Rubio Takes Puerto Rico Primary

Almost absent from the news flow today is the fact that Rubio took Puerto Rico in a landslide. FOX news has it in a ribbon at the bottom of the coverage of Nancy Reagan passing.

Rubio:  74.7 %
Trump:  13.4 %
Cruz:    8.7 %
Kasich also ran... about 1.4 % IIRC

I’m mostly posting this just so that anyone not watching FOX 24 x 7 might come to actually know there was another primary today, that it was in Puerto Rico (who can’t vote in the Presidential Election, not being a State, but can vote in the Primary, as that’s party rules), and that Marco Rubio got it in a landslide.

This matters mostly due to Florida.

In the last couple of years, many Puerto Rican’s, especially the younger working age, have left for the mainland.

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2014/08/11/puerto-rican-population-declines-on-island-grows-on-u-s-mainland/

The departures of island-born Puerto Ricans have contributed to an uptick in the number of island-born Puerto Ricans living stateside, to 1.4 million in 2012, up from 1.3 million in 2000. The island born, however, are a smaller group than the faster-growing mainland-born Puerto Ricans, who numbered 3.4 million in 2012, up from 2 million in 2000.

As the island population has dwindled and the mainland population has grown, the number of stateside Puerto Ricans reached a record 4.9 million in 2012, and since at least 2006 has exceeded the number of Puerto Ricans on the island (3.5 million in 2012). Meanwhile, the overall population in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, including both Hispanics and non-Hispanics, declined to 3.6 million in 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/21/investing/puerto-rico-foreclosure-crisis/index.html

Few want to buy with the island in crisis mode. More than 1 in 10 people can’t find jobs and the government is deep in debt. Since Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, many are simply packing up and moving to Florida, Texas and other states.

The island has lost over 10% of its population — roughly 440,000 people — in the past decade.
The exodus appears to be accelerating since the island defaulted for the first time ever in August.

“People are literally leaving their homes empty with the keys in the house,” says retiree Maria Milagros Rodriquez. They let the bank deal with it.

Many of those Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida making a vibrant community there. ( I found I really liked Puerto Rican food when living in Florida…)

Marco wants to win Florida. With such a big win in Puerto Rico, and add in the Cubano population, he’s got a large voting block in his camp. With this news, they will be more inclined to “make a statement” and vote Rubio.

(I suspect that Cruz is not so popular due to being born in Canada, having a strange quasi-Texas accent, and having at best mediocre Spanish. What I’ve heard of his Spanish sounds mighty Gringo to my ears… while Rubio is clear and auténtico.)

In short, this “amps up” the possibility of a Rubio win in Florida and it takes him out of the ‘zero wins’ box.

Puerto Rico also has 20 delegates, so it’s a non-trivial win.

This short article gives some background on the vote:

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2016/03/06/puerto-rico-economic-crisis-on-voters-minds-as-head-to-polls-for-republican/

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) – A deep economic crisis was on the minds of many voters in Sunday’s Republican primary in the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico.

Residents of the island cannot vote in the general election in November but they can take part in the party primaries. Voters in the GOP contest said in interviews that they want a U.S. president who will help the island emerge from a decade of recession and a debt crisis that threatens basic government services.

“We need a radical change,” 53-year-old Richard Suarez said as he waited to cast a ballot for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Guaynabo, a city in the San Juan metropolitan area. “Otherwise, we’ll be stuck in the same situation and will have to keep asking the U.S. government for favors.”

Raul Octaviano, a 65-year-old retiree, declined to say which candidate he favored, but said it would be someone who would help the island deal with economic conditions so grim that tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland, mostly to Florida, in the largest exodus in decades.

As of now, the labor participation rate in Puerto Rico is 40%, while fully 20% of them work for the government. Yup, 1/5 the working labor force is employed by the government… That, plus other issues, are what has them in a death spiral. Can’t support 100% of the people on 32% in actual production and 8% dead weight government (and 60% a mix of retired government, other retired, welfare, etc. etc.)

http://www.businessinsider.com/puerto-rico-economic-crisis-explained-2013-10?op=1

is from 2013, but things have only gotten worse since then…

Rob Wile

Oct. 29, 2013, 11:04 AM

Puerto Rico is in serious trouble.

