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A Trillion Reasons to Vote . . .
By George Schmok, Publisher

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Welcome to LASN's October ASLA Show issue and LC/DBM's October GIE/Hardscape North America Show issue. Yes, it's that time again when all of the water buffalos come to the many watering holes across the nation and all of the Grand Poobahs (ask Fred Flintstone) swing their gavel to welcome in the newly elected officers and cabinets and say thanks to those leaving the role of association official.

Annual conventions and trade shows are great for every profession. They are places where all of the newest products are showcased and all of the lessons learned from the previous year are brought to the table for discussion. This fall, LASN and LC/DBM will be at the Texas Nursery and Landscape Expo, the Landscape Expo-Sacramento, The NRPA Show, the Landscape Expo-Long Beach, The GIE+ EXPO/HardscapeNA, the ASLA Annual Meeting and the Irrigation Association's annual convention. Next year in January and February, we will be exhibiting at FenceTech, The World of Concrete, The IECA show, and ConEXPO. Throw in LightFair, and that makes an even dozen trade shows attended by the magazines.

Hopefully, you will be at one of those and we'll get the opportunity to say "Hi" and shake hands. And since we're talking about conventions and elections, and though I haven't published a political position for the past several years, there is an element in this election year that strikes me as ironic . . .

This industry is so in tune with nature and such a benefit to mankind, but a large percentage of your work is done for the millionaires and billionaires out there who are investing in buildings, homes and businesses. Work done for this segment is all done from funds that are based on either earned profits or anticipated profits.

At the same time, a great deal of your work is also federally funded. But this work is done for a client that is increasingly going in debt. In 2016 about one of every five dollars spent by the federal gov't was borrowed, averaging more than a trillion a year over the past eight years . . .

With nearly $20 Trillion in debt (that's trillion with a 'T'), our country is at a crossroad. We are lucky that the interest rates are so low. The US is paying about $250 Billion a year in interest payments alone. That's at about a 1.5% interest rate. If the interest rates go up to just 4% we'll be paying nearly a trillion in interest . . . Per year!

To pay off the principal, not counting interest, every US citizen (regardless of race, gender, age or affiliation) owes more than $60,000 . . . Each and every one of us . . .

One candidate keeps saying the other candidate is catering to the millionaires and billionaires, but then promotes policies that keep adding to the national debt. That's the policy that really benefits the ultra rich who have the ability to lend that kind of money and are thus making $250+ billion a year in interest from you and me.

To me, it seems irresponsible to be taking work from that client. I mean, who would take a job from a private client who started off the conversation by saying, "I am up to my eyeballs in debt, but don't worry . . . I'll be able to pay you . . . In fact, I'll just take your money and use that" . . .

Even with all that debt, as a country we still need so much work rebuilding our infrastructure it has to make you wonder. Almost everywhere we travel (see above), especially in the bigger cities, the roads, bridges, parks, airports and inner cities are falling apart. We need to fix them, but we have to do it smart and under budget. And we can't just keep borrowing money!

The United States of America should not be borrowing a dime from anybody. Period. For that to happen though, something has to change and going third world is not an option!

So . . . Vote how you will, but please consider whether you are voting for or against your clients and please consider who is going to be paying the bill . . .

Hope to see you at one of the shows . . . And in the voting booth . . . May the best . . . Well . . . You know . . .

God Bless.

George Schmok, Publisher

As seen in LASN & LC/DBM magazines, October 2016.

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October 17, 2019, 6:22 am PDT

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