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Old 02-18-2011, 09:33 AM   #1
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What's your take on the/our economy?

just wondering what your take on the economy is. are we making headway like the gov says or are we circling the toilet? i have a very strong view as to whats going on and whats to come but just curious as to yal's view.

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Old 02-18-2011, 09:44 AM   #2
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I was told in a letter a few months ago that I would not get a cost of living increase for the second year in a row because there was no inflation.

Where do they buy their groceries? Everything I buy on a regular basis is going up and up and up. The bread I bought a couple of months ago went from $2.50 to $3 a loaf. This is typical. The large creamer that was under $3 is almost $4. Most things are up by 30 to 70 every time I shop. Over the span of a year, it's ridiculous.

I do get a little food stamps, but because our government says there is no inflation, I don't get a raise in my food stamp allotment.

I'm really surprised that the people who depend on Social Security haven't made enough of an impression on the people who make these decisions that it happened again this year.

I don't like being lied to, especially by my government.

I appreciate the chance to vent on this, even if it's probably too political a thread to last, it has been on my mind.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:34 AM   #3
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Zhizara, the reason there is no inflation according to the powers that be is because they don't include energy or food in the calculations. I believe we are looking at some really tough times ahead.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:44 AM   #4
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Well, though we really haven't seen it yet I believe that we have rounded the corner on the "recession" (I'm sorry but IMHO this is a depression). I suspect that things will begin to turn around in the next few years but I also know that it will be a very slow turn. And really economically speaking that is a good thing. The hard part is holding on until that happens. There are an awful lot of people who are just one or two paychecks from living on the street. The worst part of that is that there are not the social programs that there used to be to buoy people up during the toughest times and people don't have the close family relationships living nearby who can help during the tough times. The economic stats don't account for people who have run out of unemployment insurance or for people who are under employed so in my opinion they are inaccurate. I'm willing to bet that our unemployment rates are at least two points higher than the government says they are. Just keep holding on, after all what else can we do?
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:52 AM   #5
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IMO it's hard to tell whether we are making headway, only time will tell.

As far as things getting better we are in a capitalistic country so the wants and needs of corporations, banks, and wall street will always come before the needs of individuals. Better will always be relative. Things will always be more expensive than necessary, and more than many can afford. Once the stock market tumbles (I think it's inevitable at this point, even though we've put it off for a few years), we will have the opportunity to make change. Will we idk? I'd like to think Americans won't be caught asleep at the wheel again, but comparing current consumer spending with income, unemployment rates and foreclosure rates, I fear we as a country don't get it. I'm afraid the way we live our lives is totally unsustainable and we may have to learn that the hard way
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:47 AM   #6
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I'm afraid the way we live our lives is totally unsustainable and we may have to learn that the hard way.
And we will, whether it be us or our grandchildren (I'm 28). Short of getting cold fusion up and running (or a drastic change in the minds of every person on earth to reduce population levels at a fantastic rate), we will reach a point of system extrema that can't be overcome. It's ecology 101 with some basic thermodynamic principles.

Best case scenario is overwhelming environmental pressure that re-stabilizes the system. Worst case scenario is a dynamic system bifurcation.

Energy, potable water, and commodity grain tell quite a bit about our situation.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:14 PM   #7
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One of the reasons I come here, is I'm sick of political discussions, and was told that those discussions aren't allowed here.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:19 PM   #8
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It is still bad. I've been running on fumes these past couple of years.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by joesfolk View Post
The economic stats don't account for people who have run out of unemployment insurance or for people who are under employed so in my opinion they are inaccurate. I'm willing to bet that our unemployment rates are at least two points higher than the government says they are. Just keep holding on, after all what else can we do?
The statistics also do not account for people who are self-employed and may not have any revenue generating projects/clients. These people don't get counted in statistics because they are "invisible" when it comes to grabbing unemployment stats or salary stats. These people don't qualify for unemployment and aren't on salary. Self-employed folks who provide services have to figure out how to survive without assistance. I read that 30% of the American population are self-employed (not small business owners that sell goods, but people who sell services). I know I'm one of those and times have been LEAN since January 2008. I am seeing an upswing--I've had 9 or 10 calls (landed 5 projects--yea!) since Jan 28th. But that's the most traffic I've had since 2007. For 20 years, I averaged 275 billable days / year. I was able to pick and chose on which projects I worked. I don't know if I've hit 275 billable days since January 2008. Rates for services in my field are what they were in between 1996 and 2000 (lowest rates 1996 rates, highest 2000 rates). Try living on 1996 earnings in 2011! Do I miss things? Damned right I do. Will I have enough money to ever retire...I did in 2007, but I had to spend it to stay afloat. I guess for the past three years you could say I've been in an "on the job training" program for retirement.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #10
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I've been self-employed for 32 years now and this current situation is the worse it's been for us. As mentioned above we are not accounted for job loses. I've never seen so many mom and pop shops closing up shop here. Empty shops are numerous like it's never been. These small businesses are a huge force in our economy, yet their statistics are not accounted for the most part.
It's actually worse then what gov numbers indicate.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:59 PM   #11
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I don't see this as political, but maybe the thread should be moved under venting or OT.