The economy has been in and out of recession, and at 13.5%, its unemployment rate is painfully high.

Last week, The Economist compared the island’s economic crisis to the situation to Greece as the country undergoes further rounds of austerity.
[…]
4) How did everything go so wrong?

The Puerto Rican economy has been in and out of recession since 2006, when an earlier fiscal crunch caused San Juan to shut down (yup, they’re an American territory alright). That was also the same year federal tax breaks for an experiment designed to pump up the island’s manufacturing sector expired.

But the island has never been terribly competitive. The island’s labor force participation hovers around 40%, and the public sector accounts for 20% of all employment.

The Great Recession did not help matters. Three Puerto Rican banks went under as the world’s travelers couldn’t afford to vacation to the island nation.

Everything came to a head this summer as unemployment hit a 2-year high and an index measuring Puerto Rican economic activity shrank 5.4% in August, the biggest drop since 2010, Bloomberg’s Michelle Kaske says.

That helped send bond yields spiking to record highs, triggering the current crisis.

I expect Sanders to do well in Puerto Rico as well…

In Conclusion

Not much to add, really. Rubio won, and it is a win that matters as it sets up for a Florida improvement.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful place with some great folks, in a financial mess due to borrowing way more than they can ever repay. Now compounded by lack of production and the best and most productive moving off the island.

But perhaps all is not doom and gloom. I hope to visit Puerto Rico soon (a year?) and maybe even find a way to make some money out of it. Seems that they have passed a few laws to make it attractive as a ‘tax haven’ of sorts:

http://movetopr.com/why_puerto_rico.htm

On January 17, 2012 the Puerto Rico government enacted Act #20 Export Services Act and Act #22 Individual Investors Act.

To enjoy the benefits granted under these Acts, you will need to apply for and obtain a tax decree under the applicable Act, and enter into a tax relief and investment contract which will be signed by the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico. MOVETOPR assists clients with the tax decree application process and with other relocation needs and requirements.

The Export Services Act # 20, as amended on July 11 of 2012 includes the following incentives:
• 4% maximum corporate tax rate
• 100% tax exemption on dividends from export services businesses (for residents of Puerto Rico)
• 60% exemption from municipal license taxes
• Decree duration of 20 years, guaranteeing the benefits
• Individuals and corporations who “reside” in Puerto Rico are not subject to any US Federal taxation.

Act #22 to Promote the Relocation of Individual Investors provides that when an individual moves to Puerto Rico and becomes a “resident individual investor” (RII), this individual may enjoy significant tax advantages. The individual must be a Puerto Rico resident and must not have been a resident of Puerto Rico during the 15 years prior to January 17, 2012.

Any gain for investment appreciation that was accrued prior to becoming a RII will be taxed at: a) 10% if such gain is recognized within 10 years after the individual became a RII. b) 5% if the gains are recognized after the individual has been a RII for 10 years.

In addition, the law contemplates other tax benefits:
• No taxes on dividends
• No taxes on interest
• No taxes on short or long term capital gains
• As with the other laws, individuals and corporations who “reside” in Puerto Rico are not subject to any US Federal taxation.

Puerto Rico can be considered the only tax haven within the US jurisdiction. By taking full advantage of the current Puerto Rico tax law individuals and companies can reduce taxes, enjoy a Caribbean life style, and keep their US passport.

I’d only note that USA law says any US Citizen is still subject to US Federal Income Tax, so I’d be careful about “not subject to any US Federal taxation” and check it twice… I think it only applies to non-US Citizens.

