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American dream or American nightmare?

July 05, 2023 - 00:00
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The other evening, my gentleman friend and I were discussing our country’s sad state of affairs with an acquaintance who is about 10 years younger than me. Trying to end the conversation on a positive note, he proposed that the one thing the three of us could be thankful for is that we grew up in some pretty good times. Looking back at my youth, I agree with him. The world wasn’t perfect but legitimate efforts were being made to right the wrongs, life made sense, there was order, structure and accountability. Unfortunately, not everyone alive today can say they’ve experienced THAT America.

My adamant refusal to accept the chaos in today’s society makes it difficult for me to find something to write about sometimes, but thanks to our president, a topic fell right into my lap a few days ago when he made headlines with the phrase “Bidenomics!” Being the duly elected president – still a point of debate in my mind - he can call it whatever he wants. I call it going to hell in a handbasket but his Bidenomics certainly provides an endless supply of material. I mean, where do I begin? The cost of gasoline and groceries or a haircut and a handyman’s outrageous hourly rate to replace an O-ring for a plumbing challenged widow? Bidenomics is the gift that keeps on giving even when it’s not wanted.

Those not in the market for a new home may be unaware of Bidenomics’ impact right here in Navasota. Seriously, if we aren’t careful, Navasota could turn into a little California! That’s where an 800 square foot house can easily cost a million or two. Imagine my surprise when I learned that $172 per square foot is the construction cost, not in Pecan Lakes Estates but in a less affluent part of Navasota, for a 2-bedroom, garage less, frame home with it a monthly payment of $1,000 to $1,500 per month – and that doesn’t include taxes and property insurance!

Once upon a time, Biden’s party was known as the party of the “common man.” I propose that Bidenomics has thrown the common man under the bus alongside childhood innocence, the Patient’s Bill of Rights, women’s sports and now, owning your own little piece of America. I just happen to have a few numbers that form the basis of my opinion.

According to Statistica. com which graphs the average construction cost per square foot from 20112022, Obama began his last four years at $88 SF and ended at $115, an increase of $27,000. Trump’s four years averaged $122-$141 SF, a lesser increase of $19,000. Thanks to Bidenomics, during his first two years in office, construction costs went from $150 to $174 SF, or $24,000! Just imagine the 2023-2024 sequel!

I’ve been told this is what it actually costs to build a home nowadays. My problem is that I think a certain amount can be attributed to charlatans daring enough to see how much price gouging people are willing to accept. If it sticks, they run with it.

I worry that we’re setting the stage for our own local homeless class. There but by the grace of God go I, and all of us, for that matter. A property fraudster stealing your deed and taking over your home, an identity thief robbing your bank account, your employer going out of business or a devastating illness can turn a prince into pauper or a homeowner to homeless in the blink of an eye, and how do you start over at these rates?

Ayn Rand’s quote captures my despair perfectly because it feels like I’m looking at the death of not only the American Dream but America herself… “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.