Back to basics by G-Ma

out-of-businessI think we have all been feeling scared and lost and while I have a hard time putting these kinds of feelings down, I came across this the other day at G-Ma’s View and I got her permission to post it on our blog.  It pretty much sums it up. Without blame and without politics involved.  She is a grandma who is raising her two young grandsons and she has a lot to say. Check out her blog more often you guys.  She’s a good gal.

In a recent post, I talked about my belief that we were going about correcting our economy in the wrong way.  I just can’t see how tossing jillions of dollars towards companies and banks that made poor operating decisions, is going to help us “recover”.  If banks and other lenders chose to use poor decision making skills and made millions of dollars in loans to people and companies who couldn’t afford them–perhaps that bank or lender should fail.  Why does everyone else have to suffer in the form of staggering debt and loss of credit opportunity for those who use it wisely?

And look out everyone–if the Employee Freedom of Choice Act (EFCA) passes as it is written, I predict it will run all of the small businesses out of business, and will start a wave of corruption like nothing we’ve seen so far.  While union organization definitely had a place in our country’s history, there is simply no need for today’s employees to fork over part of their hard-earned dollars to a union. The rights of our employees today are very effectively protected through federal and state legislation already enacted.

Small business is the backbone of this country, and every small business owner needs to write their congressional representatives about EFCA. Why should someone else in the form of mandatory arbitration dictate to the small business owners what they should pay, what benefits they should offer, and every other aspect of their relationship with their employees?

If history is a predictor of the future, it’s my view that we need to study the events of the Great Depression, and specifically how people lived through those times in order to better understand how we should be raising our children and grandchildren. The people living in those times understood all about survival.  Isn’t that what we want our children and grandchildren to know?  I think we need to return to basics, and stop teaching and demonstrating excessive living.  Here’s where I think we need to go:

HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS
You read all the time in today’s society about really horrific things happening right in front of an entire group of witnesses, and sometimes no one steps forward and does a thing. You hear about children who are abused, elders who are abused, and people who are homeless or hungry.  Are we teaching our children to watch out for and help others?  When our neighbors are gone from their homes, are we watching out for them? When someone passes away, do we take food to their loved ones who are grieving? Do we know our neighbors names? Do we offer to help them in times of crisis?  The people who survived the Great Depression did, and we should be teaching our kids and grandkids the same thing.

EARN YOUR OWN WAY
I have to nearly stuff my shoe into my mouth to prevent myself from commenting when I see young kids, say 10 years old or so who have their own cell phones.  I think it’s the lazy way to baby sit.  I don’t think a cell phone will make a quality decision about whether or not your child or grandchild should go to that place, or do that thing. Thinking everything is okay if they can call in, or you can call them–is a false sense of security.

Lots of parents today are giving their kids their own cars when they turn 16.  Rubbish! If we keep handing our children and grandchildren every thing they want we contribute to the ongoing excesses that have caused our current mess, and worse–we teach them that they don’t have to work and earn their own way.  Someone else will do it for them.

DON’T WASTE RESOURCES
How about the basics of turning off the lights in your room, the tv, the computer, that Play Station, etc., when you’re done with it.  How about splitting that can of soda with a family member instead of drinking half of it, setting it on the counter, and then walking away from it. Why not eat left overs the next night? Why not walk to and from school, or take the bus instead of mom or dad driving you everywhere?  Let’s teach our children and grandchildren not to waste resources of any kind.

DO MORE WITH LESS
Push back, America. Don’t let them forcibly “stimulate” you. Have a modest birthday party at home. Buy sturdy, regularly priced items instead of the fashion brands that don’t really perform any better. Eat out less. Have family gatherings for entertainment. Dominoes anyone? Our so called leaders have refused to allow basic supply and demand to right our economy naturally–so, we can do it for ourselves. Think it through. Will there be anything left in the future for our children and grandchildren if we don’t?

My nephew Shane sat and figured this all out.  He feels we are throwing the money talk around and not giving it much thought.  So here’s what Shane has to say.

$1,000,000,000,000 Dollars
How much is a trillion dollars?
Well a billion is a thousand million and a trillion is a thousand billion.
If you spent 1 million dollars a day it would take you 2,739 years to spend a trillion dollars!!
Counting to a trillion
If you started counting the instant you where born you would be 95 years old at a billion.
To reach a trillion it would take you 95,000 years!!!!
Paying off a trillion dollars
Every man,women,and child would have to give $3,300 dollars to pay off a trillion dollars!!!!
WOW, It doesn’t seem that big does it? Especially when our government hands it out like it’s nothing. Right?!?!?!?!
Joy:
This was just on Good Question last night so I just copied and pasted it here.

As long as the U.S. has been borrowing money, politicians have claimed to be worried about it. Every president talks about the concern of saddling the next generation with the burden of repaying a giant pile of debt. But do we ever really pay it off?

“Oh, most certainly,” said Jay Kiedroswki, Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs.

“We’re constantly paying up. And in fact, part of this bad economy is the price we’re paying for having that much debt outstanding,” he said.