So maybe living a while in Puerto Rico is in my future… While they are generally bi-lingual, so am I, and I’m very fond of the Caribbean style food. Housing is relatively cheap as is labor rates. With low costs, low taxes and good food and beaches, well, let’s just say I’m thinking about it…

Besides, now that the Son is married into a Puerto Rican linage, “I have family there”… even if only by marriage and a few generations back.

So “Go Rubio!”, and may Florida treat you well. And best of luck to Puerto Rico and the folks living there. IF the debt monster can be slain, and a bit of fiscal discipline followed for a while, it could be a great place.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Political Current Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Rubio Takes Puerto Rico Primary

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    Sounds like everything you need. So how come Puerto Rico is so broken. Is it too much socialism? If I remember my history correctly, Puerto Rico was once a very well to do place. Likely before Democratic Socialists took political control of governing the Island. What the government gives, the government can take away at any time…pg

  2. JP Miller says:

    I live in Florida and voted (absentee) for Rubio because I have no idea what to expect from Trump and Marco has sensible ideas, from my perspective. On the other hand, I know of at least 2 people who WERE going to vote Rubio until Romney and other Republican literati made such a stink about Trump. They swtiched and are going to vote (or have voted) for Trump. They truly hate the Republican elite, who they feel have failed them, from GWB onward. Nothing to do with Iraq; everything to do with spending too much money (GWB), and then failing to beat Obama TWICE with stupid nominees (McCain and Romney). Then, doing stupid things like trying to shut the government down over the most nonsensical issue (government debt ceiling). And now, essentially TELLING US that Trump — who has brought hundreds of thousands to the polling booth — “shouldn’t” be voted for.

    I agree with their views, I just couldn’t vote for Trump in the primary, but will gladly do do in the general. Actually, he might be god for America. Reagan was assailed for not knowing policy details, like Trump…. and didn’t… but, Trump is a quick study and will figure the policy stuff out. He would crush Hillary or Bernie or Uncle Joe….

  3. JP Miller says:

    Freudian slip…. “god” => “good” or, maybe, good God…

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    As I understand it, the major economic issues for P.R. were the implementation of federal minimum wage in a low cost area (nearby nonUS Islands then took the business), forced use of US Union shipping by US law (driving up costs of everything- Jone’s Act?), then high borrowing to keep the government goodies and pensions rolling after the productive centers faded. Repeat borrowing until the roughly $25,000 debt per person can’t be serviced, and crisis ensues on the first business downturn.

    Rather like Greece, actually…

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Trump an American god??!! Well he thinks he is a god anyway. LoL
    SURE JP, a Freudian slip or a stumble at the keyboard? ;-)

    I would rather anyone but Trump, he seems to be a right wing version of Obama in his concept of an imperial presidency. kind of like trading Lenin for Hitler. I think I would rather Cruze win as the other 2 just seem to be east coast liberal republicans to me. Not much different between them and McCain or Romney. Cruze appointed to the Supreme Court would be the best outcome for the long term benefit of the Republic.
    To me this depends on the whim of GOD as the electorate seems to be brainless fans that just vote their “gut” feeling. Those of us that consider long term ramifications are just blowing in the wind…pg

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; considering this comment from someone that lives there and has worked with other Americans as well as Puerto Ricians:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/puerto-rico-economic-crisis-explained-2013-10?pundits_only=0&get_all_comments=1&no_reply_filter=1#comment-526fe58569bedd0a038e42f9
    I would say that work ethics might have something to do with the problem of overloaded government dole and under productivity of the labor force…pg

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.:

    While I agree, it is also the case that greed and response to opportunity are universal human traits. Some of THE most productive folks are hispanic, just in a different context.

    When you are punished for hard work (often via taxes, but sometime just ridicule for not being “with the program”) the natural tendency is to stop. When you see lesser lights doing less and getting rewarded more, the tendency is to jump on the wagon. This drives things from participation in drug gangs to welfare queens to “cheritable foundations” by political candidates to Brazil and the Petrobras scandal.