One of the changes in my life since 2008 is that I have a lot more time to prepare all the meals I eat from scratch, to bake my own bread, to garden and "put things up." The economy has affected how I eat and how I think about food. I still eat well--I am not eating catfood <g>. But, I don't shop the same way. I no longer decide to make something, make a list, and go get the ingredients. Now I look at what I have on hand, check the flyers for what is on special, and formulate my weekly menus around those things. The Frugal Gourmet tried to share this lesson with us (the general population) years ago...we didn't get it.

I am amazed by the number of people who don't cook--who order out/go out--I'm not talking once in awhile, but 3-4 times/week. There is a show on slice.ca called Until Debt Do Us Part (I can only watch it when I dogsit for a friend who has satellite TV). Almost every segment shows a huge amount of the disposible income (and a large portion of the credit card debt a person has acccumulated) is/has been spent on eating out/take out etc. And, a lot of the people on the show don't know how to prepare food at home. One of the challenges is to learn how to cook.

I've only been part of this forum for a short time. I am astounded by the amazing meals people prepare and then am gobsmacked when one of the people who has shared one of those that they are living on a limited income and that they still can eat well.

I read an article awhile back that people (women) used to spend on an average 3 hours a day preparing meals (in the '40s and '50s I think it was). Today the average time spent preparing meals is 15 minutes, definitely under 30 minutes.

People with low incomes are also have poorer nutrition that results in more health-related problems. I think it is great that people on this forum have said "I'm really struggling financially but I want to eat healthy. Anyone have any suggestions of how I can eat healthier on a limited budget?"

When I receive payment for a project (anywhere from 30 to 150 days AFTER I submit the invoice), I pay my bills first, and the next thing I do is go grocery shopping. I buy "treats" (yesterday's mussels were an example) or restock my spices or buy things I've wanted to try but couldn't justify. Little pleasures, but not the same as going out and buying a new car. Quinoa is one of those things I buy. Yes, it is pricey, but it is very healthy and filling. I still eat well, but I spend a lot more time in the kitchen then I did when I was pulling down a 6-figure income. But, even then, every fall I bought 1/2 a beef and 1/2 a pig for the freezer.

Kayelle, the economy has changed how we eat and how we think of food. I think the OP assumed we all recognized that and didn't give the whole backstory when he/she started the thread. I think those in financial straits would agree that not having food in the cupboard is very depressing and demoralizing. Having people who can help them figure out how to stretch what they have and not treat them as if there is s/thing wrong with them because they are in that position, is important. Support networks make the world of difference when people are "on the dark side of the moon" and only want to find a way back.

On an up note, I think we are moving toward better times. It is just going to take sometime to get there. And, I doubt that the habits I've developed re: enlarging the garden, homecooking everything, ferreting out deals re: food, etc. will change, even if I do go back to working 100-hours/week or billing more than 275 days/year. I've learned a lot from this recession/depression. But enough already <g>. I thought I signed up for a stained-glass making course, not the "on-the-job retirement training" course. That's what I get for being too vain to wear my reading glasses.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:58 PM   #12
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sorry, i agree with kayelle. i do enjoy a good political debate. just not here.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:31 PM   #13
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^no debate here :-)

When looking at cookbooks from older generations, some cuts of meat are referenced as being inexpensive. Today I can't find those cuts anywhere. Do you think those cuts will reemerge as more families tighten the budget? Or is that necessary today? No doubt, we produce a lot more meat than we used to.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:54 PM   #14
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I think if you were to go to a market that caters to a large latin population you will find many of the cuts of meat that we don't see in most mega marts today. Those folks just know how to eat and cook. Some of those cuts of meat are extremely flavorful if cooked correctly and it doesn't have to cost 13.99 a lb. And , yes, if people demand those cuts of meat they will get them. There is an old saying in the economics biz....You vote with your dollars. It is so true. If people are buying less expensive cuts of meat over pricier kinds they will be supplied. (But of course the increased demand will tend to cause the price to increase too. )
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:27 AM   #15
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My grandfather was a pharmacist in northern MN during the depression. My mother remembers (or maybe she doesn't now because of her dementia) when she and her brother were given $10 to go get groceries. They lost the money in the snow. She remembers that they ate cabbage (my grandmother had a cold storage space and had cabbage) and tomatoes (my grandmother "put up" many jars of tomatoes) as a consequence until my grandfather was paid in money again--he accepted rag rugs, eggs, etc. in lieu of cash from people. I don't know if things are that dire, but there are people in the forum struggling to make ends meet and sharing cost-saving ideas and budget meal ideas hopefully helps them and also lets them know they are not alone. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with caring and being part of a community.

I have a friend who got fired from her job after she was in a car accident. Yadda-yadda-yadda, she didn't qualify for benefits, food bank, and was really hurting financially and emotionally. I would put together about $80 of food for her every two weeks. If you are in that position and know s/one struggling, a home-cooked meal or an invitation to come for a home-cooked meal could be appreciated. Having food in the cupboard makes a HUGE difference for s/one who is "living on fumes." This isn't political--it is about survival. And, I think that is where the OP was coming from--not a political position.
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