As of March 10, 2009, the national debt was just shy of $11 trillion. Breaking that down to debt burden per citizen, each of us would be responsible for about $36,000.

Since October, $1.5 trillion has been added to the national debt, because of corporate bailouts and government stimulus plans. Just like with personal credit cards: the bigger the debt, the higher the interest payments.

“Today, the federal government is spending close to $500 billion a year just on the interest,” said Kiedrowski.

Nearly 20 percent of our whole federal budget goes to paying interest on the national debt.

“That’s a drag on the economy. It takes away the use of those capital dollars from a better purpose,” he said

Japan is the United States’ biggest foreign lender, then China and the United Kingdom. But anyone can buy treasury notes.

“You’re paid interest, regularly on that debt. And depending on the term, if it’s a 5-year note, at the end of 5 years you’d be repaid your principal,” according to Kiedrowski.

So the government is constantly paying off its debt and borrowing new money. Right now, the government is borrowing more than it’s paying off, and that’s why the debt is growing. Just like when a consumer charges more on the credit card, than he pays off.

“We have a dual crisis. Not only the federal deficit. But it’s also the international economy. The president and the Congress have decided to stimulate the economy,” at the expense of growing the deficit, said Kiedrowski.

“We need a stimulus right now in the economy to get us into a position where we can start repaying that debt,” he said.

When times are good, the government does begin to chip away at the federal debt. During the Clinton Administration, the debt level declined. But it rose after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the America, and skyrocketed after the bank industry bailouts.

Kiedrowski said he’s worried about the mounting debt, not because he’s afraid we can’t pay it off. Rather, he’s concerned that the interest payments will grow so large that it will choke the government’s ability to spend money on anything else.

“I think we’re learning our lesson — that you can’t keep borrowing,” he said.

How does everyone feel about this?  Politics aside, are you scared or worried or are you happy with things?

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46 Responses to Back to basics by G-Ma

  1. SKL says:

    Well, here is where I have to thank my parents for being in a financial mess when I was a kid! Because I learned what it was like to have less than everyone else. We had a lot less than the welfare kids who were complaining on the TV news about how rough they had it.

    So to be honest, things would have to get a lot worse before I would personally be in a mess. I have lived my whole life like the Great Depression was right around the corner. I have a few bucks saved, have no debts, and I know how to live on very little. Now as far as my family, some of us probably have to worry. My sister is laid off and her employer told her that if Obama got elected, her chances of getting rehired were not great. Most of us will hopefully be OK as my parents are retired (and just paid off their house), my brothers are in high-demand industries (nursing, IT), and several of us are in our own small businesses, which means there’s no ax man seeing us as an expendable commodity.

    Given my background, my instinct in this type of crisis is to go into a sort of economic hibernation – slow things down to a crawl, question every penny, reduce my risk tolerance, don’t make any bills or hire anyone for any extended time period. Popular wisdom is that is a terrible attitude for the economy as a whole. We should spend, spend, spend, to “stimulate” things. But my gut tells me it’s not sustainable to spend just because that will prop up someone’s business or paycheck. I feel that many, perhaps most people in our country need to go back to a clean slate and really figure out what they “need.” When I tell people how much I spend on myself and my kids each month, pretty much nobody believes me. We have everything we need and then some; we even eat organic food and attend mom-and-me music and gymnastics classes – something I couldn’t have dreamed of as a kid. But if I start listing the things I don’t have / don’t do and the steps I take to reduce costs, I start getting the eye rolls and snickering and such. Sure, the recent generations can’t imagine that there could come a time when they might have to do these things. Well, I think that’s a problem. Instead of thanking God for every luxury they enjoy, they have an “I deserve it” attitude, and if it isn’t forthcoming with a minimum of effort, they demand that someone do something about it immediately. I think this brand of foolishness is a bigger problem for our country than an unemployment rate of 10%.

    The unemployment rate is expected to go to 10%, but that is still nothing compared to the late 1970s/early 1980s when the rates were higher AND the majority of households didn’t have two wage-earners. So now we are going back to having “some” more single wage earner families. Is this a tragedy? I really don’t think so. It just means people need to revisit their priorities, which is generally a good thing.

    The thing that really concerns me is this administration’s attitude: anti-business, anti-educated, anti-white, anti-religion, anti- capable, thinking, independent citizen. This will have the effect of reducing all-important innovation and drive in this country. If this goes too far, it will be really difficult to reverse the effects. I hope that the American public wakes up soon enough to reverse the tide before too much damage is done.

    Oh, and I’m afraid to even contemplate where our international standing will end up. Our Secretary of State mentions to Europe that US democracy is far older than theirs. Oh my. Obama claims to be too “tired” to show respect during PM Brown’ visit. We kick the UK and Israel in the face while Iran and North Korea prepare to launch missiles, and we propose talks with “moderate” Talibanis. Does America even know these things are happening?

    • SKL says:

      I should add that I do plan on doing some home improvements this year. They are way overdue, and with housing in such in a slump, there will be lots of folks willing to do it at reasonable rates, I assume.

