Watching events around the world, I love our United States more than ever.
At elections (before the Virus plagues) I used to have Democrats and Republicans over to my house. I set up this plate of sour pickles and American flags. The flags were for all of us, and we watched election returns, the losers got a sour pickle, but all of us got a flag. Sadly the first time we did it, a Republican won and I had to eat the sour pickle, but we all laughed and moved forward as "Citizens" in love and "Americans First". Instead of fighting, we laughed and showed brotherhood as citizens.
Our nation and our world has divided a lot in the last few years.
Consider how many billions of dollars the USA is spending on efforts to help support Ukraine to fight off Russia. And that "blitz" that the vaunted Russian Army expected, a 3 day take over of Ukraine, went to 7 days, and 10 days and now what 3 weeks, and the Russians still can't control those people fighting for their homeland, Ukraine. And if Russia takes the nation, they will still have a deeply divided nation, and peace will be hard to achieve, so many people have died needlessly...those deaths are never forgotten and often never forgiven.
God bless them and we pray especially for those suffering terrible cruelty there.
But consider us my friend. I have read various reports on how much aid we in the USA are sending, from $30 Billion worth of oil, to billions of supplies, ammo, weapons, (which are becoming harder and harder to get into Ukraine). And consider other expenses you and I are helping pay for. These are not to be blamed upon any one person or group, they are a reflection of economics, the cycles, the wars, the weather, the world right now. Wars cause a bleeding of economic budgets and hardship as they suck of lives and fortunes.
- Interest rates higher in the USA....rates and the cost of money is going up.
- Price of fuel high and higher in the USA...From $3.25 per gallon, to $3.60, then 3.90, now $4.20 and in California some gasoline pump prices or $7 and heading to $8 per gallon.
- Price of food in America, higher and was already high. We tracked it at 110%, then 140% and in spot areas food prices have almost doubled in your grocery store...and still rising. My wife and I go to the grocery store two times a week and watch as the clerks work almost full time just raising and remarking prices.
- Farmers working hard to survive and feed America. They raise our cattle, grains and vegetables, told us a year ago that they were producing and growing plenty, but the food chain and distributors were manipulating the system and charging consumers higher prices. The government and press slapped the hands of the corporate greed clans of America, but now food prices are going up because think...Ukraine, and Russia, two of the bread baskets of the world, are both focused upon war...it is impacting the global food supply. So, farmers in many places are still struggling with tiny profit margins, plus higher prices for equipment, fuel, bank loan interest.
- Autos and Equipment at record high prices: Our Appraisal firm has appraised a number of Auto Dealerships. Consider this, the chip shortage caused delays and shut downs and new cars to sell. Now that new Chevy or Ford pick up truck (I just priced one), was just quoted to me at $87,000. (Up from the high $40's or low $50's). We simply decided to wait another year, and considering fuel prices, think we will go for a Tesla electric pick up truck. These prices are simply hard to believe.
- Remote education: Our daughter in College will soon have her college degree, and of her 4 year college experience, she has spent 75% of the time working by computer remotely from home. Sadly she has never really known the college experience my generation and most Americans enjoyed before this time of American history.
- It is said that 70% of American workers now prefer to work from home. All of those office buildings and skyscrapers, are struggling to find ways to get people to get up, dress up, drive to pay for parking downtown, work for 7 or 8 hours and then drive in traffic back home. Especially the younger generation, they seem happy to leave the daily traffic jam to go to the office forever, they can get it done in their casual wear, and multi screen desk computers.
- Then we have the malcontents. Statistics tell us that about 25% of Americans refuse to get free vaccinations to protect them against the Viruses, and will demonstrate and "fight" for their rights not to get shots that science tells us may help save lives...and help infecting other people next to them. I have no idea how to fight ignorance and stubborn behavior. My great grandfather died of the Spanish Flu in 1918 (somewhat similar to Corona V of today). I take it personal, because we know how he suffered. We see the hospital statistics 95% of hospital deaths for the virus, are of people who never were vaccinated or didn't take simple precautions such as wearing a mask or avoiding close contact in crowds. Gee. As a kid I had asthma and even then my doctor suggested I avoid crowded rooms and cover my face and mouth when people were coughing and sneezing. I almost died of Pneumonia and have had weak lungs for a lifetime...but I believe in common sense and our Medical Doctors advice. You should too!
Well, I am a commercial real estate appraiser (and we do environmental inspections and reports as well) and in my work, I am out, circulating every day, all over several states, but I am careful, wash and protect vigorously.
CRAZY DRIVERS USING CARS AS WEAPONS
But there is another trend, a dangerous trend...we saw reports of it in the New York Times. More and more drivers seem angry, or eager to "cut people off" or express hostility with their cars as weapons. It is a national problem. Reports indicate a higher than ever "anger wrecks" on our roads. I drive all over 3 states, and have found I have to be more focused than ever...there are a lot of frustrated and angry people on our highways. Just ask any policeman, their job is more demanding, more dangerous, and almost every town reports they have a shortage of law enforcement officers.
Just a few thoughts about Russia. Their banks if open, do not have enough cash to service consumer and business needs. The Ruble is such that $10 US dollars will buy 1200 Russian Rubles. ATM machines are either lined up or out of cash there.
Putin had put aside over 650 billion dollars worth of treasure, about 20% in gold, and a big percentage in Chinese Yuan, and French currency. I imagine he will end up spending billions to support his invasion of Ukraine and pay for all of those tanks, trucks and airplanes they have lost while trying to take over Ukraine. And then suppose they establish military control. They will be fighting an insurgency for years, while they start repairing infrastructure, water, sewer, electric systems their bombs have destroyed and the agricultural treasure that Ukraine has provided the world for years, will be vastly reduced. Just try to guess how much of Russia's treasure and that treasure of it's wealthiest millionaire/billionaire buddies of Putin in Russia, will be lost forever. In the grand scheme of things, the costs to the USA will be tiny compared to the costs to Russia. And ongoing, Russia will have to run to China for foreign aid, which will please the Chinese, but probably give the USA less influence in Asia and Europe. Or...perhaps all of this will force NATO to reinvent itself. Perhaps the Chinese will be able to control Putin and his cronies.
In times of stress, times of conflict, times of war, times of upheaval, lasting changes often result. This is when we need the best minds of America. It is when we need need Americans of positive ideas, education, science, depth and wisdom to come to the fore and help us restructure our society and make who and what we are, and what we do as Americans better.
Not divided political clicks. Not Democrats or Republicans. Not right wing or left wing. Not polarization via the dozens of armed and radical groups that seem to have popped up like weeds after a rain.
We need deep, smart, devoted, experienced Americans to step up and rebuild our society and culture with wisdom, spiced with integrity and devotion to the dream of America that has made us a world. We need leaders who can inspire us. Perhaps you have good ideas of leadership! We seem to have lost that in the last few decades because we have elected people that rule by division, greed, and finding ways to enrich certain clicks (just like Putin has done in Russia).
Tell you what. If you have something to contribute to rebuild our nation...(not a political party) let me know your ideas. I will publish and support you. Readership of this letter varies with the subject, but we have hit a range of 5,000 to 750,000, we don't charge, or advertise, we simply try to report ideas and support good people.
Lets work to rebuilt ideas and good positive directions for our nation. We can do that and make a good living our blessed nation.
Ben B. Boothe, Sr.