Here's a quick word on prices:
They go up.
It doesn't matter if it's gas, food, or lodging: prices rise. This is the market we're in and, for better and for worse, the one we'll always be in. Over the next couple of months, taxpayers will start receiving their tax rebate checks, also called "economic stimulus" checks. $600 for most singles, $1,200 for married couples. Instead of being grateful over a stimulus that didn't need to be done, all I hear and read is stuff like "too little, too late", or, "that'll get me a couple of tanks of gas". Again, none of these checks needed to be distributed. I'm grateful to get my $1,200, and will put it to good use. And I don't mean blowing it on a really cool gas grill, or a wall-mounted plasma tv.
We're constantly bombarded with how bad the economy is. Put my vote down for that theory as "bunk". Never have so many owned homes. I see more new vehicles patrolling the road. Nice ones, too: King cabs, s.u.v.s with dvd players installed. People will always buy things they want instead of things they need, then look for someone to point the finger at when they've maxed out their five credit cards. And you know what? Help is right around the corner. Yet it never seems to be enough. Live in a hurricane or earthquake zone and lose your house because of it? No problem. Here's your check. Lost your house a second time because you chose to rebuild in the same area? Here's your check. Try again.
What do we hear? That the help never comes "fast enough". It's never enough. There's a reason hurricanes and earthquakes are called disasters, simply because of the widespread damage and destruction that they do. Quick fixes aren't going to happen. We can't air drop a Four Seasons into a disaster zone, complete with monogrammed towels and deep tissue massages. Even if we could, something would eventually go wrong and we'd read how the government reacted "too quickly" and didn't think the recovery completely through.
I've gone a bit sideways on this, and I apologize. Back to the rebate checks. They're correctly identified as "economic stimulus" checks because the government knows that we'll spend it on mostly frivolous stuff, not on investment opportunities. Call that a pretty safe assumption, as our average savings rate is less than one percent. I'm guessing the number of thank you cards addressed to "G. W. Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C." will total exactly zero.
Spend wisely (HA! Funny, I am) and have a wonderful weekend.