Today at noon, a police officer will come to my office and arrest me and take me away. I haven’t been bad. I’ve been good. The purpose of this little escapade is to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Association and the good they do for children and families suffering with this disease. I will be held at the Wellhead Restaurant and Brewpub until I can raise enough money in donations to “bail” myself out. If you would like to help, call me on my cell at 575-308-1087 and pledge your support. I appreciate those who have already given and those who will. It’s a worthwhile cause and organization, and I feel honored to be asked to help.
The French historian and writer Alexis de Tocqueville is famously quoted as saying “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” I believe that is true. Our nation has always had it’s faults, but I am not of the opinion that our country has been an imperialistic, greed-driven, war-mongering, bully on the world’s stage. America has been the world’s largest benefactor for over a century now, and we continue to send billions around the world in public aid and private charity aid to those in need. Our penchant for protecting the weak from the strong and aggressive is well documented. I am proud of my country and I feel like I am continuing in a great American tradition of philanthropy when I give my time and money to causes like Jerry’s Kids.
Let me revisit de Tocqueville’s quote once more and say that it feels a little like maybe America is not so good anymore. I’m not saying that America is rotten or fetid, but it feels like we may have reached the tipping point in many areas that matter. Private giving is down and has been declining for decades. Coincidentally, the amount of public “giving” in the form of entitlements and social programs has been increasing for decades. Does one beget the other? I possess no hard evidence the two are related, but my gut tells me they are. De Tocqueville also said “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” That statement qualifies as eerily prophetic in my book. We are there.
Real Estate markets have been, and are being affected by this shifting paradigm in the American story . The collapse of Fannie and Freddie and subsequent mortgage and housing crises were in large part, caused by the government’ meddling in private markets and artificially inflating the housing bubble. The nasty thing about bubbles is they burst. Now middle America, then engine that drives our economy and way of life, is harshly squeezed in the area of housing. That’s just one of the many areas where we are squeezed. Nobody in public office will say we should raise taxes on the middle class – to do so would be political suicide. But the middle class gets squeezed nonetheless in myriad end-arounds by local and state governments. Is it any wonder that we find it hard to give to charities anymore?
One more from de Tocqueville: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” Here is where I put my hope for the future of our country. We are a nation who historically has taken a hard look at herself in the mirror and has made the necessary changes, has done the hard work. It’s time for us to do that again and fundamentally change the way we conduct our internal business. I believe we can do this. I hope we have the courage. I believe in who we are.
Thanks for reading.
All Real Estate. All The Time.