Much has been (and still is being) written about the upcoming Presidential election. And I've thrown in my 2¢ in from time to time. And many continue to ask if we're better of now than before we elected President Obama. Many from the Republican camp don't ask....they're already sure we're worse off.
The facts for me are these: I watched my 401k be decimated, as did my friends and coworkers. The value of my house fell by more than 30%, and I live in a very modest house in the "old" section of Stow. Some folks home values dropped even more, as you know. My overtime where I worked evaporated, and some folks were laid off. Incomes fell or disappeared accordingly. I didn't have a lot to start with, and then.......
You know how this went, to one degree or another. We all suffered from the shenanigans of Wall St. and the world banking disasters. We all looked up and said "Holy Cow, what's happening?" Or worse. And, from reading various articles, blogs, and comments here on the Patch network, many of you understood much more than I how and why this happened.
I've since retired due to health reasons. I'm not disabled, so I just went out at 62 and bit the bullet on the 25% reduction in benefits from SS. Had to do it. Working full time was no longer an option. But with my SS, I was able to retire. Without it......work till I drop dead ?
So that's were we were. Let me tell you how I see it now.
The company I worked for has slowly and completely called back all of the people that were laid off. A new addition has been constructed at the facility, and although there has been some changes there, things are progressing. SLOWLY.
My 401k is growing. Very slowly, very steadily, GROWING. Now, admittedly, it wasn't a HUGE balance to begin with, but when you're just an retired working stiff, you have a different defination of huge anyway. It was huge to me. So it is growing. Every week I check, and it's GROWING. Has been for over a year. Being retired, there's no more of my income or company match going in. The growth has taken place since I retired.
My property value has rebounded by approximately 10%, as has yours, according to a real estate aquaintence that is getting more and more enthusiastic about the market in general. And I read that real estate sales is up by 20% in this area, and that new housing starts are up nationwide.
The inflation rate is down from last year, and continues to be much lower than most of the Bush years.
I see new businesses opening around the area. Including the place where I got a part time job to help pass the time and make a little spending money.
Now, all of this being said, I know the cries of "over 8% unemployment" will be heard, and I don't pretend that it's all rosy. Far from it. Gas prices are up. I know that the President doesn't really have any control over that. And you do, too. And the deficit ? Sure needs to be addressed, and I believe the Presidents plan is the way to go. But in my little corner of this, things are BETTER.
I need my SS benefits to live. Next year, I'll need Medicare benefits to help me stay alive. Right now, and from now on, my elderly sister in an assisted living facility NEEDS her SS, Medicare, AND Medicaid to continue for the rest of her life.
Right now, this day, things here are getting a little better. We earned our benefits. We paid our dues. Things are looking OK. Not wonderful. Not rosy. OK. We're very afraid of Romney. He will hurt us WHERE WE LIVE. He will hurt us by taking away what we need to live our lives. Benefits I earned. With me, it's not about much more than that.