Better off? Hell no.
One of the great litmus tests of politics is “Are you doing better than you were four years ago?” Where do you stand financially and personally? Are you happier and more secure? If so, then it makes sense to maintain the status quo. If not, then it might be time for a change in leadership.
So, are you better off? We aren’t.
We aren’t even in a place which is “on par” with where we were this time last year. Last year we felt fairly comfortable with where we were; this year we are near to drowning. The kicker is that we have done nothing different.
My husband and I work diligently to avoid debt at all costs. The only bills we have are our mortgage, utilities, extracurricular tuition for 3 children (they get one activity apiece), medication, and food. While it may be true that our family is super-sized, our budget is not. Until this past spring, it had been an effort but not a hardship. This summer it became an herculean task. This month it will take monetary magic and every trick I’ve ever learned to be able to pay our bills, and we’re not the only ones I know.
On Monday night, the Computer Guy and I sat down to re-do our family budget. It’s been a few months since we wrote one down…like since April or May. We’d been religious about it before that, but life got more interesting than we like and we hadn’t done it.
Boy, were we surprised!
We knew that the cost of things had increased over the last year, but we were unprepared for just how much they had gone up. No wonder it feels as if we’re barely making it. It’s because we’re barely making it. As I said, we don’t do debt, so this is just the increase in the bills we can’t pay off and be done with, things like electricity and food.
In the past year, we have seen a 30% increase in natural gas, homeowner’s insurance, groceries, electricity, gasoline, and the prescription drug co-pays for our daughter’s medications. 30%. Our basic bills have increased over $700 a month, and if we add in the new things such as utilities for the OKC house (which is vacant and we can’t sell…because no one is looking!) it’s considerably higher. Through no fault of our own, we have gone from comfortable to uncomfortably squeezed to “please don’t let anything else increase or we won’t be able to eat.” We’ve lost $8400 a year of our income to the rising cost of living. $8,400!!!
It’s not the fault of the “evil” oil companies, who are themselves struggling at this point. It’s not the utility companies who are gouging customers. It’s not the insurance companies who are trying to find a way to cover the expenses of ever-increasing government regulation.
It’s the government.
We can’t place the blame for these increases anywhere except in Washington. There are plenty of evil corporations out there taking the people for every penny they have…don’t even get me started on the banks…but the problems which are slowly bankrupting our family and those of our friends all begin in the hallowed halls of Congress and the White House. We can thank taxes, regulation, and government mandates for these price spikes. Every. single. one. of them.
I think it’s time that we said “Enough! Stop helping us all the way into the poor house!” I don’t know about you, but I can’t breathe from the crushing weight of it all or the feeling of doom speeding at us from just around the corner.
It makes me laugh, in that not-funny way, when I hear the President and Mr Biden speak about how much better off we are than when they took office almost 4 years ago. I don’t know how they’re measuring it, but it’s not by any means which make sense to me.
We’re dying out here, Mr President. We’re working ourselves to death and falling behind every month. The people I know are taking out loans against their retirement to be able to pay their regular bills and eat. We’rejust praying and hanging on until after the election. We’re all worried like hell that you’ll be re-elected because then we know we’re done. We don’t know if Mr Romney can fix anything, but we know that there’s no more room in the budget for even 4 more months of you.