Saturday, March 29, 2008

Do More With Less! Pay More; Get Less!

"And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore? Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task." In other words "Do More With Less! Pay More; Get Less!

I started with this story from the Bible (Exodus 5:6-19) to illustrate our current state of affairs concerning two words that begin with the letter "E;" Expectations and Economy. Expectation because like in the biblical story above, and in this economy, we are expected to do more with less. We are expected to pay more and receive less. While Accounting was not one of my better subjects, I do know a little about the balance sheet and neither of these adages of do more with less or pay more and get less make sense. As a critical thinker, MORE and LESS are polarities......opposites. The sad reality is, in this economy we are paying a lot more and receiving a lot less. Have you done the math on the amount of gas you receive for the same amount of money you handed the attendant last week? How about the reduced services or product quality you received lately for an additional amount of money? Something has got to give. Everything with the exception of the paycheck/salary can't keep increasing at this rate without the bottom falling out. This is already being seen in many markets; housing; banking; utilities; auto, etc. etc. etc.

At some point, U.S. businesses and economists are going to have to figure out a way to significantly roll back prices across EVERY industry simultaneously if the largest class, which is the middle class, is going to survive. Of course this would mean less profits for the companies and less bonuses for the chief executives, so the likelihood of this voluntarily happening is slim to none. However, things are reaching a point where it won't have to be voluntary; it will be forced as a result of very few people having enough money to pay for anything. A devalued dollar will only go so far. As a critical thinker, stand back and watch the ripples. See how everything is connected and how what impacts one directly impacts us all indirectly. Note the number of job losses because products are not being purchased therefore doing away with the need for production (ripple). The more job losses, the more people without money (ripple). The more people without money, the less money spent (ripple) and the vicious circle continues on and on and on.

I was watching my local Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) a few weeks ago and the commentator made the comment that the United States is on it's way to becoming the "richest third world country" on the planet. Based on what I am seeing and hearing, I couldn't agree more. Reread the biblical story at the top of this blog and see if you'll agree. Give it some critical thought and then write your elected officials to do something about it.

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