    So in P.R. hard work gets federal minimum wage (70% of jobs) as does minimal effort work. So why work hard? Take that security guard position with nap facilities… US pay rate welfare and retirement pays very well, so hit the handout lines. Best paying is a do nothing government patronage “job”, so culture the right friends…

    Oddly, we see the mainland going the same way, just a decade or two back.

    Look at the size of the USA welfare state and retirement obligations. Look at the bloat of all levels of government. It’s the same thing, just less matured. Heck, I’ve even moved more toward the “leisure class” mind set and I’m a compulsive producer, even when not paid. Seriously considering just signing up fo Social Security early and climbing into the wagon with a “let someone else pull” and blowing off “contributing” to national productivity.

    Why?

    Liberal progressive policies coupled with the disdain of government that comes from watching the immoral win by “getting with the program”. You get tired of being the sucker after a while…

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    When I worked in a green house about 20 odd years ago when I was between full time jobs, I worked mostly with Hispanic workers. Probably 50% of them undocumented. Like in every other occupational group, you have your screw offs and the guys who try to catch a nap on work time, but some of the others were some of the hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

    Sometimes to the point of being comical as they tried to out work each other. Their cultural tendency to do the “macho” thing also resulted in some “mine is bigger than yours” contests as they would refuse help to put a sand filled potted cactus on the back of a truck by themselves.

    Unproductive work habits are not race driven but a cultural norm that slowly develops, when it does you no good to work hard. Like a cancer, it slowly invades the body of the work force and eventually kills it.

    As Benjamin Franklin said, poverty should be painful. If you make it too comfortable a lot of folks will just sit back and do the minimum necessary to sit on the porch and watch the world go by. Sorta like Berie Sanders who was 40 years old before he had a real paying job, and now wants to create the same soft welfare bed for everyone. If that sort of “everything is free” government continues to expand we will end up exactly like Russia and some European countries like France where much of the work force is terribly unproductive and saturated with life time workers who don’t care about anything except when quitting time is.

  9. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; Yes, at times it is irritating to be the productive one when others around you are slackers and do very well at it.
    It seems to me that those that were required to be productive from an early age remain in that mode all their lives. Those that are allowed to be children, catered to throughout their teens, seem to expect to be supported throughout their lives.
    Those that were compensated little in their early days, expect little, while those that were well rewarded for their early efforts demand to be well compensated for any later effort.
    Liberal Progressive philosophy seems to reinforce all the bad tendencies of human psychology.
    A “good” work ethic needs to be instilled at an early age along with wise financial management. Modern Progressives are against all these things, specially against “children” to be subjected to them.
    As I near 70 years, I am finding that after 60 years of carrying the load, it is at times nice to let younger stronger ones do some of the heavy lifting. ;-)
    Your effort to gather, examine and publish knowledge is greatly appreciated by me and others even if we can not provide much in the way of financial compensation.
    As to Social Security, I smile every time that money shows up as I never expected to see any of it when I was forced into Signing up and paying into it starting back in 1962. I guess some of the Ponzi scheme suckers actually do “win”
    But Retire. Never! If you retire, you die!. No fun there, just boredom. Defiantly need to find less strenuous things to do though ;-) …pg

  10. Graeme No.3 says:

    E.M.S.
    Rather surprisingly Rubio’s victory was mentioned prominently by ABC radio news. Given their bias I can only think this is due to their fear that Trump will become President.

    p.g.sharrow
    I am remote from your election cycle but we had a “prominent businessman” run an independent party at the last federal election, gaining 3 Senate seats and for himself a seat in the MHR (which lower house is more important here). It was a shambles. I tend to classify Trump as more like Mussolini, narcissistic and forever concerned with immediate problems with no appreciation of which is more important.

  11. Jeff says:

    Reminds me of the tune from West Side Story, with the current situation similar to what
    Anita says, and the “feel the Bern” point of view expressed by “others”… the whole
    song is rather interesting in light of the current *cough* migrations going on.

