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RE: Current economic conditions in US.......
February 27, 2009
8:02 pm
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truthBtold
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I am desperately seeking to get a grasp on the 'Big Picture" here.

I hear the so-called news, read the spin from different newspapers....STILL I feel as if I am only being thrown mere crumbs!

The 'news' likes to exude gloom and doom all around - yet - and yet - why is consumer confidence is so low?

"We Must Increase Consumer Confidence!"

Well - DUH!!!!!

What is REALLY going on here?

Please - can someone help me to understand this???????

I hear about double-digit unemployment.

But yet - doesn't that mean - that even at 15% - that 85% of the rest of the country is still employed?

I am trying real hard to try and be able to discern between what information I receive from various media sources are magnified, what is minimized and just what is left out altogether?

I want to try and get a real handle on this - if possible.

The Big Picture.

For example - I see on my local news how at a local job fair, 800-1000 people here in a major metropolitan area such as Atlanta are lined up around the block.

Yet....YET - by the same token, my local restaurants seem to have the same amount of customers waiting in line to spend money.

Business as usual.

I hear about how the latest movie - "Maddea Goes To Jail" rakes in millions of dollars in one week-end, not unlike some other movie doing the same thing the week before.

So evidently - from what I can see and gather - evidently - there is STILL much 'disposable income' being spent by some damn bodies at present.

I just don't get it.

Can someone help me out here?

Is it a matter of just certain areas of the country being hardest hit?

Certain segments/industries?

Are there some areas of the country whom have not really seen much of a difference in comparison?

Why in the hell can't our 'news' just give us a big picture?????

So just how can I wrap my head around all of this?

I am soooooo frustrated!!!!!!!

I just don't 'get it.'

Can someone here please enlighten me?????

I know that there are some really smart folks here whom maybe see something that I don't.

Please tell me - what is the really big picture?????

Is it just that some industries are jsut going by the wayside while others might be in its infancy of flourishing?

Is the housing market really the crux of it all...and the so-called freezing of credit?

If so, than how does this expalin local restaurants and movie theaters and even cars parked at the mall whom seem imprevious to this reality?

Looking for wisdom.........

(Thanks in advance....)

tBt

February 27, 2009
9:36 pm
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i can't help you i am as confused as you are. all I can figure out ios that the only way to fix the economy is to have people feeling confidence to borrow money. that's what got us into this mess in the first place. i certainly don't understand.

February 27, 2009
9:53 pm
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Tbt,

Not sure where you live, but I can tell you here in Florida and especially the county I live in, we can feel it, and see it. We don't even have to turn on the news, we can drive down any street other then what is considered to be the most expensive homes in the nation... and see forclosures... if not more then three in any given community, these are nice homes, but the people that lived in them lost their jobs.

I am so serious when I say that I personally know of over 22 people that have lost their jobs. Most of us here where I live are sick of watching the news, because we already know what is going on here. As we see it everytime we get in our cars and drive through any community. It is effecting more and more people everyday.

Putting that aside even that animal shelters are over crowded and don't even have anymore room for more, because of so many people losing thier jobs and homes, they have had to turn their animals over to shelters.

Restaurants are closing, the malls are closing early now because of the lack of shoppers, our season for the snow birds is hurting, etc. etc. etc.

So to kind of answer your question it is bad here south Florida.... and getting worse. I believe the two hardest hit states are Florida and Ca. I'm sure it isn't good other places too, but this is what I know from talking to people in Ca, and living in Florida.

The media coverage is what it is, each big news channel cover's it a little differantly.

All I can say is it is positively effecting Florida.

February 27, 2009
10:27 pm
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I'm in CA and its horrible here. The housing industry and anything associated with it is at a stand still.

After 9/11 things were slow but those that had money, spent it. Not so this time. No one is spending. But even folks wiht $$ can't get a loan for home improvement, etc- its all frozen up by the banks.

I haven't had any work to speak of for about 6 months, and its the same for most in my related trade.

