Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 30 September 2008 16:03
I was wandering the streets of Hillsboro last week when I noticed a sign in the window of Paula Hayen’s pottery shop saying she was closed to care for a sick goat.
There’s no problem with that. There’s perks to being a CEO in the pottery industry, and Paula was only exercising one of them, taking care of a sick goat.
Potters do get different perks than investment bankers—no thousand-dollar booze luncheons, sexually suggestive secretaries, yachts and all the other things my mind can suggest.
No, potters seem to content themselves with artsy, cutesy, earthy things like goats, sheep, kittens and dogs. You see, Paula isn’t the first potter I have ever come across.
It’s paying for potters’ perks that I really resent. Just one day off, and nationwide, I suppose the price of pottery shot up for all of us.
But then, how can a potter resist it when a goat goes “baaa,” and looks at her with those funny little slit-pupiled eyes.
It’s no more than a congressman or a president can resist when an investment banker looks at her, and goes “baaa” with those funny little slit-pupiled eyes.
Oh, did I forget to say that I’m still wandering around out here, outside my box? I’m still delighting that in my last tirade I successfully kicked Howard Collett’s box, and he came out to write a wonderful response.
Apparently I kicked Almus Gantz’s box, too, because he wrote in to say my ideas about wind energy might not work in Marion County because the real high-wind corridors in Kansas are west of here. Almus must live south of the county commission room.
Anyway, I’m back out here picking on goats and stuff. Our editor, Don Ratzlaff, allows his more unusual specimens long leashes, doesn’t he?
And, mulling things over, I’m not sure how much money we should give Paula for her goat-nursing mess.
Andy Kraus told me he’s already read where he and I each may already owe $10 each for the congressmen and their investment-banker nursing mess.
They already took Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac in for therapy injections, and now they’re talking $700 billion for the rest of those perks and mismanagement we’re paying into. Why, they’re talking a trillion dollars even without Goatie Poudre.
They’re hoping that all over the world, folks like the Japanese and the Chinese are lining up to buy uncertain bonds so they can get $10 each from folks like Andy and me—wouldn’t you suppose they’re going to want that $10 every year?
What if Andy and I can no longer pay? The citizens of China may refuse to let our steroids into the Olympics.
Now I know that Andy and I are just kids, but we do have memories of many things. Are you old enough to remember the 1980s, or have a living relative who can tell you about them?
We had double-digit inflation, and the main street bankers, not those nasty investment bankers, tightened up credit so much that many people could hardly get loans for anything.
Some retirees who had money enjoyed it because they could get double-digit interest returns on bank CDs without going to the stock market for higher returns.
The price of farm land in many areas I knew of dropped in half. A farmer who had been smart or lucky enough to keep debt-free large resources smiled a lot when he told me how he had bought a neighbor’s pasture the neighbor paid $525 an acre for at a price of $250 an acre.
I was on the sites where two farmer suicides were involved as a result of this devaluation, but I don’t want to say more about this because it might make me crawl back into my box.
I remember the farmer who sold his entire place for roughly $500,000 at retirement. He made the mistake of putting it all in the same small-town bank. which then promptly went under, as did many banks during that period.
Of course, his account was only FDIC insured for $100,000. He spent two days driving round and round the bank building in his pickup, spooking the entire town, until his family finally came to get him.
I hang around farmers a lot, but there were similar sufferings throughout the economy. A farmer is only one stripe of small businessman, dealing with tillage instead of pillage.
You know, Andy and I lived through this, and maybe even Paula did although she’s probably younger than us old goats.
The situation washed out, some things and some good people were lost here and there, but just as surely as the tide comes in and out, the prosperity rolled back in another day.
We seem to live in a country where the natural free-enterprise economy will swing with the punches if we let it be.
So, after a time, the hardships of the 1980s were over, nearly forgotten by many people.
If we let this investment banker to-do go, there’s some folks going to be lost, and some things going to suffer.
But I believe there’s some folks going to suffer and some things going to be lost if the government feeds its goats the way it wants. I know Andy and I won’t like losing our 10 bucks, let alone all our does.
Letting the government take care of the situation may take longer than letting the economy take care of the situation.
And, aren’t we trying to be independent of foreign energy, and by extended implication, foreign control of all kinds? Is it any coincidence that we already refrain from frequent criticisms of the repressive regime in China while feeling free to despise the equally repressive regime in Cuba?
What sort of hold do the Chinese have on the United States already? How much worse will that hold get as they continue to buy us one crisis at a time?
Isn’t living through your problems, and letting the erosions of clear thought and time take care of them better than selling your soul? I think they call that real life, and whoever “they” are are usually pretty smart.
If not, then allow me to put some words in the mouths of Andy, Paula and me. We’ll take care of Goatie Poudre while the rest of you stay in your boxes with the Wall Street bankers. OK?