Thursday, July 24, 2008

A time to gather stones.

Blurb from The Oil Drum:
Drumbeat: July 24, 2008
Posted by Leanan on July 24, 2008 - 9:08am
Topic: Miscellaneous

Middle class: 'On the edge'

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by $1,175 between 2000 and 2007, said Elizabeth Warren, professor at Harvard Law School, in written testimony before the Joint Economic Committee.

At the same time, the average family is spending $4,655 more on basic expenses, such as gas, housing, food and health insurance. Gas alone costs $2,195 more for a family making the same commute in May 2008 as it did eight years earlier.

The rest of this summer should be, barring any major terrorist or weather related mishaps, a period of relative stability. The "powers that be" aren't going to let anything stupid happen before the election if at all possible. There may still be bad headlines, but overall I anticipate that everything will try to be maintained in a "business as usual" stance. Some volatility of stock and oil prices may remain, but these will appear to be favorable moves. Reports indicate that after the election, the prices of Electricity, Home Heating Oil and Natural Gas will skyrocket this winter unless the weather is extremely mild. We should pray this will be so.

Either way, now is a time when it would behoove those who have not previously taken advantage of their resources and opportunities to make some changes: get out of debt (even if it means raiding savings to do so), move to a location nearer to work or to mass transit, invest in home gardening, consider homeschooling, arrange carpooling, join barter and swap associations, and relocalize your shopping and your business activities, learn a skill or trade. Plan for the day your extended family may need to move back with you. If nothing else, look into books, videos, training and education for any and all of these. And of course, the primary goal must be to lessen your dependence on gasoline and diesel as much as possible.

Calm weather, figuratively speaking, is something we must take advantage of as much as is possible. Remember, government is not going to be able to help you.

States Slammed by Tax Shortfalls
By Conor Dougherty, Amy Merrick and Anton Troianovski
Word Count: 1,247 | Companies Featured in This Article: Costco Wholesale

The stumbling U.S. economy is forcing states to slash spending and cut jobs in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year.

That gap -- identified Wednesday in a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures -- is more than triple the size of the previous year's. It is the result of broad economic weakness at the state and local levels that could cause pain throughout this year and into 2010. Sales-tax collections, for example, have been hurt by the housing slump and high gasoline prices, which are prompting cutbacks in consumer spending...

We are on our own. Either we will band together and insist that everyone pull their weight in economically sustainable communities, or we will be swallowed up with the rest of the American economy. The choice is ours, and I'm not confident the right path will be chosen.

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