4/20/2008

Dollars & Sense

I don't normally blog about politics, it's just not my style. But with the state the U.S. economy is in, I feel like offering my $.02 (which is worth a lot less against the Euro). First, the housing crisis. There is a lot of effort by the government to find a fix for our current housing crisis. I realize that something must be done to help people in the unfortunate situation of losing their homes to foreclosure because of the overall impact on the economy, but my emotional reaction to this is very different. Why should my tax dollars be bailing out someone who bought beyond their means? I think it is ridiculous that builders who in the past five years have been making money hand over fist should be given tax breaks. And like most policies it does not help those who are fiscally responsible and live within their means, like me and my family. Why not a tax break for all homeowners instead of just those who buy foreclosed homes? Second, rising gas prices. Prices at the pump are skyrocketing. It's outrageous. High gas prices is one of the major catalysts in me getting rid of my car. Tawny took only premium, which is around $3.80 in our neighborhood. Just putting gas in Ruby (our Xterra), which takes regular unleaded, cost us around $60 yesterday to fill the tank at $3.40 a gallon. Chronic is going to ride the Metro to school starting in the fall and is going to start carpooling to work on Fridays. People are going on vacation closer to home because of the weak dollar and high gas prices. That's a smart idea. Please pass along any creative ideas to conserve gasoline. Third, the economic stimulus checks. These checks are supposed to stimulate the economy by encouraging people to spend the money. Do yourself a favor and save that money or pay down debt. But retailers are making that very hard to do. They want a slice of the pie. Major retailers like Sears, Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut are all offering "economic stimulus" sales, cutting prices 10% to 30% in May when the checks begin to be mailed out. I think you'll see every retailer try everything they can to reach into consumers' pocketbooks. Resist the urge to spend that money. Think long term, not instant gratification. Put all this together and the outlook is grim. Pray for things to turn around.