Umm…Karma, You Might Want to Correct That Aim

I’ve been struggling with how to get this off my chest without sounding like a total whack job; but then I realized, the majority of you that might actually read this already know. And this crazy person has been listening to the rhetoric of all 535 members of Congress, and the dozen or so mouthpieces from the Oval Office, and I’ve come to a rather obvious realization: That while our legislators may not see the government’s money as real money (and seriously, could you even count to a trillion? I’d lose all frame of reference too), they don’t see our money as real money either. I honestly believe that they think that it’s all going to come out of thin air, (or out of some other place usually reserved as an exit only kind of anatomical region.)

Much of what I heard, admittedly, with the attitude that I would really rather they stop talking all together, were promises that only the rich would see any real increases. However, like the guy that eats ALL the shrimp cocktail at the Christmas party every year, they have helped themselves to over FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR of this definitely not rich family’s finances. Congress may have avoided the fiscal cliff, but they did so by pushing me, and my decidedly middle class bretheren off of it instead.

Given the Government’s ability to print more money when the need arises, or just ignore the fact that they don’t have it, us little folk don’t have the same luxury. We have to come up with that $5000 somewhere; because that’s what people with a finite amount of resources do. So, here’s the raggedy little bungee cord we are using to hang on during our freefall off the cliff:

Both my husband and I work full time, and we each often eat out for lunch. Rather than a drive through bucket o’calories at a mega-chain fast food restaurant, we try to eat local where possible. Well, trimming that kind of change out of your budget makes sit down, tip your server, eating at the local restaurant a treat, instead of a 3-4 times a week thing. Our new lunch plans will likely include lunch at home, or hitting the said drive thru for whatever they have for 99 cents that won’t give me a heart attack by my 2:30 meeting. But wait…bye bye, local sales and restaurant taxes…us not eating out as much, means you miss out on the 11% of my bill that you already tax my visit. Quick math, $15 a visit, 3 times a week,= $45. Multiply that times 2 for my husband, and you’re at 90. 11% of % that is roughly $10. Stay with me…52 weeks, and that’s $520 lost in local tax revenue from our basic lunch habits

And I’m sorry, regular server…I know I’m a chronic over-tipper because I used to wait tables. You’ll have to do more with less too, I’m sure you can find the average $15 a week in tips from me elsewhere, even though you still have to pay taxes on a percentage of your sales, regardless of whether or not you actually made that much in tips.

The next to go : local entertainment – Nextflix instead of heading to the movies, or local mini-golf or laser tag, other local goods and services: coffee shops, clothing stores, vintage stores. Even the big stores suffer here…Target, Lowe’s, and even Wal-Mart will see a lot less of the Stukenborg cash stash. Store revenue will obviously drop, but again, tax revenue goes with it. I will more and more often turn to places like Amazon: great deals, free shipping, and no tax, so I can recoup at least a little bit. Geez, when you list it out, I’m basically a one woman economic stimulus package. But those don’t work, so you won’t miss our family’s dollars. I hope the local emergency services, animal shelter, library, and schools don’t miss them either.

For those of you still with me, I can hear you thinking, $5000 out of the local economy, “yeah, stinks for you, but you can keep a roof over your head and your family fed.” That, and , “your local government really won’t miss your tax revenue.”

Before I rant any farther, hear me: I am incredibly grateful for the fact that my husband and I are blessed with great jobs, and the ability to make sure that our kids are taken care of, with maybe a little extra sometimes. But this is not just about me. The fact that I ,and others that are similarly blessed have that ability is what helps keep many others employed. In fact, everyone’s ability to spend money keeps everyone employed. That’s society in a nutshell…you pay me to work, and I buy stuff from someone else…at their job. Then they buy stuff, and so on and so one. But if people can no longer buy stuff, then there’s less money for everyone else.

Pretend for a minute, that there are 200 families like mine, in my city alone, that are facing the same issues. 200 families times $5000 a year is ONE MILLION DOLLARS out of my local economy that is no longer there. Less money for my city to provide services, less money for my schools, and less money in the pockets of my neighbors to spend. Oooh, look! Less money in my pocket means less in the economy. An economy that is hanging on like a half empty goldfish bowl, and just got attacked by a very thirsty kitty cat.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Frederika Zylstra
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:40:27

    Your blog is right on the money (pun intended). As the owner of a former high-end building company (who has gratefully and happily returned to her first love to make a living – writing) I endured comments from people such as ‘well, you guys had it good for a long time’ as if we somehow deserved to fall. We made a living – and though we built homes for wealthy clients, we never lived in one of those fancy expensive homes. What these people never really ‘got’ was the domino effect. We aren’t going out to dinner anymore at all. We don’t buy any shoes or clothing until ours begins to fall off. We are living with our 16 year old cars held together with duck tape and a prayer. We aren’t buying building materials from the local lumber yard because there is nothing being built. The lumber yard isn’t buying materials from the wholesaler, because they can’t sell what they have. Everyone suffers when we are out of work – including the stupid clerk at the local fabric store who told me it was ‘about time’ someone else got ‘all that money’. Will she have her job when people like me can’t buy fabric? Our Congress is so insulated from real life, it seems they are truly living in a separate nation.


  2. Erin
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 10:59:13

    Ragan has missed her calling. Keep writing kid sister. Your subjects are always right on. Freddy is writing for money! Right on! Glad to have talented people in my life.


  3. christihacox
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 20:27:44

    Great observations Ragan!


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