  2. darryl says:

    Glenn Beck said the following

    Obama gift gaffe

    So much for repairing our image in the world – President Obama has already hacked off everyone in the United Kingdom by sending back a famous Winston Churchill bust that was given as a gift after 9-11. Then he made matters worse by insulting Prime Minister Brown in a gift exchange. Brown gave President Obama a pen holder carved from the timbers of H.M.S. Resolute, and a first edition of a 7 volume biography of Winston Churchill – but Obama gives Brown the equivalent of a pair of socks. The phony gifts of 25 DVD’S included Raging Bull, Casablanca, Psycho, The Graduate…Wasn’t he trying to repair our image in the world? How could he be so stupid?

    I cant believe how the rest of the world must looks at us,
    what an insult. And sighned yesterday a new spendathon , over 8000 earmarks and pork but did Obama veto it ya right that was old business BUT next time everything will be looked at. I think his election speech said BAN ALL earmarks and everything will be gone thru line by line. In my opinion he is already a man who does not keep his word. I think If people would have known about this spending orgy the election would have been different. SKL I agree with you totally, I was listening to the radio the other night and someone called in and the host asked do you think the government should give you food? YEP, How about free education? YEP, Free medical? YEP. This is what we are dealing with the government owes me everything. THANKS for letting me rant.
    PS I haven’t been a pillar of responsability but I raised my kids alone bought a house and pay my bills. No help from anybody.

  3. shane says:

    I totally agree with Darryl about how Obama is making our country look like a bunch of dumb asses. He forgot to mention that those 25 dvd’s can’t even be played because there not formatted for his country. LOL, where did he buy them at The Super Pumper. I have an idea, why don’t we give France back The Statue of Liberty. As far as keeping your word Obama’s already thrown that away. It seems like all politicians do is say what people want to hear, just to get elected. Then when there elected they don’t live up to there word. Also kids now a days are so spoiled that it’s not even funny. I see it all the time at work, things are slow the economy sucks, people are loosing there houses there jobs and god only knows what else and all they do is complain about what they have to do at work. This new generation of people is the laziest generation ever. And to finish my rant “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY”

  4. I don’t want to get into any politics on your blog, Joy – I want to comment on the ways that people can cut down on expenses on their own – the getting back to basics as you say.
    I’m another one who’s disturbed by seeing 5 year olds with their own cellphones and 16 year olds with their own cars already, bought by trusty mom and dad. Actually, the car can be ok, especially in cities where public transport is bad – but in places where public transport is GOOD, kids should definitely learn to use it. I’ve used buses and trains my whole life, ever since I was old enough to be able to use them alone or with friends, and I think it’s made me more resourceful – I buy a bus-pass instead of paying for each ride, I know how to get back home at 3AM if I need to, I learned responsibility so that I wouldn’t miss the bus and need to wait at the station for another hour. As much as I grumbled about it growing up – it did me good, and I know it.

  5. K. Trainor says:

    Like SlightlyIgnorant, (who doesn’t seem to be, btw–her comments are always intelligent and well written); I won’t go into the politics. Mostly because I’ll get on a roll and not shut my yap. I love my country but not the way it’s run. The will of the people has been lost.

    To answer your question, I’m scared, worried and most definitely NOT happy with things.

  6. Doraz says:

    Joy, a lot of information for my brain to process, store, and act. Thank You! *(*

  7. Sue says:

    I’m worried and scared. I don’t understand how spending billions of dollars will turn our economy around. How can borrowing billions of dollars turn our economy around? How can paying everyone’s way for everything, turn our economy around AND make us responsible individuals? That’s one very important thing that I think is lacking now a days. Personal responsibility. Each person should answer to their actions, not someone else, not the government, not another nation. Yourself. You borrowed too much money? Figure out how YOU are going to pay it back. Because I’m responsible doesn’t mean I should have to pay for everyone else who isn’t. Yes, I understand that things happen, but that’s not what I’m talking about. We’re a nation of spoiled people who think everyone else owes us and we shouldn’t have to do anything. Gimme gimme gimme.

    It’s sad to see that our new president, after only a short time in office, has already broken his promises. Someone needs to replay all the interviews and debates for him so he can “recall” what he promised America. I’m going to move to the mountains and live off the land. At least there I won’t have anyone to blame but myself!

  8. nikki says:

    First of all I am so flippin happy you did this because when that small, compared to this, catastrophe post went up I wasn’t around. I didn’t feel comfortable coming in at the end of an all day conversation and put my 2 cents in, not that I would have said much different than anyone else. After Obama was elected I really started doing my research.

    With the US being in such great debt I am left to be even more fearful of our future…my sons future. And I’m not only talking financial trouble. It is painfully obvious to the nations like North Korea that the US is dying. Bin Laden may be dead in some cave but so are we. The Afghanis know we are dying, Iran knows this. Saudi Arabia is quietly shifting its defenses from the US to China. China is now patrolling the shores of Africa. Russia is slowly forcing all of Europe to bend to their will. If everyone knows the US is going bankrupt then this means, we better figure this out, too, and change course. We are sitting ducks…does anyone else see THAT problem???
    Not only do I have to worry everyday if my husband has a job or if we’re going to be able to pay our bills but I’m fearful for our safety.
    I LOVE our country and I tried with all my might to understand Obama’s reasoning. The bail out bills passed by Congress were nothing but a mish-mash mess that had nothing to do with building a strong nation that could compete in world markets. It’s imperfect and that’s ok with Obama. I’m sorry we don’t have room or money to be imperfect!!!! This trillion dollar stimulus package makes me sick, it won’t help us but my son will be paying for it.
    I’m really looking forward to what OTHERS have to say!!!!

