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08:42 PM on 12/03/2008
My husband and I are retired. So far our bonds have mainly stagnated. My concern is for our son who works for one of the big three dealerships. He has a wife, three kids, and a mortgage which has gone upside down. As Grandparents, we have been donating money to 529s for our grandkids future education. So far it has lost $3,000 dollars. Our oldest grand daughter will be eighteen and eligible for college in 2012. We live in a small town which just saw our local Mervyns go out of business. We have a Kmart and a Walmart which does a booming business. Without Mervyns and Kmart we will have only one clothing store and will have to travel a 100 miles to a major center. We have several dealerships which if they are closed are going to greatly affect our economy.
02:05 PM on 12/10/2008
I am going to respond as if you are in favor of a bailout, although that is unclear. I feel your pain, but maybe your dealerships could start selling cars made by companies that have effective business practices and are successful? You grandchildrens' lives will be a lot worse if the government bankrupts itself further to bail out companies that don't deserve to stay in business. Of course the workers don't deserve to be laid off, but if a company does not run in a successful way, failure is the natural consequence. I suggest your son try looking for a new job, and make sure it is with a company who has an eye on the future, as the American auto industry clearly did not.

Life is a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't, but people need to hedge their bets and prepare for the unexpected. I don't know if I have enough savings to get through these hard times, I am looking for a part time night and evening job to help pay the mortgage, student loans, and costs of raising 4 children. I have no money for their college, but they will be sheltered, well fed, and educated without having to take a handout. Your community needs to figure out their problems and try to fix them without the help of my hard earned money. My money is needed by my family and my community.
07:21 PM on 12/03/2008
I am an older single woman who is retired and collecting Social Security, however, I still work full-time and because I am not yet at my full retirement age (66), the government takes away $1 for every $2 I earn over a set amount that is considered allowable. I rent a modest studio apartment where my utilities are paid by the management, my 6-year-old Toyota is paid for, and I take the bus to work most days with a pass that my company pays for. I want to say for all you seniors out there who are thinking about retiring, not a good time to do that, if possible, cut back to a less stressful job or work part-time. I still go out at night to the gym or dance classes and have fun. There is life in challenging times and don't give up...remember you can get all the books you want to read at your library for free and use their computer too.
02:07 PM on 12/10/2008
Thank you for such hopeful and refreshing words! It is good to know we can get through this if we buckle down, tighten our belts, and rely on our own hard work. Bailouts only prolong the agony, and will hurt our economy even more.
07:09 PM on 12/03/2008
I would like a link to the blog responses that were solicited by this article. Surveymonkey collected information and I would like to see where it went.
04:47 PM on 12/03/2008
The problem isn't with demo/cons ideology . . . the problem is that we live in a society where government, big business, small business, and individuals build their lives on credit because of their own greed.

If history serves me right (and I'm only 48) we haven't seen anything yet. And do you want to know what the problem is? As soon as someone attempts to do the right thing (if that's possible), the house is going to come crashing down. BUT this must happen. I would rather that we suffer the economic disaster now so that I can shelter my four children through it than to see us pass it along to their grandchildren.

As a small business owner, we need to stop the name calling and do the right thing. . .and I haven't seen that happening much by those who can make a difference.

buy american,
jch painting . granbury . tx
04:42 PM on 12/03/2008
What 'we' lack---I mean the working population---is a set of meaningful metrics such as 'the Dow' or 'the S&P' that can be quoted each day to show the health of the citizens/workers in this country.

Every hour all the radio networks tell us 'oh good, the Dow is up 500 pts,' but nothing about how workers are doing, such as how many foreclosures per week, actual inflation, job numbers, etc. We don't have our own "Dow worker average" and so we nev er get any concise measure of how workers are doing.

And so, the message of 'corporate health' is constantly given to us via the Dow, but we have nothing like that to report on the healty of 130,000,000 American workers/households.

Maybe some suggestions would be forthcoming to explain how to get such a 'Dow for workers and families' to put into the media each and every day.

Just an idea.
04:05 PM on 12/03/2008
I can only hope that Huffington Post will print out these "blogs" from people who are suffering - and deliver them to members of Congress - especially the Senate where 80% or more are Millionaires!

The Banks we have Bailed Out with Taxpayer dollars - have Outsourced good US Jobs to India and the Phillippines. Yep, Citibank outsourced IT jobs to India, and their Call Center to the Phillippines. JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America has outsourced IT and Call Center jobs to India.

