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July 27th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #189: High wire days

Reporter's Note: President Obama launches into a new week with his party in some disarray over the issue of health care reform. My desk is somewhat messy right now, too. So as he tends to his affairs, I’ll tend to mine, and continue with my letter each and every single day to the Leader of the Free World.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I know you’ve been worried about the economy ever since you took the desk in the roundish room, but let me tell you that lately I’ve been doing my part to help. Holy stimulus, Batman, have we been spending money! I think it mainly has a lot to do with the ages of our daughters, our cars, and our home.

We are not particularly big spenders by nature. We have always saved a good bit, paid off our credit cards each month, set aside money for retirement, that sort of thing. Of course, I’ll drop money on a good slice of cherry pie with ice cream faster than Lance Armstrong on a downhill; that’s practically religious duty. But every now and then the money faucet gets opened and it’s harder to turn off than Biden with a microphone.

The latest hits: a torn power steering hose on our ten-year old SUV, an air-conditioning repair in our 18-year old Mazda, glasses for the younger daughter, a college visiting trip for the older one, trim replacement and painting for the house, some electrical repairs, a computer update/refurbishment, and new clothes for back to school. It adds up.

Don’t get me wrong: We are certainly grateful to have a good income and the ability to pay for such things. But whenever one of these fiscal firestorms rips through we find ourselves thinking about how easily people can slip down the economic ladder. That’s what I think scares folks. Unless you are almost Warren-Buffet-wealthy, the trip from good times to bad can be awfully short.

Back in the 1980’s, Americans were saving more than 12 percent of their income. Can you imagine? One of the good things about the recession is that people have started saving again, but only about four or five percent, so it’s not like they’ve got a great cushion to fall into if this recovery does not work.

Anyway, give me a call if you want to chat this over some more. It’s just something I wanted to mention, because I think you should keep it in mind. There are plenty of people who may want to support your plans, but they are scared…and they’re working without a net.

Regards,

Tom

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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