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The Battle of the Buck

It has been terribly frustrating over the last year.   Saving money, spending as little as possible, cutting back in so many ways, using very little credit and diligently paying it off every month, and mucking through a bunch of b.s. hoping to get ahead. 

At times, it can feel like you are alone, fighting in a battle that no one else seems to be fighting.  I never understand how some people can keep spending, and doing the same things they've always done, when things seem so tough?

However, I read these articles today, and saw some connections that I thought were interesting.

#1 - How to get ahead in today's economy
The first point, in this article, was that YOU don't deserve a job.  I thought that was an interesting idea, considering how much of the world's economic progress has been based on America's stability.   Truly, Americans have been the backbone of the last 100 years of economic development.  So apparently, the mantle has moved from America to other, more industrious countries now?  In America's economy, today, employers are finding more ways to cut back and keep their costs lower.  And this author, throws out this quick jab pointing out how useless we workers really are:
"Employers these days have little tolerance for staffers who complain about doing more with less. But they reward workers who solve problems and make the company more productive. Once the recovery picks up, they'll be the ones in line for raises and promotions."
 OUCH!  That comment smarted a little bit ... especially when you think about how hard you work, how much you are asked to get done, how much time and energy you invest into your employer, and how little you get in return for it.  They'll reward workers ... ?   Really?   When?  How long will that take?  Do you mean ... after they've traded all the jobs they can to India, or Indonesia, or China?  They'll start rewarding those employees by paying them $.10 more per hour?  Is that really what employers will do?

In fact, here's an article that describes what I think employers are ACTUALLY doing with the massive productivity and stagnant pay they are dishing out right now:

The reality of frugality
To be sure, many shoppers, especially the wealthy, are buying into the recovery.

Some economists put their hopes for the economy in the rich, who are spending more freely than the rest of the population. They hold out hope that this will encourage more hiring and stimulate spending by the less wealthy. More spending could increase companies' revenue, which allow them to boost hiring and pay. And that would lead their employees to spend more.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. returned to a first-quarter profit as more travelers vacationed on its ships and spent more money on board. And makers of luxury goods are benefiting from a release of pent-up demand for jewelry, watches and high-end furnishings.

High-end retailers have reported blowout results. Nordstrom's revenue in stores open at least one year jumped 16.8 percent last month. Saks' surged 12.7 percent.

McClaren Automotive has announced it will debut a $200,000 sports car in the U.S. next year. And business is picking up faster at high-end hotels than at mid-priced and budget hotels.
 However, I don't see any benefit coming to lower and working classes right now.  I see no break from the day to day level of idiocy going on across corporate America.  Sure the wealthy may be spending, but that's because they have it to spend.  I don't know any lower or middle income person right now who has more to spend.  Do you? 

Sure, we may have more savings.  But, that's because we're tired of getting stripped and robbed by people who don't have our best interests at heart.

And ... as if to prove my point ...

Check out this op-ed column from the New York Times, Bob Herbert:
American workers forced out of jobs for what?

I am, and have been, wrong on SO MANY things about average American people.  They always tend to do the things that I would never expect.

But, it does give me some hope ... especially in the light of the thriving growth of the political tea party over the last year ... that even though the wealthy (above) continue unabated in their lifestyles, normal consumers may have the last word.

Why?  Because ...
"consumers fuel about 70 percent of the economy, their tightfisted habits means the rebound could stay unusually sluggish"
I'm not saying that sluggish spending will help consumers.  I am saying that ... if well positioned ... consumer spending could catapult honest, locally-based, ethical businesses, over-and-above the rampant slashing, burning, and destruction most huge, multi-national companies are trying to do right now.

As a consumer ... you have the right to choose the battle for your buck.  Aim your spending choices wisely, and you could actually fuel a recovery that lasts for all the right reasons.  Not just in rewarding some corporate suckety-muck who feels it's his obligation to splurge when and where he wants, in an effort to fuel the 'recovering' economy.

Al

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