09 April 2009

On bail-outs, stimulus, and other bad words.

Last year around this time, my stocks were worth $189.00 a share. In December, they fell to half that amount. Now they are scrambling to make a rocky comeback, but it's a slippery slope.

Welcome to Recession '09.

At the time of this writing, unemployment has risen sharply to 15% across the US map. Here in Austin it hovers between 9-11%. Not as bad, but certainly above comfort level.

I think the only good thing about this ordeal is that gas isn't above four dollars a gallon. Not sure who to thank for that small favor. Seems even the oil moguls can't raise a good buck these days. Auto sales lots are laden with overstocked goods, unable to move even the least expensive of their inventory. The hits just keep coming.

My family hasn't truly felt the bitter bite of this mess called recession just yet—until today. Today, my husband was given a month's notice (generous in this age) to find a new place of employment. I glanced at the help wanted section of the local job website. True, there are jobs, but they have dismal pay rates. We've struggled to hold it together through a 20% cut in income, imposed back in January, and now...I suppose that was good practice.

I have a great job, that in this market almost pays me too much for the position. Back in 2007-2008 fiscal years, it was below standard. I'm grateful, but somewhat discouraged by it. The economy has lowered all standards of living, and it continues to do so. The question is, where will it end? Should we be complaining?

After all, we've had it good for the past five years, haven't we? Is it America's turn to just let it slide?

This recession has injected a new vocabulary for the general public: stimulus, recession, bail-out. That's tight, even the name sounds really sleazy.

There are dozens of different viewpoints on how the tax dollars should be spent, yet I can see the reasoning behind the bail-out of the banks. It's to hold this crumbly building up just a little while longer while we redo the landscaping around it, ie: the rest of the economy. It's a crutch, a splint, a big fat band-aid over a sore that refuses to go away.

Now the question remains: Who has the cure for what ails our failing economy?


Grégoire said...

When I was a teenager and a young man I had a lot of ideas which everyone told me were insane. "Get a job!" they told me.

Then the great counter-revolutions of the 1990s happened. "They were right," I thought.

So I came back from USSR and Yugoslavia, got married, went to work in a bank, had a couple of kids.

Got one mortgage. I own my condo and my cars. Not in debt. Done with child support. Have some money. I'm making money while people are losing it, because it was my business to see this coming (and we knew the housing bubble would burst over five years ago). I lost about four percent of my retirement fund but have more than offset it. Just on the currency exchange I made oodles of money. CAD/USD/CHF... the Euro is still overvalued but I'll move there next.

I seemed to get in and out at just the right times, over the course of the last two years. I am the ultimate good capitalist now; and now all the same people who told me I was crazy are reading about all those ideas they denounced in the Wall Street Journal.

I have a lot of junk, and I'm a lot luckier than most right now. I should be happy; but I'd give it all up tonight if I knew that every kid in America would have enough to eat and a chance at a good education.

My generation failed, but maybe our future grandkids' generation will do it right (if humanity lasts long enough to allow us to have grandkids). They probably won't call it Communism, but they'll pick up the ball we dropped.

Hang in there, dudette. Times are tough all over... but it has to get worse before it gets better (Lenin said so).

Werecat said...

Yahoo recently listed Austin as one of the best cities to be living in during this recession. Congrats.

I understand about the stocks. I work for Citi and have stock options. A couple of years ago, I had 62 stocks worth $58 a share. I'm lucky to get a couple of bucks for them now. So much for my 401k.

In any case, I have enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for posting the link on Twitter so I can follow you in more cyber ways.

Please don't call the cops.

Luna said...

Oh man, girl its just a mess. Sad, sorry to here about your stocks. regardless, I have faith in Obama. But damn what a mess.