This week may be historic as a turning point for the American consumer. In the sports world in the U.S., today marks the opening of baseball season. Economically, the bases are loaded and many young adults may soon be hoping to make a home run--straight back to their parents' house, if that's an option.
None of us have witnessed an economic triple play like what we're about to face and there's no easy way to level the playing field. First base has the government in financial crisis with tax hikes and anti-union bills aimed at working people and time running out for the overtaxed poor. Second base has a rising unemployment rate with unemployment benefits running out for many people. Third base, rapidly increasing inflation.
While I shopped at Community Markets in Chillicothe this last week, a sign in the produce section caught my eye about anticipated changes. According to Community Markets, the consumer is to expect produce costs to jump since California and Mexico have both recently experienced the worst cold spell in over 50 years. Also, expect reduced quantities, reduced quality, and the absence of some produce. Then, just today, Bill Simon, chief business executive for Wal-Mart, announced that consumers should expect sharply inflated prices in food, clothing and other items over the next few months. Wal-Mart will be increasing their prices sharply and immediately, the effects showing up in a few weeks as food, clothing and other items with older pricing leave the shelves. This is worth noting since both Community Markets and Wal-Mart pride themselves on their ability to hold prices down.
Inflation won't stop there. For example, if the cost of raw cotton is on the rise, that will likely add to the cost of clothing and other textiles across the board. Additionally, Japan has been a leading supplier of plywood but, with their recent series of disasters, the cost of building supplies can also be expected to jump considerably.
Hardest hit by this economic triple play will be young people, senior citizens on a fixed income, and the un- or under-employed, particularly when they have no safety net. I suggest anyone who can should do some fruit and vegetable gardening, plant heavily, and preserve and share your excess produce. Identify the people closest to you who are in need. Then reach out to others. Start community gardens where it's feasible.
Senior citizens can save 5% on Tuesdays at Community Markets. They won't tell you, and it might not be advertised, so speak up politely and ask for the senior citizen discount on Tuesdays. Everyone should clip coupons and use them. Also, online coupon sources can add to your savings. Consider donating a portion of your savings to food banks.
Don't give up. We're still in the game but we're reluctant participants in the historic reduction of the middle class and we're losing ground fast. Talk to, email, or write a letter to your representatives. Especially, talk to them about expecting the wealthy to share the tax burden. Let them know what you, your friends or family members are facing and what you're trying to do. Gather your team around you and stay in it to win! Good luck!
Welcome to The Pauley Principle!
The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!
Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.