Monday, August 8, 2011


I'd call that an uneventful weekend. Except for mowing the lawn, which didn't really need it, I guess one would have to call it a "resfful weekend."

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I had decided that we didn't like this non-vacation year. Oh, yes, we did get a lot of necessary things accomplished. We had the driveway repaired and sealed. We go a new stove. Many necessary projects were accomplished but we didn't take a vacation. We've missed it and so, since a new production at our favorite theater in Lancaster, PA is being introduced next spring, we decided we'd bite the proverbial bullet and head there.

Now a little incident last week in Washington, D.C., has got us thinking again. First, Congress failed to resolve the budget/deficit crisis. Sure, a measure was passed and signed into law by President Obama, but it only provided for more borrowing. I've said it here many, many times. One cannot borrow into prosperity.

When our family, and I suspect many of yours, found themselves in serious financial difficulty back in the 1970s, we cut up our credit cards, about all of which had been max'd out, cut our spending dramatically and only allowed the purchasing of that for which we could pay without charging, and over several years, eliminated all our debt. Well, we did have a house payment for several more years, but with the elimination of everything else that payment was relatively easy. In fact the mortgage was satisfied before it was scheduled to end as was a mortgage on a subsequent house we bought.

I'd hate to tell you how long it's been since we've made a car payment.

But now, after all that work, our financial life is once again in jeopardy. And it's all because of the inability of Congress to meet the crisis head on. A leading rating agency has downgraded America's credit. The potential of what that could do to all of us is scary. I haven't paid a credit card interest for many years so that part wouldn't hurt me. Those of you who do pay interest, however, could see your rates rise. Buy a new car or house could also become more expensive, all due to a potential increase in interest rates.

Selfishly, I won't have as much income today as I did a couple weeks ago. With the dramatic fall of investments on Wall Street, my retirement portfolio, like everyone's portfolio whether retired or not, is taking a hit. That hurts.

I could go on, but as you watch prices rise and income fall, just remember what your government is doing to you. Remember when we were faced with a similar financial crisis in the late '40s/early 50's and President Truman called that time's Congress a "Do-Nothing Congress"? Well, some of us are old enough to remember. President Truman's comments are fitting today.

Two things must be accomplished to get us out of this national financial mess. Congress must reign in it's need for spending and it must send a balanced budget Constitutional amendment to the states for ratification. It won't do either.

As I've said in the past, I'm not offering suggestions for cutting as I didn't create the mess. The creators must get us out of the problem. I could offer some dramatic suggestions though, none of which would be politically correct.

As for our vacation next year, we're back in the "let's try to do it" stage.


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