There Goes the Neighborhood


It has been several months since I read a book. The men’s bookclub selection this month was a novel titled “The Gold Coast” by Nelson DeMille. At first I thought this a five hundred page story, it will take me a month to finish. Well, it took one week. This is the kind of story that can’t be put down. I found myself actually shutting off the TV in favor of becoming engrossed. I always set a bed time, but on several evenings I stayed up way past the scheduled time. This is not a new book(1990), but I had never heard of it before. The setting is Long Island, New York in a place where the really, really rich lived and played called the Gold Coast. It is often compared to the Greta Gatsby era when the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Astors, Rockerfellers, and J.P. Morgan lived opulent lives which cannot be duplicated except by maybe some Saudi Princes.

The story of how these people lived in their fifty room mansions on their two hundred acre estates fascinated me. Even the gate houses and guest houses were mansions. Today, if I pass by a  very pricey sub-division and see a gate house it is usually the size of a phone booth and not a mansion. The driveways from the gate house to the mansion were usually  tree lined winding country lanes that took a few minutes to drive.

I found DeMille’s characters depicting the stodgy, snooty, Gatsby era citizens very believable and real. Not that I have a lot of experience with these sorts of characters, but I fraternized enough with the upper echelons of some huge  Corporations to be able to know who was real and who was not. Having never had more money than I needed to survive I did find it hard to imagine people so wealthy that they could afford to keep not one but several houses of this magnitude.

Author DeMille cleverly crafted a plot that depicts a neighborhood that is slowly evolving into something less than it once was. Developers are the only ones who can afford to buy the large tracts and often a single estate is split into many smaller ten acre lots. In this story one of the estates is spared by a new guy moving in. As we often say when that happens, “there goes the neighborhood.” In this story, the guy who spoils the neighborhood is a Mafia don from New York who is known to everyone in the Gold Coast via newspaper accounts of  his purported crimes.

If you like a good story this is one I recommend. This story would make a really good movie.

Creating Jobs

Today I listened to BO give a talk in Michigan. He was cheered by a crowd of people whom I suspect were out of work. BO ranted and raved sounding alot like the Reverend Wright. He preached about George Bush’s failure to create jobs. He promised the people of Michigan that he would create jobs for them. Well folks, he’s blowing smoke out his skinny ass. He can no more make jobs than this computer I’m banging on. Oops, I forgot that he can make jobs. He can hire people to work for the government as “Community Organizers.” He can also create a bunch of work administering all the new social programs that his administration plans on instituting. None of these jobs will bring in a single dollar of value to the organization, but they will cost the organization a ton of money.

As BO’s wealth redistribution program dries up the rich, most real jobs will be lost. BO will replace them with organizer positions. Eventually, everyone will be an organizer. Where will the organization get money to pay for us? There will be no real value generated because the “organizers,” won’t have any initiative to work. None of the organizers  will be generating goods and services that could make our lives better. What will happen to all the sales people, medical personnel, engineers, computer programmers, etc? We will not have an incentive to work because we will be so busy organizing each other. We’ll spend our energy trying  to squeeze more benefit from the organization, there will be no money to pay us, but we won’t need pay because organizers working for the organization will be taken care of. If we want something, we’ll just go stand in line and wait for it. If we chose to want a better life, we’ll have to chose to live in another country. We will be too busy trying to squeeze more juice out of the lemon, but the lemon is dry.

The plain and simple fact is people and companies become wealthy by working hard and using their brains for the better good. We need the rich. Without them there is no real economy. The rich are the ones who take chances and invest their money at great risk. Their goal is to make life better with their products and services. The more tax they pay, the less money they have to invest. It is their investment that creates jobs, not BO or any other politician. Contrary to BO’s falacious doctrine, it is the free enterprise system that makes the world go around.

Many countries have adopted socialism as a philosophy. Among them  CUBA, the fomer USSR, and North Korea. Ask their citizens how they like it. Have you ever seen videos of CUBA? Watch for their cars, nearly all of them are nineteen fifties vintage. Why?