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The Economy and What America Can Do
I've been sitting here thinking of Keith's comment and question.
Nobody can fix the economy by themselves - So, how can we do it individually as a group?
The cost of living has sky rocketed. There is our federal government and local governments worried about bringing revenue into America, the towns and cities yet have really done anything to help the economy to change and make it possible for American's especially those in the mid to lower class the opportunity to afford much of anything. The majority of our population can only cover the rent, food and basic utilities and then for anything beyond that they have to juggle their bills by robbing Peter to pay Paul and then Paul to pay Peter. Below I have some ideas and suggestions though I doubt our politicians will listen.
Lets touch on the rent. How they think anyone who wants to live in a decent area can afford anywhere from $900 to well over $1000 for a nice 1 bedroom can afford much else after that is beyond me. What about the families who need 2 or more bedrooms? There rent is $1200 or more. The cheaper apartments are located in the rougher areas and if that's all they can afford so be it. However that also means they have to raise their children to be street smart otherwise they wouldn't survive. Can't there be some kind of controlled rent? Shouldn't there be a limit to what they can charge?
Then here come the utilities, heat, electric and phone. For those who can't afford a cell phone and yes, they do exist then a land phone in case of an emergency is necessary. The gas companies make a bundle especially if they heat by gas. I know that if you heat by gas or electric and you live in a cold climate they can't shut you off during a certain time frame. I don't know if the oil companies are regulated in any way but do know that now they are the more expensive for heating costs. I wonder if there is a way to regulate what they can charge?
If you want to watch television there isn't much of a choice, you have to have a form of cable, satellite or board band service. If you have children in school you either have to have internet service or take them to the library because a lot of their work is internet based and some school even have websites to get grades or school announcements. They have you coming and going. It seems never ending
Now the government is weighing in on the concern regarding the increase in the obesity level, yet in order for American's to eat healthy, isn't cheap. The only ones who can afford to eat healthy are the ones who make 50,000 + a year. Comments are made about how good this or that celebrity look. Having all your meals prepared for you and a private fitness instructor makes a difference. We'd all be healthy and have a good figure if we could afford that too. They want to blame the fast food restaurants yet haven't realized that most Americans have to shop based off what they can afford and the majority of that food is by far healthy in any way, shape or imagination.
And, the politicians talk about helping our economy. Why not start by taking a pay cut. Instead of making that kind of money and getting huge pensions, give it back to help those who are less fortunate. Go to the cities, tour the homeless shelters, visit families who live in one room shacks, travel to the poorest towns and cities in America and see what can be done to make their lives a little easier. Provide better educations for the children. I doubt the no child left behind rule is applied in their school systems. How about the city and town politicians who already have paying jobs, donate that money to a homeless shelter or give back to the public schools. Maybe some of this money can be put back into the federal reserve so that they don't have to cut back on educations, social security, media care or subsidized housing.
What about welfare? Are there specific rules into place for all cities and towns that limit how many times a person can apply? Who regulates these cities and towns. In Massachusetts if you apply and are allowed the only children covered are those you have at the time you were approved. If you have another child, that child isn't covered. I don't feel they do this to punish but to give the mother's a push to get a job instead of constantly having children so they can stay on welfare.
The insurance companies seems to have quite a scam going. You need health insurance or for the most part no one will take you unless you pay cash. All companies are required to offer some kind of medical insurance. Either you pay the full premium or they contribute and decide what your weekly payment should be. And depending on what insurance you have determines what your co-payments will be for office visits, prescriptions, specialty visits, tests, emergency room visits, hospital stays, rehab stays and medical equipment. The kicker is, they also choose and decide what medical attention, what specialists, what medicine, medical procedures, surgeries, how long your hospital or rehab stay will be. Then you have the state governments do have programs for those who can't afford medical insurance and they have to meet certain requirements and not all physician's in private practice or those in a medical centers accept all insurance's.
I know that many people fear that the government has to much control, I don't think they have control in the proper areas. They should be able to review rents throughout the US, what the utilities companies, cable companies, internet providers charge customers. Are their rates fair? What about the grocery chains. I know that in Massachusetts the Market Basket chain provides higher quality product to more affluent areas and they also change pricing based on where they are located. A Market Basket in Westford, Ma. charges more than those in the Lowell area and because they have Market Baskets in different areas in Lowell there prices are differ as well.
I just feel there is more that can be done on both the federal and state levels. If real estates owners, utility companies, cable companies, internet companies, grocery chains , insurance companies held a summit and discussed what each could do as a whole to help the consumer and lower the cost of living that would be a start.
As Individuals we could stop purchasing over priced coffee, boycott the stores that overcharge customers. I have priced the same item at Target and have seen it at other stores for twice the price. And what about those on line retailers. Yes it;s convenient but between the cost of the item and the freight cost you could find it in a local store cheaper. I basically shop at Walmart and Target because they are more affordable than stores like JC Penney, Sears and Macy's. The quality isn't the best though most of us don't have a choice. I am one of those jugglers and have always been. There have been times when I didn't have cable because the cost was outrageous.
What do you think? Are these ideas possible? What are your ideas?