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.

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