Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Happy Sad
by James Glaser
November 14, 2008

In these post election months coming up, there are going to be people who are happy and people who are sad, but it might surprise you who is who. Many McCain backers are just happy the whole thing is over with. Most never really thought John McCain had a shot at winning, and they were more than a little embarrassed he was the candidate. Which shows us how bad Barack Obama's campaign was. With the war and the economy going the way they both are, Obama should have won by a landslide.

Last week, every Obama backer was all smiles, but now they are looking at the shape the country is really in, and they wonder if the hole George Bush left won't bury Barack. Where does he start, and what has George left him to start with?

Me? I'm just glad the election is over, and I hope most Americans can now see how really horrible our national media truly is.

I see more and more businesses shutting down, and right now if you need a commercial retail space in Tallahassee, you can have your pick in any area of town. People are not buying, and who can blame them? Who really knows if they will have a job next week?

Self-employed people wonder how the city can raise the utility rates over eight percent, and a lot of landlords are passing on higher costs with rent increases as sales numbers plummet.

Gas prices have just now dipped below two dollars a gallon, but I think it is too late to help a lot of people. I am hoping for a good Christmas sales season, but then I am going to take a hard look at keeping my doors open after that. They say unemployment numbers lag behind any rebound in the economy, and I think this down-turn is going to make many Americans rethink how they spend their money. I know it has made me think about that.

Wanda and I will be eating out less, and the both of us are actually looking forward to cooking together. Think of it this way, if the two of us invite another couple over for dinner instead of going out with them, some nice restaurant in town will lose one hundred and fifty dollars or something close to that. Believe me, we are not the only people thinking about cutting back on our entertainment spending. I imagine some local eating spots will close in the next year.

Two huge auto dealerships, a Ford and Chevrolet have shut down and some smaller brands have combined their showrooms. Wanda just bought a car. She could have bought new, but she opted for a very low mileage 2007 model and saved herself about ten grand. Even with all the deals they are touting to sell new cars, they were not enough to make the cost look good.

Here is something totally new for me. I throw away any new tool catalogs I get. I love tools, but I don't really need any new ones. I don't have my parents' depression era frugal spending pattern, but I think about it more now.

Actually, if people spent less, I think that would be a good thing for the country in the long run. How many people live beyond their means? I can not believe all the BMWs, Mercedes Benz, and other expensive cars I see young people driving around in. When you have to get a 72 month auto loan, and your payment is still over $500 a month or even higher, you better stop and think about what you are doing.

I remember how a few years ago people in Japan were taking out 50 year mortgages. Well, you can do that here now, too.

This economic down turn may turn out to be a blessing. We may all suffer in the short term, but maybe our children and grandchildren will be better off in the long run. If we as a nation quit spending our children's money, they too might inherit a better country like we did from our parents. It isn't too late to get our house in order.

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