February 13, 2010

Today was one of those days that typlify why people winter in Arizona. Soft warm breezes, bright blue skies, a hot sun, and temps in the low ’70s. I doubt in this El Nino year we’re done with the rain – another round of storms would be fantastic – but after the cool and cloudy, sometimes rainy, conditions we’ve had since December, this was a nice change.

If one ever needed evidence of just how tough things are out there with the economy, just talk to anyone who works in the service industry. Was talking yesterday with the guy we have come once a year to feed our queen palms, and hearing the challenges he and those like him are facing these days was pretty sobering. Like most, if not all of his customers being upside down on their houses, some paying mortgages that nowhere near reflect the current value of their houses, others just choosing to walk away and deal with all the ramifications later.

Seems he’s friends with a bigwig at the Fry’s supermarket chain, and his friend was telling him that in some of their stores 20% of the customers are paying with food stamps. Amazing.

His view – and I’m inclined to agree with him on this – is that the extension of unemployment benefits seems to be doing more harm than good. Sure, it keeps people who’ve been out of work for a very long time able to put food on the table, but his view is that people get too accustomed to that government check, so they don’t feel any urgent need to go out and find a job or perhaps start a new business. He might be right there.

The politicians in Washington can talk all they want about a “jobs bill” and providing tax credits to business who hire people, but that’s obviously the idea of people who have never run a business in their lives. The best way to get people employed is to createa demand for goods and services. Want to put $15 or $80 billion to good use? How about reducing or eliminating payroll taxes, or better yet, how about a tax holiday this year? I guarantee you Tracey and I could put the $8K we’re probably going to pay Uncle Sam on April 15 to better use around here than sending it to the black hole called Washington. Oh well…

Yesterday was “Truck Day” at Fenway Park, meaning the truck carrying all the Red Sox equipment is somewhere near the Carolinas by now, heading towards Fort Myers, where the Sox start spring training next week. Between that, and the fact my dad always says that when you get to February winter’s over, how can spring not be far behind? Our first desert bushes that produce flowers in the spring have started to bud, maybe I’ll get a picture for y’all tomorrow.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:10 | Comments (0)
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