For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day....and other issues

Uh oh. It's late at night (actually early the next morning) and I've been up since the previous morning very early. I feel the urge to ramble a bit...

Some personal thoughts on the economy.

Have you been overseas lately? Have you at least been to Canada...lately??? Our dollar is seven cents short of the Canadian dollar (as of yesterday in Grimsby, Ontario where I ate dinner and paid with Yankee dollars), and I could swear I saw Washington's face blush when I opened my wallet. Although I'm still relieved we elected Bush over Kerry and Gore, there are certain things that have been left woefully unattended. This is one of them. The other is Central and South America. More on the latter some other time...

I received my STIMULUS rebate money of $600, directly deposited into my checking account last week. Aren't we lucky the Fed doesn't send it to us in those awful rebate Visa check cards like AT&T? Anyway, the money will stay in my bank account until the Bush tax cuts run out and my taxes go through the roof again. Really, I don't get those Democrats bragging about giving us stimulus money one moment (to jump start the economy) and then pledging to overturn the Bush tax cuts (to kill the economy again) the next moment. At best it's a wash, right?

Fuel costs are running amok and are expected to go higher. So I went to my storage room and fetched my Schwinn Super LeTour 12.2 (that's 12.2 Kg, which was light for a ten-speed bike in the late '70s) . It has been sitting there collecting dust for 13 years, waiting for the right moment to spring into action. The tires are flat and it smells funny, plus the seat is...well...let's say it's outdated for me. I'm 44 years old and so is my prostate, so I will update the seat with something more...broad and cushy. So rather than make one car trip to the grocery store, I'll get lots of exercise with several bicycle trips there and back, while wearing a backpack.

Don't forget to call your Mothers today. But wait until a decent hour to do so.

(Dollar portrait borrowed from Digerati Life)


Paul said...

Matt, we all feel your pain (tho not as much as truckers, such as you OTR's, UPS, FedEx, leased cabbies, etc.) The spike in fuel costs is costing everyone (even bike riders) in the added cost of delivered goods. which affects everything we buy. Not to mention the increase in the costs of production, which (ditto).

But from what I read and hear, this fuel spike is due to a combination of global supply/demand and commodity speculation factors, and far beyond our government's licit control. (Although the lib tree-huggers' continuing resistance to drilling in ANWR. the Gulf and off-shore, certainly complicates the problem of our dependence on foreign oil.}

I may be a Pollyanna, but I'm hoping this fuel cost spike is a "bubble," (like the dotcom prices a few years back) and will burst somewhere down the line.

Next, as to currency exchange prices, I think you can chalk it up primarily to the constant lowering of interest rates by the Fed over the last year or three. Wall St. hailed every one of them, as the value of the dollar declined against all foreign currencies (outside of South America.) But these are things that ebb and flow (like world temperatures), and I think the Fed may have finally gotten the message.

As for food prices (which you don't mention), but are up around 18% over a year ago in some sectors, a lot of blame can be placed on our "green" pols for their ethanol subsidies of 50 cents plus per gallon, and mandated requirements of increased ethanol usage by US gasoline producers. This means that farmers that used to grow wheat, soybeans, etc., have switched over to corn, and that they're growing that corn to sell to ethanol producers, not to food makers or feeders of livestock, which increases the costs of food production.

Why couldn't more of our legislators have read "The Wealth of Nations," or taken a simple course in Econ 101 or "The Law of Supply of Demand," instead of "Das Kapital?"

Meanwhile, a belated Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there. (Wouldn't be here without you today, Mom.)