Thursday, September 29, 2016

Of Cow Flop, Hillary, Me, My Dad, and Mister Smith

This article is, I think, essentially correct. It does have it's short comings. It ignores the ineptitude, greed, and fraud of the investment bankers, realty companies, and yes, realtors. It ignores the gullibility of average people who were fooled by the lie that real estate values could just keep on rising. It also ignores the fact that Bill was President, not Hillary. Still, it is mostly correct.

Sorry Hillary, tax cuts did not cause the financial collapse

I posted on this very subject here at the Possum Ranch. I did not go into the why's of how this situation came to pass as this article does. That was not the point of my post. Yes, hearing Hillary blowing cow flop did anger me. It angered me for many reasons. Mostly because she knows she is lying. She is playing the blame game to get elected. Because that is all she cares about obviously. One thing Hillary is not is stupid. No one who actually cares about this country, America, should make that mistake. But, first and foremost, I wanted to share a story that talked about my life. I wanted to talk about what it was like to enter the work force with a college degree, as I did, back in 1990. About how I went about making the American dream come to pass. By working a second job to save money for a house. By living frugally, by not spending beyond my means, by paying cash for everything, and by investing through hard work. If I didn’t have the money for it, I didn’t buy it. Period. In fact, buying the house was the first loan I had ever taken, it was the first thing I ever purchased that I did not pay cash for. It would be many years before I ever took out my first car loan or bought anything on credit.

And I did work hard for everything I had. When we bought our first house I was working a salaried job. That means a standard 48 hour work week, which often really meant 70 hours a week, with no over time. I received the same pay regardless of how many hours I worked. As I always said, I had free unlimited over time. My commute consumed a minimum of 10 hours every week if I was lucky. That is two hours a day, every day, if the traffic gods cooperated.

We did buy a fixer upper opportunity. The selling price on our first house was $49,900. It was a rental home and it was in rugged shape. I remodeled the house. It was a process that literally took years. I tore out a kitchen wall, enclosed part of the carport, built a new utility room, tore out and replaced all the kitchen cabinets, installed new cabinets in the utility room, removed all the carpet, and refinished the underlying hardwood floors. I repainted the entire house inside and out. By the way, I never bought a single cabinet at Lowes or Home Depot. I built every single cabinet I installed, mostly recycling the older cabinets because I couldn’t afford to buy the materials. In fact, I recycled nearly every single piece of wood I tore out for that very same reason. Early on we were still living at the condo. Saturdays would find me at the new house before sunrise where I would work until nearly midnight, only to turn around Sunday morning to do it again. I remember the only items in the house would be hand me down tools, building materials, and a Black and Decker coffee pot. I would make a full 12 cup pot at least twice a day. I think I lived off coffee.

In this respect I am very much like my father. I have lived my life, mostly unconsciously, by his model. I even spent nearly 25 years working in the same place he spent the last 18 working years of his life. My parents grew up through the great depression and came to adulthood through that crucible known as World War II. They knew poverty, desperation, and adversity intimately. My Mom would tell us from time to time how they lived for months on end eating little more than biscuits and streak o’ lean. How a good Christmas was getting an orange in their stocking. My Dad would tell stories of growing up in a small South Georgia town. About the first family in town, the rich family, to get indoor plumbing. About washing up on a cold winter morning standing behind the coal stove in the kitchen using a basin of water warmed on that same stove and a wash cloth. As I grow older, as I continue to build my life towards retirement, I am becoming more and more aware of these things. I become more and more appreciative. I begin to understand.

As I sit here in this house, which is paid for by the way, I have come to know and understand none of this would have come to be without my Mom and Dad, yes, but mostly because of Dad. If this is my white privilege then I will take it both proudly and with as much humility as I can muster. The degree of separation between me and the Great Depression is nothing more than my parents.

However, if I am going to be honest I will have to acknowledge as great a man as my Father was, he would not have achieved what he did except for a man I know only as Mister Smith. Mister Smith created a business that would become famous for something which now seems simple and common place. A lawn mower. A Snapper lawn mower in fact. I never met Mister Smith, but I have heard a lot about him and I have seen firsthand what he built. Dad was a very smart and hardworking man, and he did leave his mark. Snapper would not have been the same without my Dad. Yet, for all his brilliance, Snapper would probably have been just as successful without him. Snapper needed Dad, yes, but Dad needed Snapper more. He needed the opportunity to use his brilliance and to achieve that success. Could he have created this on his own? Maybe, yes, but probably not. Dad needed Mister Smith and all who have ever benefitted from my Father owe Mister Smith a debt of gratitude for that opportunity.

People like Hillary honestly don’t have a clue. She talks about her father, about how he worked for his family, and made opportunity for them. Doesn’t she realize if he were to open his shop today, if Mister Smith were to set about creating Snapper today, they would have to face huge obstacles? Obstacles that probably would make what they achieved impossible. Regulations, taxes, volumes of tax codes, and to call it what it is, bullshit. Doesn’t she understand we needed Mister Smith for a hell of a lot more than the taxes he paid? What is so hard to understand about how an environment that encourages or drives jobs to go to other countries would not also prevent people like Mister Smith from creating jobs here?  When you ask Trump about how do you create jobs here that is what he talks about. He understands that is exactly what we must talk about. Hillary? Her response is to talk about a BS label democrats tried to take down Ronald Reagan with, attempt to tie her candidacy to lingering anti G W Bush sentiment through blatant falsehoods, and to completely ignore the incredibly negative unforeseen impacts of her own husband’s and other democrats’ actions.

This is where the real meat of the debate lies, everything else is pure distraction. Hillary and the rest of the politicians, including every Bush who has ever been or ever might be President, has and will fail to put our economy where it needs to be because they do not understand it and because all they really want to do is get elected. Haven’t the Clintons and others like them cashed in enough yet?

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