    • Sue says:

      It is our kids that have to worry and wasn’t that one of his “issues”? To make sure the children of America don’t have this massive debt to pay off?

  9. nikki says:

    My youngest nieces mom says to me…I’m going to school. Great, how are you going to pay for that?? Government grant that I NEVER have to pay back. GREAT!!!!! How are you paying for daycare….government grant that I NEVER have to pay back!! Hmmm I see quite a problem here….how is this going to get our country out of debt??? I’m 90% sure she won’t even use the degree she may get!

    • Sue says:

      And you know who is paying for those government grants that she doesn’t have to pay back??? We are.

      • Joy says:

        I wish more people KNEW this Sue. How can people think that Free is really “free?” We need to pay for what we want. Anyone who goes about getting all this for free, will never do anything with the education anyway. They’ll be off looking for the next “free thing.” If I could have a wish it would be if people would spend the time and money doing things the right way and not expect everyone else to pay for the things they want.

  10. tessa says:

    Touchy, touchy subject. Well, I agree we should “go back to the basics” and teach our children to spend less, be happy with what they have.

    EFCA I see as good. It is a choice to have a union represent you, and many do want this. Employees should be able to form a union if they choose.

    People see what they want to see. I think Obama is doing his best for being handed a very VERY heavy load caused by someone else-no names mentioned. Obama is NOT the one who is making our country look bad!!

    People spew a lot of negativity. Politics is very negative. It should be positive. If we all try to give back and do our best and look for the positive, we will find it and we will become a better nation. We can choose to sulk and look at the negatives or choose to stand tall and start making better days.

    I am happy. Only worried for those who worry too much. The only thing to fear is fear itself. True it is. Fear creates fear. Worries create worries. I choose to be happy and hope others will choose it too.

    Joy, very good advice! Nice post. We do need to help our neighbors more. We have given our neighbors most of our baby clothes we didn’t need and baked goods. Last night, my teacher posted an article on how in need food banks and food drives are- calls and middle class people who are laid off has spiked like 40 fold needing food. Please donate to your local places!! Lots of hungry people out there and people in need of all donations.

    • nikki says:

      Tessa you said this…”I am happy. Only worried for those who worry too much. The only thing to fear is fear itself. True it is. Fear creates fear. Worries create worries. I choose to be happy and hope others will choose it too.”
      To be happy is great but to not worry I think is being naive. I worry everyday that Jason’s company will go under, I worry everyday that my son won’t get the proper education because eventually every “extra” program to help him will be eliminated or cost money. His school has already had to eliminate summer school and I know Sue can tell how bad their school district is if she wants. These things are real and right in OUR faces. You can throw a smile on your face all you want but if Ben were in school and facing the same things we face with our children you may think differently!

  11. tessa says:

    Darryl,
    I think the government should give free medical and free education, at least a whole lot cheaper. Many cannot go to college without 20,000 dollars or more in loans- I know Eric and I cannot except his GI Bill. Many cannot have operations or see a doctor because of no insurance, especially with layoffs. I know my aunt can’t. But I know this is not possible for our country right now. Europe and many countries do have free health care or cheaper and much cheaper education. It’s sad US has thought we are the best, but so much we could learn from others. Also, the pharmaceutical companies could start giving some money back!! They have trillions. An idea- if celebraties and the nation’s top 2% highest incomes gave back some more and stopped buying million dollar mansions…that would help!
    I agree you have done great and showed your kids how to work hard for what they got. Thank you again and again 🙂

    • Joy says:

      I’m letting your first comment go by but free health care and free schooling is NOT up to the government. People complain that the government is to involved in our lives, why should they do this? We didn’t get anything for free, why should it be free now? Sue paid for her own schooling with a lot of studying and hard work. Nobody paid for her. Why do you feel the government should give us all this “free?” Free isn’t free Tessa. When things are “free,” who do you think pays for it in the end? Do you think teachers and doctors should work for no salary? Why is it that people come from all over the world to go to the Mayo Clinic? Because we have the best health care in the world. We are used to being spoiled and our lives are changing for the worst right now and Ben and his children will end up paying for this because it won’t be paid off in your lifetime.

      Also, why should celebrities and “rich” people pay for us? If we buy something, we should be able to pay for it. It’s not up to someone else to pay for us. They work and have a right to buy whatever they want to.

    • Sue says:

      That’s fine if you want the government to give us free medical and schooling, but like Joy said, who do you think pays for it? We would with high taxes. Look at the countries that do have “free” health care. They are taxed out the rear end, still have to pay fees for things, and the waiting list can be outrageous. Ask Joy’s friend Lisa, from Canada, how long it took for her daughter to have surgery to fix something she was BORN with. Ask Lisa how much they pay in taxes to fund their healthcare.