    Looking for an, erm, exciting election time here in Germany, too. The “Mad as hell” folks
    seem to be voting AfD, and the “establishment” can’t seem to understand why.
    I can think of 1.1 Million reasons, to start…

    AMERICA
    (source: http://www.westsidestory.com/site/level2/lyrics/america.html )
    ROSALIA
    Puerto Rico,
    You lovely island . . .
    Island of tropical breezes.
    Always the pineapples growing,
    Always the coffee blossoms blowing . . .

    ANITA
    Puerto Rico . . .
    You ugly island . . .
    Island of tropic diseases.
    Always the hurricanes blowing,
    Always the population growing . . .
    And the money owing,
    And the babies crying,
    And the bullets flying.
    I like the island Manhattan.
    Smoke on your pipe and put that in!

    OTHERS
    I like to be in America!
    O.K. by me in America!
    Ev’rything free in America
    For a small fee in America!

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    And in the WTF category:
    Talk about slipping hot button issues in to research to get funded.
    http://freebeacon.com/issues/feds-spent-412930-relationship-gender-glaciers/

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Larry, I have met women cold as ice. Does that count as Glacial?…;-)…pg

  14. Jeff says:

    @Larry Ledwick
    (Another song reference, sorry) Somehow the 70s hit “Cold As Ice” has new meaning, and perhaps a cause.

    The article mentions “Glaciers can shape ‘religious beliefs and cultural values’ “, which raises the question in my mind as to why the Feds funded it, if there’s indeed a “wall of separation between church and state”… Ahh, the irony. It’s almost as if the FedGov is totting up checkboxes to say, “gee, we’ve solved 2**n-1 problems”. Too bad none of those “problems” and the associated “studies” actually have any use.

    Your greenhouse experience is rather telling. Over here in Europe the “Spaßgesellschaft”
    (sort of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrw we die”) is getting to be downright scary in
    it’s Bern-out tendencies and entitlement mentality. Gotta wonder what happens when those
    of us paying the bills run out of money…

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Sorry that was supposed to have been posted in tips, but I was not paying attention, but yes that item is open for all sorts of humorous twists.

  16. gallopingcamel says:

    You said that Puerto Rico is:
    “………….in a financial mess due to borrowing way more than they can ever repay.”

    That should be a dire warning for the USA but the debt will soon be $20 trillion.

  17. p.g.sharrow says:

    Liberal Progressives always have a fall back position. When things get so bad they get kicked out, the conservative hard workers take over and fix things. Then these spend-o-crates jump up with promises of good times and another spending binge. Conservatives give you austerity and Liberals give you good times. works everytime. As long as there is something left to save…pg

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @G.C.:

    That’s about $55, 000 per person, or double the P.R. rate, but a bit under it per unit of real GDP… so we are likely nearing the same cliff edge…

  19. gallopingcamel says:

    @Chiefio,
    While Puerto Rico or Greece can be rescued, who is big enough to rescue a defaulting USA?

    Blood in the streets!

  20. JP Miller says:

    The US, because it has a sovereign currency, can print money to pay debts. Ideally, that causes some, but not too much, inflation, such that the savers don’t realize within any one generation they are being taken for a ride — that’s why the Fed targets 2%.

    Now, it could come to the U.S. needing more than 2% inflation to keep its debt load (and servicing costs) in bounds. 8%-10% for 5-8 years can have the same effect.

    Of course doing this, while keeping industrial productivity moving smartly forward will be the real trick.

  21. p.g.sharrow says:

    Well the talking heads are saying that Rubio backers are beginning to pressure him to bow out as they get behind Cruz. It appears that bump Trump and back Cruz is the only game left for them to play…pg

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Carly just endorsed Cruz. So the general move is certainly going in that direction. I agree if the remaining minor candidates dropped out, leaving only Cruz and Trump, Trump would no longer be the front runner his status as lead candidate is more a reflection of all the votes split up among too many candidates for anyone to get a majority.