So why did we Bail them out?? Outrageously Shameful.
03:26 PM on 12/03/2008
Part Three

Now to 401k's. We were bent over a barrel and forced to take part in legalized gambling also know as the stock market. We all know what has happened here, they have shrunk drastically.

Until we stop letting these corporations make "turning a fast buck" and start offering value, we are in a pit that we won't be able to dig out of.

We need to take our lives back by offering local services to local communities and turn our backs on the corporations who have opted for choosing to weaken our country by sending U.S. jobs and money overseas.
03:26 PM on 12/03/2008
Part Two

I have been out of work for 6 months now. I tried to launch a small business, but everyone is so scared, the only money they are spending is in wallyworld, the gas pump or the grocery store. I am a professional with a degree and the only serious job offer I have gotten is work as an attendant in a laundromat.

If we had real competition in this country, we would not be in this shape as a nation. Anytime a small business opens and becomes successful, a corporation comes and buys it out. As an example I got cell phone service thru a local company. I am a very light user and it ran me about $15 a month. Now one of the BIG companies came in and bought it. That service will now cost me $50 per month and allows me to basically talk after 9pm and on weekends. That is fine if your friends are all night owls, but useless or very expensive for calls outside of those times. All the companies charge the same for the same. If you want a cell phone these days, better plan on $100 a month. That may not sound like alot to many, but for others like me, it means I had better hope I don't have an accident and need help.
03:25 PM on 12/03/2008
Part One.

I have been laid off twice in under 12 months. I was employed by the first job for nearly 4 years. It is one of the largest multinational corporations on the planet. My job was shipped overseas where my $13 per hour could be had for less than $4.
The working conditions here were brutal in that we were required to work 60-70 hours every week. The management was incompetent and favored young recent university graduates who's only other work had been waiting tables while working thru school, that is unless they were supported by parents during school and didn't have to work. As an employee, I saw a number of practices that I perceived to be downright dishonest. The point is, any small business run this way would have gone under years ago, if not for Government contracts that it gets from the War Industry.

I then took a job for a local media company. It was much the same as far as management went. The upper management is older (I have nothing against, "older" as I am 50 myself) and not even trying to keep up in an industry that changes radically practically overnight. Here, I also saw a trend of favoring young and inexperienced people being placed in key management positions. Some are arrogant and don't realize they are in over their head, others will admit in private they don't have a clue. Meanwhile revenue drops and ultimately jobs are cut.
02:16 PM on 12/03/2008
Years ago, we realized that bad times come along for various reasons. So, we sold our house in the CA wine country, before the real estate boom. Bought a smaller home with a couple acres in MT. Our house and a rental house are paid for. We grow our fruits, veggies, spices. We can, freeze, and dehydrate the food. Our cabinets and freezer are full. We have hens who provide us with eggs. They feed us and many others. I buy clothes at thrift stores. Paid 50 cents a pair for name brand jeans. Some of the jeans still had original prices tags on them. Our money is safely in CD's. Not much interest on them now, but they don't get wiped out, either. Our cars and truck are paid for. No credit card debt. We have everything we need, and most of what we want. So, surviving the current economy is no different than we already lived. Family members have scoffed at our frugality in the past few years, while they lived the American life style. But, one by one they are seeing the benefit of our ways now. It is actually rewarding to know you don't have to play the game that has been encouraged by our corporations and government. I recommend it to everyone.
01:07 PM on 12/03/2008
Arianana you've misjudged the amount of embarrassment and shame that still lingers for most of us who've been knocked off the horse. I went to your blog-your-recession-story page. I don't want anyone to know who I am.......I still have a face I put out to the world I must try to work in. I am a 58 year old real estate broker. I should be rich you say. Well I might have been if I'd not had to blow through my entire savings and reserves while I looked for work I never got., had not everyone's cousin become a Realtor during the feedy frenzy, IF I had not counseled so many buyers NOT to sign on for funky loans that were bound to burn them. IF my husband were not disabled ..... SSI does not cover his needs. IF I could have afforded health insurance myself and not lost my credit score to unpaid medical bills. In MY state they still price insurance premiums by credit score...regardless of driving record.

Today I am packing up the last of our possessions to store. We're moving into a bedroom at our son's home with just a few necessities;our dog and cat. It was a long road and a longer story getting to this point. I'm better off than many. So many were living on the edge of subsistance with so much stacked against them to start with. Within 6 months you'll see homeless flooding the streets.
02:27 PM on 12/03/2008

I understand perfectly because I've thought about the blog but I don't want to sign my name to it because then some other folks would know.