      As far as people not being able to see doc’s because they don’t have insurance is not entirely true. You can always go to the doctor. They can’t turn you away for your inability to pay. Each hospital, in their yearly budget, sets aside x amount of dollars and tries to guesstimate how much they will need for those patients that can’t pay. Healthcare knows that not everyone can afford to pay out of pocket. They are more than willing to work with you to make some payment arrangements. They’d rather get some money than none at all. Just like any company.

      My mom has precancer on her face that she needs excised and hasn’t gone back b/c she “can’t pay it all”. Instead of making a payment arrangement she’s choosing not to go at all. It’s her choice, but what happens when that precancer becomes cancer and she has to have major surgery b/c it’s spread beyond that little spot on her face? It suddenly got WAY MORE EXPENSIVE than not going to begin with. And that ends up driving up the cost of health care for everyone whether it would be free or not.

      Do you really want the government to mandate what doctor you can see and when and how often? Socialized medicine is great for people who never get sick, but for those that actually need care, it can be a nightmare. Ask Lisa, she’s been living it for the last 4 years. Free isn’t all sunshine and roses. As far as the rich paying more, they worked hard for their money (not Bernie types!) so why should they pay for everyone else?

    • darryl says:

      Tessa, the top money earners are already paying almost all the income taxes. But now small businesses are going to get taxed more. I just got cut to 32 hours this week. Paul’s work is going to suffer more also. With all do respect, how much FREE education have you gotten? I do agree we need to look a little more positive at things but it’s a little hard right now. And by the way, if Obama isn’t making us look bad, who is, he’s in charge. OH one more thing, Hillary goes to Russia and is going to present them with a button that says RESET. Not one person in the United States can spell reset in Russian? Instead it says overcharge. I love my country also but it seems like it’s slipping away. Free medical is another issue.

  12. Just a Mom says:

    Great post! I am definately worried about our current economic state. But I know we will make it through this and to be honest I think this is what we actually need. People need to learn how to do things for themselves and stop relying on the government for handouts!

    Back to basics, wow what a great idea! That is what we are doing in my household. I am lucky enough to have been raised by a parent who lived during the depression years. My mom was born in 1931 so growing up that was all she knew. I know how to save for things and shop wisely thanks to her teaching me how.

    As for kids today, my kids who are 9 & 16 are probably the only ones at school without a cell phone. They won’t get one either until they get a job and pay for it themselves. Any way, I figure if they are with their friends I can call them on their friends cell phones and let their parents pay for it instead of me. My 16 year old also will not be getting a car from me. That is something else she will have to earn on her own.

  13. Gary says:

    I won’t get into the politics either but I do VERY MUCH believe we need to get back to the basics. To answer your question, I am very scared and worried about our country’s current situations and am not happy about it at all.

    I couldn’t agree more with your descriptions on where we should go. Earn you own way is RIGHT! When I turned 16, I didn’t get a car. If I wanted a car I had to get a job and buy my own. We didn’t buy our 17 year old a car and my son who is in driver’s ed right now won’t get getting a car from us either. Get a job, save your money, and buy yourself a car.

    Heh, a 10 year old with a cell phone is ridiculous! Be a parent to your children and watch them well. Don’t let a celll phone do what you should be doing as a parent!! False sense of securit is RIGHT!!

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  15. mssc54 says:

    Next thing you know you’ll expect people to treat others as they would like to be treated and expect boys/girl, men/women to get married before they start having kids or shacking up.

    Geeez.

  16. starlaschat says:

    I enjoyed the post, good food for thought. I actually have been thinking that with all the bad that’s going on maybe just maybe some good with spring out of it. Going into a more Simple time, a time to be grateful for what you do have. A time to appreciate spending time with your family. To not shop till you drop. I think when it’s all said and done hopefully some good will come out of this rotten Economy. And oh ya compassion for others maybe. And checking in on your neighbors and being helpful. So much potential for good down the road, it’s just getting to the down the road part.

    • Joy says:

      I agree Starla. Maybe some good can come of it. The title of the post is “Back to Basics” and maybe getting there is by hard work and actually doing something and paying for things ourselves and not always looking for someone else to pay for it or try to get out of it. Our parents and grandparents didn’t get any handouts and I think they were stronger as a society that we are. If they had to go to the doctor, they paid for it and when the time came to send their kids to college, they took a part time job and those kids had to work to help out. It wasn’t free then and I don’t feel it should be free now. That is why we are where we are. We have become a very lazy society.

  17. tessa says:

    Nikki, just because been is a baby does not mean I do not have worries to face. I do face our worries and our tight budget. I do face challenges with our free health care. I just mean I choose to concentrate on what is good and positive and leave the rest to faith.
    Joy & Sue, I said less expensive would be good too. I know universal health care has its downsides. What doesn’t? But Europe does have much lower teen pregnancy rates, lower rates of cancer, lower disease rates, ect. I am just saying-our government has a lot to learn and so do we!

