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Opinions Wanted The economy

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
In this area, the rail system is a great way for the suburbanites to get into downtown SF, but it's not such a great way for people who live in the city to get to companies in the 'burbs. What you see instead are big companies providing bus service to employees who live in SF to get them to work and back in the 'burbs. Google, Genentech, and several other companies have such buses, complete with WiFi.
 

Matoaka

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Whether it's rail or school buildings or picture frames, I think we need to get used to the idea that change is acomin'. The omnipresent consumerism Americans have enjoyed (wallowed in?) since WWII may well be at an end. It's time to get smart, scale down, and start taking care of the important things. (Yes, that hunting cabin in the Rockies is important, and so is that new Escalade in the driveway, but that's not what I'm talking about.)

Unbridled greed, combined with short-term thinking, and a good dose of tunnel vision has brought us to this discourse. We, as a country, have really screwed the pooch this time. During the deep troubles of 30's we moved from industrialization to manufacturing; in the 80's we moved from manufacturing to high tech. So where do we go now? "Green jobs" won't be an easy transition (the Chinese are already ahead of us in that market). And it's not a sure bet that that move will re-employee all of us. Seniors are not going to retire at predicted ages, so young workers will not enjoy an open job market. Health care will become unaffordable if it remains in the for-profit sector.

The social democracies of Europe produce the "happiest" communities, according to all the studies. But the fear of loosing our pro-capitalistic life style has frozen our ability to be flexible enough to rise to any challenge.

This economic crisis must, if anything, move us to rethink our place in the universe... to study what we have done to our planet and our childrens' futures... to come to the table without our localized baggage... to hold our spiritual tongues long enough to speak of goodliness. If we educate ourselves and listen to the wise men around the world, we may come to learn television commercials and lobbiests and cable screamers don't have the answer.

Read up on your history, and economics, and political science. Without this education, we are toast. :)

Just my 2 cents.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
I think it will take a look back in the future to determine what state we're really in ...as of right now.

Business had been all of the following: completely dead, crazy busy and other times just steady. I really can't gauge my sales as the identifier for determining how the economy is recovering because its just too all over the place. But I am still here...and I've seen lots of existing business close as well as see quite a few new ones open up.

I think one thing the recession has done is made all of us look at wasteful spending and eliminate it. And I hope I remember to always (not just when things are looking horrible for the economy for everyone overall) make sure that I'm spending wisely. As horrible as its been, at least this good has come out of it.

If everyone will pardon a political toot...even though I don't like everything he does, I have to say that Obama's tariff on Chinese tires is the type of thing that will help us to recover...and it should've been done in other presidencies a LONG time ago in order to keep the American market competitive. Kudos for him for doing it.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
If everyone will pardon a political toot...even though I don't like everything he does, I have to say that Obama's tariff on Chinese tires is the type of thing that will help us to recover...and it should've been done in other presidencies a LONG time ago in order to keep the American market competitive. Kudos for him for doing it.
That may cause the Chinese to stop buying U.S. debt and then where will the administration be in their "Drunken Sailor" spending.
 

Franny

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Here in Western New York, I don't think our economy had too far to go to hit bottom, thus I do not think we have felt this recession as badly as states like Florida and North Carolina. In other words, we were already very close to the bottom in job availability and disposable income and have been for a long time. Our weather here for the summer was dismal, so I believe my sales in the mall (this is my first summer) were probably better than they would have been given the weather. August we had a better month weather wise, so my sales were down from July. September has been absolutely flat for me, but my belief is that getting the kids back in school and settling down is priority one. I'm looking for things to pick as as the month progresses.
I do not look for a resurgence anywhere in this country for quite some time. Things have changed, a lot of jobs have been eliminated and here in my neck of the woods, anything new is low paying and part time with no benefits. For example, the other day, there was a story about a new "collections" agency needing to hire 200 workers. Those are the low paying jobs I speak of. The NEXT story was about 150 food manufacturing facilty jobs being lost because Pfiefer foods is closing an area plant that has been here for years and years. One of the top employers in a town called Wilson in the North. So...there you go...the "news" at it's best. You can't believe a word they say, and on one hand they give and with the other they take away.
In my ever so humble opinion, we are swiftly becoming a nation of the haves and the have nots. I'm just glad I'm the age I am...
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My uncle is a VP at Merrill Lynch in Boston. Has been for forever. He rides the T n everyday from the Franklin station. He has a parking pass in Boston, and has a "real" car. He just prefers the train. No traffic headaches. And no keying, no stealing and no speeding or parking tickets ;)