I'm about 6 years younger than you, unmarried and forced to live with family because my entire office was outsourced 3 1/2 years ago. I've stopped looking for a few months because I'm helping my 73 year old mother get back and forth to work. She has a great job but has severe spinal problems and uses a wheelchair not to forget that she is on her second round of chemo. We seem to have stabilized her pain with medication but she can't have the operation she really needs because she just wouldn't survive it. Truth is that, if she did retire her pension does not cover health will be medicare believe it or not.
So much for working for the isn't as great as some think it is.

Of course, if I could find a job, it wouldn't be enough money because I've never made more than around $26,000 per year.

And I have a college degree too.

And GWB lets in all those college graduates from overseas....

And my brother, who is a member of MENSA, just lost his job because his company was sold too and his wife is having a hard time finding a job as a nurse...and she is a very good one ...very caring and compassionate...

I can't stand BUSH !
03:09 PM on 12/03/2008
Son....I truly think the powers that be and even those who have Enough, have a clue about the silent suffering out here. How just the lack of a few hundred dollars can set your entire existence sideways, in ways that are nearly impossible to undo. I very fortunate that my husband's family is welcoming us with open arms, and I do know that we can be a help to them too. But is it too much to ask, after working a lifetime, that we could have our own little secure homes to enjoy as we march toward "golden years"?

I am not a xenophobe....never never! But in our state residents who've come here from nations where they could never dream of such a life as we have (and I don't begrudge them wanting more for their families...we ALL want that)....are eligible for health care and benfits and grants that those of us who've worked and paid taxes forever do not qualify for.

I'm so sorry about your situation. You are very brave and good to step up to doing what you can for family. Perhaps some good can come out of all this......maybe kindness as a virtue and a way of living will become fashionable and trendy.
03:13 PM on 12/03/2008
ooops....I meant to say they DON'T have a clue about the silent suffering
11:49 AM on 12/03/2008
Has anyone noticed the mentality of our generation, during this recession? When massive industrial layoffs were happening, the unaffected masses looked the other way. We as a society are not mentally prepared, programmed to reach out to these. I recall many private landlords who were so used to profiting from charging $1300 to $2000 for 2 bedroom apartments, were unwilling to drop their prices for the migration of unemployed families looking for work. On the other hand, these same profiteers grovelled to the higher income professionals moving in from the cities. We don't have a Plan B for affordable habitation for these folks.

They have to pay extremely high rent for little comfort; discouragement settles in, and for some that I know personally, the lack of health insurance, worry, PTSD, it can make a person stand on that fine line of becoming homeless. These are hard-working responsible law-abiding citizens. And, some military veterans, homeless? We know government can't do it alone; help for recession-affected families needs to come from a collective community.
11:31 AM on 12/03/2008
I fear this will simply devolve into a bunch of us crying in our beer and pointing fingers at the terrible conservatives that got us here. Why not create something more constructive like a forum where people can share ideas for dealing with financial stresses, how to network and find new jobs, etc. Employers could join in and post open positions. Huffpost's audience is educated and tech-savvy, exactly what the best organizations are looking for. This could be a whole new vertical on Huffpost.
10:06 AM on 12/03/2008
The season of avarice has begun: On, indeed, Black Friday, Long Island shoppers trampled a man--a human being--to death in their zeal of buy things. No word is available about his poor--why else would they be working at Walmart?--co-workers, including the woman who was 8-months pregnant, who tried to rescue him. In perhaps its only humane gesture--ever--Walmart closed the store. The Long Island shoppers were not happy .... George W. Bush calls us a "capitalist democracy." Beyond displaying his ignorance--we're a "democratic republic"--Bush's phrase succinctly summarizes what's so very, very sick about modern America.
02:19 AM on 12/03/2008
Thank You Arianna

Why should we continue to bailout these Robber Barons, when all they really are concerned about are their bottom line, whether corporate or personal.
After seeing him testify, I wrote and sent a certified letter to Mr. Mozillo at Countrywide requesting assistance. My interest rate though fixed is high...8.9%. As of this date I have heard absolutely nothing from him. Of course after hearing of his email faux pas, I can see why. I, along with many others dont fit in his bottom line.
Monthly calls are met with proposed repayments that raise the monthly payment 5 to 7 hundred dollars, and request for a wrap around modification are scoffed at. We have to consider our investor is what I am told. By providing these bailouts do I become an investor? TRICKLE DOWN IS A AND DOES NOT WORK. Lets tell the Barons of Greed and Chinese Labor and trinkets we are going to switch to TRICKE UP and see there response