  18. tessa says:

    I don’t have a problem with paying for health care, my problem is with health care medicating people before trying alternative methods like diet, exercise, herbs, ect. Doctors depend a lot on writing prescriptions now.

    • shanef says:

      I will agree with doctors throwing out medications before trying alternatives. It seems like every time I go to the doctor I’m in the room for 2 minutes and there throwing antibiotics at me, that don’t cure what I went in for.

  19. SKL says:

    As one of the demonized people that Obama and his liberal groupies have labeled “rich,” I thought I should put a little perspective here for Tessa and anyone else who thinks I owe them and their kids any of their basic needs.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I was born poor by today’s standards. My dad was illiterate. My parents quit school at 15 and 16. They got married at 17 and 19 and proceeded to have 6 kids whom they raised without government money. We all learned that nobody is “entitled” to anything other than what’s in the Constitution (and for those who haven’t read it, it doesn’t include health care, food, education, cars, or cell phones). We learned that you don’t need any of that stuff from the government to succeed. What you need is drive and personal responsibility.

    We all worked to be above average students and all paid our own way (via student loans and jobs) to earn college / graduate degrees. Personally I paid about $100,000 for my education, mostly after I graduated and got a “permanent” job. I got no tax breaks whatsoever for my education costs. And since I was paying while Clinton was in office, my tax rate was higher than it is for folks at the same income levels today, and on top of that I was paying over $1,000 per month in student loans. Hence, I had to work 70-80 hours a week for about 15 years before my kids were born, to get to the position of comfort I’m in (meaning I can put my kids through school if the government doesn’t steal my 401K).

    One thing I have always done is made sure I continuously had health insurance, even though I have never been “sick.” The few instances where I went to a doctor in the first 10 years of my adulthood were paid out of my pocket, since the insurance companies gave excuses not to cover me. But I knew that it was my responsibility to make sure that I was covered in case anything “catastrophic” happened to me. Initially, this was easy because my employer had a plan where I only had to pay 10%. After a couple of years, I had to pony up a lot more, but I did it (currently paying 100% for me and my kids), because I knew that continuity of coverage makes a big difference if you ever have to buy insurance on your own. And it should! It’s totally unfair to wait until you’re sick and then expect people who have been paying into the pot for years to pay for your problems! And although I knew I could always go on medicaid if I had a catastrophe while uninsured, the last thing I’d want is for the government to be in charge of deciding my options. And now we hear that is what Americans want?! I don’t think so.

    Over the years I have paid many hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. I have also donated about $300,000 to good causes, most of them NOT tax deductible. Meanwhile, because of the way tax and benefit laws are written, I haven’t been able to benefit from any of the “human” programs created from my tax dollars. My kids will get nothing except what I can put aside out of my after-tax money. Even my dependent deductions / child tax credits are phased out at my income level.

    I bought one-third of a $155K house 14 years ago, and paid it off, and this is where I intend to live until the walls crumble down. My kids and I control two small bedrooms and share the common areas of the house with two other (unrelated) adults. I have a 6-year-old Saturn Ion which I intend to drive until it won’t go any more. My kids and I live on less than $1000 per month, excluding health insurance. I continue to help my family and give to charity. I continue to perform many hours of volunteer work. I continue to pay taxes equal to many times the amount my I spend for my family to live.

    Yet I hear that I should want to “try to give back” to make this country a better place. As if I haven’t been giving back!! I have given many times more to charities than Obama, and I don’t even have a multi-million dollar book deal.

    This country IS a great place !! without all the nonsense Obama is pushing. Life here has been much better than in those “progressive” countries we keep touting for their “wonderful” socialized health systems. Our economy was phenomenal for the first 6 years of the Bush administration. The peak of all time was just a little more than a year ago – look it up! That’s when the politicians started tearing it down for political advantage. Placed fear and discouragement in the hearts of people, followed by businesses’ unwillingness to risk further investment in enterprises that were being demonized day by day. Today, the Dow is less than half of what it was when all this negativity by the Democrats took over the airwaves. And rather than do something about it, Obama gets out there every day and just blames his predecessor for everything. Culture of blame – sound familiar – straight from the government-subsidized ghetto.

    And now I hear that I just need to be positive and all the problems will go away. Why isn’t anyone saying that to the people who are demanding free health care? “Just be positive, work hard, and take responsibility!” Why is it OK to say that to me but not to them?

    I have a question for Tessa, if you care to respond. How much did you pay in income taxes last year? Because I don’t really see how anyone has standing to say that I should pay MORE taxes, unless they have been paying a pretty big chunk of money themselves.

    • SKL says:

      I should point out that I am a partner a business, which is why my taxable income is a lot more than the amount of money I spend. The business invests in low-income community development, which isn’t producing “riches,” but we still have to pay tax on the amount we invest each year. So it’s not like I have piles of money lying around that I could easily spare for more taxes. (But even if that were the case, I ought to be allowed to decide how to spend my hard-earned money.)

