Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's the economy, stupid

So I was watching 19 Kids & Counting last night (hey, it came on after Cake Wars and the remote control was allllll the way over there), and TLC kept having commercials for Sarah Palin's Alaska. "An Eight Week Event!" the announcer kept shouting, in between shots of Sarah Palin rafting, Sarah Palin driving an SUV, Sarah Palin gutting fish, Sarah Palin being eaten by a bear... No, no, I'm sorry, I know that last retort was a little bitter. But when Sarah Palin goes "This is flippin' fun!" right before announcing she'd rather be doing this than spending time in any ol' office, one can't help but wish that she WOULD stay out in the wilds of Alaska instead of insisting on running for political office. Also, how can anyone who truly loves the wilderness so much support a party that seems bent on drilling into the ANWAR and melting the glaciers? I'm just saying.

The problem with writing about the economy is, where do you begin? One of the dis/advantages of such a long commute is now I have two hours every day devoted to listening to NPR radio. Sometimes they do tend to get sanctimonious and liberal, but they also do portray a lot of stable facts, and the facts indicate to me that the economy is not doing well. Sure, it's recovering from the current recession, but not very fast. I am encouraged by any sign of growing, but some people in our government are not, and that is why they want to pump another $600,000,000 into the economy. It's important to write the number out like that, otherwise sometimes people forget how much money six million is. I can understand how the current administration wants to hand out more money to people who need it it: printing money seems like an expeditious way to have more money, but I also understand that money is a Concept We All Agree On, and if suddenly there is more money floating around, we may start to agree that it isn't worth a hill of beans.

I am concerned that our politicians may be Out of Touch with the Common Man. I keep hearing about how there is little to no inflation--and for some reason this is a bad thing--and yet I can't help but notice that in the past two years the price of a bottle of coke has gone up from about $1.25 to $1.59...and as soon as I noticed that, Coke rolled out it's 12 ounce bottle for 99 cents. If that isn't the definition of inflation, I don't know what is. Yet, my income hasn't changed at all. And sure, I am enjoying receiving more money every month thanks to the Bush-era tax cuts, yet whenever I hear the president whining about how we need to spare the middle classes from higher taxes I can't help but wonder. Mr. President, we, the middle classes, are the ones with JOBS. The ones who can afford taxes. Go ahead, even if you raise the rate from 33% to 36%, you still won't get very much, considering how little I actually make every month. Once you get this recession thing figured out, and I get a cost-of-living increase, then we can talk.

Do I have a point to all this? Maybe not. Maybe just to show all my loyal readers that I am still closely following current Political Situations, even if I am living in the boonies and I haven't updated for awhile. Maybe just to say that if this country wants to fight two wars and have a flat-screen TV in every pot, then someone is going to have to start paying taxes. I certainly don't have any solutions to what to do about a slowly growing economy, except to remind myself whenever I get wound up for a good whine that I HAVE a job, and I should stop and be thankful. There's so much discussion at the federal level about helping middle-class Americans and small businesses, that sometimes I feel like they're not talking about me. Well, as a single person who doesn't own a home, they're NOT talking about me, and maybe that could be addressed too...Ya know, some of us who are currently renting, childless and underemployed might like a little tax break too, but whatever, I know y'all got your hands full.

It's all too confusing for a little ol' personal blog that hasn't been closely following the economic situation for the past twenty-four months, even if its author has. And I am one of the lucky ones who has actually read the Baroque Cycle and has a fairly good handle on where modern economics comes from. (Isaac Newton's inability to get his mother to love him and the pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone. Or something.) This might also be a roundabout way to endorse one of my new favourite things, which is the My History Can Beat Up Your Politics, a podcast that takes a historical context look at modern politics. You can find it on ITunes, or on their blog. Since I listen to up to eight hours of my iPod a day, I tend to go through content pretty fast...I am currently splitting my time between My History... and Binge Thinking History, a British history podcast. Also podcasts on how to learn German: I am determined that if my dream of spending a Christmas in Munich ever comes true I wanna do it auf Deustch.

Still no point to this post, and it's time to wrap up. I guess...basically I understand there is no money and meanwhile I wish I had some more. I did win $3 on the lottery today...only $600,000,000 more and I can build that replica of HMS Victory and sail around the world!

Speaking of people who are having babies, congratulations to Peter and Brenda who told me on Sunday that Baby #2 is on their way! Not sure if I'm authorised to splash this around the internets yet, but hey, that's what aunties are for, right?


Samantha said...

six million: 6,000,000. Not 600,000,000

Peter said...

Oh, sam already fixed the math problem. Also, NPR is middle of the road? Yeah and Foxnews is fair and balanced, there were WMD's in Iraq and the Easter Bunny is real. six million ain't a lot of money, Favre is getting 20 just this year! If they want the economy stimulated give me 3 million and stimulate the hell out of it!

Samantha said...

Also, I'm not sure your coke statistics are an effective example of inflation. Yes the price of soda has gradually increased over the years, even more noticeably when you go back a decade or two instead of just a few years. However, the overall cost of soda, including cases, six packs of 20 bottles and 2 liters, has increased at MUCH slower rate than the cost of the individual 20 oz bottle. As is the case with many single serving items, businesses are quicker to increase these to produce much higher profit margins. The example of a jump from a 1.25 to 1.59 sounds more like marketing to me.

The 12 oz bottle at .99 really doesn't fit well into the inflation argument either when you consider the price per oz of each. The 12 oz breaks down to .0825 an oz while the 20 oz is .0795...a fraction of a difference which yes, does add up the larger quantity you purchase. But considering the 12 oz are packaged in glass...a much more costly material, the value of the soda itself really is about the same. They're bottling and selling nostalgia for the holidays...again a better example of marketing than inflation.

That's not to say inflation hasn't been a cause of the rising costs we seeing now. I just think you chose a poor example.