Monday, January 31, 2011

Let the good times roll

The good times are back. Our economy is fixed and folks are spending like crazy. The Dow is gaining and all is right with the world. Maybe in your world but not in mine.

Let me start with an article from CNN money that  addresses one of my rants, one that is all too familiar to those close to me. While there is some job creation, many or maybe most of those jobs are low to medium wage. No shit. Big surprise I know.  I won't bother to link to the article but you can read it for yourself in the Yahoo finance section.

Here's the thing- most people know this already-at least those who formerly earned what CNN refers to as high wages. I was in that group but I guess I didn't know it at the time. I'm not being cute here. I really thought that most people in skilled positions earned those kinds of wages. Not now. But I digress. Suffice to say that I am having extreme difficulty finding a job to replace half of my previous wages. Health insurance is another problem that I will address at some future time.

I live in Texas. Great place to live. Wages not the best suck but you can't have everything. Well guess what- Texas has budget problems just like all but about 7 of the 50 states. Forecasting big cuts in the budget including education. Guess what else- my spouse is an educator. Texas may cut as many as 100,000 positions in education in the next two school years. Not a typo. 100,000! Nice! Good news is there are plenty of service sector jobs available where a person may be able to earn as much as $9.00 per hour! Whew. And I was worried.

In a nutshell, the gist of the article is that while there are jobs, generally, most don't pay very well. Speaking very broadly, many/most have a lower standard of living to look forward to once higher prices for food and fuel are taken in account. Many bloggers have been talking about downward pressure on wages for a long time but I rarely see or hear this discussed in the MSM.

Recently I heard an "economist" from SMU state that most people see rising fuel prices as a sign that the economy is improving. Huh? I recently conducted a very unscientific poll in which I asked 25-30 family and friends about this view. I don't need to tell you that not one single person I queried viewed rising fuel costs as a positive. Of course, it is certainly apparent that "the economy" means different things to different people. There is a lot of pain out there and I am afraid a lot more to come. You know it's bad when Mish starts talking about food preservation with a retiree named Stephanie. Mish offers very sound advice and this is no exception. I encourage everyone to read this as well as Chris Martenson's thoughts on food.