Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's hard to keep up with decreasing economy.

It has been just over a month since I last had my workout at the physical therapy place housing my senior fitness program. I had taken the time off to have a cardio device inserted into my chest. Most people would be ready to resume full normal activity after this time, but I’m not among them. Due to my various ailments, my doctor wants me to take a little longer.

It has to do with the wires from the device to my heart having ample time to become part of my body. Simply put, the doc doesn’t want me to do any heavy lifting or lifting my left arm over my head for another few weeks. The rest of me has been cleared and I’ve already turned in my little permission note to resume senior fitness as of today.

For the most part I avoided the weights, especially any that required my left arm to lift above my head. But since I last did a workout, the program venue has changed from a very small gym with limited “toys” to a rather large one with more workout equipment than I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t hard to find some substitute activities.

The problem, though, was a month off for this old, overweight body. I found myself getting tired rather quickly and had to cut my first day back a little shorter than I had hoped. We’ll give it another go Thursday and push just a little harder. I hope I’ll be back to my old self in a relative short time. I would point out, however, that my mental condition, my desire to activity, and even some of my physical condition seems to be better than it has been for a while.

That little storm we had yesterday that dumped a foot or more in some parts of Maine really wasn’t a surprise. The weather forecasters had been telling us for several days that a storm was coming. The best part of this one was it wasn’t the heavy, wet snow that makes for very difficult cleaning. The high drifts and plow piles are about all that’s left.

I’m like the huge number of people in Maine who know that spring is less than three weeks away, it’s March, and we’ve had enough snow for this year. Yet it was pretty.

The situation is changing so rapidly and the new information comes out so often that it’s difficult for this old brain to keep up. Of course I’m referring to the economy that is dramatically dropping as a result of the doings in Washington.

The Dow Jones averages dropped to below 7000 for the first time in a dozen years and I’ve read some speculation they could fall close or below 4000 before the free fall ends. More and more Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, and their ability to maintain their families on a daily basis. Walk down the main street in your town and look at the shuttered businesses.

Is there a day that goes by without reading about new closures, furloughs, or cutbacks? How do our fine representatives in Washington react? More spending of money the government doesn’t have. Just this week a budget bill of more than 450 billion dollars was passed. A goodly portion of that bill represented old fashioned pork projects, or projects earmarked for special interest spending.

Don’t you love that word “earmarked?” Our President told us he would never support earmarks. It was part of the hope and change he was bringing to Washington. First, his massive spending bill passed last week was about 80 or 85 percent pork, or earmarked projects. Because he’s the President, President Obama must take the blame, just as former President Bush had to suffer the blame for all the ills under his administration.

But let’s make no mistake about these chunks of pork; they were inserted into the spending package and the budget bill by both Republicans and Democrats. And it goes beyond the miserable three who could have forced a real stimulus package had they remained true to their party.

Perhaps you’d like an example of the spending from the spending package to stimulate the economy. How about $2.4 billion for "neighborhood stabilization" activities? Or $55 million for the Historic Preservation Fund? How about $7.6 million for the Rural Advancement Program or $150 million for "agricultural commodity purchases" or $150 million for producers of livestock, farm-raised fish and honey bees? These are only a few examples. You can Google search the package for confirmation or other examples.

The proposed new budget calls for increased taxes on the so-called rich and businesses. The only purpose is to “spread the wealth” but what really results is loss of business and the loss of more jobs.

The newly emerging socialism will only partially work as long as there are people who can pay the bills. The nation is running out of them.

So all this changes rapidly. Daily, even hourly. As this ramble shows, it’s very difficult to get a handle on what is and isn’t happening. I’ll try to do a better job of organizing my thoughts and from time to time pass them along.


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