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Old 03-12-2010, 01:20 PM
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Here in Lancaster, CA (outside of Los Angeles) we have 17% unemployment. The biggest thing that hit here is real estate values. We bought our house in march of 07 for 520K, and right now it's worth somewhere in the low 200's. The median home value went from the low 400's to about 125K. And unfortunately, many of the people buying the homes for super low dollar are moving from the inner city to the newly "affordable" housing out here.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by aramchek View Post
It's not a liberal vs. conservative man-in-the-street battle of ideologies. I Googled around recently and noted that Los Angeles County ALONE has like 262,000 millionaires (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millionaire), more than any other county in the US. And as much as we like to cast people like Pelosi or Feinstein in a liberal vs. conservative mold, they're actually among the wealthiest members of Congress (http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-06-2...ial-disclosure). Why do people keep insisting that liberals or conservatives are in charge? Big Money is in charge. Whatever lipstick they put on that doesn't really matter: just follow the money.

The US has been a Boom-Bust country throughout most of its entire history: furs, lumber, industry, gold, IT. Now it's real estate. But the chief difference with this boom-bust cycle is that is the wealth wasn't generated by trapping, mining, cutting, or building tangible things. In this case, it was basically stolen (as it undoubtedly was during the Great Depression). That is, laws were designed to prohibit people from gaining a critical mass of real equity, encourage greed, prop up prices, etc. There are two ways to take money away from people, it seems. One is by robbing them directly, the other is by pushing prices way beyond their reach, by non-market dynamics. But in each case, the people are rendered poorer for it.

This seems to be the case in California on large-scale. Eventually one of these states will bankrupt itself in a really nasty way and beg the federal government for a bailout. And eventually other states, who are net losers on federal money, will get awfully angry... Therein lies great danger to our national integrity.
You have given me something to really think about and I thank you. It is so frustrating. Poor people or even upper middle class people can't afford to run a campaign - only wealthy people can. People are impressed by "he's a successful business man" or "she used to run a multi billion dollar company". I've never heard anyone say they voted for someone because they are a good teacher or that person employed 25 people. It is about our value system, I think. We value people who make lots of money or who hold lives in their hands. I don't think George Washington would have a rat's patoody of a chance to be a president today or even a general.

We have got to change our way of thinking. But, that has it's problems also. Anyone can sound like they have answers but making their ideas work is another matter. At this point, I am desperate. I truly believe I would take a chance on an unproven candidate if they have half a lick of sense. And yes, I know that was done with Obama (unproven). This I don't understand because at least for me voting for him never did make sense and he never did seem to me to have any sense - just a real slick shyster. Don't mean to offend anyone. Just saying Obama never even for a second tempted me to vote for him.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Burt&Heather View Post
Here in Lancaster, CA (outside of Los Angeles) we have 17% unemployment. The biggest thing that hit here is real estate values. We bought our house in march of 07 for 520K, and right now it's worth somewhere in the low 200's. The median home value went from the low 400's to about 125K. And unfortunately, many of the people buying the homes for super low dollar are moving from the inner city to the newly "affordable" housing out here.
Oh boy. Y'all got forced goobermint housing at your own expense! What a way to get uh, twisted. I don't even know how to hurt for this. Many of us spend our adult lives buying a home and hope that in retirement we can sell it and finance part or all of our retirement on it or at least feel that all of our work went for something tangible. In your case you owe more than your house will ever be worth again, most likely. I'm sorry just doesn't sound good enough. I would think it would feel like waking up and discovering someone stole your hopes and dreams out from under you while you were sleeping. Then again, a lot of us feel that way and we don't live in California.

No wonder people are walking away from their houses. I would too!
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:10 PM
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I live in the sticks and commute to a tool & die/manufacturing plant 25 miles out of Milwaukee. We make tooling and parts for some large and well known "American made" companies. That said, I really don't get to see too much as far as other businesses. What I can testify to is what is inherently wrong with this country right now.

Last month, approximately one half of the tool & die division was let go permanently. These are the $20+/hour jobs vs. the $11-$14/hour jobs on the manufacturing side. We were told by our customers that American tooling can not compete with Chinese tooling as far as price goes. This means that a good share of the tooling will now be sent off-shore. By leaving the parts stamping and assembly here, they can still claim it was made in the USA.

