Financial Blues, Eldery Job Prospects, Food Costs, National Budget, School Versus Work

Tuition increases

Cost of Education increases relative to other factors

Impending financial pressure has caused me to reconsider my commitment to school. At my age a degree will serve little purpose other than for my own personal gratification unless I am able to create a second career, that was the intent with the technical writing. But with the end of disability payments coming up and no prospects other than federal grants, I think that I shall have to seriously pursue employment even if it means lowering my job expectations. Welcome to the brave new world of lowered financial remuneration for older professionals not in hotly desired skill areas. So far I have been holding out for a decent paying position to no avail. Time to swallow my pride and get used to being a member of the lower classes. Goodbye middle class lifestyle.

Walmart Greeter

Wal*mart Greeter

This may not exactly be my future, but based on my job hunting over the last couple of years, granted they were not hotly pursued because I was more committed to school and recovery from my surgeries, but now will the financial cliff rapidly being approached, I seem to have little choice.

Elderly workers

Elderly Workforce from Logistics Viewpoints site

The problem of the slow recovery of the job market is something that has not been grappled with directly by the administration. Many of us wanted a more aggressive job creation program. But it seems that the administration wanted or was forced by Congress, to allow Americans to linger in unemployment possibly to encourage a return to school for a retooling of job skills or possibly simply as an admission that the US economy simply does not need as large a work force since so many paying jobs have been outsourced and been replaced with McJobs and a smaller number of very highly paid jobs in technology and finance. Republicans argue that regulation holds back job growth, but this seems more systemic than a matter of current policies. But over time certainly we are not quite at depression level rates, although when the figures below were compiled it certainly looked that way.

Unemployment rates
Unemployment rate since 1900

More current statistics only accounting for those officially seeking employment don’t seem so dire, although they do indicate a very slow return to the old normal of a 4% rate, which may no longer be even contemplated.

Current rates

Recent Unemployment rates

Other news, well I have been following Syria closely but it seems to be to be shuffled into the political background as Congress gets ready for the great debate over funding the government. If Obama had attempted to make Syria the major focus, it seems that without major support in Congress he may just be forced to let it slide into the background or be forced into back door deals that will not be part of his agenda. The deficit will be a big issue and attempts to defund Obama care seems to be on the Tea Party identified Republicans sights.

CBO Spending & Revenue figures

Revenue versus expenditure from CBO

Where is the money going? below is the most recent budget. I certainly don’t see a major investment in education or eradicating poverty. Most of the money goes to entitlements, government debt, and the discretionary spending is largely for defense.

Current Budget

Current National Budget 2013

My buddy Jack finally left after two months on my couch. He failed to make a go of selling Mexican art to restaurants in the LA region, probably due to lack of a car and what I consider to be an inadequate business model, going door to door with samples of his art hoping the managers or owners would be in and available. This hit or miss approach led to much wasted effort and ultimately the exhaustion of the available markets within easy access of mass transit. Another problem has been the lack of available street sales locations. The flea markets are more like storefronts, and the farmers markets are largely for food. Venice Beach has been claimed and street locations like Alvarado Street, are hit or miss due to police harassment. So he is off to San Antonio where he has lived in the past hoping for better luck.

Street  vendors

Street Vendors protest harassment by authorities from Uprising Radio site

Jack’s experience was a real wake up call for me. I am the same age as he is, and although I am a skilled professional, I have been out of the job market long enough for it to be a real liability. I don’t want to end up like Jack.

Cactus Pears

Cactus Pears

I ate cactus pear with my breakfast scramble, it was tasty, lots of seeds and rather moist and sweet. It was good mixed with Roma tomato, imitation ground beef (TVP), yellow onion, Serrano peppers, garlic pieces, pre-baked potato, half an apple, lime wedge, sage, lemon grass powder, basil and chili powder. Two eggs mixed with water poured over everything like an omelet, then stirred like a scramble with mozzarella bits on top completes this dish. I put two pork link sausages and leftover grits with butter on the side and added cilantro for some fresh greens. Corn tortillas served as the bread and the dish was wet enough to not need any salsa. I added some hot sauce, sea salt and black pepper. It was quite good.

Corn prices

I am almost out of vegetables, rice and pinto beans, so I have to be creative with what I have left. Budgetary restrictions, mostly due to having to buy a complete set of new tires has left me scrounging around the kitchen for stuff I have not eaten, or used as much. Potatoes, garlic and onions are about all I have in abundance in the way of fresh foods. I am sure I will make a trip to the local market and stock up, but I don’t know about in your area, but here in Long Beach, where produce should be local and cheap, prices have been high. Corn for example has only dipped to the usual summer low of 4 or 5 ears for a dollar once or twice the summer. Most of the time it has been 2 for a dollar, very high. Squash has been high all summer, lemons are 2 for a dollar, unheard of high price, and even romaine lettuce is over a dollar a head in even the cheap markets. Rice seems to be a dollar a pound unless you want to by the big 20 lb bags and pinto beans in bulk run $.88 per lb. Why so high in this cornucopia, especially now that most produce seems to come from Mexico or even China? Somebody is making a killing. Shopping around for deals seems to be the only way to go for people on a budget such as myself.

Food Price Increases

All images from Google Images unless otherwise noted.

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