REFLECTIONS

Posted on January 5, 2011

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KEEPING PROMISE TO VOTERS

As I closed the book on 2010, and made my New Year’s resolutions, I dared to imagine that maybe the economy was clawing its way back to health, and some sanity would take place in Washington D.C. It will be easier for me to keep my resolutions than for Congress to keep theirs.

Retail spending surged in December, the stock market was up, corporatte profits were up, General Motors had three straight profitable quarters, and there were signs that companies had stopped hemorrhaging jobs.

But then I read about top executives receiving millions of dollars in compensation packages, and others were getting golden parachutes.

I realize there is little hope that in 2011 poor people will get a little more money, and rich people would get a little less. A bigger fantasy that this is the hope there would be an end to earmarks by the Congress.

I ask myself the same question when I read about multimillion dollar executive pay outs: What exactly did they do for so much money while middle class workers are dropping into the poor class, and employees get their pink slips. I realize that i wiill never understand this.

Next I read even more discouraging news: In 2010 U.S. companies created more jobs overseas than they did in this country. According to the U.S. Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, American firms made 1.4 million hires in foreign countries, compared to 1 million here. Had those 1.4 million jobs started here, our 9.8 percent unemployment would have dropped to 8.9, according to the institute.

The reason for the overseas hires is that sales and demand in places like China, India and Brazil are booming, according to the Huffington Post. So US. companies aren’t bad guys: They simply have to go where the markets are. Right? Congress should address the problem of our country losing jobs overseas.

And then, the final piece of gloom, home prices fell 1.3 percent from September to October. Analysts expect housing prices will continue to fall in 2011, as thousands of foreclosures flood the market, credit remains tight and hiring is stuck in reverse.

Last, but not least, there’s that pesky deficit. The president’s tax break extension compromise with Republicans is projected to increase the deficit from 1.3 trillion to 1.7 trillion this year.

So we embrace uncertainty. We keep our pencils sharpened, our hearts grateful for all we do have, and our focus on the truth that often the only way past the darkness is through it.

Thin gruel is better than no gruel. Happy 2011!

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