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  #31 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 09:34 AM
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Katlady, I was simply posting what I had read, that the US government refused to give California any more money because the government doesn't have it- and I suppose 11 trillion in debt, they don't. but I am not surprised that that is incorrect,often the news is.

As far as Georgia seceding, that was something a governor candidate (and former governor) started, but he is not presently in office, and I think, making stupid remarks such as that, may prevent him from getting in office again.

I agree, people should save, and also not put luxuries on credit cards, if you can't afford it, you should save. People also should save up an emergency fund-so they can survive if they lose their job-we should have enough saved to survive a year, they say, but yet most people live paycheck to paycheck-and you would never know it-from their lifestyles.

It seems most American people and their governments, do not understand that saving concept.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 03:19 PM
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Katlady,

I don't think India is in any shape nor will it be for some time, to consider itself an international powerhouse. The poverty alone in that country is mind boggling.

Don't place too much on Russian oil solving China's or anyone else's problems. Russia's biggest current problem is its drastic deline in population. That country too is virtually bankrupt (maybe even worse than ours believe that or not). As for the Yuan, of course they tied it to the dollar as probably did most of the industrialized world). But since our economy has gone into the tank, the Chinese economy while somewhat depressed, is no where near the horrific shape ours is in, at least not now. Will it become that way? I don't know.

It's great that people are starting once again to save and cut back on their credit but for millions, its analogous to the old axiom about closing the barn door after the horse got out.

Actually, in the following worlds longest run on sentence, I firmly believe that all of our current woes are a result of a combination of the following (which, by the way no one has yet to do anything about).

What I call the unconscionable greed of big business coupled with government suddenly trying to save what amounts to every industry; millions of people from losing their homes (many of whom should have never been allowed a mortgage to begin with and even worse, the fact that far more than a few of them knew such from the "get-go" or were too uhhhhh..... (how do I say this kindly), "cognitively challenged(?) to own a home in the first place; government that provides total educational and health care benefits, etc. to literally millions of people who are in this country (regardless of whatever politically correct the current terms in use are) illegally; a government that spends even more on an ever exploding list of "special interest" groups and organizations; that even as mind boggling as it is, still intends to spend billions (more probably trillions) on socialized medicine; all of this when millions of our seniors born in this country, who paid their taxes AND THEIR BILLS (not to mention their Social Security deductions for forty and fifty years), PAID OFF their homes, did without and often went through their life savings just so their kids could have all the types of things they could never afford and are now the same folks who eat cold food from a can, freeze in the winter because they can't afford to heat their homes and can't afford their medicine; all these and others are the reasons this country is in the deepest doo-doo in its history.

Todd
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Most of the industrialized world don't tie their currency to the dollar. Most countries float their currency and how the currency does depends on the country's economy condition. England's pound sterling is not tied to the US dollar. The Euros isn't either. I think you misunderstood me. The Yuan had the exact same value as the US dollar. The value of the Yuan depended not on the Chinese economy, but on the US economy.

The home values dropped faster than I have ever seen before. Some homes lose 40% or more of their value. So it wasn't all people buying more house then they could afford. I agree the government and lenders should have required 20% down and a good debt to income ratio.

I talk about Russian oil because no one else does. Yes there are oil producing nations not in the Middle east.

I think you make a mistake to discount India. How do you think China started out. I have met a lot of Indian people; the education and focus on math is strong there. Most Indian people that come to the USA get jobs as engineers. I know there is crime and proverty there, but if you have nothing to lose you have everything to gain. Also the US has a lot of crime and proverty too. Here is an interesting article on Indian and China. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...4/b3948401.htm
There is proverty is Sacramento, California. This is a picture of the tent city these people are now without homes.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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I paid $2.59 yesterday! Welcome to Western New York, home the taxed and over-taxed!

Check out this Cruise Mates article. It put my mind at ease:

There seems to be buzz with the other cruise media that cruise lines are considering reinstating fuel surcharges.

