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the euro’s falling, the euro’s falling!!!!

I have been watching the currency exchange rate like an obsessive investor watches the stock market since the moment I got here ($1.47 to 1 Euro).

At this very moment the exchange rate is 1.24 for 1 Euro (yesterday at the same time it was 1.25 USD to 1 Euro).    That’s a pretty huge decline.  Look at this way: if I had bought  a E200,000 house with cash when I got here it would have cost me  $294,000.   Today, the same purchase would only cost $248,000.

Some predict the exchange rate could go even lower (like crash).   Which is great for me but not so hot for the EU.

It presents a quandry.   Do I buy a ton of Euros now or hold out because they could go lower?   If it bottoms out, I could be kicking myself for buying a ton of them at $1.24.  On the other hand, the dollar could also crash any day now right along with it, so this could be the optimum time.

What it boils down to is a gamble.    Or a semi educated guess.  I have to decide who I think will be financially stupider and bet on the other.

Will I throw in my lot with the EU or the US?

Up until now, I‘ve been straddling the fence—buying euros when I need them.   I think overall it’s averaged out to a not too terrible exchange rate over the past 12 months (given that the rate was fluctuating between $1.51/E1 and $1.24/E1).

But the current state of things may require definitive action.   A commitment executed swiftly and unequivocally.   Unfortunately, the more I read, the more difficult it becomes.   I have imminent faith in both sets of governments’ability to act stupidly and decimate their economies.  They’ve been doing a fabulous job so far.

Complicating matters, I just read an article that said that when economies break down, sometimes the best currency is cigarettes for bribing officials.   Maybe I should be exchanging my dollars for cigarettes.

I wonder how corrupt officials feel about pastry.

change you can believe in

You’re looking at approximately $23 worth of change in Euros (16 Euros).   By tomorrow, it should be worth more against the dollar.

With my 16 Euros I can buy a roast chicken, loaf of bread, cheese, coffee and still have money left over for dessert.

In San Francisco, a roast chicken and bread salad at Zuni Cafe costs $49.00 (and isn’t nearly as tasty as the $7.00 roast chicken from the rotisserie truck here.

Why am I telling you this?   Because I’m pissed off.   I’m pissed off because I can’t afford to exchange all my hard-earned, increasingly worthless US dollars into Euros at the moment because of poor money management, not on my part (and believe me, I’m no financial genius), but on the part of the US government.   The government that I just paid tens of thousands of dollars to on April 15th… or else.

Thanks to their poor management and favoritism to the very rich (I’m talking to you Geithner, Bernake et al), I spent the past year slaving away 24/7 to earn money, much of which is now being spent on wars, bank bail outs, interest rates to China and corporate tax breaks.

Sure, the French will tell you their taxes are high, but it seems they’re getting some value for their money.   Their healthcare system is rated number one in the world, so they don’t live in fear of being bankrupted by illness.   Their roads are well maintained so they don’t blow out their tires on a simple drive to the grocery store (and get taxed when they’re forced to buy new tires).   They don’t work inhuman hours for an ever decreasing wage.   Public servants, teachers and people who actually produce things aren’t treated as second class citizens to be bilked by the rich and powerful.

So where’s the change (aside from the pittance in my hand), President Obama?  I understand that Bush got us into this mess, but from where I’m sitting, which is thankfully far away, things are only getting worse for the working class.

Ironically, the only way I can live the American dream these days is to be in France, where while I still can’t afford to buy a home, at least I can afford a chicken.

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