What's wrong with public transit?
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
It rarely goes from where people live to where people want to go. Simple enough? :p
Actually, in major cities it does. I live in SF, and I can get downtown in 30 minutes for $2, no worries about parking or theft, I can read on my trip in, and maybe flirt a little with fellow passengers. I've lived in Chicago, and Boston, too and their public transit systems are pretty good.

It's the suburbs and smaller cities that have the problems. Maybe there isn't a density of population to make it worthwhile, or maybe people are just too selfish about their cars to change.
 

cjframes

True Grumbler
I think you make some good points but I don't think the social democracies of Europe are responsible for the happiest communities. People in Europe are not too happy now and the Scandinavian countries have always had the highest suicide rates in the world. The countries that are usually thought of as being happy I guess are Spain, Portugal, Italy and maybe France. The culture in these countries is what is responsible for happiness. Politics has nothing to with it.

I think Americans for the most part are happy people if they are making money, and there is nothing wrong with making money. Greed on the other hand leads to problems like the one we are all forced to face at this moment. As citizens we need our government to protect us from all forms of greed. It hasn't done a good job lately but maybe it will in the future. If that means bigger government and more regulation we will just have to learn to live with it. I don't think what happened with the economy is something that will happen very often but in this globalized world we simply can't risk to continue living the way we have since World War 2.

Whether it's rail or school buildings or picture frames, I think we need to get used to the idea that change is acomin'. The omnipresent consumerism Americans have enjoyed (wallowed in?) since WWII may well be at an end. It's time to get smart, scale down, and start taking care of the important things. (Yes, that hunting cabin in the Rockies is important, and so is that new Escalade in the driveway, but that's not what I'm talking about.)

Unbridled greed, combined with short-term thinking, and a good dose of tunnel vision has brought us to this discourse. We, as a country, have really screwed the pooch this time. During the deep troubles of 30's we moved from industrialization to manufacturing; in the 80's we moved from manufacturing to high tech. So where do we go now? "Green jobs" won't be an easy transition (the Chinese are already ahead of us in that market). And it's not a sure bet that that move will re-employee all of us. Seniors are not going to retire at predicted ages, so young workers will not enjoy an open job market. Health care will become unaffordable if it remains in the for-profit sector.

The social democracies of Europe produce the "happiest" communities, according to all the studies. But the fear of loosing our pro-capitalistic life style has frozen our ability to be flexible enough to rise to any challenge.

This economic crisis must, if anything, move us to rethink our place in the universe... to study what we have done to our planet and our childrens' futures... to come to the table without our localized baggage... to hold our spiritual tongues long enough to speak of goodliness. If we educate ourselves and listen to the wise men around the world, we may come to learn television commercials and lobbiests and cable screamers don't have the answer.

Read up on your history, and economics, and political science. Without this education, we are toast. :)

Just my 2 cents.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
It rarely goes from where people live to where people want to go. Simple enough? :p
Really? I live in the boonies, but I can drive to Portsmouth NH and get on the bus. It goes to Boston every hour, and when I took it it got better time than I did driving. Even at rush hour it flew through traffic better than I could (as a trained and homegrown M******* driver to boot!)

In fact the times i took the bus down I got to the office in about the same amount of time it took the others to drive in from across town.

Trying to get to job sites in the city I got parking tickets, and had to circle the blocks to find a spot, whereas i could hop on the T and get to the vicinity of the job site in much less time if I took the T. The only problems were when I needed to work at the golf courses or outside the city.

