Byler Congress

Ken Byler

Do you ever feel like there just are not enough elections?

It seems like I’ve been asked to vote for something or somebody all year. Is it my imagination or have presidential campaigns become a permanent uninterrupted fixture?

Thankfully, the last one is over, and now the populace can get a brief respite before the country slides into the chaos that the two major-party presidential candidates predicted would come if the other candidate won. I can relax for a while. My vote won’t be needed to save America again until November 2020.

Career politicians need the NAACP, chambers of commerce, the United Auto Workers, teachers’ unions, the Service Employees International Union, the Bar Association, American Manufacturers Association, George Soros or the Koch brothers to fund their campaigns.

What they don’t need are folks like me – until Election Day.

I’m not a member of a minority. I’m not a retired teacher, union member or government employee. No politician is pandering to the demographic strata that cover me.

I have too much money to get food stamps but not enough to shop at Whole Foods. I’m wearing Walmart shirts and Goodwill shoes.

I’m a retired independent business owner living on Social Security and money put in IRA’s and savings accounts that paid no interest.

I count myself lucky to have lived most of my life in a different version of America. It was when families were the foundation of society and everyone knew who their daddy was.

The 1980s were the last decade when one hourly wage earner could support a family of four by working 40 hours a week for $8.25 an hour. A salary of $500 a week was management-level pay.

Americans were living in the land of plenty, and more was on the way.

There’s an old story that goes that here in Texas, folks exhibiting the first signs of insanity were put on a Greyhound bus and sent to Louisiana … or to Congress. Now it appears way too many were sent to Congress who should’ve been sent to Louisiana.

It looks as though a little insanity is a requirement to be a government economist. How else can it be explained that when 1.3 million unemployed folks quit looking for a job, it lowered the unemployment rate?

A little insanity is necessary to believe that increasing the money supply to cover government debt is not the root of inflation. A little insanity is necessary to not understand that inflation has robbed the Millennial and X generations. 

Inflation isn’t a complex theory. Folks just need to remember the “tea kettle” story of economics once taught in public school. The tea kettle story was that a tea kettle factory that could produce only four tea kettles represented all the goods and services that could be bought and a $100 represented all the money that could be spend on goods and services.

Obviously, tea kettles would cost $25 each. Then one day another $20 is added to the money supply. Now there’s $120 in circulation, but four tea kettles are still all the goods and services that can be bought. The price of tea kettles will rise 25 percent and cost $30 each.

That’s inflation! 

Now comes the “global economy.” With cheaper labor overseas, 10 tea kettles can be produced at the same costs of four being produced in America. Ten tea kettles can be put on the market for that same $120.

Tea kettles are now $12 apiece, but the money has to be sent to China. The result is not only have the tea kettle-maker jobs been shipped to China, America owes the Chinese a bunch of money.

The perception of the economy for a lot folks is if you spend your money at Walmart, it’ll wind up in China. If you spend it on gas, Arabs will get it. If you buy appliances, TVs or computers, India, Malaysia and China will get the money. If you spend it on fruits and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

If you buy an efficient car, the money will go to Japan or Korea.

My advice is to keep the money at home by spending it at yard sales, sporting events, tattoo parlors, tanning salons and on pizza and beer at Hooters. These are just about the only businesses left that aren’t part of the global economy.

Maybe it’s time to switch places with some of those sent to Congress with those sent to Louisiana.

Ken Byler is a longtime Allen resident and Star Local Media contributor

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