    If Cruz were to announce Carly as his choice for VP it would also steal a beat on Trump and give them time to build a ticket identity. There are a lot of Democrats who I think will cross the aisle and vote for any viable candidate to avoid Hillary getting the oval office. They may have to hold their nose regarding some conservative ideas but a fair number of people hate Hillary as much as they hate Trump.

  23. p.g.sharrow says:

    It would appear to me that as much as half of Trumps votes are coming from cross-over Democrats, many of which will not be there during the general and there are many Republicans and Independents that can not stomach Trump and would vote for Hillary in a general. Hillary may well be indicted before the Democratic convention, so the Democrats could nominate ?? Sanders, Biden, ?? anyone!
    The Bushes may well move behind Cruz soon.
    More moving parts then a Tri-level chess game :-) …pg

  24. Graeme No.3 says:

    I am half a World away but we have much the same problem. A useless and surely unelectable, conniving, dishonest, back-stabbing socialist running neck and neck with a mirror image.
    We, the people will have to choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Voting is compulsory and the rules are being changed to make it difficult to vote for any other candidates. Partly because the ‘Major parties’ agreed to award themselves public money for any first preference votes received, and they want those millions to spend on advertising why we should trust them.

    There is a high level of dissatisfaction among the ordinary folk, 25% of whom voted away from the major parties, including for Palmer United Party. Palmer being a loud mouthed, self proclaimed billionaire businessman. He got a seat in the lower house, an unprecedented achievement for a new party and 3 Senate seats, 2 of whom rapidly deserted the Party. It is unlikely any of these will be re-elected, even Palmer if he isn’t declared bankrupt or in prison, but the minor Parties are likely to do even better this time.
    Whereas you have the Democrat leadership wanting? Hilary and the rank & file keen on Bernie, who has the advantage of promising to spend lots & lots of other people’s money, whereas the poor Republican establishment seem to have a choice between Trump, whom they fear, and Cruz, whom they hate. Their preferred Rubio hasn’t gained any worthwhile support, possibly because the establishment wants him.
    What of Kaysich? Why is he still running? When this started I noted that he got several mentions in the australian press, unusual for a minor figure early in the race. A dark horse coming up the outside at the Convention?

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    One thinks perhaps The Game on both sides of the puddle are the same… yet The People are having a bit of a go at “screw you all” as they have caught clue…

    Rubio was doing great, right up until Baby Bush #2 quit and The Establishment TPTB decided to “give him advice and back him”; at which point he promptly nosedived. There is No Doubt At All that they moved to endorse him as the “3rd alternate”, and it sure looks like they advised him to “attack Trump in kind”, thus turning the “Honorable but too Idealistic” Rubio who had a shot at it via the “I WANT an Idealist” movement into the “I’m bought and part of the system!” candidate.

    Then he moves to 4th place.

    Surprised? Not a bit.

    Dear TPTB: This is offered as heartfelt advice. I am able to set aside my personal desires and what would benefit me. (Yes, I can. It’s called morality and I’m deeply afflicted with it.) Really. Do realize that your “brand” is right now an entirely negative thing. We (the unwashed masses… one of which I count as ‘yours truly’ being born in a poor farm town and not having any connections to anyone of “merit” at all) have decided you are, to put it politely, basically “fucking idiots who are self centered assholes with no interest in anything other than grasping after power for your own gain and generally being self centered idiots.” (Aren’t you glad I was being polite about it?) Simply put, if you come anywhere near ANYONE and do ANYTHING to endorse, support, fund, or even buy coffee and a chat with them; We The People are going to flush them down the toilette so fast it would make your head spin if you had one. Clear?

    I was once at a “party” in San Francisco as the invited guest of a guy (fellow college student) with a few $Million of inherited money. It was “very interesting” to me on several fronts. One, I was a “kid from a hick farm town” so being able to see ‘the other side’ was interesting. Two, he was a functional idiot. Not dumb (he got into the U.C. system, so in the top 9% or so) but “inexperienced” in anything of merit. Three, the “attendees” were by and large folks to be avoided. Moneyed brats of the “entitled” class there to try to “see and be seen” and generally just having a miserable time posturing and flaunting and “working the system”. Interesting enough, at one moment in a back hallway, I heard one of The Moneyed Class telling her escort that she very much wanted to get the Hell Out Of There at the first opportunity so that she could go to a party with my kind of people somewhere else in San Francisco (where it was held…) The fraud and faux fawning was palpable in the place. I marvel that anyone from the “moneyed class” comes out of it sane.