Mass transit isn't ideal, but it could be better. And you don't have to give up your car, you just drive it less.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
So? Still "rarely". I used to use a bus to commute to NYC during union contract negotiations. I lived in one of the few NW NJ communities on an interstate bus route. There was never any public transportation useable for my regular commute to the airport. My comment stands as unchallenged.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
There was never any public transportation useable for my regular commute to the airport.
Pretty ironic that there is not public transportation convenient to the airport. The one place guaranteed to have huge numbers traveling to and from daily and no easy public transit for the majority to use.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
So? Still "rarely".

My comment stands as unchallenged.
No, technically, I challenged it. Your comment does stand un-refuted, but it has been challenged ;)

You couldn't drive to a bus stop in another town? Mass transit isn't door to door, it's community to community. I'd like better service, the train runs from ME to Boston 4-5 times a day. The bus every hour, but that can mean a 58 minute wait if you miss a bus, and longer if the bus is full when it gets to your stop.

I took the bus from Wells Maine to Kennebunk once. Took over 2 hours. It's only 10 miles! Its doable, just not a wise choice at times. For now.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Pretty ironic that there is not public transportation convenient to the airport. The one place guaranteed to have huge numbers traveling to and from daily and no easy public transit for the majority to use.
Jeff it's cheaper to buy a ticket to Logan than it is to get one for South Station. And you stop at South Station before you get to Logan. (Or is it vice versa?) You can easily get a bus at the airport. But you'll also have baggage, maybe that's why they have taxis there ;)
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Pretty ironic that there is not public transportation convenient to the airport. The one place guaranteed to have huge numbers traveling to and from daily and no easy public transit for the majority to use.
It's interesting how the New York airports have progressed. JFK now has train service, but only for those with access to the Long Island Railroad or a subway system that makes it diffucult to carry baggage. Newark now has a link to the PATH trains accessible to Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken and NYC - nowhere else in NJ. LGA has none. The vast majority of customers still have no real access to the airports via public transportation for the reason I noted above - it doesn't go from where they live. :p
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Airports are kind of a unique breed -- they never seem to be on normal mass-transit lines, unlike Europe where every airport seems to have a train station right there to take you right into downtown.

Even here in SF, it's the same old. It's only in the past 2 years that BART extended its line to the San Francisco airport. I think what's really going on with airports is a lot of opposition from entrenched special interests -- namely, cab companies and airport shuttle companies, which stand to lose a lot of $35 fares if people can take mass transit for only $4.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Paul,

In NYC, the main opponent to rail connections to the airports has been the Taxi and Limosine Commission (part of the Police Dept.) - successful blockers for many years.
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
We have recently expanded light rail here in Denver and it has been very well received, people are using it. You do sill have to drive to it in most cases but it still saves gas and frees up your time and helps with the dreaded rush hour traffic.

They are building housing,mainly condos and apts, along the light rail routes. People are gravitating to those big time!
 

Matoaka

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I don't think the social democracies of Europe are responsible for the happiest communities. People in Europe are not too happy now and the Scandinavian countries have always had the highest suicide rates in the world. The countries that are usually thought of as being happy I guess are Spain, Portugal, Italy and maybe France.
Well, you're right... a wild night in Paris with a Spanish matador certainly sounds more appealing to me than a dip in a Norwegian Fjord.

But Forbes and CBS both did interesting reports on the subject of national happiness, based on economic and social factors. And the winner is... drum roll... Denmark! Also in the top ten were Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Canada. (The US did not make the top 10 in any of the studies.) I don't know the political persuasion of all of them.... but go figure, they're just small, happy countries! (Costa Rica also has a bunch of happy people, according to ABC.)

I dunno. Maybe we can learn a few things from our world neighbors... :shrug:
 

jim_p

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We have recently expanded light rail here in Denver and it has been very well received, people are using it. You do sill have to drive to it in most cases but it still saves gas and frees up your time and helps with the dreaded rush hour traffic.

