Monday, October 19, 2009

Our County

From my guest blogger and wife, LuAnn Winkle.
"Our county unemployment rate is 16.3% (Ohio Labor Market Information, Sept 2009) which is over 50% higher than the national average. We are the second highest in the state and Ohio is among the worst in the nation. That figure alone is devastating.

Another recent study (Ohio Assoc of Community Action Organizations) stated that over 67% of the kids in our county's schools are RECEIVING free lunches. And that does not count those who are eligible to receive them but choose not to. This statistic is very telling. People do not want their kids to go hungry. This is probably the one social program that shows some real level of honesty in terms of need.

Out of control social programming contributed to our economic problems and out of control social spending is not going to solve them. The waste and abuse in Workers Compensation, Unemployment, Medicaid, SS Disability, Food Stamps, Subsidized Housing and Transportation, FEMA, etc., helped to create a situation whereby it was cheaper to send our jobs overseas.
When you have 50 % of the population not paying taxes and 35 % of the population receiving some type of public assistance from the list above and you lose your manufacturing base and your economy is based solely on service industries and people cannot afford the services, or are too afraid to spend on anything more than necessities, there will never be the kind of recovery that we have had in past recessions.

"They", and I am actually at a loss to define who "they" are, (media, politicians, social reformers, Hollywood types, political commentators, whoever) have us afraid of losing our jobs, afraid of losing our health care and afraid of losing our homes. With all the economic engineering going on in DC to "fix those problems" we have another whole segment of the population who is afraid of losing their freedoms.

When you have a nation functioning in fear and basing its hopes for recovery on a serviced based economy, a full recovery seems remote.

Without sounding overly pessimistic, it is bad here and I don't see an immediate end despite what DC wants us to believe. Just because the stock market is above 10,000 does not mean that we are turning around. What I see there is those who can afford the risk are making huge amounts of money driving the market up to another inflated level that does not reflect the true economic picture. Many, many folks are making millions on this market while the folks who just want to get back the losses from their 401K will never see it.

I bought a tiny amount of three stocks in March. The cumulative gain on those three stocks is over 189%! If I had much larger amounts of money to risk ( a million dollars to a multi millionaire is nothing to risk) I would be making money hand over fist like those folks are. This market is building wealth and creating wealth. And these folks will get out before the inflation hits and makes their gains worthless. The common folks will see the gain in their 401 K disappear when inflation hits.

Consider this, the market bottomed out at 6500 last spring after an all time high of about 14,000 a year ago right before the crash....a 54% drop. Since bottoming out, it has risen to a high last week of over 10,000....a 54% gain from its lowest point. Is there anyone out there who believes that our economy, with continued unemployment gains, continuing foreclosure gains, only modest increases in housing starts and less than 1% improvement in production output, has improved to the extent that should justify a 54% gain in the Dow Jones since last March?

Getting off my soap box, I believe the best way to help our fellow citizens who are less fortunate is to contribute to food banks locally. We have had three tractor trailers full of food brought in to our county from charities out of state and the lines to receive that 65 tons of food stretched for blocks. People need help to hang on. Also, clean out that closet and take it to a free store.

While I fully support the work of the Salvation Army stores and Goodwill, some folks cannot even afford that right now. Donate those extra blankets, linens and small appliances. Donate that extra fridge or stove. Donate gas cards to folks who need help with transportation to job interviews or social services or medical appointments. Those are concrete things that can really make a difference."

Can you believe this? Somehow we are making it day by day. I do all I can but want to help more. As an American Farmer and I am doing a lot.

Our people need all the hope we can provide. You wouldn't believe what neighbors and family and soup kitchens are providing! I have never seen anything like it in my life but mom and dad always said watch out for it.

We are trimming down and giving things away. I need love and hope, not a big fancy house full of stuff I don't need.

The old dishwasher died, it was a good one. Laid it out by the road, it was gone in 24 hours.

These are exciting but tribulous times!

Ed Winkle


  1. Amen! Enjoy reading your blogs, love to hear about your practices in the field, great source of information about farming.(and life) Have a safe and bountiful harvest.

  2. Thank you Nebraska! It is hard to get new comments here because people don't understand Google. It is a great tool for me but I know enough to be real dangerous!

    You can profit from me in farming by getting the proper soil test and by pulling leaf tissue samples to see how it worked.

    You pull the soil samples, pay for the right recommendations, apply the nutrients, there are 17 known and recognized then tweak and tune, tweak and tune.

    So far we have a safe and bountiful harvest if we can get it to the marketplace at a profit!

    I think we can.

    We are blessed and I hope you are too! That guest blogger is one smart woman!