wage jobs. Good example is what Daniels said a few months ago, which can be read in part here in the same TDW article, when Delphi was cutting jobs and wages. Daniels said that 9 bucks an hour was a good wage! Funny coming from a guy that is a millionaire, and probably hasn't seen the inside of a grocery store in years! I'd like to see him live on that! Same goes for Bush and Cheney!

My main point of this rant is this: with expenses rising, wages flat or getting less, and families struggling to make it from week to week, how do they expect us to live? I'm sure it's easy if you already have a million. For the rest of us, it's getting tough.

Folks, the only solution in sight is to vote in a new Congress. We need a Congress responsive to our needs, that will try to reign in the oil companies, and put a stop to the Bush and Republican agenda of No Billionaire Left Behind, No Common Man Left Standing. We must act this fall, or we will continue to suffer. I urge you to vote Democratic this election, for real change in Washington.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Greetings and Welcome to my Blog!

I've thought about doing this for quite some time, but have been busy working and with life in general. I am new to blogging, and am still trying to learn how to do this, so please bear with me. I don't know if anyone will read this blog, but if you are, please enjoy!

BTW, just to clarify, the postings and comments made on this site are strictly my own, and are written with no intention of offending anyone or just plain making someone mad! If I do offend with my posts, sorry, but after all, these are my opinions, and I have the right to make them, just as you have the right to differ in your opinions. We all have to blow off steam, and politics tend to get me hot under the collar sometimes. The opinions contained in the links on this site are those of their respective authors, and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of such opinions, just as I'm sure mine may not be endorsed by them.

What I hope to communicate here are my feelings toward the need for a change in the current political climate. The regime in Washington has made a mess of things, and it is time for a change. The extreme right wing of the Republican party is bent on full control of all facets of our lives, from surveillance of our conversations, to our emails, to keeping the lower and middle class so broke that we cannot do more than work from paycheck-to-paycheck. Case in point: gasoline. Did you ever notice that the price increases quickly, but doesn't drop as quickly? Makes you wonder if the reason the prices are so high is because the oil companies are using the extra to contribute to their buddies in Washington to keep them in power. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

I am not a liberal Democrat, so before you align me with the left side of the party, let me clarify my position. I was raised in a Democratic family, with a mother and father who grew up in the Depression and the Second World War. My grandfather was a Democrat, and was a supporter of FDR. They knew firsthand about which side would help the working man, and it wasn't the Republicans. My Dad was as die-hard as you could get. He was proud of having "always voted Democrat".

Now, mind you, I have friends who are Repubs, including my best friend, but we don't talk politics. We agree on almost all the same issues. Maybe it's because in this part of the country, we tend to be more conservative in our thinking than in other parts of the country. Issues such as gun control and gay marriage don't have much support around here. People still believe in the right to bear arms, and don't think much about gay marriage. This is, after all, part of the Bible Belt. We still believe that gay marriage is immoral. Issues such as these are only used by the extreme right as a hot-button issue to keep themselves in power, and could care less about the issue other than that. The extreme right really doesn't want you to have guns, because an armed populace is a threat to their existence. Same with gay rights. Sure, they say they are against it, as most of us are, but they seem to think that it is the only issue that matters. Sorry if that offends anyone, but that's the way I feel.

The extreme left wing of the party has brought up issues such as these, and has isolated themselves from the mainstream. This has allowed the Repubs to gain control. They tell people what they want to hear, without really being concerned about the issue itself. They are simply concerned with keeping power, and use this and fear-mongering to win elections. The real Republican party has been hijacked by the extreme right, just as the Democrat's have been hijacked by the extreme left. They in turn call all Democrat's "liberals". Nothing could be further from the truth.

What I would like to do with this blog is see if there are other Democrat's out there who also tend to run to the center. I'm not saying that I don't want to hear any other opinions, for not everyone agrees with me, and they do have a right to speak. What I do want to do is encourage those out there who tend to lean toward the right to raise their voice, and let people know we are here. I also want to encourage those leaning to the left to listen to us, the quiet voice of the Democratic party, and come back to the center, for it is the only way for the Democratic party to lead this country again.

Ok, I've vented enough. More thoughts to come later.