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!!!

One year.

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.

12 Responses to Better off? Hell no.

  • Obama has only been good for attorneys like me who do bankruptcies and foreclosures. I have never seen a President this clueless about the economy, including Jimmy Carter.

  • …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…
    –Rebecca Frech

    I know what you mean. For the last 4 years, I too have been on my knees any time I think of the family budget.

  • It is bordering on national tragedy.

    Imagine the millions of MSM news “pieces on poverty” if a Republican was president . . . With a liberal, it’s cricket chirping.

    God help us.

  • more trickle down! more trickle down!

  • Obama has managed to solve the problem of trickle down economics wj by making certain that nothing trickle downs. With a loss of $5,000 in median family income during his tenure, it is hard to overstate what a disaster Obama has been to anyone who isn’t rich.

  • Mac,

    Point of information: $5 trillion in deficit spending and $2.9 trilion in Fed money printing trickled down to guys like Warren Buffett and thousands of democrat cash bundlers (e.g., $500 million to the Solyndra owner), but not to Ms. Frech, you, or me.

    PS: There is no inflation if you don’t drive, eat, or heat your home. Ergo, the $5,000 drop in median household income is . . . Move along. There’s nothing for you to see here.

  • trickle-down government . . .

  • Budget woes are a common experience among voters, which the elect in Washington DC can’t manage to address after four years of time, and which the media is unable or unwilling to report due to partisan politics.

    The three little monkies who can neither see, nor hear, nor mention because ruling D’s unleash aspersions and have lists for must have invitiations to things well funded by ???. Owning blame is taboo.

    Voters must budget to afford food and shelter. There is an understanding of managing to pay inflated prices charged by spendthrifts for necessities.

    Paying Utilities with darker homes, sewer charges higher each quarter due to water conservation, real estate tax quadrupled in ten years for city halls’ mismanaged by incompetents, entertainment and get aways became affording internet and TV or the luxury of day trips, insuring car and home a dreaded expense, children who freely could play outdoors regulated by dangers beyond basic civilization, elderly aghast by stretching dollars and demands of communication technology, ancient phone numbers dropped for cells, food and gas prices controlling deep lifestyle changes, and the worst for last: the reality of what concentration on material existence, (budgeting), has done for the reality of living by religious conviction. People who are trying to be responsible have lost trust in God’s Providence in the search for money provisions.

    We are led by an administration that takes no responsiblity for its people, especially the people who think there is no problem here because there are no out of pocket bills. These will cast their votes and be damned by the failing administration, which will blame R&R , and party with promised money stolen from the national budget.

    My mother left her home to live with me. Disgusted by politics and administration troublemakers who use people to divide, threaten, ridicule, and
    demoralize, she and others talk about life as Golden Agers and commiserate, the laughter of years past is stopping. Bread and water, toast and coffee, tomatoes in summer, potatoes in winter, and hamburg on sale – a roast on Sunday to use for the week is living. They don’t waste gas to shop food sales very much any more.
    They aren’t so excited about laws for being better off with shortened natural lives either. Faith keeps them strong and wise.

  • Personally I have never seen a big connection between who’s in the White House and how well (or poorly) I do financially. I despised Slick Willie, but it was during his administration that I got married, had a child, and bought a home, and we were able to afford some things (like out of state vacations and multiple vehicles) that we can’t afford now. My roughest financial years, during which I lost my job and we were forced to sell our home and move, were during the second term of the younger Bush. But I also got my present job late in his presidency.

    Am I personally better off than I was four years ago? Well, I have paid off several lingering debts since then and do have more disposable income now than I did then, so I’d have to say yes — but I don’t think Obama had a thing to do with it. On the other hand, I have noticed a lot of things getting more and more expensive, and other signs of harder times ahead.

  • Which oil companies are struggling?

  • Inflation is eating all of us but the official inflation rates have stayed below 4percent for a decade. Maybe someone out there can explain how inflation is calculated because I feel it but they can’t see it.

    We go through three gallons of milk a week for example. That’s around $12. Just two years ago, milk was around $2.50 a gallon. How is this not inflation?

    I don’t mean for this to be partisan either. I saw the same thing during the Bush years.

    What does inflation mean if not that the cost of everyday goods and services has gone up? Where, as is true now, wages have fallen, surely that we can buy less for more money is inflation so how can the official inflation rate be so low?

  • J Tool – Oil exploration companies (my husband works at one and many of our friends work at others) are taking it in the teeth. The regulations are killing them. We are fortunate that my husband’s company has not yet had to start laying people off, but their competition has. Every week I hear from one of our friends about layoffs, office closings, or salary cuts.

    The companies, like Exxon, which refine oil might be turning a huge profit, but the guys getting it out of the ground are struggling.

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