Year in review and how it affected you

"The Buck Stops Here" sign that was on President Truman's desk in his White House office which was referred to often by the President. Stated in his 1953 farewell address, "The President--whoever he is--has to decide. He can't pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That's his job.

Hope and change on better paying jobs
Today unemployment figures are trending up beyond 10.2% with a U6 figure of over 17% unemployed nationally. A year ago unemployment was 6.6% (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) (current unemployment rates may be seen here)

Hope and change on gasoline prices
At todays average price of $2.639, a gallon of gas runs $.70 higher than last year. Bitterly remembering July of 2008 when gasoline prices topping $4, we forget that by the 2008 holidays, prices had dropped back down to a more palatable $1.929. (source: AAA)

Hope and change on housing
At the end of the third quarter of 2009 US foreclosure activity set a new quarterly record – up 23 percent from the same time last year. September 2009 saw a monthly increase of 29 percent over September 2008. (source: RealtyTrac)

Hope and change on federal debt
Last year the public was outraged at a growing national debt of $10.65 trillion
. Today our government debt stands at over $12 trillion. Our new federal debt spread out to every citizen is over $39,000 each. (source: US Treasury) (see below “what’s the difference between debt and deficit?”)

Hope and change on federal deficit
A year ago the administration missed it’s target budget by $455 billion. A huge budget miss compared to $162 billion overspent in 2007. 2009 saw overspending beyond the budget in excess of $1.4 trillion (source: US Treasury)

Hope and change on the wars
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) saw 314 casualties in 2008 while 2009 has seen 144 casualties so far this year. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, Afghanistan) saw 155 casualties in 2008 while 2009 has seen 297 so far this year. (source icasualties.org)

Hope and change for smokers
2009 saw the highest federal tax increase on cigarettes from 39 cents to a whopping $1.01.
The additional 62 cent increase this year was added to fund the expansion of S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) that was signed into law in February by our President. State taxes range from seven cents to $2.75 per pack additionally. The price of a pack of smokes is now around $4.50 to $9.15 depending on where you live.

Hope and change on the dollar
One dollar — a year later — has nearly the same buying power as dollar in 2008. Annual inflation over this period was about 0.09%. However, the US dollar continues to drift lower against the euro. (source: currency converter)

Hope and change for the citizens
A shift in the United States has moved towards protecting illegal immigrants from prosecution whilst legal citizens may serve up to five years in jail if proposed mandatory healthcare fees aren’t paid. In 2008 the dream was still alive for anyone who worked hard to achieve their goals. In 2009 the government gave free money towards cars and homes for those who “qualified.” 

A year in review
A year ago people felt safe, jobs were abundant, gasoline prices were reasonable, government spending was lower, mortgage payments could be met, and war casualties were less – yet —  the previous administration was held in contempt.

What a difference a year makes.

“What’s the difference between debt and deficit?” – Think of deficit as how much money is overspent annually. Debt is the accumulation of the annual deficits.

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