From Pine View Farm

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The Wheels Are Coming Off 0

One of the most telltale signs of what is happening to our economy is the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey.

It has been trending down for the past two years and has already dropped to levels that were last reached during the 90-91 recession, when unemployment was at 7%. This shows me that increases in health care, energy and food costs are taking there toll.

It is not the fact that people are unemployed that’s the problem; it’s that they have less discretionary income to spend. Less spending will result in higher unemployment in the future, making the situation worse. Where are government’s focus should be is ending runaway inflation in health care energy and food. Addressing the fact that ethanol is causing food prices to soar, health care causes us to totally lose a consumer’s whole family to even a minor illness.

A one time tax rebate is to simplistic a cure to what are fundamental problems that will last for years.


Why you do not know what you do not know 5

I have often wondered why there is not more public outrage about are high cost of health care, and why people are not demanding change.

If prices were skyrocketing like this any where else you would be hearing about on the evening news every night.

Then it hit me, the largest sponsor of these shows are health care and drug companies. They are not there to sell product as much as to exert editorial control over the news.

Everyone knows it is not wise to bite the hand that feeds you, so it stands to reason stories that you should be seeing, like 150% longer ER waits for heart attacks and 300% ER longer waits for everything else go unreported.

You call it financial censorship or lies by omission, but it is causing a lot of pain and suffering.



After 6 agonizing months of trying to find out what is wrong with our health care system, why we pay twice as much as the rest of the rest of the world but are only ranked 37th in overall care by the world health organization, why 47 million Americans lack any health insurance at all, why the leading cause of bankruptcy has become unpaid medical bills (75% of these people had insurance when they first got ill), why health care costs rise every year at a much higher rate of inflation than any other item in our economy, even than energy and after realizing that all these trends will continue in the future and may get worse, I have come to the conclusion that health care does not belong in the free-market system.

I am not a socialist.

I love the free market system; it has kept all other goods and services within reach of almost all working Americans

Are there 47 million Americans who cannot afford car insurance or the Internet or cable t.v.?

No, because none of the afore-mentioned have doubled in the past 8 years.

One argument that is often voiced in health care’s defense is that new technology has forced prices to rise.

I cannot buy into that, because there has been or should have been other innovations that should have offset that.

All areas of our economy have adopted new technology, but have not had prices soar like health care.

Others mention expensive litigation, but litigation totals only 2% of the total.

Not being able to sue for malpractice would not solve the problem.

The problem is that basically health care is the only area of the free market system where you cannot shop for price.

No one clips coupons or shops the yellow pages for best price for care when they get sick; they just want to get well.

Health care providers can charge any fee they chose, and so they do.

I spent 40 years managing furniture stores.

How wonderful it would have been to have no price comparison to contend with!

I could have tripled my mark up and retired in ten years.

One thing we have found out early in the free market system is monopolies are dangerous to the health of our economy. If one sector, especially a staple like health care, takes too big a piece of the pie, the whole pie is in trouble.

The only solution, as distasteful as it may seem, is some type of European or Canadian plan that covers every one.

Otherwise, there is nothing in our future but pain and suffering.


Stagdeflation huh!!! 0

A brand new worry bead for our worry bead chain has arrived (like we needed it) Stagdeflation!

Normally I would discount it, but it comes from Nouriel Roubini, the guy who seems to get everything right, with a second from George Soros, no dummy himself. They calculate that we are headed into a total financial meltdown so severe that inflation will turn into deflation. This is 1930’s stuff. And coming from Roubini, you can not brush it off.

They unveiled this term at the Davos conference in Switzerland, so it was not meant for our ears, but thanks to the Internet there are no secrets anymore. To be clear, deflation does not normally happen in a recession; it takes a world wide depression to make prices of everything to fall. Both Roubini and Soros gave it a high probability. so be careful out there!

Now I have no ideas about where to put your money.


THE great depression redux 8

I was watching CNBC all day as usual today, and as has been the case all year, all the news was bad. Retail sales bad, even at Walmart; first time jobless claims way too high; housing starts way to low. All this endless bad news is pointing to a consumer led recession that is going to be a long lasting bear of a problem. The most troublesome thing about it includes inflation pressures on the consumer in areas such as food, energy, and health care that could well escalate instead of moderate. Add to that we have stagnent wages , no savings, declining home values, and record credit card debt.

The tune “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” keeps playing in my head.


we have created a hell of conundrum for ourselves 14

Conundrum defines an intricate and difficult problem. This is in regard to use of ethynol as a automobile fuel. The price of a bushel of corn doubled last year, from 2 to 4 dollars a bushel, causing food prices to rise to record levels. This sets up a painful problem: even if oil prices fall it will cause us to use more ethynol because we will drive more. Since our gas is mixed with corn oil, food prices will rise even higher causing, real hardship for families especially. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. We finally get lucky, but we don’t save a dime.


Republicans Have Always Cared 0

The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article dated 10/7/1931 during the last days of the Hoover administration:

Census authorities are moving apple sellers from their list of jobless to the category of “employed” because they say many people selling “unemployed apple” are earning a good living.

“It’s a great life.”