Participation by attendees, a number that continues to grow since Joan and I first began attending Mike’s breakfasts beginning in June, is vibrant. The attendees are not bashful and are not afraid to ask tough questions, questions that always bring flavor to the meetings.
But occasionally, adjustments are made when unforeseen issues pop up when a planned program unravels. Such was the case at the Oct. 2 meeting. We arrived at the appointed time only to learn that neither our host nor scheduled speaker would be in attendance.
Mike’s absence was due to scheduled medical procedures. Janet Munda, director of the Cherokee County Elections office, our scheduled speaker, had fallen and was undergoing medical treatment for a broken shoulder. But Mike, not one to leave his fellow breakfasters stranded, had contacted George McClure, a regular attendee, and asked him to conduct the meeting in his absence and then brief the attendees on the ups and downs and ins and outs of the housing market and how that industry, a major component of the local, state and national economy, fits into the county economy.
Mr. McClure was well prepared, for such short notice, and provided the breakfast attendees with little known, and even lesser understood details and statistics of how the housing industry fits into and affects the country’s overall economy, details few of us not involved in the housing industry would ever consider or think about.
It was a most interesting presentation and it triggered numerous questions, including one about the effects of politics and regulations on the industry and economy. He explained that the industry giants are in the process of taking over the industry, having the money and knowledge to weather the ups and downs of an ever-changing industry.
He further explained that the days of someone building a house on speculation is basically over, at least for now. His explanation led to questions about several local housing projects that have been making the local news recently.
And of course, with a discussion on the economy, questions were asked dealing with Congress and how Obamacare is affecting the decisions of corporate leaders.
McClure, a major player in the housing industry for many years, explained that a major materials supplier, as a direct result of Obamacare, recently laid off thousands of part-time workers and then rehired some of them — but limiting their weekly employment to 24 hours per week.
He explained how the banks are adjusting their leading policies to cover the changing industry and how, when the industry is slow, it affects support stores, like furniture stores who close their doors when people are not buying houses when the economy and Washington is so uncertain.
This meeting caused me to reflect on the ups and downs of the economy during my lifetime. I lived through the Great Depression and saw the adverse effects it had on my parents; the World War II economy where everything was rationed, no ration stamps — no meat, gas, tires, etc; how the Marshall Plan was used to stave off starvation to the victims of World War II; how Stalin’s communist policies starved millions of his people, with America coming to their aid; how the recession, following the Korean War, affected me finding a job after graduation; how Jimmy Carter’s economy caused interest rates to skyrocket (We paid 11.5 percent with a 50 percent down payment on our Druid Hills home in 1979), and today, we see the policies of the current administration leading America in the same direction that created runaway inflation by the Carter Administration.
And with questions relating to this administration’s growing coziness with the Muslim Brotherhood prevalent, I reread Will Durant’s history of how Islam began, the impact the Koran has on its followers, and the policies that drive the Muslim Brotherhood, policies that all Americans should understand.
I recommend everyone who wants to see history being replayed to read Durant’s book, “The Age of Faith” and its chapter on Islam. It’s well worth your time if you want to better understand the Muslim Brotherhood goals for “infidels”— us Americans.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.