    Sidebar on Steve Forbes: (Note that the link is to FaceBook that puts tracker software on your machine if you click it. So don’t. I wanted to link to forbes.com, but it nags me because I have ad-blocking on, so I’ll never have a link to Forbes.com as you will never get to anything of interest there if you run an ad blocker, that everyone ought to be running for security reasons. Back at the past…)

    So once, long long ago, I was a student at U.C. Davis. It was somewhere around 1972 or 3… and I was ground crew on a Hot Air Balloon. Malcom Forbes was an avid hot air balloonist, and he was at that particular event. I had “no clue” who he was, nor really cared. At the launch (that takes place at about 6 am as that is when convective wind is low) Steve was still sitting in the Pick Up Truck. Malcom, being terribly rich, had a very nice one.. I, being a geekly type, didn’t give a damn about his money or social position. BUT… this rather acne afflicted kid in the Pickup Truck was a ‘kindred soul’ in being a bit of an outcast. So I went over to invite him to participate.

    He declined my invitation. Despite my saying we were OK folks, and nobody would get in his grill over having issues (be it money, Dad, pimples that we all had, whatever). He was only interested in sitting in the Pickup Truck, alone, and I think listening to the radio.

    I’ve always felt guilty a bit about not talking him into getting to know the rest of us. We really would have been nice “kids to know” and nobody would have held either his money or his zits against him. We were all a bunch of zitted geeks in a bit of a meritocracy anyway. I’m just glad that he seems to have turned out well. I guess having a few $Billions dumped on your head and bagging a trophy wife can do wonders to overcome shyness from a bid complexion ;-)

    Later that morning we (the entire field of balloonists) gathered at the local Denny’s for breakfast. Toward the end, it was spread through the room that Malcom had picked up breakfast for everyone. Buying friends? Nope, not at all. Folks just liked him, and he was just another avid Balloonist when in the field. ( I think that is why he liked doing it. No pressures. No issues. Just him and a balloon and folks who accepted him.) Did it leave an impression? Yes, I guess so, I remembered it. But just as strongly I remember my balloon pilot telling us “Malcom Forbes just wants to be treated like anyone else.” so we did. ( It wasn’t hard. At the time I had no idea who he was or why it might mean anything). I’m just glad we could give him that space. Though I do wish Steve had “come out to play”… It would have helped him, I think.

    The Point?

    The folks with money and positions of power are in most ways just like the rest of us. Only a lot more isolated, lonely, and have no clue who can be trusted. Surrounded by sycophants and grafters, and generally isolated from what the rest of us would call “normal life” and normal life experiences. It makes it very hard for them to make rational, reality based, decisions.

    So in this election, I can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for TPTB. Isolated and rationally paranoid about the world around them. Everything they touch turning to shit, as We The Little People call them names and piss on them. Sympathy? No, not really. Just recognizing reality.

    I’m glad I’m not “one of them” spending most of my time trying to defend money, position, and power. I’m really glad I can just go to a party to have a good time (not “see and be seen”) and that if I get a bit sloppy drunk, only my wife will be in my grill the next day. Not the whole global paparazzi. In many ways, my only regret is that Steve stayed in the truck, instead of finding a few friends and enjoying a nice day in the sun. Oh well, his choice, his life. And he turned out OK, so maybe it doesn’t matter much.

    Maybe none of it matters much.

    Which is sort of the point…

  26. JP Miller says:

    OK, decode “TPTB,” please.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    TPTB = The Powers That Be, also often referred too as evil bastards in some contexts.

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