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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 7th, 2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

Millions of Americans who are unemployed would answer no. But then again there are the millions of Americans who have learned to live on the government's largese. And then there are the retired military, and governement employees who will answer yes because they are assured of the governement checks getting bigger every year as they double dip into Social Security and a Government pension plan. No wonder President Obama is going to get reelected.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 09:41 PM
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I was happier in 2008 than I am now .

I was healthier in 2008 than I am now.

I was younger in 2008 than I am now
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Old September 7th, 2012, 10:52 PM
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To answer the "are you better off now" question people really need to think back to "how they were back in 2008, entering 2009.

Anyone remember the FEAR they felt upon seeing the stock market collapse to 6,000? Or that the auto industry was going to collapse? Or the banks were collapsing?

They may not have lost their jobs or their home at that time, but their "financial world" was already collapsing.

I remember ( even though I'm not an American, and I was not living in the United States). I had sold my business of 35 years, and I was searching to purchase a new business.

I back right off because I knew that if the US financial system totally collapsed, there would be another "great depression". And I knew that would spread across the world. Though I wasn't directly affected, I know I was afraid to risk my life savings in the face of the collapse.

So, the bottom line, though individually, no doubt there are people who are now worse off, on the whole the fact is overall it couldn't have got any worse, without devastation.

All the people with IRAs (which are market based) have almost recovered what they've lost, with the market over 13000.

There is no question there were people negatively impacted to the point they may feel like they will never recover, and that is truly sad.

But to be able to understand and answer the question..." are you better off" you do have to really think of how you were "then".

I think the real question is Are You Good Now? And to that question, I think the vast majority of people would say NO!

Then it's up to US voters to respond by choosing representives for all levels of their government who they think can make it good.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 12:24 AM
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The answer to that question is in my signature. In 2008 and 2009 we took 2 cruises, 2010 and 2011 we took one cruise and just this month I had to cancel the cruise I had planned for this coming November due to lack of funds, doing the same job and having less bills then we had in 2008.

So no, absolutely not doing better.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 12:41 AM
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In 2008 I took one cruise .
In 2012-2
2013-I booked 3
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Old September 8th, 2012, 08:08 AM
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We are doing better.

We were able to put my 23 yr. old Son, who has a couple of medical conditions, back onto our health insurance - thanks Obama! He is now doing a lot better and able to work everyday!

It is all about giving people opportunities and enabling them to become a productive citizen. I don't understand why the Right never gets that.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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I retired in January 2008 with a decent pension and a respectable net worth based largely on investments. Fast forward to the fall of 2008 and poof, half of my portfolio value was gone. The pension fund went from being 100% funded to barely 60%, but thankfully it has survived. Still, in less than a year of retirement I had to go back to work to build up some cash reserves again, since my son's college fund was pummeled and I have to pay for it somehow. I am fortunate to have a skill set for a unique industry (nuclear power), so getting work is easy and usually takes just a phone call.

So, am I better off today? No. As Kuki said, most investments have just now regained the losses from 2008 so for me it is like I lost 4 years. For me it is a draw. I'm about as good today as I was in 2008. Except that I am older now.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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Yes, I have more money than I did four years ago, but, no, I am not better off since it buys much less due to inflation. Look at the prices you are paying for food, gas, resturants, movies, repairs and utilities before you make the judgement.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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I am better off because I have been retired for three years and we love our new home in Palm Coast, Fl.

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Old September 8th, 2012, 07:58 PM
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Am I better off this year? The answer is no, but not for the usual answers. I chose to get out of my job, nursing. My age and advancing technology along with regulations made me stop working, losing 2/3 of my income. But, for now, it was worth it. I have a fixed income, able to be very frugal, have no credit cards. I'm not starving, have a roof over my head, a beat up vehicle. I have some savings I use for car insurance, house insurance. I can't cruise as before as I'm single, so take my cruises this part of the year to get my cruise fix on shorter ones I can drive to.
I think many live beyond their means, don't think twice about foods they choose, things in general. I've been lucky, my children put themselves through college and are productive citizens. They bought their own cars.
As much as some disagree with my thoughts, so much economic hardship was caused by people overextending their lifestyle. Then, the media kicked in full force and told us how poor we were. These people stopped buying things, buying cars etc. and this caused layoffs of the people previously employed making things. People stopped buying, causing people to lose their jobs. I'm sure there's more to it, but this is one aspect to think about.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 03:16 AM
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Absolutely.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Paul, you have focused on the one thing that is one of the biggest sappers of the nations wealth - inflation. Most people don't even realize that it's so bad and it's frightening what it is doing to the savings of people who have worked for years to get their retirement.

