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The Times
  • Jim Hillibish: That sound? American confidence hitting the Dumpster

  • There’s something wrong with us. It’s hard to peg, but it seems we’ve lost our confidence. Every measure of American confidence is down, way down. We don’t trust government. We fear that the benefits we’ve paid for are at risk. More than ever before, it seems the little guys are getting screwed.

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  • There’s something wrong with us. It’s hard to peg, but it seems we’ve lost our confidence. Every measure of American confidence is down, way down. We don’t trust government. We fear that the benefits we’ve paid for are at risk. More than ever before, it seems the little guys are getting screwed.
    Do you know how much your 401(k) has cost you in fees, and will cost you in taxes? It seems everybody gets their piece of us but us.
    I did a quick, vastly unscientific email poll on what’s peeving you. My inbox lit up like a Christmas tree.
    Here are the top 5:
    1. “We’re getting our new ‘payroll-tax adjusted’ paychecks. People are standing around wondering what happened, who voted for this tax increase?”
    Our government tells us to relax, it’s not a tax increase, it’s the expiration of a tax benefit. Funny, it feels like less money — minus 83 bucks a month for most of us. So we hitch up and cut back, hoping to find an extra $996 someplace.
    2. “The Federal Reserve is mysterious, but it’s certainly not protecting the little guy.”
    Investing in CDs and federal reserve notes no longer keeps up with inflation. The feds drove the interest rates down so far, we’re paying the banks to hold our money. Then low interest hit the bond market. We’re forced to invest in the stock market, and all its machinations, for a chance at a decent return,
    The holders of once-ironclad U.S. Treasuries could be the first to lose their savings if the government does the unthinkable and defaults. Imagine your grandmothers investing in this market.
    3. “Our seniors are worried sick.”
    Seniors lack trust in what happens when we send our money to Washington. Consumer Reports recently called the federal reverse mortgage scheme a jungle of high fees and rapidly repossessed homes. Thanks for the help, Congress.
    4. “My children are worried. How will they repay these crazy federal college loans?”
    The loans are a subsidy to the schools, enabling easy spending increases. We’re hooked on them, and there’s no pressure to get the costs under control. Anyway, lowering the interest rate will cost other taxpayers billions.
    5. “Anybody looking for a job? There are lots of them, even in manufacturing.”
    Has a generation forgotten how to work? That’s the most depressing thought of all.
    Contact Jim Hillibish at jimhillibish@cantonrep.com.

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