Thursday, 29 OCT 2015 :: A long day of budgeting

When I finally got to the TV for the news, there seemed to be a lot of talk about the budget and about the debate.  I spent the past two days working on my own SMALL budget efforts, end of the month details, and plans for NOV.  It is a challenge to get through a month at my income level. 

I wonder what will happen to my small income
if the government falters...

There was also a report about China ending their one child policy finally.  I was surprised that their motivation was the future support of their senior populations... which seems to be a common argument for everything in America, too.

I didn't hear much that was new about the debate.  It seems to be a sound bite world we live in... and that isn't going to help any of us.  The deep facts about any subject are buried under mound of paper and text... or files and archives.  It use to be that magazines were the source to find out more.  I have always said that TV news is like a headline, newspapers are like a summary, and magazines are (were) more in-depth... I suppose books would be even more detailed.  The problems with our news sources is that they all have their own bias, so you have to read a large spectrum of viewpoints to even get close to the truth about anything.

I'm not sure we will ever be a country that does that anymore.

I guess I budget because it takes a lot of time to get ahead, to save anything.  Unless GOD decides to bless me through at least one of my efforts, it would take a century to reach my goals.  I don't have that much time.   :-)   I spend a lot of time trying to decide what I might be able to accomplish before I die.  I would love to have that ability... that freedom... the opportunity to actually work a budget that wasn't too small, to build a reserve for unexpected problems (which always happen), and to have a permanent place to build on. 

GOD doesn't seem to provide for me in traditional ways, so I still buy a lottery ticket every now and then...  if He's a GOD of miracles, "it could happen."   :-)   I keep hoping.

How much is enough?  That is a hard question to answer.  My view has been that it is a lot more than I realize... and whatever GOD provides, it won't be enough... the problems we are facing are too big, and they keep getting bigger.  I decided that if I won a really big lottery, I would take a year to plan the best way to spend it... including both personal and business uses for it. 

Because I have been very poor all of my life, it is hard for me to understand spending $5000 a night on a hotel room, no matter how nice it is, when I have had a job cleaning them.  The thrill is gone for fancy hotels, but it might be something to share with others.  :-)

I have always thought it would be good to share wealth-related experiences with poverty households, especially kids, because some thing lose their appeal once you actually do them, like riding in a limousine or going to Disneyland. Somewhere along my research path, I read that the reason poor kids do so badly on college testing is because they don't have the experience base that wealthier kids have.  I can't help all the kids in the world, or the rest of their families, but I always hoped to help as many as I could.  Most of the kids I am thinking of don't know what they don't know... their whole world might change if they learn to surf or scuba dive, to climb a giant mountain, to see what it's like to live on a huge ocean vessel, or make their own ceramic bowl to eat out of, or have the internet and a tablet to access it with, or eat at a really fancy restaurant, or wear a formal gown to the symphony, or .....  lots of things.

The cry of our Republican government is less dependence on social programs for survival, they want to bring back self-sufficiency because they think people love to live on welfare and food stamps.  If the economy falls, everyone is going to need food stamps, and some may even need welfare.  Maybe a lot of the people who find themselves in the middle of a natural disaster have to become government aid recipients. There has to be some kind of program to help those who don't have anywhere else to turn.  I would like that place to be GOD's people, but some who need help don't like GOD... and they still need help.

Self-sufficiency... what does that look like? 

I have existed on very low amounts of resources, but that also cause problems I couldn't overcome and that led to worse ones.  No money meant no insurance, no tags, no gas, no where to go... and lots of tickets that I couldn't pay... the loss of my license... the loss of my beloved van, which was my house... the loss of faith in people I relied on... years of homelessness... the loss of all I owned... and places I would never go to if I didn't have to. 

  • Was I self-sufficient?  What is the definition of self-sufficiency?  Is it different in the city than it is in the country?
  • Could I have been?  If I was allowed to exist somewhere, in my van, in a tent, in a safe place, could I have created a self-sufficient life?
  • What is the FIRST thing that is needed to change the direction of economic upheaval?  (In individuals and in countries/governments...) 
  • How long should it take to become self-sufficient? (...a LOT of social agencies create programs that give you 30 days, sometimes less, sometimes more, to change a lifetime of issues, all with a bus pass and program adherence.) 
  • Is the path the same for every single person?  (NO!) 
  • How can we create a system that is available to all who need it, and that allows them to find their own way to the best future for them?  (My real goals were never acceptable...)

Actually, no one really knows the answers for poverty and violence and all the difficult parts of societies, including ours.  We keep trying to find one solution to all the problems we face in this moment, in the current budget, because that is all we have, and we never think that tomorrow could destroy everything we built our plans on.

The Democrats have been vetting Hillary Clinton for a long time... her primary competition is more for show and conversations about the issues.  I don't think she will win, but that is my opinion.  I hope she doesn't win... that is also my opinion.

Not having enjoyed the middle-class life, I find it hard to understand some of the arguments I hear about wages and jobs.  I understand poverty, and the prisons it makes, and the lack of options that exist, and the difficulties when you try to rise from the gutters. 

America is treading in our own financial river, trying to stay afloat, and moving faster and faster toward the edge where solid ground no longer exists.  The debt ceiling is just one evidence of our pending doom, there are many others.  America is much like every other example we have of failing economic status... they "never saw it coming" because they didn't want to believe it could. 

Think of a wealthy movie star, or other aging notables like musicians, singers, writers, politicians, businessmen... if they don't plan for the day when they won't be able to do what they have always done, there won't be any money to help them survive, and their lives will be forced to change. 

Think of the Great Depression... in one day people lost everything they had. There wasn't any welfare or food stamps then... would there be now, if the government / economy falls?

Think of floods, and earthquakes, and tsunamis, and tornadoes, and fires... we see disasters on the news every day.  No one plans to be in a natural disaster, and there's NOTHING you can do to stop them.  No one can be blamed for them, but we still have to recover from the damage they inflict.  It costs money to do that... it requires temporary resources for living for lots of people... where will that come from if there is not more money?  We can't raise the debt ceiling forever... it is already using up half of our income (or more) just to make the interest payments!

Budgeting is going to be critical to all of us surviving, and it is only one part of the solution.  I can only budget the actual money I have.  The government creates estimated budgets and then borrows or prints money to meet its needs. 

The Democrats have put us in the middle of this danger, and it will probably take Republicans, with advice from the Libertarians, to get us back to solid financial ground.  In my view, the battles in government at all levels will only become real financial conversations in the middle of a deep crisis.  I hate to think of life in the middle of all that pain.  I know how hard it is to be poor, to try to survive in a city, and to be alone in the struggle.  I know that suffering will change everyone.  It would be better if we could find answers before we get to that point.

If I won the lottery, or had money to help reduce our debt, I would be willing to help my country survive, and get back to a place of financial health.  The problem is that government legislators will just do the same things that got us here, and it will be an issue again.  My search is for a way to save America without feeding its addictions.  I haven't found that answer yet, but I am still looking for it.