BARBWIRE BOB – 1-5-23

We begin a new year.  What does God and Mother Nature have in store for us in 2023?  They both had a pretty good time during 2022.

BY BOB SWEENEY

Looking forward I’m somewhat optimistic, I don’t think that we will have a recession.  I  have lived through several of them and during those times there was an acute shortage of money.  Everything was cheap including gold,  silver, and real estate, but very few people had the money to take advantage of the bargains at the time.  Cash was “King,”  and banks were tight on loans; times became tough for businesses. My experience was in a small town,  but if times are tough in rural America, big cities suffer even more. Rural folks stick together closer and take care of each other.

My parents lived and worked through the “Great Depression” of the 1930s and the damage lingered forward into World War ll.  That ended the depression and started a patriotic movement to support the war effort.  As most readers know, I was raised on a very rural cattle ranch.  My parents survived the depression and saved everything for the next rainy day.  We had an attic of saved clothing,  a root cellar of summer vegetables canned in Ball jars, tons of potatoes grown and stored in wooden bins,  fresh meat stored in canvas bags and put out at night to cool and placed in the cellar during the day.

I remember my parents telling about my Uncle Frank who was also a rancher.  He raised some hogs during the depression and shipped them to Denver and the sale proceeds didn’t even pay the railroad freight bill.

There may be portions of the United States where economies may falter, but the West is booming.  Denver is almost recession proof.

We’re the second largest Federal employee outlet in America with Buckley Air Base,  the Lakewood Federal Center, and a raft of government agencies.  That is a good solid payroll.  

We have the best ski and snow boarding facilities in America.  The mountain towns are recession proof. Along with outdoor sports Denver has every professional sport franchise in existence.  We  are on the circuit for top entertainers and Broadway traveling shows.

We have operating oil and gas fields, major wheat and corn fields with crops in high demand with the war in Ukraine.  Soybeans have climbed over $15 a bushel in recent days and wheat $8 a bushel.  Cattle prices are high and even with the astounding prices at the grocery stores, beef is in demand.  Major restaurants are selling those New York strips and filets steaks at record prices.

A recession in 2023, I don’t think so.  There may be an excess of retail stores, how many outlets do we need?  Amazon seems to have lost some appeal and their stock has plunged over 50 percent.  We  always urge our readership to shop locally.  Don’t order from the catalogs in Dallas and Chicago, hit the malls or your nearest locally owned  outlet. Can’t afford new? Goodwill Industries has a full inventory of almost everything and supporting them provides jobs to underprivileged workers.  Goodwill is one of the best non-profits in existence, along with the Salvation Army.  

Service industries are strong, work at home has created more home improvements.   

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates on loans and this is raising interest on saving’s accounts.  Bonds, and some savings accounts are topping 4 percent. Interest rates on home loans are somewhere between 5, to 7 percent, depending on credit scores. 

Sad if you missed the lower interest rates below 2 percent.  Makes a huge difference in a 30-year loan payoff.  The historic low interest rates created a boom in the housing markets.

President Biden just signed a 1.7 trillion spending budget with over $800 billion going to our military and national defense.  Some of this money will flow to major defense contractors here in Colorado.

It is ironic that the Fed is attempting to reduce inflation while the President has just injected this huge amount of money into the economy. We just keep on printing money and the debt keeps rising. 

I’m no economist, but I’ve lived through tough times and good times, and we aren’t anywhere close to bad times.  There are jobs galore and they are paying more than anytime in history. Minimum wages are rising to new levels with signs in many store windows seeking employees.

The cost of  housing and rent are very high and rising interest rates hurt homeowners, especially on new and old floating loans.  Utility rates are  rising as oil creeps back towards $100 a barrel.

Yes, 2023 will be an interesting and challenging year. Let’s hope that China sees the folly in Russia attacking Ukraine and backs away from any war with Taiwan.  

Let’s  hope that we can protect our borders.  The new challenge is to take care of those folks who have fled to America for many reasons. But, enough is enough. 

Let’s pray that the war in Ukraine will end soon.

And, let science put an end to COVID-19 for good.

2023 has promise.  Remember that the sun always comes up tomorrow, and when a door slams a window opens. 

Let’s enjoy our friends and neighbors more in 2023.

Happy New Year from The Villager in our 41st year.