Retail is slow and several large chain stores have closed. Thats amazing. Mom and Pop shops are closing. Things are changing quiuckly.

All of this affects city taxes, and what is available to be spent. teachers are being laid off, classes awill be even larger.

So now that we are supposedly getting Federal tax cuts ( a whopping $400) our sales tax is being raised, our vehicle license is being doubled. So there goes any tax cut (as if that would make a difference) for people in CA.

Restaurants are closing too. I went to a large upscale restaurant at noon last Friday and there were only 2 people eating.

I watch CNN as much as I can. Commentators debate whether all this spending makes sense. To me, it scares the C++ap outta me. If it were being spent on authentic stimulus for jobs that would be one thing but its being spent on many pet projects that will do nothing. The banks sucked up the money they were given and want more. The lending stays stuck.

I wish they would have been more precise on where they targeted where the money went and held everyone accountable. I'm afraid we're throwing piles of needed money at a problem that no one knows if it will work.

tbt: 15% of people not working (and thats just the ones they can count and it doesn't include self employed people like me)means they will be collecting unemployment benefits. And those have been extended thru the stimulus. So, more $$ that don't produce.

Supposedly we're scaling back our effrts in Iraq, but we're putting more into Afganistan. So what will be saving there?

I don't have much confidence in whats happening. In a month the stock market has gone down 1000 points, even with all thats being done.

So what will it take to stop all of this?

sd

March 1, 2009
2:35 am
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tBt -

I am not saying that I have al the answers to your question - nor actually know what is going on or what will happen (because the scope of it is so vast) ... but this is how I 'see' it -at the moment.

America has credited and extended itself so much that so that everything is of all out of whack and is now paying the price .. it isn't just happening in the USA but the whole world is suffering - because the American Dream 'Bubble' burst.

First of all .. we are buying (importing) goods that companies (production-wise) have sent out of the country because labor is cheaper and our selling goods (exporting) to other countries is one half of what we are buying. (Say we export 9 Trillion dollars worth of goods...compared to 18 Trillion in imports...Twice the money is going out of our pockets - what we are paying for, than what is coming into our pockets - what we are getting paid). There are more problems on top of that...taxes, insurances, etc...

The greedy want more and more profit and see that cutting expenses (work force) and looking for a cheaper way of producing (third world labor) is a way of keeping profits up.

This isn't just happening in the good ole USA ... the whole world's financial systems are collapsing ... Because the USA is not buying...

Time for the USA to levy higher taxes on imported goods, and lower taxes on goods produced and the labor force here.

I cannot explain it anymore than that. I am not an economist but my father was plus he had been a college professor on top of owning several businesses.

March 1, 2009
2:51 am
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red blonde
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Sort of like a Ponzi scheme but on globally.

March 1, 2009
2:52 am
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red blonde
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Please excuse the typos!

March 1, 2009
2:13 pm
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Well there's a domino effect when somebody loses their job. Multiply the following example by thousands.

For example spoze I lose my job. Then I stop paying daycare, so my daycare provider loses her job. Then I stop paying my cleaning lady so that gal loses her job. Since I must conserve money I cut expenses to the beauty salon so those people lose that income. All the businesses that I consider "extra" expenses lose income from me. All those people and businesses losing income means the government loses tax revenue from that income. But at the same time people are drawing MORE tax revenues through unemployment, food stamps, government sponsored medical that the employer used to pay, and various other assistance programs. So since the government is losing revenue but peoples' need for that revenue increases, the government must cut back on it's own spending so it lays people off- such is the situation in california where government employees must take furloughs on Fridays- non-paid days off. And the government has laid many of its own workers off.