  20. tessa says:

    SKL, I would like a better system. I do not want more taxes, but I have worked in hospitals and have family who do. I believe many changes could be made starting with alternative healing methods. I respect your opinions. I have seen my parents work very hard for what they have. My husband who is a U.S. sailor and I work hard for everything we have. I value hard work very much. We have an 8 yr old Saturn Ion! They are great! It’s good to hear the volunteer work and the help you provide your family. This society needs more people like you! We all have our own personal opinions which are many times different on how certain things should be, but we all want to see positive changes.

  21. tessa says:

    I am sorry Darryl, and Paul for the job suffering. I know times are hard for everyone. My aunt lost her job of 20 years. Our friend here has her hours cut to like 20 hours a week. It is tough. I think no matter what plan a president came up with right now though, it would be tough. There is no way around it with the enormous debt.

    • shane says:

      Everything is suffering and throwing money around is not helping. We are worse off now than we where 3 months ago. I was told today that my company is going to lay-off 20-30 people in the next 3 weeks, no bonuses this year, and where not getting raises this year and to top it off there not going to contribute to our retirement plans this year. To me that’s a cut of about $5,000 dollars. Also I paid in $9,000 in taxes last year and I’m no millionare. Movie stars, athletes, musicians, etc. that make millions a year probably pay millions in taxes every year so raising taxes on them is not fair. They worked very hard for there money. About my job, I’m not happy with the situation but I’m very grateful to still have a job. As long as I can keep my job, work 40hrs. a week, and keep my medical and dental Insurance I’m happy about that. But most people don’t think like that. I see ungrateful people everyday and it makes me sick. As far as the free,free,free. It’s not FREE and I don’t want to pay for it, I pay enough already.

      • tessa says:

        I hope things go good for you at work Shane. It sounds like a tough place to work. I meant those top 2% earners could give donations and it would help people tremendously. I said nothing about taxes. All we can do is be grateful and help those around us in ways we can. I am donating food, clothes, and other things we do not need or want anymore.

        • Joy says:

          Read this Tessa.

          New updates:

          Several billion dollars could be lost in charitable gifts because of the tax proposal, say philanthropy scholars.
          The White House says that the plan won’t hurt charities, in part because it doesn’t take effect until 2011, when Obama officials expect the economic recovery to have begun.
          Original article:

          Some charities and nonprofit experts are worried that President Obama’s proposal to impose new limits on charitable tax deductions for wealthy people would dampen giving at a time when charities are under severe strain because of the recession.

          “During the current economic downturn, which has forced nonprofits to do more with less, any proposal which would result in a decrease in private giving will be a disaster for America’s charities, and for those who depend upon them,” said United Jewish Communities, an umbrella group for Jewish social-service charities.

          Mr. Obama proposed the new caps on Thursday as a way to finance changes in the country’s health-care system.

          In a document outlining his 2010 budget plans, President Obama proposed limiting the value of the tax break for itemized deductions, including donations to charity, to 28 percent for families making more than $250,000. In other words, taxpayers would save 28 cents on their federal income taxes for each dollar donated.

          That would reduce by as much as 20 percent the amount wealthy taxpayers could get in tax breaks. Under the current system, taxpayers who are in the 33 percent or 35 percent tax brackets use that rate to claim deductions.

          The president says the proposal on itemized deductions — which would also apply to claims such as mortgage interest — would raise $318-billion over 10 years. That money would help pay for a 10-year $630-billion reserve fund designed to help make health care more affordable and available.

          Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations, and the Council on Foundations were among the nonprofit groups that lined up to express concern that the proposal would prompt donors to pull back.

          But others say the effect could be limited or should be viewed in the context of the broader goals the president is trying to achieve with his budget proposals. (Update: Indiana University scholars estimated on Friday afternoon that several billion dollars in giving by the affluent were probably at stake.)

          Here’s the full link. It was to long to put here.

          http://philanthropy.com/news/updates/index.php?id=7244

          • SKL says:

            There are several reasons why Obama wants to reduce donations to charity.

            First, liberals don’t believe in charity. They believe people must be forced to share. They themselves don’t give voluntarily. The proportion of charitable donations that come from conservatives is far greater than the proportion coming from liberals. Obama himself, unquestionably a rich man, gives practically nothing to charity.

            Second, the liberals don’t believe I will choose well when I decide to whom to give my money. For example, I refuse to donate money to organizations that will use it, directly or indirectly, to perform or encourage abortions. Others might prefer to give money to organizations run by people they agree with from a religious standpoint, etc. Liberals would rather have a liberal government decide where all of our money goes.

            Third, by reducing the strength of charities, the liberal government increases the dependence on a larger number of people on the liberal government. They believe this will lead to a larger liberal voting base.

            Fourth, the liberal government wants to get deeper inside all non-governmental operations and force people to follow their ideals, e.g., to hire only union workers, to have no religious job criteria, to force people of conscience to sell or otherwise provide products/services they don’t believe in, to discriminate in favor of minorities and felons, and to indoctrinate the beneficiaries of the services in the liberal way.

            As a very active member of the charitable community, I can assure you that these changes will severely impede the good work that charities are attempting to do.