The cruise lines originally started charging fuel surcharges back in November of 2007 and said the fuel surcharges would remain until the price of oil dropped to $70 per barrel. The rules for taking the surcharges away said the price of oil had to trade below $70/barrel for 30 continuous days. Within the next 50 days the price of oil went over $70 for one day, but that set the date back for revoking the fuel surcharges by about 21 days.

Now that oil is creeping back up to $65/barrel my cruise press colleagues are asking if fuel surcharges will suddenly reappear. The answer is NO. Not just because oil hits $70 anyway.

In fact, the day most cruise lines invoked the fuel surcharges back in 2007 the price of oil was well over $100/barrel and had been rising daily for months. That is not what is happening now. Now we are seeing oil prices fluctuate in the low $60s/barrel.

When Carnival and other cruise lines invoked these surcharges they said the charges would be applicable to any cruise sailing on February 8th or later. They asked the travel agents to collect the fuel surcharges, even from cruisers who had already made their fnal payments. The result was several official complaints to the Florida Attorney General who said the cruise lines had to give several millions of dollars in surcharges BACK to people who had paid them after already agreeing to and paying a final price. In other words, it was a public relations disaster.

The travel agents didn't like it one bit either - since they were put in the uncomfortable position of having to ask the customers to cough up the extra dough. All in all, putting on fuel surcharges was a strategic blunder by the cruise lines as far as customer and sales channel (travel agent) relations were concerned. It would not be a welcome development by anyone right now.

Another thing was very different back then - which we had no inkling about at the time, we were about to enter a severe recession with extremely low consumer confidence that still shows no real signs of recovery other than some Wall Street speculation which could evaporate in a heartbeat.

So, the answer, in the humble opinion of this editor, Paul Motter, is that the pricing and economic environment of selling cruises right now is far too delicate for the cruise lines to even think about invoking fuel surcharges. That could change, but only if oil coninues to rise far above $70/barrel, which is not likely at all, and it remains there for a long period of time.

In other words, don't get your pants in a knot about fuel surcharges yet. It isn't even close to happening.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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Katlady,

Slums have existed in major cities since the ancient world. As long as some people prefer urban squalor to the harder life that many rural areas offer, there will always be slums. I am sure you are right about your prediction for India but when 55% of the population of an enormous city such as Mumbai (formerly Bombay) live in slums that occupy only 6% of the land of the entire city, India is going to have to rectify a hell of a lot of its internal problems before it could really become a world leader.

But does it have promise? In spades. What follows IS NOT an urban legend. A couple in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina who decided to be self insured, went to Duke because the husband (actually I don't believe the two were married but had lived together for decades) needed open heart surgery. The head of the hospital informed them it would cost $100,000 at time of admission and $100,000 dollars at time of discharge. I don't know if this included physican fees but I don't believe it did. When the couple asked if they couldn't pay what insurance companies did, the reply (which stunned the couple) was simply that there were no provisions to do that!

Long story short. They flew to India (I believe Mumbai but it could have been New Delhi). The man had his surgery in an impeccably kept hospital wherein every surgical suite had every device required of modern medicine, every single nurse working in the hospital was the equivalent of our RN's and in which the man was operated on by a world class heart surgeon. The over all cost to the couple including all medical fees and hospital bills, the airfare over and back and even including the wife's stay for the entire time at a nice hotel? You are never going to believe this but try to digest that it was under seven thousand dollars. "They're lying," some may say. I don't think they'd be so stupid to do so....especially since they were testifying in front of the United States Congress and on TV at that.

