Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I’ve been trying to figure out why our budgeted $250 a month for basic living expenses (not including rent), we just seem to be just making it, thanks to eating lots of buckwheat and macaroni.

The price of everything has gone up.

For instance, eggs which use to cost 40 to 50 drams each now cost as much as 70 drams each.

I also noticed that there are places that were known last year as having relatively low prices, to now be charging almost twice as much as places such as Pedak.

What really gets me is that the dollar is now worth 480 drams to a dollar, compared to 580 dram last year at this time, a drop of 100 for each dollar. The justification is that the dram is now stronger.

If the Dram is stronger, then it has more buying power, meaning that most of the goods we purchase in the market, which are imported, should cost less, not more. Why have they not dropped in price then? Gasoline and natural gas should also cost less, but it too has not dropped and in fact natural gas is suppose to go up after the new year.

So why has there been no drop? Because the reality is that the Dram is no stronger than it was before and it’s clearly a case of the financial institutions taking advantage of the majority of the population who survive for the most part from money sent to them from the outside in dollars.

Here is one more. If you withdraw money from an ATM and your account is in dollars, they now give you money in dram calculating using the banks exchange rate, which is always lower than what you would get from exchange office.

Here is another one that gets me and forgive me for venting, but the way that our “government” measures poverty and what is needed in a minimal food basket each month. The thing that bothers me about their calculating the minimal food basket is that they INTENTIONALLY use the 1996 consumer price index for their calculations. Well I’m sorry to tell you, but the price of goods in 1996 and 2004 have changed quite a bit.

And since I’m talking about minimal food basket, let me talk about what is in this basket. From what I understand, the daily calorie intake is figured at 2,100, which compared to Poland, is something like 600 calories less than Poland’s.

I’m not sure how this makes you feel, but I feel really bad about this situation, since I know that it’s all about us having a bad government. Oh did I make you laugh when I used the word “government”? Yes, I agree they are a joke, but not one to laugh about. The way I see it is that what we have is not a government, but a bunch of criminals that forced their way into office and have only one goal and that is to get as rich as they can, without ever considering all the suffering they are inflicting on our people.

I look forward to the day that LTP, Robert Kocharian and all those that conspired with them are put on trial. And when the Armenian legal system fails (because you know it will), the real justice system provides us with the justice we need.

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