Monday, February 2, 2009

Random thoughts on the economy

(I've been amiss in posting again... another bout with some health issues, but I'm here now!)

As the economy tightens (we're told) money is scarcer and harder to hold on to. Just a few things I've noticed lately: cost of natural gas has gone up, higher prices on some things in the grocery store, the price of gasoline is rising again. I don't have to tell you about the merry go round of people losing jobs, buying less, hurting businesses which lay off people or go out of business, causing job loss... and around it goes.

I don't know where it stops - or in the worst scenario, if it will stop this time. I do know that now, more than ever, all the little things we've learned over the last few years will help us get by. When pennies count for you, the entire economy takes a back seat to your own personal economy.

This may get a little political, but it's not intended to offend anyone. It's just common sense to me.

The fact is that capitalism works when people work and when there is a demand for goods, jobs are created, people are able to buy more and better goods, houses, cars, insurance and so on and a better merry go round experience is created.

Our infrastructure needs help, but why doesn't the government give a little slack so private business can do the work? Why do we have this problem in the first place? Because of government red tape, rules, regulations and laws. Hello? What is wrong with curing the problem instead of bandaiding the symptom?

Ok, enough of a rant for today. Gotta take my meds...


  1. Hope your feeling better soon Pat.

    I agree with your comments today. I also think when we look after our own finances we help the economy straighten out. It's when we follow along like sheep and don't think and do for ourselves that we run into major problems. We didn't get in this mess overnight and we won't get out of it over night. But it doesn't make taking the pill any easier ( Pun intended, ok, then sorry Pat.)
    As you know I've followed along with you for years now, and thanks to that and following the practices you set out here, we're doing ok. Lots of cutting back, and looking forward to gardening again, using free seeds I've saved, ala Pat Veretto style.

    Pat in Kitchener

  2. We need government "red tape", rules, regulations, and laws. Locally, because government oversight is lacking, we paid to have a bridge built and rebuilt when it started to crumble before it was done; we had to have a road lowered because the overpass it went under was almost a foot shorter than it was supposed to be; and we paid a bonus to a private company for finishing a "heated section" of high way early, and then turned around and shut down that highway for months to repair the heated area that still doesn't melt the snow. In none of these cases were the private companies penalized for their "mistakes"; in fact, the tax payers paid for the "cost overruns".
    A lesson we should have learned from recent events is that we need government regulation because the private sector will not regulate itself. Would so many ineffective/dangerous prescription drugs or contaminated food (e.coli in spinach, salmonella in peanut butter) have reached the market if there had been enough government inspectors to check on the responsible companies?

  3. Amen.
    Some regulations are needed, but for the most part from what I've seen they hinder small business and make it easier for big corporations.
    Small business money stays in the community's economy. Big business money goes...who knows where? Overseas?
    Want to help the economy? Start with your little neck of the woods.

  4. Very scary indeed! When will it end who knows I do know however that I am saving like crazy! Where I am from the are cutting the budget buy millions of dollars next month and I don't know if I will have a job left or if I'll get one soon! I want that cushion of savings before the bottom falls out! I am saving and saving! I have to worry if my emergency fund will actually take me through an emergency like the one we are facing? How much is enough! I figure I'll just keep saving until I have no job left to save with!!

  5. Thank you, "Pat in Kitchener." I agree...when we "follow along like sheep" we get into trouble. I wish that everyone would learn to think for themselves.

    Michelle, I definitely agree with your statement, "Want to help the economy? Start with your little neck of the woods." I don't know why that concept is so hard to get.

    "Anonymous" number two, saving is very important right now. Don't forget to stock up on food and dry goods. Depending on whether we get extreme inflation or deflation, those things may be worth more than money.

  6. Sue, of course we need regulations to some extent. Not to the extent that we have now, though. You said, "Would so many ineffective/dangerous prescription drugs or contaminated food (e.coli in spinach, salmonella in peanut butter) have reached the market if there had been enough government inspectors to check on the responsible companies?"

    My reply: If government regulations didn't make it impossible for small, local food producers to compete with the huge companies that employ people who don't care and ignore everything but exactly what the government tells them to do (no common sense cleanliness, no going the extra mile to be sure the food is good because it isn't "cost effective").

    Too many laws only make more outlaws, they don't make a safe country.

  7. Bigger government makes a bigger mess of things. We need government for certain things - the military, law and order, etc. We need to get back to basics and let free enterprise work.

  8. Well there is a lot that we can do from home on this front. Stop shopping at big box stores and support our local businesses. Use local daycare if you must rather than national corporate daycare. Shop at the farmer's market.

    We can all make a difference when times get tough. We can all choose where and how our dollars are used. I believe that many of the regulations (EEOC, making sure companies are not polluting, making sure that workers have rights, etc) are absolutely essential. But I also believe in thinking about where I put my money.

    So in my house, frugal doesn't include any trips to Walmart or Food warehouse or the like. It means trips to the farmer's market, bartering tutoring or computer work for fresh vegies, eggs and meat, etc. Everything that I do, I think about it impact - where does my dollar really go? How can I make sure that I assist my local economy?

    Having grown up on a family farm, I can assure you it means a lot when you buy your dozen eggs at $1.25 from the local farmer, rather than for 99 cents at the big box. That money means the farmer can buy things for the family, or put gas in the car. And that stuff will come back to support all of us.

  9. Anonymous #3, yes I agree. Shopping locally, shopping where your dollars will count, is what capitalism is all about. It's what will save this country if anything will.

  10. What really gets my goat is these new drugs where they put two generics together and then charge an arm and a leg for it! I’ve seen ads on TV for Caduet. It has two ingredients. One is Amlodipine and the other is Atorvastatin. With my RxDrugCard I can get 30 tablets of Amlodipine for $9 and 30 tablets of Simvastatin for $9. I’ll bet they are charging more than $18 for this! The unthinking public is going to pressure their doctors into giving them something just because it’s new, when something old or generic would do the job for cheaper.

  11. Yup, that's a good point. Makes you wonder who's really at fault, the ignorant public or those who take advantage of the fact!