Man this recession really stinks!

I don’t really like to talk about politics on this blog. That’s not really my style, and I feel that no good ever comes out of it. However, this is becoming one of the scariest elections ever for me. I don’t claim to be a political guru, and I don’t even keep my finger close to the media pulse on things, but, I am getting worried about the state of our country come November. Neither candidate seems to have a great plan for fixing things right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the government can fix anything – I’ve worked for them, so I know how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy turn. What I mean is, neither of them have the backbone it’s going to take to manhandle the situation and get some changes made that will bring relief to the American people.

McCain says he’s in favor of off-shore drilling, which is a great solution and one I’m completely up for. But we don’t even need to do that. We have the technology in place already to begin converting coal to oil and sugar to oil. In fact, there is enough raw sugar annually in production to provide all our oil needs for the next 60 years. And it doesn’t require any off-shore drilling. If drilling is the preferred method of oil harvesting, we have enormous reserves of oil in the Dakota’s (and no one really lives there) as well as Alaska. We don’t need to continue our dependence on OPEC’s oil.

Obama says the government needs to regulate all big oil companies and that we don’t need to make more oil, we just need to regulate the consumption of it. His solution is to put better climate control systems on buildings and increase the windfall taxes that big oil pays. His solution is completely communist. He believes that we need to model our government after that of China and Venezuela. That’s right – two countries that hate us and would love to see America blown off the face of the Earth. Yep, that’s who I want to be just like….NOT.

Granted, I don’t really like McCain, but if people don’t recognize socialism when they see it (Obama), I’m afraid they also won’t recognize it when they elect it either. Four years is a long time, and too many destructive changes can be implemented in that time as well. Oh how I hope the American people open their eyes and start listening to the words that are coming out of the mouths of our two candidates and stop pretending they’re voting on the prom king.

So many people we know have been hit hard by our current economic crisis. We have loved ones and friends out of work, and those who still have jobs to go to can barely afford to get there with the current cost of gas. The cost of most things just keeps on climbing. Sam read an article this week that said the cost of natural gas is expected to rise 30% by this winter. That’s not good at all. There have been a lot of folks who’ve switched their heating over from fuel oil and electric to natural gas as it’s almost always been the cheapest source of heat. And a 30% jump in cost is going to put a huge dent in many folks budgets and wallets. I imagine we’ll start to see a shortage of flannel and fleece come fall. Almost makes me want to start raising sheep!

Sam has a good job that pays well and we’ve sold our house up in Maine finally, but even with that, we’re feeling the squeeze. For example, when we lived in Maine, Sam was budgeting $90 bi-weekly for gasoline. I worked just 4 miles from home and bought my own gasoline, so this was just for his truck. Now, I’m not working, so he’s using our car as the primary mode of transportation since it gets better gas mileage, but he’s still spending over $100 a week on petrol. And sadly, he’s not driving any further to work than he did in Maine. The cost of gasoline has gone up that much, and is still rising. He’s even talked about getting a SMART car to help mitigate the rising cost of fuel, but we don’t quite have all the cash yet to make that purchase.

Last week we were shopping for groceries when I really started to notice the hike in food prices. We shop at Wal-Mart for most of our groceries. We’ve tried Kroger and Publix, and even with their store rewards card and coupons, it is still cheaper for us to do our weekly shop at Wal-Mart. Things that we used to pick up 2/$1, like canned beans and veggies, are now 56 -78 cents a piece. Frozen veggies that used to be 99 cents a bag are now $1.47 each. Milk has skyrocketed from $2.98 a gallon to $4.58 a gallon. Eggs are popping in at over $1.56 a dozen most of the time. Even frozen chicken breasts have risen from $6.98 to $8.98 for a three pound bag. The last time we bought rice, I bought a 20 pound bag of it because it was significantly cheaper per unit than a regular sized bag.

Quite honestly, I don’t know how people are doing it. I can’t imagine having to feed a family of 4 or 5, or more. Somethin’s gotta give though. We’re all being effected by the current economic crisis – some more than others.

As Christians, we need to make sure we’re spending time on our knees in prayer over this next election. Prayer changes things. As Christians, we also have a duty to make sure we’re being good stewards of our finances so that we can help others when they need it. So many churches and mission organizations are struggling just to stay open. Food pantries are closing down because they don’t have the funds to stock them. Offerings have fallen off significantly because folks just don’t have any extra cash laying around. Pastor’s salaries are being cut, missionaries are going without many basic necessities because the money just isn’t there anymore. Shelters are looking for government and state subsidies, but there isn’t enough money to go around.

This economic crisis won’t last forever, that’s almost certain, but it’s also not going to end any time soon.

Even now Lord Jesus, come!

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