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Budget
05/13/2010
IconThe world's finances are being shaken to their core because of - well - cheating and greed.' Nonetheless, people are being laid off, large companies are going out of business, small businesses can hardly pay for even minor fees to keep themselves afloat, and the price of gas keeps yo-yoing.' The good news is that you can buy a car for under sticker price...as long as you don't need a loan; you can also buy a house for a pittance...as long as you don't need a loan.A number of financial advisors have reported that their biggest problem is not the most obvious one, which is explaining what folks should and shouldn't do with their cash, savings, and investments.' As it turns out, their biggest problem is how husbands and wives are turning on each other with blame and rage or turning away from each other with blame and fear.Feelings of concern, anxiety, sadness, confusion and fear are, frankly, reasonable emotions when tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes hit your community...it is reasonable to slap your own - and maybe each other's - foreheads, regretful that you both didn't plan better.' But ultimately, it happened to each of you and all of your neighbors and you have to respond in a constructive way despite your personal pain.Feelings of concern, anxiety, sadness, confusion and fear are, frankly, reasonable responses when the financial bottom falls out from under you.' It's not unusual to want to look for the cause of the disaster whether it is a bank CEO, the President, the Treasurer, modest-income people who borrowed to live beyond their means....or....your spouse."Kicking the dog" because you are upset with your day is animal cruelty.' Kicking your husband or wife when you are both in the same lifeboat is also cruel, and it is destructive to the marriage and the family.Perhaps it is true that one or both of you made some financially unwise moves with investments or by spending too much and living beyond your means with credit cards and loans.' I think that in these situations it is always best for the person in charge of the "errors" to simply own up to screwing up, apologize, and then offer to help make things right.' Once your spouse has thrown himself or herself on your mercy, do not ever make them feel stupid or bad in an attempt to regain a sense of superiority or control.'When things go wrong, turn TO each other with compassion, solace, and a pledge to be a team and work it through together, survive it together, brainstorm together, and work together.' No matter how sad you feel, this is the time for lots of attention and great sex.' Endorphins and orgasms go a long way to keeping you both cheerful about life and life with each other.The financial situation in America and the world, as well as the Dow, will come back up.' Make sure your marriage weathers the storm so that you can both be there to enjoy it. More >>

Tags: BudgetFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyFinancesMarriageMoneyRelationshipsRelativesSexSexuality
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05/13/2010
IconBarack Obama and Joseph Biden are both fishing for the women's vote - especially disenchanted Hillary Clinton feminists.' Biden has insisted that Republicans, including Sarah Palin, represent a step backwards for women.'But when you look at the labor market data from the Census Bureau (as Professor Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago has in a new study), to figure out " the amount and reasons for women's progress in the labor market since the 1960s" something very interesting is revealed. (Wall Street Journal 9/12/08). In 1988, the last full year of Republican Ronald Reagan's administration, wage growth for women working full-time throughout the year improved by 8.3% from the end of the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter. "Johnson, Carter, and Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor-market progress for women during their administrations:' eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush." The Nixon-Ford administrations were the only Republican administrations that didn't make it to this list of forward momentum for women.'In the Quarterly Journal of Economics , August, 2008, Professor Mulligan and Yona Rubenstein (from Brown University) calculated the statistics that showed women's annual wage growth relative to men's:'Under Republican administrations, women's annual wage growth relative to men was .0.87% under George W. Bush, 1.4% under George H.W. Bush, and 1.6% under Ronald Reagon.' Under Democratic administrations, women fared less well.' Their annual wage growth relative to men was 0.21% under Bill Clinton, 0.04% under Jimmy Carter, and minus 1% under Lyndon Johnson.'I like that color lipstick, especially if the kids are grown or Daddy is home with the kidlets. More >>

Tags: BudgetFeminismFinancesPoliticsSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