They are building housing,mainly condos and apts, along the light rail routes. People are gravitating to those big time!
When we were looking to buy a house one of our requirements were that it be within walking distance of public transit (subway, trolley, or commuter rail, but not bus lines). I noticed something interesting about the commuter rail stops as you get out of the city: the stops that were built a long time ago tended to be in the town centers where there was plenty of housing within walking distance. The newer stops built out on the outer 'burbs tended to be located on the outskirts of town where they could build GIGANTIC parking lots. Most likely this is because the older stations were built before "car-culture" and so they HAD to be where the people are... and at the same time there was a sizeable population in the town center. The newer stations are in spread-out suburbs that don't necessarily have town centers, so they need to make a station that people can drive to and park at.

We ended up with a house in the former type of town; both the house and the shop are within three blocks of the train station.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
The trend these days is to build transit-oriented communities. Less than half a mile from my store, they've torn down the old horse-racing track, and they will be building a new residential-retail-commercial development with proximity to Caltrain as an essential element.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Paul that sounds great. Around here the shopping malls that are going up are little communities. You basically have to drive from one shop cluster to the next. Really stupid in my eyes as you pretty much just keep getting in and out of your car and are constantly parking it in a new location near the next store you want to shop in. I saw my first one outside of Burlington VT and hated the concept, and was glad Maine wasn't that dumb. Now we've got them here...
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
They are building them that way now Bob because less and less people are going to enclosed malls.

That trend has been going for a few years now.


I'm not saying one way is better than the other, but the local mall here is 1 mile around inside. Then you may park 1/8 to 1/4 mile from the nearest door.

You can't just drop in pick up your one needed item and gone. Going to that mall is like an event.

As Americans get older and fatter, they like to park close to the door and not walk too far.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Meanwhile Jerry many malls are opening there doors early for people to stroll around inside. Many older people, and younger ones, are using the mall hall ways as a form of exercise where they can walk miles inside.Great around here for winter exercise :)

You know I am not a paranoid person, but when I drove into the mall village that went up near here I noticed three things, 1 there was only one entrance/exit, 2 the road ways could only handle one lane of traffic each direction, 3 there was no where to shove snow.

So if there were a "dirty bomb" (it was 2003ish) every panicking shopper would have to flee out the only entrance, getting bottled up in the mini rotaries and snow bank crowded 90 degree corners. And also the crazy XMas shoppers would be squeezed by snow banks into one way roads with no clear demarcation as to who had the right of way because the one car wide roads are actually for two directions of traffic.

I don't like the idea, plan layout for New England. We get snow, we got pickups with snow plows. I do like the old malls as once you are inside you aren't dealing with weather conditions between you and your car. These new setups are like the old strip malls that the big malls replaced.
 

Petengeth

True Grumbler
People are starting to realise that the suicide question has more to do with sunlight and lack of, than social democracy. After all most of Europe is social democratic but the wide variance in suicide rates are mostly related to latitude.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm a little torn about the new development near my store. I think it's going to suck all the retail energy away from my current location, and will probably necessitate that I move somewhere. Ideally, I might move to the new development, but because of the recession they haven't begun any construction. It seems increasingly unlikely that they will be ready in a year and a half from now, when my current lease expires. I'll probably end up moving to a different town entirely, although a more affluent one.
 

Paul N

In Corner
I think you make some good points but I don't think the social democracies of Europe are responsible for the happiest communities. People in Europe are not too happy now and the Scandinavian countries have always had the highest suicide rates in the world. The countries that are usually thought of as being happy I guess are Spain, Portugal, Italy and maybe France. The culture in these countries is what is responsible for happiness. Politics has nothing to with it.
I doubt they're committing suicide because of what you think the cause might be.

Look at those countries again and you will notice a common factor: The ones in northern Europe have high suicide rates and the ones in southern Europe have lower rates.. It has long been established that it is due to the amount of sun (or lack thereof) that influences that kind of behavior.

I don't think there is one Norwegian for example, who would go and kill himself because they enjoy a high standard of living, has a high salary, great educational system and health coverage!