I've read on various news sites and blogs that a lot of the jobs that were lost during this recession/depression are never coming back. I can say that this is absolutely true. This is and will continue to affect America's way of life.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramchek View Post
It's not a liberal vs. conservative man-in-the-street battle of ideologies. I Googled around recently and noted that Los Angeles County ALONE has like 262,000 millionaires (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millionaire), more than any other county in the US. And as much as we like to cast people like Pelosi or Feinstein in a liberal vs. conservative mold, they're actually among the wealthiest members of Congress (http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-06-2...ial-disclosure). Why do people keep insisting that liberals or conservatives are in charge? Big Money is in charge. Whatever lipstick they put on that doesn't really matter: just follow the money.

The US has been a Boom-Bust country throughout most of its entire history: furs, lumber, industry, gold, IT. Now it's real estate. But the chief difference with this boom-bust cycle is that is the wealth wasn't generated by trapping, mining, cutting, or building tangible things. In this case, it was basically stolen (as it undoubtedly was during the Great Depression). That is, laws were designed to prohibit people from gaining a critical mass of real equity, encourage greed, prop up prices, etc. There are two ways to take money away from people, it seems. One is by robbing them directly, the other is by pushing prices way beyond their reach, by non-market dynamics. But in each case, the people are rendered poorer for it.

This seems to be the case in California on large-scale. Eventually one of these states will bankrupt itself in a really nasty way and beg the federal government for a bailout. And eventually other states, who are net losers on federal money, will get awfully angry... Therein lies great danger to our national integrity.

I agree, to an extent, that it is not primarily a conservative/liberal or Dem/Repub conflict.

What we are seeing here in CA is essentially a statist vs 'just leave us the Hell alone' mindset.

Rich, poor; it doesn't make a difference. CA is infested with those who want big, huge govt. The envirofacists want to do away with business; the animal rights people want to eliminate most forms of ag; the public employee unions just want more; the rest are all nanny govt types who want to do away with guns, churches, and the ownership of private property. All of these people want to raise taxes on individuals and businesses, and every organization I mentioned supports the Democratic party, which wants the votes.

Unfortunately - for them - they're getting what they want. Businesses and professionals are fleeing the state, the tax base is way down, and the statists won't really have any way to fund their version of utopia unless the other states, via the feds, kick in money to keep California afloat.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:59 AM
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Good luck with that!! I'm sure most everyone in every state feels no problem to help with an emergency. Americans have helped each other again and again over the years. Back in the 80's the midwest was having a serious drought and people here let their fields grow so it could be cut, bailed and sent to Ohio for the farm animals. Some years later we had the drought and Ohio returned the favor. Several years ago California received firefighters from many states and I have no doubt should any of us need California's help, it would come. We (the people of the US) are a giving people. However, bailing out California because they want to be the nation's nanny state is not an emergency. California can do as it pleases but don't expect other states to pay for it. This is like a drug addict wanting his/her family to pay their expenses so the money they have can be used for drugs. Money trickling down from the feds is slowing for everyone. Bailing out California would make that worse. In a disaster, of course everyone would come running and we'd tighten our belts best we could to help pay for one of our own. But saving a little fish, propping up real estate, paying entitlement programs for people who aren't even citizens - well, the feds will have a hard time justifying us all paying for that. But we will pay anyway. Either directly or through the price of the food that is grown in California. That will stop once other states produce the food cheaper than California will charge.

If California is spending 600 million a month more than they take in there's no way anyone can bail them out. Even China would go broke. We'd need a printing press just for California to keep up with the need. Good Lord. Sounds like California needs a bailout alright - as in bail out of a sinking ship - quick before you are sucked under.

I don't mean to sound cruel but it doesn't sound like California is doing anything to get this under control. They are still spending like there's no tomorrow. Perhaps the legislature is thinking the feds won't let them go under. They need to realize we are broke and there is no money for a bailout.
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:15 AM
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I live in the sticks and commute to a tool & die/manufacturing plant 25 miles out of Milwaukee. We make tooling and parts for some large and well known "American made" companies. That said, I really don't get to see too much as far as other businesses. What I can testify to is what is inherently wrong with this country right now.

Last month, approximately one half of the tool & die division was let go permanently. These are the $20+/hour jobs vs. the $11-$14/hour jobs on the manufacturing side. We were told by our customers that American tooling can not compete with Chinese tooling as far as price goes. This means that a good share of the tooling will now be sent off-shore. By leaving the parts stamping and assembly here, they can still claim it was made in the USA.

