Monday, November 12, 2012

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

(Disclaimer: I like to make this blog a “fun” read, but I felt I needed to say something. So take it for what it's worth and I'll be back to discussing spiders, cat pee, lack of sleep, and bad driving again in a few days.)

We were considering putting an addition on the house next year, or at the very least, a patio or deck.

That won't be happening.

Our last “big” vacation was in 2008 when we went to Hawaii. Since then, we haven't done more than a few days off here and there. However, for 2013 we were looking into either a cruise to Alaska or going back to Hawaii.

That won't be happening.

I planned to use part of my bonus to pick up an inexpensive used car so that my daughter has some autonomy.

That won't be happening (also, there probably won't be a bonus).

We were considering replacing the 15 year old sofa and chair in our living room, and possibly upgrading the 10 year old television.

That won't be happening.

Before you all start calling me a Chicken Little, Spoiled Brat, or maybe something filthy, allow me to explain.

It comes down to the fact that recent events make it imperative that our family save as much money as possible, pay down any debt, and not spend on anything big and/or unnecessary.

Even if we don't fall off the fiscal cliff looming before us, we will still have to watch our money carefully.

My per paycheck contribution for my family's healthcare has already gone up for 2013. But if I like my plan, I can keep it, right? Maybe.

My plan may technically be considered a “cadillac” plan which means under Obamacare, there's a 40% excise tax on it. Even if my company absorbs that, do you really think it won't be passed along to me in some form? How about no raises or bonuses for a few years? Or maybe they'll dump the current plan and go for something more affordable, but with less coverage?

Should everyone have access to affordable healthcare? Obviously. But it doesn't mean rebuilding the entire process and (intentionally or otherwise) punishing people who do have healthcare. There's got to be a better way to accomplish this.

My employer has made no bones about the fact that the taxes and other increases with Obamacare, etc. will cut into profits. I have no doubt that there will be layoffs. Other companies have already announced theirs.

Oh Boo Hoo. Those big meany corporations should be helping the economy, not laying people off and making it worse. Maybe the government should get involved in that too? Stop corporations from laying people off. Just do it for the Greater Good, right?

It doesn't work that way. Corporations have stockholders to answer to. Government involvement at that level turns our economy from capitalist to communist.

But I work in IT and my skills are needed so there's NO WAY I could possibly be laid off!

Sorry, there's a ton of IT people with great skills that can't find jobs. This is actually one of the reasons I started going back to school. I felt I needed to solidify certain skills, especially since I've taken a step into a different field within IT, and there are many certifications I need to pursue in order to complete my training. Along with the fact that my daughter will be going to college within a few years, I had planned to move into a higher position so that I could better afford her tuition.

Unfortunately, if I were to lose my job, I will have no choice but to pursue education loans for myself and my daughter. Double the debt, baby!

That said, any extra money I have, will not be going to that small business contractor for putting an addition or patio on our house, it won't go back into the economy since we won't be booking that vacation or replacing the furniture, and someone will lose out on the $2000 or so that I would put on a used car.

I am also sure that I am not the only person thinking this way. What do you think will happen to our economy when so many others stop spending?

Right now, I can only plan to save my money, pay down debt, and pray that I don't get the pink slip.

Welcome to The Law Of Unintended Consequences.

(By the way, it's come to my attention that my liberal “friends” blow off my perspectives because they think I'm unduly influenced by the Hubby. They would be wrong. Also, by taking that opinion, you've just reinforced the standard liberal attitude that the rest of us can't think for ourselves. Thanks for that.)


Spokey said...

A couple points.

It doesn't matter how much your friends and relatives laugh at you. You're taking your best shot at preservation. And if you are wrong, what is the downside? That you didn't do that other stuff but have the extra money to do it later. If you're right, you survive. If you're wrong, you delayed these gratifications.

Congrats on the first steps to the dark side.

At some point you'll be buying that dehydrated food with a shelf life of 25 years. Are you keeping a good stock of peanut butter? A good source of fat, calories, and protein. No refrigeration needed. I'm also thinking of looking in to MREs to see what their shelf life is and whether they might be a better idea.

I also buy gold and silver. Not for an investment but as a hedge against hyper-inflation. I once calculated that if Bill Gates had his 50-60 billion at the beginning of the Weimar Republic by the end of the german republic's hyper-inflation period, he'd have a grand total of 5 cents. I'm hoping gold & silver will moderate my paper money and investment loss.

Think it's bad with your liberal friends? Try being even wackier around crazy lefty bicyclists. They make Hollywood look like a crowd of Rush Limbaughs. But don't despair. Your true friends will still be there. I still bicycle around, take bicycling trips with my older brother. Not only did he vote for Obama, he worked on the campaign. Even drove in the motorcade when Michelle Obama was in Allentown(?). It is true that we do best when we don't talk politics.

Good Luck.

JenB said...

Thanks Spokey. You're right there is no downside, really. Hubby is thinking along the same lines as you, gold, MREs, etc.

I really felt I needed to try and get my point across to a few individuals that everything is not going to be unicorns and rainbows, and this will have consequences that they have obviously not thought through. They tend to not think more than one step down the line, you see. Then again, maybe they don't care. Free stuff!

I can honestly say I'm so glad I never joined Facebook. I hear about the vitriol and spittle-flying lefty bullshit from friends and family, that other friends and family are posting. It's disgusting, and there's no such thing as a reasonable exchange of viewpoints. I'm sure my post yesterday will upset certain individuals, but I like to think I'm simply being sensible.

Spokey said...

WOW, no Facebook?

I thought I was the only one left of the 6.5 billion on this planet who never joined Facebook.

I get a kick out of sibs (and my own progeny) who complain about getting requests from cousins etc who send them friend requests. Relatives of course who they would rather forget we have.

Hopefully you aren't scrimping on next Thursday. So have a happy turkey day.

JenB said...

Nope, we're planning a nice Thanksgiving, and a good (but not overboard) Christmas. Being together as a family is most important to us, regardless of the political viewpoints :)

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Spokey said...

Thanksgiving Update

Thought I'd give you an update. We had a nice Thanksgiving but I got in to it with my sister-in-law (from your great state: about 2 mi from the Vanity Fair outlets).

I did get defensive when she called me a "racist, homophobic, sexual pervert". Now she didn't know at the time she was calling me this. At least not before I let her know that I was a paying member of the Tea Party Patriots and Freedom Works. And yes, I guess some would argue about that "sexual pervert" part but I'm pretty sure her use of "tea bagger" didn't have anything to do with my fondness for green tea.

I spent the most time in a fairly loud and heated argument, but once I went to pour a drink (perhaps drink being the lubricate to get me into this mess to begin with), my brother-in-law took up the baton (I think mostly about jobs - none of his 3 kids who are in their 20s have jobs) followed by my spouse then my sister on various subjects.

So see? You're not alone.

JenB said...

Gah, I cannot stand that "teabagger" term. I'm so tired of liberals linking conservatism and family values to racism, etc. We cannot even disagree with the President's policies without being called racist. Things is, I've noticed the only people bringing up race all the time are the liberals.

Our Thanksgiving was quiet, thank God. Four years ago, the 2008 election was the topic of discussion at Thanksgiving, and end up in a serious blow out.

Sorry to hear about the argument with your sister-in-law. Glad you didn't let it ruin your day though!