Icon"It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner, and the stories are shorter.' The newsroom staff producing the paper is also smaller....Financial pressures sap its strength and threaten its very survival." Nope, that isn't a statement about your local newspaper.' It's a statement about the American daily newspaper of 2008, as reported by the Pew Research Center. "This description is a composite.' It is based on face-to-face interviews conducted at newspapers across the country, and the results of a detailed survey of senior newsroom executives.' In total, more than 250 newspapers participated." In total, more than one in every five of the nation's 1,217 daily newspapers participated, making it one of the broadest surveys of its kind in recent years.The majority of newspapers are now suffering cutbacks in staffing, and even more in the amount of news they offer the public.' The forces buffeting the industry continue to impact larger metro newspapers to a far greater extent than smaller ones.Perhaps you've heard the recent announcements of a further round of huge newsroom staff reductions at large papers, including the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune , and The Washington Post , all known to be quite liberal in their perspectives. Let's also not forget The New York Times , that bastion of bias, with a second quarter drop of 82% in revenue, with print advertising continuing to shrink.The Pew Report was meant to document how newspapers are faring in the race between today's financial pressures and the innovative attempts to insure the industry's future.' Many papers are expanding their web presence and getting into web TV to mobilize the rapid growth of web readership.One major area of concern, however, which has already cropped up in television news, is the pressure to have a constant flow of new material on the web, which means "a loss of time to organize a thoughtful attack on a story, to think through precisely why a story is being done, or how to make that story more meaningful." Newspapers have long had that luxury and that responsibility.' Television and radio news, with their competitive immediacy, have veered toward the unexamined and notorious for the sake of ratings.'We should be worried. More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesInternet-MediaInternet/Media
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05/13/2010
IconThe feministas came out of their skins when I published my best seller, "The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands." Their main point of rage was their notion that taking care of one's man emotionally and physically was demeaning.One reader, Vicky, wrote this week: "Last December, we invited potential friends to our Christmas party.' During the evening, I gave my husband a fresh drink when I saw that his was getting low.' At one point, the man we invited noticed and commented that he'd go thirsty if he waited for his wife to bring him a drink.' The wife, in turn, bluntly let me know that's because she wasn't a doormat.' I responded that I never thought I was a doormat just because I enjoyed taking care of my man, and the conversation moved on.' But, I have to admit, that comment ate at me for a long time.' Was I being na've?' Was my husband taking advantage of me? Over the months since, every time I hear my husband tell a friend that I take better care of him than he deserves, I let that comment "go" a little bit more.' I've now let it go completely. You see, we ran into that couple this past weekend.' We'd heard rumors that they were divorcing (because the husband had had an affair).' The wife confirmed the rumors, but stated that they were trying to work it out. I'm doubtful they will work anything out.' She's the ultimate "feminazi," and he will have to do all the changing and groveling for it to "work out." Bottom line:' She's on her way to divorce, and I'm celebrating my 7 year wedding anniversary today with a man who worships me and I absolutely adore after all these years.' Doormat?' I think not! More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesMarriage
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05/13/2010
IconWhile each vehicle performs differently, a rule of thumb for maximizing fuel economy is to keep highway speed to 60 miles per hour or less.' According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exceeding 60 miles per hour severely hurts the fuel economy of most vehicles.' The agency says: "each 5 miles per hour you drive over 60 miles per hour is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas." Several tips on saving fuel appear at fueleconomy.gov . More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesPolitics
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05/13/2010
IconFuel costs, almost tripling since 2000, now account for as much as 40 per cent of operating expenses at some carriers, according to the Air Transport Association (ATA).' The ATA notes that airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that "were once unthinkable." For example, US Airways has eliminated snacks, Delta Air Lines is charging $25 for telephone reservations, and just this week, American Airlines became the first US company to charge $15 for the first checked bag.' In addition, Singapore Airlines is going to eliminate unnecessary quantities of water in order to save weight.Since December, 2007, eight companies have stopped flying, largely because of fuel costs, and airlines may report combined losses of $6.1 billion this year, according to Bloomberg.com.' To save money, airlines are grounding a portion of their fleet, using lighter-weight crockery in First and Business Class, flying slower, and washing planes more frequently (to cut down on wind-resistant dirt).' Weighing passengers might be the next move - after all, Southwest Airlines asks passengers to buy a second seat if their girth prevents the armrest from being able to be lowered.We've already all noticed that airplane interiors are largely dirty, as they aren't cleaned between flights - only trash is collected and tossed.' I bring antibacterial wipes and clean off every surface where I sit, including the handrests and controls for video and audio.' It's just a suggestion, but you might want to consider doing the same when you fly. More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconGas prices are going up over $4 per gallon in some areas of the country. The solution?' Get a scooter!'One "scooter-ite" bought a Vespa GTS that uses about $7 of fuel every two weeks.' Wow!Consider the cost of a 50 mile round-trip commute