            I am also sorry to hear that someone only believes the top 2% should give to charity. I have been donating time and money since I was a teenager with a paper route. EVERYONE that has money for smokes, alcohol, make-up, movies, or dinner out has money to donate to charity. Everyone who has ever benefited from a charity has a moral obligation to donate time and money to a charity. I am just sick of hearing about “the top 2%.” The top 2% are the ones who haven’t taken a break since kindergarten, and we’re sick of being repeatedly put through the beating machine. Anyone who wants what I have can have it if they just deny their appetites and work like I did. Shame on the liberals for telling people that they have no hope.

            • tessa says:

              Some people give to help others. Some give because they feel it is the “right” thing to do. Some give to get a tax break.

              I don’t think Paris Hilton has worked hard to make it into the top 2%.

              Skl, who believes only the top 2% should give? I said I give, and we are poor. Each human needs to help another. Otherwise, it is a sad life for the one who does not.

          • tessa says:

            It is sad if the only reason people give is to get a tax deduction. I do not feel bad for rich people not getting a break.

            • Joy says:

              Out of respect for my nephew, who I love very much, I will refrain from commenting on this. You clearly have no clue to how this world really works or how things really are.

              To everyone who is emailing me and calling me about this, please just ignore her. It’s not worth it. She only wants to be “right.” Let’s let her think she is.

              • shane says:

                There are people out there that desperately need help and deserve help but there are way too many free-loaders!! Too many people that live in a shack with 10 kids, collect unemployment, get food stamps, healthcare that the taxpayers pay for, and food from food shelters, and free clothes. Those people make me sick, why should I work my ass off to support people that don’t want to work and take advantage of the system. As far as your comment on Paris Hilton is that her fault that her parents worked very, very, very hard for there money and there giving some of it to there daughter. “If you where her I bet you wouldn’t think that because your rich you’re obligated to give a ton of it away to losers that don’t want a better life, and think they deserve things for nothing!

            • SKL says:

              Nobody donates to get a tax break. Donors only get a tax deduction, which equates to only a fraction of the donation. If your income is above a certain level (not very high, I fell into it last year), your itemized deductions start phasing out and you don’t even get that fraction of tax deduction back.

              Even if I got the deduction at the maximum federal tax rate of 39%, I would still be out of pocket for the other 61% of the donation. I would still be $.61 per dollar poorer than if I didn’t donate.

              I wouldn’t have to explain this to you if you ever paid enough taxes to itemize.

              Tessa, you need to think about what you are saying. People are not evil just because they have enough money to decide to donate to charity. Most people who have money are hardworking people who actually care a lot about others. If that were not the case, there would be no charities. The US would not be the home of the most giving people in the world. You know that money isn’t coming from those who are crying in their beer calling themselves “poor.” That’s another word that ticks me off. If you have food to eat and a roof over your head, you are not poor. Half of the world lives in a box when they can find one, otherwise they sprawl on the street. That’s poor.

              So now I am evil not only because I have worked hard all my life, but because I have given my money to charity. Obviously I’ve done it only to take a tax writeoff. I couldn’t care less about those children I’ve fed and taught to read. I should go in a corner and drink poison right now, before I continue to pollute this world. (And before I get a chance to pay another nickel in taxes.)

  22. Lori says:

    In theory, I agree with you. But, my family’s experiences this past year make it difficult for me to see this as a black and white issue. I’m a stay-at-home Mom b/c my husband’s income allowed it. We aren’t big spenders and in my opinion, make prudent financial decisions. In September, my husband was out of work for two months — hospitalized for one month and recovering from surgery to remove his large intestine for the 2nd month. The combination of being on disability and the economic downturn resulted in a layoff for him in February. He just completed the 2nd of 3 surgeries he needs as part of his recovery. When he is healed up, he will dive full force into the job hunt. His work experience, advanced degrees and existing job leads make me optimistic that he won’t be out of work for too long. But, we know it’s a possibility. So, I’m grateful for extensions in unemployment benefits and changes to COBRA regulations to provide more benefits to the unemployed. They’re going to help my family stay on our feet for the next few months.

    • SKL says:

      I’ve been advocating a COBRA fix for years. For people who are temporarily out of a job for no fault of their own, I don’t mind subsidizing their health care for a limited time period.

      As far as health care goes, I advocate alternative medicines as well, but this goes to the patient’s choice, not government intervention. Tessa, you always have the choice to say no to meds, or even to not go to the doc at all. That is the choice I normally make for myself and my kids. But the government would force more “medical” intervention on us. Obama already proposed, during his campaign, that he would require people to participate and if they didn’t go to the doctor on the government schedule for “preventive” medicine, they would not be eligible for the serious stuff. The government is constantly trying to force more and more unnecessary vaccines on our kids, and advising other health practices that aren’t proven to be in our best interest. How about them forcing half of the kids in school to be on ADD meds? And they try to take away your kids if you don’t do what they say, especially if it’s because you’re (gasp) religious. Remember the 8-year-old in the UK who was being taken out of his home because he was too fat?

      I really don’t think alternative medicine has a prayer if Obama gets his way with health care, so be careful what you wish for.

    • tessa says:

      Continue to be grateful and things will start looking up! I wish your family the best.

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