To make matters worse: Since I've lost my job I'm losing my home. It's in foreclosure. So the mortgage lender that lent me 500k is going to lose about 200k because the house is upside down (I owe more than it's worth). This is the situation in California and Florida and I don't know if other states are in housing crisis. But when I borrowed that 500k, the lender was depending on not only getting that money but all the interest associated with that money over 30 years. So they invested the "promised money" (this is money on paper, not real money) in companies that manage various stocks and mutual funds. Well now those business aren't going to get their money that they had depended on to pay their employees and run their businesses. So now employees in those businesses are going to lose their jobs.

It goes on and on. At some point the number of people losing their jobs becomes critical to the economy- meaning the economy cannot carry the losses- before it became critical in california, prices on everything were going up (that was the recession). This price surge is the economy (businesses) trying to absorb and make up for the losses in revenue. But at the critical point, too many people can no longer pay those prices and the dominoes start falling.

When those dominoes reach the banks and mortgage lenders and mass corporations, we're no longer in a recession. It's a depression.

Many people believe we should increase taxes on big corporations and the wealthy. But they already pay 27-33 % of the tax revenue. And the dominoes have hit them. The more income they lose, the more the corporations will cut jobs and spending. The more the wealthy will cut investing, which generates jobs.

The wealthy or only the top5-7 % of all of us. Take them out and the government loses nearly a third of its tax revenue, which the other 93-95 % of us need the government to use right now. That's why Obama is trying to stay away from them. He needs them to invest, spend, and employ people. Remember, the government has already lost a large percentage of its tax revenue through lost jobs and houses and that domino effect.

It's more complicated than this obviously, but I hope this helps shed light on the collapse of our economy.

peace

March 1, 2009
2:56 pm
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red blonde
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Trees -

I definitely agree with you that this is all dominoing!

We have to restructure financially. One way is to pull back all the industry that the US companies have gone outside the US to have produced at a cheaper labor prices ... and go back to producing that product in the USA.

Take the automobile industry - the USA is buying foreign cars because they are more economical in price and gas mileage. (Even though many foreign cars are built in the USA, the majority of the profit from the USA buying them, goes outside the USA even though it creates a labor force within the States. The foreign countries are now cutting their work forces outside of their countries.) So we are in a pickle!

March 1, 2009
3:12 pm
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red blonde
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The housing/contruction of new housing hit bottom...so no profits were being made. It was one of our 'basic' needs. Another 'basic need', was oil...because we heat with oil, use gasoline for our vehicles to go to work to make money and shop for our necessities. Investors looked at this as a way to make a profit...by driving the cost of oil per barrel up...so that the cost of a gallon of gas went up to 4.00 and over...which the working class could not afford, so we cut down on driving unnecessary places and stayed more at home.

Everything is connected.

They have blamed the 'consumer' for not consuming...but how can we 'consume' if we don't have the financial resources to consume other than the necessities when one has lost their job or in facing foreclosure because the upside down market values of the homes...which the banks allowed by lending money on loans, extending credit and being lax on the requirements for more secured mortgages?

Who is to blame? Well - we all had our part in creating this problem.

March 1, 2009
3:15 pm
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I heard that California is considering letting tens of thousand convicted felons loose because the state can no longer afford to keep them incarcerated. What a mess that is going to create!

March 1, 2009
10:12 pm
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Thank you everyone for sharing your honest posts.

Not quite ready right now to respond just yet - only know that I appreciate the heart-felt replies in helping me to try and figure this mess out.

March 2, 2009
1:00 am
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You are correct rb. California prisons are overcrowded and this violates the civil rights of prisoners. The state must either build new prisons to relieve overcrowding or let them go. so we're gonna let them go as the state is bankrupt. Can't pay the bills much less build new prisons.

Mess? Just WATCH the rise of vigilantism

peace

March 5, 2009
4:14 pm
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Hey everyone,

If you are maybe like me - maybe you are feeling like life is all of a sudden being scrambled - you know?

Like - maybe you (we...I...) thought pretty much that we had a pretty 'good poker hand' and all going for us - pretty much - sort of kind of banked on it- then now - all of a sudden - have to all of a sudden forfeit my hand (through no fault or choice of my own) into the tsunami of the current economic conditions.