based on a fuel price of $3,79 a gallon:' the scooter (Vespa S) would cost $2.65 per day; a Honda Accord, $6.10 per day, and a large SUV (Ford Expedition), $10.50 per day.' A Vespa can travel 80 miles on a gallon of fuel.There is a downside to scooters, however:' dealing with potholes, having to get a motorcycle license in most states, no protection in bad weather, and vulnerability around other vehicles, which are usually a lot bigger.' Nonetheless, scooter sales have gone up 25% in the past year.' Scooter prices range from $3,000 to $9,000, depending on size and "fanciness."In 2005, the latest year with complete data, the death rate for scooter riders was 129 per million scooters registered, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.' In comparison, the death rate was 78 for cars and light trucks, and 645 per million motorcycles registered.'I believe this is a growing trend.' It's not an accident that you've been seeing so many more motorcycles and scooters on the road.' In addition to being more cost-effective, it's fun and "cool" to be on a scooter.' I have a Harley-Davidson Road King that's been converted to a trike for safety.' I had it "muralized," and it's a show-stopper.' I've had a Vespa scooter, too, and that's also a fun ride. More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesSAHM stay at home mom
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05/13/2010
IconBack in the day, people believed it was morally correct and pragmatically smart to save for a rainy day.' These days, folks prefer to spend what they have to "enjoy the moment."' It turns out that most Americans say they're not saving as much as they should, but apparently, they're not very worried about it.' Talk about living in dreamland!It is sad to receive a call to my daily radio program from a hard-working young couple with children who are frustrated with their parents who spend, spend, and spend some more and don't worry at all about retirement or medical issues they might face as they age.' These young families are frantic, concerned about their obligation to parents who are doing nothing to provide for themselves.' And then there are the young men who are making babies, "shacking up," and/or marrying young women they are in no financial position to support.Somewhere along the line, we've lost the notion of personal responsibility, and have substituted a sense of entitlement - i.e., that our families or our tax-paying communities should be paying our way.According to federal economic data and a recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Social' and Demographic Trends Project, 3 out of 4 Americans admit they aren't saving enough.' While you constantly hear people complaining about their finances, these feelings don't seem to motivate action:' Americans now save, on average, less than 1% of their incomes , and the saving rate has been in almost continuous decline for more than twenty years! This lack of fiscal planning is equally evident for men and women.' From the lowest income level to the highest, the admission of not saving enough ranges from 78% to 71%, indicating that level of wealth is irrelevant to notions of saving.Interestingly, the group most involved in saving is....senior citizens!' Only a narrow majority (54%) of those ages 65 and older say they aren't saving enough.'Necessity is the mother of frugality. More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconWe already have taxes levied on cigarettes, purportedly to pay for education to stop smoking.' So, what's so wrong with a tax on fast food to subsidize education about "eating less and moving more," considering that two-thirds of the American population is fat or obese?Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering such a tax, and planning to use the revenue from it to fund struggling hospitals.' Obviously, the old hat argument comes out that condemns such a tax as specifically aiming at the poor. When you want to budget money for eating, why not consider eating at home and brown-bagging it for lunch?' Everyone knows that this is a cheaper and more nutritious alternative.As one taxpayer pointed out, "It costs $12.86 for fries and this little chicken wrap...." This taxpayer was complaining about adding a tax.' Yipes.' This taxpayer should have been complaining about how much money he's wasting on such a menu.' He did also comment that "if they raise it [i.e., the price with a tax], I'll stop buying it." Brilliant!' If it's unhealthy, he'll eat it.' If it has a "sin tax," he'll stop.' I think that's a good enough reason for the tax. More >>

Tags: BudgetEat Less-Move MoreEconomyObesitySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconSenator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is adamant in his support for abortion on demand.' Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) is as adamant in his support for the illegalization of abortion.' However, as odd as it may seem, they have joined forces in a bill (S1810), the "Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act."' Their bill would require parents faced with pre- and post-natal diagnoses of disability to receive "timely, scientific, and nondirective counseling about the conditions" as well as "up-to-date, comprehensive information about life expectancy, development potential, and quality of life" for a child born with Down syndrome or any other genetic disability, as well as "referrals to providers of key support services." Their hope is that when parents receive a more complete picture, more of them will welcome their disabled babies into the world, instead of choosing termination.' Nice bedfellows. More >>

Tags: BudgetChildrenEconomyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingSex
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