I saw one comment o this site that IRAs are back to levels of four years ago. How naive. What is this person thinking what about the inflation factor. Thanks Paul for bringing this subject to the front.

The only ones who maybe happy with this situation are the ones who have government guaranteed increases every year linked to inflation rate- retired government employees, retired military, retired politicians.

I exclude social security recipients from this group because their increases are minimal.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 09:33 PM
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Inflation is certainly not the issue it was years ago. If concerned, there are investments that have inflation protection included.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 09:43 PM
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I'm doing a whole lot better than many people I know, but....

...since the economy shows no sign of turning around, I gave up last year and closed my business. It had been losing money for several months but I hated to have to let my employees go; and

...since Obamacare caused the plug to be pulled on my Medicare Advantage plan, the cost of my medical insurance has gone up 800%.

So I may not be doing much worse than 4 years ago, but by no means am I better off.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul B View Post
Yes, I have more money than I did four years ago, but, no, I am not better off since it buys much less due to inflation. Look at the prices you are paying for food, gas, resturants, movies, repairs and utilities before you make the judgement.
US annual inflation rate in 09 was -.04%
'10 was 1.6%
'11 was 3.2 %
'12 (to date) is @2%

So, really inflation isn't a huge issue.

Though with the summer long drought across the country, that could be impacted with rising food prices in the fall.

The fact that the average annual income has dropped is a serious problem
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Old September 10th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Inflation does allow us to pay off debt with cheaper dollars.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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Default Yes cheaper dollars to pay off National debt?

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Originally Posted by zydecocruiser View Post
Inflation does allow us to pay off debt with cheaper dollars.
Yes you are absolutely right there will be cheaper dollars to pay off the National Debt. And I suppose if we follow your line of reasoning we should elect Mr. Obama and his parites representatives so they can pile up more debt on the trillions now owed so that the debt can be paid off with cheaper dollars.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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Default Yes cheaper dollars to pay off National debt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zydecocruiser View Post
Inflation does allow us to pay off debt with cheaper dollars.
Yes you are absolutely right there will be cheaper dollars to pay off the National Debt. And I suppose if we follow your line of reasoning we should elect Mr. Obama and his parites representatives so they can pile up more debt on the trillions now owed so that the debt can be paid off with cheaper dollars.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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We are not better off than we were before. As the Op said, we are retired military, but that is decreasing because of higher health care costs. His 401K has lost all that it has made since he switched, and our home values have decreased.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonnyprincecharlie View Post
Yes you are absolutely right there will be cheaper dollars to pay off the National Debt. And I suppose if we follow your line of reasoning we should elect Mr. Obama and his parites representatives so they can pile up more debt on the trillions now owed so that the debt can be paid off with cheaper dollars.
Look up the phrase "tongue in cheek."
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luanne Russo View Post
We are not better off than we were before. As the Op said, we are retired military, but that is decreasing because of higher health care costs. His 401K has lost all that it has made since he switched, and our home values have decreased.
You need to thank G. W. Bush and his cronies for that. This is what happens when you let your "big buck" buddies run amok without proper regulation. The small guy gets sr***ed.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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You need to thank G. W. Bush and his cronies for that. This is what happens when you let your "big buck" buddies run amok without proper regulation. The small guy gets sr***ed.
I don't know who to blame, and it sort of seems like a waste of time to blame. AS President Obama says, "We need to look forward to the future"

The president works for me, and you, and everyone else. I am looking for someone to take the job that will do it right. I am also looking for a congress that will put the American people first.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Luanne Russo View Post
. I am also looking for a congress that will put the American people first.
Luanne I would love to see that as well.

Unfortunately our members of congress work for themselves. They all become rich while serving in DC.

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Old September 28th, 2012, 08:42 PM
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As I sit here and mull this thread, I think to myself... am I better off than I was four years ago?? Even with all of the graciousness of God, our Father, I have to state that the current party in the American White House actually tried, and to certain extents has succeeded, in taking away all that God has given me and my brothers and sisters of this Great Nation! What have they taken from us??