I've read on various news sites and blogs that a lot of the jobs that were lost during this recession/depression are never coming back. I can say that this is absolutely true. This is and will continue to affect America's way of life.
This is so sad. I've watched this happening all of my adult life. People want to run to Wally World and get a gadget for a dollar cheaper rather than pay that dollar but keep an American working. Now we cry because there are no jobs. What did people think would happen?

I heard people say ... well, people in China have to eat to. We need to spread the wealth around.... Whatever. I have no problem with people in other countries but we've bent over to the point that we no longer can take care of ourselves. It's like the ultimate ponzi scheme. Undercut the workers of one country, become rich, loan the money back to them at excessive rates and become richer. It has to collapse at some point. All scams do. So, let the collapse happen. We'll suffer for a bit. But hopefully when the dust settles we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, open up the factories and start making things for ourselves again. Oh, and never forget the lesson that is costing us so much.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:46 PM
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I live in Northwest Ohio and we are still taking it in the shorts. Our unemployment in the area ranges from 13% to 15% which is the published rate, I am guessing the unofficial rate is much higher. Our economy is still strongly rooted in manufacturing/auto which is terrible.

Many small businesses are really hurting. Real estate prices remain low and houses are very tough to move right now. This is the worst I have ever seen this area and I have been here my whole life.

My wife is a school teacher in one of the better school districts in the area and she told me the other day some teachers and other personnel were just given walking papers.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:47 AM
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While the newspapers report Oregon is always in the top 3 or 4 when it comes to unemployment, it don't sink in till someone you know is affected.
Last fall, when they were harvesting the Pinot Noir (wine grapes) - the workers could only get two or three hours per day.

Too many people showed up and the winery wasn't geared to handle that much harvest at one time.

It wasn't just illegals, there were college age 'Mericans there too.

I've also noted a lot of expensive 'Snap On Brand' tools boxes for sale in craigslist.... a whole lot more than last year.
The sellers are prepared to take a beating on the price......

I'm the type of guy who would only sell his tools - just one step ahead of starvation / homeless.
It's ugly here.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:50 PM
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Some things I am seeing are both telling and scary, because this mess has only just begun. With that said I do hope I am wrong, but I do not think I am.

The County I am at is reporting 11.9% unemployment.

Many people laid off, have not found new work. A relative of mine is about to run out of unemployment (I am not a fan of the extension but I do know that some people need it) as are others meaning MORE foreclosures to come.

I see another real estate bubble forming now - many agents and investors are going crazy buying up "cheap" homes and flipping them quickly for profit. Nothing wrong with profit, but it is creating an "artificial" increase in home prices again. Granted they are not where they were, but few are buying to move in. A small number are buying to move in.

It's almost a game of hot potato and you don't want to the last one stuck with it.

In addition to this, layoffs continue. NUMI about to close April first here in CA which is going to result in thousands of layoffs. In addition many companies that supply NUMI are either already announcing they will follow or soon will.

In addition to the artificial drought a little further north of me they have increased sales taxes across the state. Where I am it is 9.75% and some areas have sales tax rates as high as 11.50% (maybe slightly higher). People are still buying, but very frugally (which they should).

The state had mandatory furlough days to save money. Now it was deemed those were illegal and a judge ordered the state to pay up so those days are going to cost more money than they would have if the workers continued working. I told my wife this would happen, I was right.

Mean while San Francisco is planning on firing workers then hire some back at 37 1/2 hours per week (my guess is it has more to do with avoidance of benefits) This too I am sure will be found illegal since they are also unionized and have contracts in place. I was in a union once and I don't like them, in most cases they are not needed (but some are) this is another issue.

Basically all of this will lead to more foreclosures, and seems to be a bad cycle.

Again I hope I am wrong, but I see it worsening, unless something is done to promote private sector jobs, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

Last edited by Kerwood; 03-18-2010 at 02:53 PM.. Reason: I had 37 1/2 hours as 27 1/2 fixed it
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:50 PM
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There are places where things are still good, for the time being. My county in central Texas has a relatively low 6.6% unemployment rate.

