Monday, July 5, 2010

For many, more holliday weekend

The Holiday Weekend continued Monday for many people.  For state workers and other government workers, it was  regular day away from the job completing a four day weekend.  Most of those state employees, however, probably didn't enjoy the first day as it was a forced, unpaid day off to help pay for the state's huge budget deficit.

Some companies and small businesses also remained closed Monday, but not the supermarket for which Gator Wife works.  She was at her part time job preparing sandwiches and salads so others could have good meals, many of them picnics or days at the beach.

Tuesday, the normal week begins once again and now we all look forward to the next holiday weekend which doesn't come until September.

There was one terrible report in the news over the weekend as a breakdown of the new taxes and tax increases we'll be facing next January was made public.  All these tax increases are from the federal government and include increases in income tax levies with higher rates and fewer deductions as well as new taxes to pay for the new federal health care plan.

I read about them on the Drudge Report and we are certainly in for some change.  I'm not sure we're going to like those changes.  I don't know if it's still there or not, but a Google search probably could get you links to the increases.  They are going to be eye-catching and shocking.

We also learned over the weekend that our state government is faced with another budget crisis.  Because certain bills have not been passed in Congress, at least yet, Maine's hoped for increases in Medicaid payments will not happen.  Unless Congress changes its collective mind, that will mean another huge cut in the state budget for this fiscal year which has already begun.  Early reports indicated education will take the biggest hit.

Those local education budgets are already what school officials call "bare bones."  According to several administrators quoted over the weekend in various sources, if those cuts do materialize, it could mean the cutting of programs and personnel.

Speaking of cutting personnel, how about that specious employment report released over the weekend.  Government officals were praising their own actions as the jobless rate dropped from 9.7% to 9.5%.  Looks good on paper, but one had to read lower in articles to see that in reality, a lot more people lost their jobs than were hired in the period.  The drop resulted not from greater employment but rather from workers dropping out of the job market.

Much of those dropouts were the result of Congress not extending workers' compensation benefits and many laid off workers were no longer eligible to receive aid.  Many of them simply have given up.  If not working to find a job, one is not counted in the unemployment rate, thus last month's cut.

And so it goes.  One can only wonder when, if, it all will finally get turned around.  I certainly don't believe raising taxes will be an answer.


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