Amendment #1 - prohibition of free speech, religion. DONE!
Amendment #2 - right of the people to bear arms. DONE!
Amendment #3 - soldiers in quarters without owner's consent. DONE!
Amendment #4 - guard against warrantless search and/or seizure. DONE!
Amendment #5 - illegal arrest. DONE!
Amendment #6 - Speedy trial. DONE!
Amendment # 7 - Trial by jury. DONE!
Amendment # 8 - excessive bail. DONE!
Amendment # 9 - deny rights to the people. DONE!
Amendment #10 - states' powers removed. DONE!
Amendment #11 - states' electorial votes. IN PROCESS!
Amendment #12 - slavery back. DONE!
Amendment #13 - Bail. Left alone.
Amendment #14 - rebel aginst USA as governmental leader of USA. DONE!
Amendment #15 - voting rights. DONE!
Amendment #16 - tax collection. IMPROVED!
Amendment #17 - number of senators from each state. Left alone.
Amendment #18 - alcohol. Left alone.
Amendment #19 - voting denied. DONE!
Amendment #20 - term limitations. Left alone.

No! I am not better off now than I was four years ago!!
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Old September 28th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Not to mention that I have sold many of my investments because of the capital gains tax increase coming, I do not make the money I did because of the lack of jobs that I am qualified for, I have to watch my pennies now when I did not four years ago. Energy prices are higher, taxes are higher and more frequent, the threat of disenfranchishment is higher, the cost of living is higher. Even those who claim that they are better off now than four years ago are not realizing nor recognizing these items in my last sentence.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 09:56 PM
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Part of my families money is derived from royalties -any way the price goes is good, higher being better.

The only tax increases I have seen are because of Republicans.

Who ever is elected, taxes are going up, period.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehawk View Post
As I sit here and mull this thread, I think to myself... am I better off than I was four years ago?? Even with all of the graciousness of God, our Father, I have to state that the current party in the American White House actually tried, and to certain extents has succeeded, in taking away all that God has given me and my brothers and sisters of this Great Nation! What have they taken from us??

Amendment #1 - prohibition of free speech, religion. DONE!
Amendment #2 - right of the people to bear arms. DONE!
Amendment #3 - soldiers in quarters without owner's consent. DONE!
Amendment #4 - guard against warrantless search and/or seizure. DONE!
Amendment #5 - illegal arrest. DONE!
Amendment #6 - Speedy trial. DONE!
Amendment # 7 - Trial by jury. DONE!
Amendment # 8 - excessive bail. DONE!
Amendment # 9 - deny rights to the people. DONE!
Amendment #10 - states' powers removed. DONE!
Amendment #11 - states' electorial votes. IN PROCESS!
Amendment #12 - slavery back. DONE!
Amendment #13 - Bail. Left alone.
Amendment #14 - rebel aginst USA as governmental leader of USA. DONE!
Amendment #15 - voting rights. DONE!
Amendment #16 - tax collection. IMPROVED!
Amendment #17 - number of senators from each state. Left alone.
Amendment #18 - alcohol. Left alone.
Amendment #19 - voting denied. DONE!
Amendment #20 - term limitations. Left alone.

No! I am not better off now than I was four years ago!!
I have a member of my Board of Directors that has become a very good friend. However, I have realized that despite the fact we are good friends and I totally respect him, he carries a different world view than I do. Your posts, especially this one, makes me realize that you do also.

I have realized from our discussions that I will not make any inroads to the way that he sees the world. This is because IMHO, the world he sees - no longer exists and probably never did.

Because of my job working with the United Methodists, I have been involved with a lot of relief efforts. I have seen the poor in this country and others. I have seen what Republican policies did to them in the past. Most of us are wealthy compared to most of the world. We have tons of opportunities that the poor do not have.

If we all make the effort to ignore the folks from the extreme Right or Left we find that the PEOPLE of this country all want about the same. We all want the opportunity to better ourselves, live a good life, make sure our kids have a bright future, and to be free to purse those thing in life we enjoy. We hate war, but we realize that we have to defend ourselves. Because we all cruise, we likely have found that the people we meet from around the world are all pretty much like that.

IMHO, the reason that I have become a liberal thinking person is that the whole Conservative philosophy seems to be based on judgement. There seems to be the base assumption that the successful are bright, intelligent, hard working people who deserve to be rewarded. Of course this can be true and we can all think of good examples of this. However, this is not always the case. Some wealthy people are greedy sociopaths who have nothing but their own self interests in mind.

The problem with judgments like this are they are often based on an untrue premise. They also separate us. This nation became great because our founding fathers tried to create a society where all were equal. Not a society where the wealthy keep getting special treatment because "they take care of us all by providing jobs."

As a liberal I am fighting for a "level playing field: for all. Not a mountain where the wealthy reside handing out favors to those below. I saw the policies of the Bush administration tear apart the social fabric of our country and wondered where the outcry was - if finally came.