Job openings are flooded with huge numbers of applications, many from overqualified people. (though this is not that unusual here - people graduate from college and don't want to leave.) The local plant nursery needed a seasonal cashier and they received several dozen applications - with resumes and cover letters. I think there is an element of fear among applicants, "If I don't get a job, any job, they'll dry up and I'll never get one." Others are looking for the security of a second job. If they get laid off from one, they will still have the other.

In our neighborhood, houses are being remodeled. New apartments and businesses are still being built. There are still a number of vacant businesses here and there, but they do not constitute a high enough percentage to be an eyesore. Though I do know of individuals who have lost their small businesses, the Great Recession is largely invisible around here.

When the bubble popped I saw foreclosures appear sparsely around the neighborhood. Those foreclosures got bought immediately or the owners were able to make a deal. Now that it's spring, the usual number of houses have entered the market, as if the real-estate speculators were still poking around here as they did of old.

A relative's neighborhood, well that's a different story. Most mortgages are upside down, and every third house has been foreclosed on. It is one of those suburban neighborhoods built during the speculative euphoria of the early 00's, and the houses were sold at speculative prices to people who really couldn't afford them.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:34 PM
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Here in NY there are alot of those strip malls sitting empty, many restuarants going out of business as well as small businesses. Not many jobs and most of the ones that people are advertising for are low level jobs. You can get great deals on used vehicles if you have the money because the banks are still not lending money. Gas is up 4 cents from last week and so are groceries. There are tons of big houses that are for sale that have been on the market forever and when a small home goes up for sale it's sold within a matter of days, there is also tons of foreclosed homes for sale. Car dealers are packed with cars noone is buying and for the first time in NY history Ford, Chevy and Toyota are offering 0% financing on trucks. The malls are looking empty and places like Walmart and Aldi's are more packed than I've ever seen. Ohh and one last thought two years ago and you would see Hummers every where now I can't remember the last time I saw one...and how is your neck of the woods?
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:10 PM
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central IL here. our county is sitting at reported 9.5 percent unemployment as of Feb, most surrounding counties doing much worse at 16 percent or more. with 3 colleges, 2 hospitals and being home to corporate headquarters of two of the largest insurance providers in the USA, the economy in the urban area where i live is a bit more stable than some. Homes under 100k are selling almost the moment they are put on the market unless they are fixer uppers.Homes from the $225,000 range Commercial property is vacant and for sale for a long time now, but there is a bit of building for speculation going on. a few new businesses have opened in the past year. Taxes are being increased across the board, city, county, state... city personnel is being laid off. shopping malls are almost deserted most of the time, only certain shops seem to do regular business. Rent is falling a bit in some places,
many rental properties for sale as landlords can't fill them. Housing reposessions are about twice what they were a couple years ago. Instead of one ad for a sherrif's tax sale or a repo there are several posted at a time.
Food costs going up, costs of other stuff is too, but incredible deals are being promo'd bigtime to try to bring customers in. If I keep to the sale items I do pretty well. Many food stores are carrying much less choice in brand names, the decline has been gradual over close to 2 years now, I expect some of the grocery stores will be out of business by this time next year.
Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Walmarts all seem to be doing OK. Some upscale shops doing well because many folks in this town are still rich and seem determined to live upscale as long as they can. Car dealerships in the county have closed, some of the service shops that specialize in oil changes and that sort of thing are not doing much business as folks put off regular maintenance, or do it themselves. Whenever I got to the goodwill or other resale places in town they are always packed now. Always. and the merchandise is much more picked over.
It will be interesting to see how garage sales price their merchandise this year, and how much " higher end" stuff is on the market this year. That may be the best place of all to shop for preps this summer. good thread, keep it going!
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:38 PM
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I was at a meeting earlier this week. One topic covered was re-reimbursements and here is what we found surprising........

Medicare / medicaid patient numbers were down and self-pay patients were up. I can't say we have never seen this before, but it is very unusual. Is it a case of people losing their medicare / medicaid benefits, or an indication of more people losing their jobs and benefits and are not eligible for medicare / medicaid?

Don't know, but interesting numbers.

