Pondering the Future



Rick Moore is a plumber who comes by every so often to solve one of our water-related problems. He is also an earmest observer of the contemporary politcal and economic environment. He brought his grown-up son with him on yesterday’s visit, and it was the son – Josh – who climbed on the roof and deftly handled the electrically powered snake. Rick supervised from the ground below, and we had a chance to share ideas on conditions in these United States.

It’s always interesting to discuss politics and economics with Rick. He is as far to the right in his views as I am to the left. but we always have a civil discussion because we both back up our ideas with facts and logic, and keep our emotions under wraps.

Yesterday, he was troubled by the movement to raise the federal minimum wage and by the crusade to get fast food workers $15 an hour. I opined that raising the minimum wage is the only way the feds have of increasing revenue these days because Congress won’t hear of any new taxes. By raising the minimujm wage, the government nudges incomes higher across the board – and everybody’s income tax goes up.

Rick conceded the practicality of such a move but he deplored the effect it would have on tradesmen like himself. He would have to pay Josh and his other employees more, and up would go such ancillary expenses as workers’ comp and social security.

I pointed out that Rick’s competitors would be in the same boat. They would all have to absorb the higher cost of doing business. Yes. he said, and they would all end up charging customers like me more as a result.

We also discussed the likelihood of another economic disaster. Some top econmists – and former Senator Ron Paul – are predicting a catastrophic collapse. The stock market is supposedly on the brink of a 50-percent plunge. Rick blames the situation on the Federal Reserve. By flooding the world with US paper money, they set us up for a day of reckoning, he warned. I couldn’t logically dispute that argument, and I wondered how much longer the US would be able to maintain its position as the world’s reserve currency, and what would happen if it loses that privilege.

Rick figures that buying silver is the only safe investment today. Gold has had its day, and even real estate is dicey, he cautioned.

We also talked about programs designed to help minorities. My position is that in the long term, society as a whole will benefit when more minorities become better educated and more productive. Rick counters by noting that he has yet to see this happening after more than half a century of such programs.

That’s the kind of conversation Rick and I have. That’s the kind of conversation I have with Joe Watkins (another dyed-in-the-wool conservative) , who comes by once a month to spray for bugs.

Meanhwile, on television, the pundits are obsessed with the latest oafish remark by Donald Trump or Jeb Bush’s latest gaffe, or the contents of Hillary Clinton’s personal emails, or Rick Santorum’s failure to get included in Thursday night’s main debate on Fox News, or…

You think they should invite Rick and Joe – and me – to debate the issues on CNN or MSNBC? (I would definitely say no to Fox.)

Click for one of the doomsday prophecies.