Our country MUST move forward, we cannot return to the policies of the past that got us here. We must remove the obstructionist conservative in the congress so we can get something done.

WHO WOULD WANT TO RETURN A PARTY TO POWER THAT HAS PURPOSELY BROUGHT THIS COUNTRY TO IT'S KNEES, JUST TO REGAIN POWER?

So make all the unsupported comments you want. I am taking hope from the fact that the MAJORITY of the people in our nation has seen what has been going on and are going to vote based on reality, not on some hazy idea of what this country was in the past. The past is gone, I am voting for the future.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsdude View Post
I have a member of my Board of Directors that has become a very good friend. However, I have realized that despite the fact we are good friends and I totally respect him, he carries a different world view than I do. Your posts, especially this one, makes me realize that you do also.

I have realized from our discussions that I will not make any inroads to the way that he sees the world. This is because IMHO, the world he sees - no longer exists and probably never did.

Because of my job working with the United Methodists, I have been involved with a lot of relief efforts. I have seen the poor in this country and others. I have seen what Republican policies did to them in the past. Most of us are wealthy compared to most of the world. We have tons of opportunities that the poor do not have.

If we all make the effort to ignore the folks from the extreme Right or Left we find that the PEOPLE of this country all want about the same. We all want the opportunity to better ourselves, live a good life, make sure our kids have a bright future, and to be free to purse those thing in life we enjoy. We hate war, but we realize that we have to defend ourselves. Because we all cruise, we likely have found that the people we meet from around the world are all pretty much like that.

IMHO, the reason that I have become a liberal thinking person is that the whole Conservative philosophy seems to be based on judgement. There seems to be the base assumption that the successful are bright, intelligent, hard working people who deserve to be rewarded. Of course this can be true and we can all think of good examples of this. However, this is not always the case. Some wealthy people are greedy sociopaths who have nothing but their own self interests in mind.

The problem with judgments like this are they are often based on an untrue premise. They also separate us. This nation became great because our founding fathers tried to create a society where all were equal. Not a society where the wealthy keep getting special treatment because "they take care of us all by providing jobs."

As a liberal I am fighting for a "level playing field: for all. Not a mountain where the wealthy reside handing out favors to those below. I saw the policies of the Bush administration tear apart the social fabric of our country and wondered where the outcry was - if finally came.

Our country MUST move forward, we cannot return to the policies of the past that got us here. We must remove the obstructionist conservative in the congress so we can get something done.

WHO WOULD WANT TO RETURN A PARTY TO POWER THAT HAS PURPOSELY BROUGHT THIS COUNTRY TO IT'S KNEES, JUST TO REGAIN POWER?

So make all the unsupported comments you want. I am taking hope from the fact that the MAJORITY of the people in our nation has seen what has been going on and are going to vote based on reality, not on some hazy idea of what this country was in the past. The past is gone, I am voting for the future.

I was a volunteer for Project HOPE . We went to city projects and economically depressed areas of NYC to deliver groceries to people .
I knew that politics was one subject I could never discuss with the guys who went with me .
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Old September 30th, 2012, 02:40 PM
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AMEN!! I know I am better off now. This country does need medical care - we are not third world. Go Obama
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Old October 1st, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Usually on the CM website for the cruising posts only but stumbled onto this thread and read where some posters comment w/o much knowledge of the subject including the ip:
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Originally Posted by devilsadvocate View Post
And then there are the retired military, and governement employees who will answer yes because they are assured of the governement checks getting bigger every year as they double dip into Social Security and a Government pension plan. No wonder President Obama is going to get reelected.
Government pensioners are not allowed to double dip with SS. A person has his/her Gov. pension significantly reduced if they collect SS payments. Also Government retirees did not receive a cost of living raise in those years SS did not increase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
US annual inflation rate in 09 was -.04%
'10 was 1.6%
'11 was 3.2 %
'12 (to date) is @2%
Yes, the official inflation rate is as posted. But it is a known fact inflation rates posted by the Government are only relative numbers and do not truly relate to actual costs by the general population. Go to the gas station, go to the super market; prices jump by 50 cent from one week to another on many products, even before the Midwest drought. Go to clothing store those prices are outrageous eventhough made in 3rd world countries. Look at your utility bills from last year to now. I know large screen TVs are much lower in price, but that is not a staple I buy every week.

Am I better off today than 4 years ago? I am very fortunate to have retired in the late 80s with more than I would spend in a few lifetimes. Being in my twilight years I don't worry about expenses but do see increases in the cost of staples.

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