Wake up call.

I venture to add....RUDE wake-up call?

What's up?

What's down?

What's important in life?

What isn't?

A re-vamping.....to be sure.

Just HOW IS IT that I just natually, gradually and automatically began to associate myself and my own individual self-worth with material things?

On a 'class-scale."

How EXACTLY did that all finally shake out?

(You know?)

I dunno the answers right now - but I am damn skippy glad that I have started to ask myself these most important questions.......

What's up with this?

I almost sense that I have been commercially - consumer-like - trance, robot-like brain-washed over the past few years into directly placing a value on the car that I drive, the house that I live in etc....is in direct correlation of just who I am as an individual.

My facade.

My facade to the rest of the world.

I digress.

I digress to one of my favorite, all time albums.....George Benson's "Breezin" - more specifically - the song - "Masquerade."

Incredible.

Absolutely incredible to me that something so popular back in the 1970's is still relevant today.

maybe - just maybe - in this year 2009, many of us are ready to don the mask - you know?

March 5, 2009
8:05 pm
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Hey tree (fellow Californian?!!)

There was an article in the paper today about how many of those prisoners are illegals, and how the state now wants to sue the Fed govt to pay for them since its supposed to be a Fed problem. What a mess!

The illegals problem just HAS to be fixed before we get anywhere in this state.

sd

March 6, 2009
12:57 am
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I hope we DO sue the Feds. Why should California have to house illegal immigrants who commit felonies? It IS a federal problem. We've been screaming for years for help with this and now we're bankrupt. At this point deporting them would be like throwing sand at the tide.

I say end welfare. End it. No food stamps. No housing assistance. no monthly checks just for existing and making more babies. No more. For anybody.

Those who wanna eat and live in a house will work. Those who won't or can't will be taken care of by the generosity of the American people- charity. As citizens start working in the fields and earning money, the prices of things will go down to match the median income of the working people.

I truly believe my tax dollars would go much further if I could choose to give that money to charity. The Ronald McDonald house doesn't get tax dollars.

We're looking at a ten cent sales tax. Ten cents on the dollar! In addition to income tax. This is insane.

It's just madness.

The Indian Casinos are raking in the dough.

Instead of taxing everybody into the poorhouse, how about just making gambling legal in California? Big business, lots of jobs, and it's not like gambling is NOT available here- the Indian Casinos are everywhere and people flock to them in droves. But they don't have to pay taxes because of their self reliance. Imagine the tax revenue from Casinos.

Oh, I wish I had the answers. But I don't and I'm really frustrated that our leaders don't seem to either.

peace

March 6, 2009
1:58 pm
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sdesigns
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So....the new budget contains $7.7 billion in pork barrel spending (something thats was supposed to be eliminated). True, this is a left over budget proposal from Bush. And also true, some of the congressman/ senators that proposed some of the pork are no longer in office or are dead- so why are their projects/ pork going forward?

As of July 2008, the US population was 303,825,640.

If this $7.7 billion was instead given to each citizen (each citizen, not even each taxpayer), each would get around $25k each. THAT would be a stimulus. When you think of it in those terms, thats a he$$ of alot of money being spent/ wasted.

sd

March 11, 2009
1:03 am
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sd and everyone

Think we should all buy only 'Made in USA' stuff.

Large corporations (maybe not all of them...but....) only keep a 'token' workforce in the USA and have their products and services produced, etc. in a foreign country because of the cheap labor force...to cut down expenses and bolster profits.

Consider the statistics on exports and imports...we export only a little bit more than HALF of what we import.

We need to produce things in the USA to be exported...because that brings money into the USA and jobs would be created.

Think about it!

March 11, 2009
9:33 am
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Its hard to buy "made in USA". China makes things so cheap. I heard 70% of the World's umbrellas are made in China.

If you had to pay $5 for Chinese umbrella and $15 for one made in the USA, I dont know how many would buy the one made in the US and spend $10 more.

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