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Friday, April 16, 2010

Good News/Bad News/Schizoid News/Financial News

A few days ago, Simple in France wrote an interesting post on her somewhat schizoid nature: pinching pennies here, indulging in luxuries there. I am similarly schizoid, I suppose: even in graduate school, when there were few pennies, I spent a lot on good coffee and parmesan cheese!

But my schizoid mood comes from the news. With the economy getting better, I have begun to peek at my statements as they arrive in the mail. Till recently, I threw them into a shoebox, unopened. What do I see? Not great, of course, but not gut-wrenching.

Then I look at the news online and see this: "State must cut $319 million from budget over next 10 weeks."

This dire headline is followed by some specifics: Senate President Joel Chaisson II, D-Destrehan, said the upcoming cuts could have a "devastating effect" on health care and higher education programs, which are almost certain to be targeted because they are the largest unprotected parts of the state budget.

While mid-year shortfalls are nothing new in state government, the current situation is unusual both because of the size of the hole and the timing. It's the second time this year that the state budget will have to be adjusted downward, coming on the heels of $248 million in cuts in December.

The last time the budget faced two mid-year shortfalls was in 2002-03. But several veteran Capitol observers could not recall a time when a shortfall of this size materialized so late in the fiscal year.

Is anyone else experiencing similar lurches from relief to panic?


Funny about Money said...

I dunno. It was nice to see the market go over 11,000, but also a little...weird. How can the economy be considered "recovered," or anything like it, when millions of people are out of work, when for many of those people their jobs will never return, and when we're looking at still more layoffs in government, education, and business? I just don't buy it: to my mind, the economy will be recovered when people have jobs. And when they're not worrying about whether they'll lose their jobs.

Here in AZ, a sales tax is coming up for a vote. It's supposed to be "temporary" (yeah!) and our hare-brained governor claims it's going to stave off massive cuts to education and public service. But when you look at how much it will generate vs. how much the state is in the hole, you realize it's a tiny drop in the bucket: all that will happen is everything we buy will cost more and we'll still lose teachers, schools, public parks, services to the most vulnerable members of our polity, and we'll further devastate our institutions of higher education.

It's discouraging.

Anonymous said...

Totally bizarre. I lived there. I went to grade school with a kid named Walter Chaisson. There were about 10 kids in that family.

I don't live in Destrehan anymore but who knew?

simple in France said...

Argh! The last time California announced budget cuts, I knew I was going to get laid off. People kept telling me not to worry--whatever. I got a new job, luckily. Still, you never know, sometimes you manage to pull through with your job--it can happen.

I was recently watching . . .maybe the News Hour? about this phenomenon of the markets being up but unemployment being low. The person they were interviewing explained it as a lagging indicator and said it takes a while for employment to straighten out.

But like you, I' just waiting to see.

Duchesse said...

An article on the front page of today's Globe and Mail states that Americans owe $1.57 for every buck of disposable income. (Canadians just behind, $1.47). That is scary to me, especially as interest rates rise.

Revanche said...

Yes, employment IS a lagging indicator so it's one of the last things to perk up in an economy.

I just ignore the market now, with a glance or two at my personal stock picks ticker for entertainment's sake.

Once a month I tally my accounts so I'll see if there's been gain or loss in the retirement accounts and next month I'll have to make some selections for the new 401(k) but between the new job and figuring out a new budget, I'm focused on my personal economy.

It's depressing enough hearing my teacher friends discuss the atmosphere and what they're facing.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--Well, the news seems to be "no layoffs and no furloughs" on this round. Truly, I don't understand economics.

@Karen--Everybody here knows everyone else. It seems impossible, but it's true.

@Simple--I am quite senior, but still...and, as I've written before, the people who are the most vulnerable in other ways are most vulnerable to the lay-offs.

@Revanche--Things are more scary for me b/c I'm about 30 years older than you are.

@Duchesse--I seem to have an inborn aversion to debt--for which I am thankful every day.