The American Heritage Dictionary (Fourth Edition) defines curmudgeon as “An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions”. I became a curmudgeon along about late 2008 when I watched the United States of America completely forsake the principles of its founding on behalf of a few bankers that didn’t understand how to manage risk. It made me ill-tempered and full of resentment, and left me clinging to stubborn notions, like the idea that best prescription for poor risk management is not socializing losses but is instead allowing the sufferance of pain by the risk managers that failed.
The immediate cause of my resentment was the rescue of the banks and of my previous industry–residential real estate–by a multitude of fiscal and monetary measures beginning in the latter half of 2008 and continuing until today.
In June of 2009, I closed my residential real estate law practice. I was simply unable to participate any further in the shenanigans–the fraud and deceit–that government rescue and takeover of the industry represented, and still does. Having served six years as an Army helicopter pilot in the eighties during the Cold War, ultimately witnessing the triumph of freedom over tyranny when the Berlin Wall fell along with the Soviet Union, it seemed obvious to me that all our sacrifices had been for naught. We won the Cold War only to adopt the philosophy of governance of our vanquished foes just two decades later.
I was able to quit because the boom years in real estate had been very good to me and my family. I was completely out of debt by my forty-second birthday (2004) and then used the remaining years to fortify the finances for the lean years that I knew–that anyone should have known–were coming.
I’m a 1985 Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Alabama school of Commerce and Business Administration where I majored in economics. I graduated in 1995 with a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law. In between I spent six years flying helicopters for the US Army. My final tour of duty was Desert Storm.
I’m married with two children, ages sixteen (boy) and thirteen (girl). The boy recently underwent a second bone marrow transplant for relapsed leukemia that he’d had when he was seven. Closing my real estate law practice, though I did so a couple of months prior to knowing about the leukemia relapse, would have been necessary anyway. My wife was the primary caregiver the first go-around. It was my turn this time. Besides, she carried the insurance in her job with a too-big-to-fail bank.
I bought some farmland in Northeast Alabama in 2008–about the time it became clear to me that things might get very ugly before this is all resolved. I’m not a survivalist nut, but I am a survivor. It will be my family’s escape hatch if and when financial Armageddon finally arrives.
In the meantime, I decided it was time to join the debate. If nothing else, perhaps my jeremiads will one day prove prescience on my part. It’s really not hard to see that the United States is on an unsustainable trajectory, and that all this won’t end well. Consider this as something of a blog noir on where this all is leading.