On the local front, yes indeed, some homes did drop 40% of value, even more in fact. But as yet no one has been able to explain to me (I'm very dense and even basically stupid) how that had anything to do with their mortgage payment. Even a variable rate has a cap to which the payments may rise as the home owner knows at the time he makes the mortgage . As regards variable rates or conventional mortgages, how were those rates effected? Mine certainly wasn't. To put it bluntly, I don't care whether the value of the house went up or down, if they couldn't afford the payment, they were in fact buying more house than they could afford. To my minimal mental abilities (wherein of course lies probably my problem) it's simple. I long to once again live in a more simpler vein from back in the days wherein you paid what you owed and if you didn't, you no longer owned that for which you were paying. Oh, and claiming bankruptcy because one ran their credit cards to the max while indulging their every whim, wasn't considered a national past time. Now thankfully, that has been reigned in as well........uhhh.....for awhile at least.

Todd
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 06:26 PM
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Todd my friend I doubt very seriously that you are dense or dumb. In fact you make a lot of sense. However, the UI rate has more to do with the people losing thier homes then the loan itself. If you home loan was based on a two income household and one person loses thier job and can't find another job, that affects what you can afford. Some people bought houses they could not afford and ran up thier credit cars. However, others got caught in the economic downturn lost thier jobs and could not recover. The Unemployment Rate is California in December 2009 was 9.3% and in December 2007, the Unemployment Rate was 5.9%. This is a large loss of jobs in the past two years.

Kylira I feel you on the gas prices I paid about the same price for gas to. They tax the heck out of us over here. I notice the cruiselines have the disclaimer on the website that the fuel surcharge can be reinstated.

I had paid for a cruise before the Feb 8th and they charged me fuel surcharge thanks to the Florida Attorney General the money was returned as OBC. Right now I'm not worried about Fuel Surcharge if they charge it I won't cruise. It's as simple as that. I can cruise on short notice. So I will wait and hope for a deal. I don't plan on doing it until 2010 anyway.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Katlady,

Yes hon, you're absolutely correct. Every day in this country folks lose their homes because they lost their jobs. It's heartbreaking but that's just the way it's always been. That was even true back in the Great Depression but there weren't eight zillion government programs bailing everyone out in one way or another and you know something? The country recovered. Took over ten years and a World War but it did recover.

And what about the millions of folks, many of whom were non union, who've retired in the last five or ten years and have either lost entirely or had severely restricted, their healthcare they were promised during retirement; and simply because industry could no longer afford to honor that pledge? Did the government either bail out or subsidize their employers in the same manner it is today for the automobile industry?

And yes, during the Great Depression there were government programs such as the CCC and there was even something called "Workfair." A participant in that program was paid a bare susbsistance wage in return for which they worked on a government project or performed a public service. Why workfair? Simply because people back then would have gone even more hungry than they already were before they'd ever accept a "government handout." But being able to work for the stipend, made it acceptable.

Literally millions of Americans would totally ridicule such an idea today. Not to mention as would the millions of others that sit and watch TV all day yet receive their food, housing and medical care (medical care that is often equal to that provided by the most expensive health insurance plan there is) and which is far superior to the benefits of those poor folks mentioned in the above paragraph.

That's really a shame.

Todd

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  #38 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady

Kylira I feel you on the gas prices I paid about the same price for gas to. They tax the heck out of us over here. I notice the cruiselines have the disclaimer on the website that the fuel surcharge can be reinstated.

I had paid for a cruise before the Feb 8th and they charged me fuel surcharge thanks to the Florida Attorney General the money was returned as OBC. Right now I'm not worried about Fuel Surcharge if they charge it I won't cruise. It's as simple as that. I can cruise on short notice. So I will wait and hope for a deal. I don't plan on doing it until 2010 anyway.
Katlady...I'm not surprised about gas prices in California...my DH and I left San Francisco 14 years ago and moved to Western New York to escape the high cost of living. Unfortunately, we didn't do enough research. The cost of living is higher here!!

I cruise for the first time in 11 weeks...I'm just gonna hope that the CruiseMates article is right and the cruise lines don't reinstate the surcharge.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old July 9th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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Well--it looks like fuel prices are falling--at least over the past few days. And if the UK, France and USA (according to a news article 7/8/2009) will take actions against the speculators we all should see some stablization in fuel prices.
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