I bet you that people in Alaska have higher suicide rates than say, Florida!
 

evartpat

PFG, Picture Framing God
Hey!! Here in Seattle we have the dubious honor of being the suicide capital of the country! At least we used to be! Why do you think grunge music started here?? :p

It's the lack of sun...believe me! That also is the cause of the massive coffee consumption in this part of the country...the lack of good ol' vitamin D.
 

PicturedFramer

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I'm a little torn about the new development near my store. I think it's going to suck all the retail energy away from my current location, and will probably necessitate that I move somewhere. Ideally, I might move to the new development, but because of the recession they haven't begun any construction. It seems increasingly unlikely that they will be ready in a year and a half from now, when my current lease expires. I'll probably end up moving to a different town entirely, although a more affluent one.
Paul
what could be more affluent than sf? I know what you mean about new development taking the life out of the area you are now in. I guess you are lucky so far that the construction hasn't impacted your neighborhood. I'm thinking the same thing (about moving) but my lease is over in 2 and half years. that means 2 more rent hikes for me. who knows what the economy will be like then. who would have thought we would be in the fix we are in now? In the mean time what are you doing to plan the move to a more affluent place? Is it that easy to pull up roots?
PF
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
PF, I'm in a suburb of San Francisco. It's solidly middle class, with a good share of higher income folks, but the culture is just not right. These people squeal like stuck pigs at spending any money.
 

Pframe

Grumbler
Whatserface

Now that whatserface is no longer guvner, I expect suicide rates to decrease.
Last summer I took a wonderful vacation with my wife(Grandma got the kids for 2 weeks!) up to Alaska. This took place before Palin was thrust into the VP role. It was strange, wherever you went, the locals made a point to mention how happy they were with their governor. I used to travel nationally and never heard anyone talk about their Governor except when they did something illegal or immoral. If the Alaskians were killing themselves, it was definately not because of Sarah Palin, they loved the job she was doing! I just question why she was picked to run for the White House in the first place. I guess it was because her constituants were so happy with her performance.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Guys, we have enough vitriol flying in this thread, do we really need to bring in Sara Palin? What's next, Joe the Plumber references??

#### liberals.
 

Pframe

Grumbler
Guys, we have enough vitriol flying in this thread, do we really need to bring in Sara Palin? What's next, Joe the Plumber references??

#### liberals.
You're right! I'm just happy that I can spread my wealth(or lack of it) around to everyone else!

I just got an email response from a customer who asked for an online estimate for framing a Jersey. I explained the variables, and put an estimate of $200 on up, with the average around $300(U.V. glass, suede mat, ect.). He just responded to me that I was outrageously priced and that he just bought a frame at Michaels for $27.00! I bet his jersey looks really good! Sorry to stray, but I am in a state of disbelief and you guys are the only people within earshot.....:shrug:
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
As you know I am no fan of hers, but we got enough on our plate in this thread that to rehash her....

$27 Jersey frame! Gotta love it. Ask if he'll send you pictures of the finished job. Oh wait, maybe Framar already did with her needlework thread ;)
 

cjframes

True Grumbler
I doubt they're committing suicide because of what you think the cause might be.

Look at those countries again and you will notice a common factor: The ones in northern Europe have high suicide rates and the ones in southern Europe have lower rates.. It has long been established that it is due to the amount of sun (or lack thereof) that influences that kind of behavior.

I don't think there is one Norwegian for example, who would go and kill himself because they enjoy a high standard of living, has a high salary, great educational system and health coverage!

I bet you that people in Alaska have higher suicide rates than say, Florida!
The original poster stated that Europeans were happier because of their political system. I mentioned the suicide rates in certain parts of Europe as an example of why a political system has nothing to do with personal happiness. There are many other factors involved. I think Americans in general are happy people but of course no one is jumping for joy right now here or in Europe.

Regarding suicide, it's true that light is one factor but not the only one. In the USA for example non-Hispanic Caucasians are nearly 2.5 times more likely to kill themselves than are African Americans or Hispanics. I got this from Wikipedia but there is a footnote that supports this information.
 
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