Craig
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:10 PM
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Lots of good reporting, gang. I trust your info more than I trust anything coming from the 'media'. What you are seeing is what I am seeing.
I did hear a lady realtor on a local radio show today, comment on a slight recent improvement in home sales. Not sure if it's because the weather is breaking, home prices are significantly down,.. she did mention that smaller homes were selling.
There are 15 year mortgages at 4.5%. That's an incredible rate. She mentioned that people are still hesitant, not because of the home prices or rates, but because of job insecurity.
Vechicles,.. lots of bargains. I recently picked up a vechicle for $600 cash. A mechanic's lien. Fell into the deal, but nevertheless, it's sitting in the driveway. Easily worth four times that, (nooo,it's not a two year old, pristine Caddy. lol) but it's there because someone needed it repaired, lost their job, couldn't pay for the repairs, so the shop sold it to me for the price of the repairs, just to get it off the parking lot. From what I understand, there are tens of thousands of these nationwide. Not to mention newer vehicles that are available for 'taking over payments on the remaining balances'.
Unemployment here just went up .1% this month.
The jobs that are available are low paying, service jobs. Honest work, but nothing that you would support a $250,000 home with. Tax revenues are down.

If I had to define the current economic trend here,.. I'd say, still slowly deteriorating.
..and wating for the commercial real estate bubble to burst further disturb the tax base.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Beatupoldcop View Post
While the newspapers report Oregon is always in the top 3 or 4 when it comes to unemployment, it don't sink in till someone you know is affected.
Last fall, when they were harvesting the Pinot Noir (wine grapes) - the workers could only get two or three hours per day.

Too many people showed up and the winery wasn't geared to handle that much harvest at one time.

It wasn't just illegals, there were college age 'Mericans there too.

I've also noted a lot of expensive 'Snap On Brand' tools boxes for sale in craigslist.... a whole lot more than last year.
The sellers are prepared to take a beating on the price......

I'm the type of guy who would only sell his tools - just one step ahead of starvation / homeless.
It's ugly here.
Interesting. Similar trends here in labor. Part time, to avoid benefits.
Even heard (on national talk radio), that the census workers being hired, were only getting 15 hours a week... originally I read in the national 'media' that census workers would get $20 / hour for their footwork. That lady that called in, said the ad that she answered, advertised $12-13/hour, but when she landed the job, it paid $9.xx/hour. ( my numbers aren't 100%, going from memory). Anyway, she said they had hired lots more people than they really needed, kept the hours low, probably to inflate the number of people sucessfully employed by our 'stimulus' dollars. More government smoke and mirrors.. These jobs are temporary,... low pay,.. no benefits,.. maybe 3 months of paychecks? Lies.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:48 PM
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"If I had to define the current economic trend here,.. I'd say, still slowly deteriorating.
..and wating for the commercial real estate bubble to burst further disturb the tax base."

I agree WSierra I keep telling everyone here who thinks it's getting better to just wait till the millions of people collecting unemployment get to the end of their benefits and I think you're going to see the housing market take another crash which will lead to more banks failing that haven't failed already.
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:07 PM
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"If I had to define the current economic trend here,.. I'd say, still slowly deteriorating.
..and wating for the commercial real estate bubble to burst further disturb the tax base."

I agree WSierra I keep telling everyone here who thinks it's getting better to just wait till the millions of people collecting unemployment get to the end of their benefits and I think you're going to see the housing market take another crash which will lead to more banks failing that haven't failed already.
Thanks. I don't want to come across as a doom & gloomer. I'm a natural born (or taught) optomist. I embrace the positive and look for opportunities.
I peruse the 'net in search for good news. I do find it, but only in local personal articles,.. ya know, .. " local family that lost it all in a fire receives help from neighbors".
That will always be there, because that's who we are.
It's the national trend (worldwide?) that has me responding as a 'prepper'.
;-)
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:18 PM
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MEGAHAMMER MEGAHAMMER is offline
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An update here. I will be joining the swelled ranks of the unenployed on Friday nearly 5 weeks sooner than my boss thought would happen. So my plans for all that money just went POOF, alomg with my medical insurance. Our customers informed us that their produce season is closing out a month earlier than usual, and its like someone turned off a switch. Me thinks the economy is starting to crash here rather quickly. Gonna be a long summer everyone , so take care and Aloha.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:10 PM
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anne36 anne36 is offline
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ugh! meggahammer, you poor thing. I understand what your family must be going through.

Have you sat down and figured out how to adjust your budget? I hope the medical doesnt hurt you too bad. When we lost ours I didnt know whether it was a blessing or a curse. We got it back now that my husband is working full time agian, but its so expensive that eats up his wages. Its a toss up, work full time and have health care, but the pay is not any better.
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