This week has been crazy. We went to look at houses again on Saturday and found one we really liked. We went back to the open house on Sunday. We made an offer on Monday and it was excepted, after a little negotiating, that evening. Tuesday I talked to banks, inspectors, attorneys and a lot of other people. The stress level has been high but it's exciting. I'll post some pictures of the place soon.
So I received a forwarded email petition stating that "the Senate voted this week to allow 'illegal' aliens access to Social Security benefits" and we need to forward this email on to everyone we know to get signitures urging the president to veto this bill (note there is no bill number referenced in the email). The email continues "It is already impossible to live on Social Security alone. If the government gives benefits to 'illegal' aliens who have never contributed, where does that leave those of us who have paid into Social Security all our working lives?" Okay. Now I need to post something to the blog to clear up a few misconceptions for the benefit of the like 3 people who read my posts.
For starters, there are illegal aliens who get a social security number. And once they get a social security number, they have the social security payments withheld from their paychecks. If they are only paid in cash and there is no paper trail well that's a totally different story. So misconception #1 illegal immigrants have never contributed to social security is false.
Misconception #2 really needs to be addressed. People believe that they have paid into social security similar to the way you pay into a 401K or IRA. THAT IS FALSE! Social security has NEVER worked like that. Social Security is really more like a Ponzi Schemeusing the the "rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul" principle to work. The current labor force (who are paying social security taxes) is supporting all those who receive their check. (Side though: I wonder what happens when the labor force is smaller than the recipients. Hmmm. Oh wait that's a few years away). So when you get the mailing from the social security administration that looks like an investment statement explaining how much you have paid, realize this is misleading and a waste of your tax dollars.
So to review: Just because a worker is an illegal immigrant doesn't mean they haven't paid taxes including social security. And you are not paying into anything when it comes to social security. The statement that it is impossible to live on social security, however, is true.
Our blog has fallen silent over the past few days. This is largely because I have been busy at work for a change and have not found time to post to the blog like I used to. Imagine that - working at work.
I really like my job. I enjoy the challenge that each day brings and actually look forward to going to work. I still enjoy going home more, but it is great to have a job that you don't dread going to.
Life upstate is good. Yes we have had snow and I don't think it got above 30 degrees today but that doesn't matter. We like it up here. We do miss our friends in New York a lot. I personally miss the reading time I had on the ferry. I don't get the same chance to read.
But life is very different. The traffic reports last about 30 seconds so I spend quite a bit of time surfing the radio stations trying to catch the report. Then I realize that even when there is heavy delays it isn't as bad a normal traffic on the Staten Island Expressway.
We have survived yet another move. It seems that we always seem to move around this time of year too. This will be the second year that we were "homeless" for Christmas (meaning not living in our own place). I love my new job. It is so much better I can't begin to express it. We continue to look for houses. This is a really complex problem with no simple solution. The calculus involves trade-offs, loads of trade-offs. Factor in we are not exactly sure what we are looking for (number of bed rooms, style of house, how much we are willing and able to fix up, etc). We have seen quite a few and our buyer's agent is great. I know once we make the decision we will post it here.
Thanks for the emails (I know Danielle's received some). Our phone is not working because half of it was packed in a box somewhere and it is in storage. We should take a picture of our storage shed. You can see the expert packing job that we did. We just found our cable to our camera so we will be uploading pictures soon.
For my birthday Katie S. watched my kids so I could have a day in the city. I started in Central Park.
I went and saw Belvedere Castle.
Looking out over Turtle Pond
This is looking north from the top tower.
Interesting sign on 25th street
I met Mike for lunch and we went to a Greek restaurant named Karavas. It was yummy.
This is an awsome store. They have cool fabric. I bought some Halloween fabric to make a little quilt.
After dinner that evening the girls came and surprised me with a Girls Night Out in the city. We went to Magnolia Bakery and tried there Banana pudding (sooooooooooo good) and split a key lime cheesecake with Susie
Then we went to Serendipity for some Frozen Hot Chocolates. All things I wanted to do before I left NYC.
So I was listening to an economics podcast and heard the following which I found interesting. Bill Hamilton, a biologist explained every scientific theory goes through four phases of reaction: that's not true; that's an interesting if perverse way of looking at the world; I see the experimental evidence accounts for certain edge cases; I have always believed it. I think this is a great quote! The podcast is Econtalk and I would recommend it to nerds like me.
I was reading this post, about what you can do to prepare for what may be ahead (Please take a couple of minutes and read it), and was presented with some numbers which triggered my worst economic fears. Allow me to do illustrate with some sloppy arithmetic:
$152 billion for the summer stimulus package + $123 billion bailout of AIG + $700 billion bailout bill + $250 billion into several large banks (I told you they didn't even consider the smaller option) = $1,225 billion or $1.225 trillion. (Not to mention the money the Federal Reserve has been funneling into the financial system)
Now add to that some sloppy history: I may have missed the news, but I don't remember hearing that GDP expanded by $1.225 trillion since last summer. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly I remember talk about a slowdown in the economy, bordering on recession.
Finally apply some sloppy thinking: Goods slowing down...Huge spending increase...Businesses hurting...Huge spending increase...No growth in tax base...Huge spending increase...It can't be funded by taxation...Huge spending increase funded by money that isn't there.
To come to my conclusion: Money Supply increasing + Goods are not = Inflation.
Inflation fears worry me more than the threat of a Great Depression because everyone becomes poorer simultaneously which is not a good thing. Did you know that Hitler came to power because Germany was in a period of hyperinflation after World War I. Yep.
I had an econ professor that taught me that my generation didn't know tough economic times. We had grown up in the late 80's and 90's and had it good. So I fear that my generation will get sideswiped by inflation and not be prepared to deal with its consequences. So once again I would encourage you to read this post, and get things in order. I know we will.