As we enter another new year following a retirement of one of my co-workers who worked with me for 30 years, I am reminded how fortunate I have been.
My dad transitioned from working for someone else to becoming his own boss and an entrepreneur when I was in middle school. I was also born at the right time to enjoy Reagan as president while I was in high school and college and Tommy Thompson as Governor when I was launching my own real estate business. I not only got to see the Berlin Wall come down, I was there in person six months later and obtained a piece of it!
I got to see Reagan defeat communism and the entire Soviet Union collapse under its own weight and the burdens that Reagan put on it. I got to see a hundred million people go free – to create their own destinies. Whole nations opened up. Ironically, a short while after that I witnessed first hand Hong Kong going from being free to being communist again, with a trip before and after in person.
I got to enjoy 25 years of economic growth – started by Reagan, and to see America back on top again. I got to see two Persian Gulf wars in which the U.S. kicked some major ass and showed the world who’s boss, putting the world back on peaceful footing again.
I got to enjoy touring the world when it was at peace; literally probably for the first time ever in human history there was no major war for a period of time. I got to grow my business in a stable and consistently growing economy, when Madison was well run by Paul Soglin and stuff got done.
I even got to enjoy being taught by the most recognized expert in real estate, James A. Graaskamp, before he passed on. I got to teach at the University before all this woke and DEI crap came along, when teaching mattered and brain washing was just a minor blip on the radar.
I got to enjoy boating around the Great Lakes before all this climate change ruined it, just ruined it! 🥲 (Err, I noticed that the lake levels change, but the Great Lakes are still pretty much the same, so no, the Great Lakes haven’t changed.)
I grew up before universities launched the biggest wealth transfer in the world by over charging for tuition and forcing students to take on 20 years of debt to pay for a diploma. I graduated with no debt, because I busted my ass working during school to pay for tuition, room and board, but it was more affordable then. Ahh, how come no one talks about making tuition affordable again? That can be our word for the week. Universities need to make tuition affordable!
I got to enjoy downtowns before they became decimated by Walmart, then NAFTA thank you Bill Clinton, and the faux COVID pandemic fantasy. My mom actually took me as a kid to shop on the Capitol square and State Street before the malls existed. I used to take swim lessons on the top floor of the YWCA on the square, and my mom and sister and I would then have dinner over at the Emporium before maybe doing some light shopping at Manchester’s. Remember The Hub men’s clothing store? My dad took me there to get my first suit.
And I got to see and help the nation transition from a industrial age to a technology age, with new technologies and software that I installed at banks and businesses. (But things have gone too far with the iphone – which made receiving emails instantaneous and put destructive social media at our finger tips so any keyboard warrior (oops, does that include me?) can spout off his big mouth without thinking. (Well, at least I try to think about it first…)
I grew up when a young person could buy a house.
My upbringing was during a time when men (and increasingly women) built businesses to operate them long-term, as my dad had taught me. He believed and demonstrated that you take an average person, give them some responsibility, train them, and hold them accountable and they will succeed.
And they would also appreciate that opportunity, and they paid you back with loyalty and longevity. He treated his co-workers as an extension of his family. He built a business up from almost nothing, into a much larger enterprise and he wanted his children to do the same with their own efforts. It was a time when value was created through consistent, sustained, hard work. And you didn’t quit. You kept at it in the face of challenges. (He was fired three times from the business he eventually purchased, and returned to work the next day each time.)
Today, the world is much different. It seems like everyone is trying to build up a bubble before selling it fast and retiring in the sunset. Many young people today think that creating a web site is the same as building a business. There’s so much fraud, deceit, and government interference. It’s nearly impossible to hire and retain good people for more than a year; you’re lucky if that. Everyone is out for themselves instead of being part of something bigger.
I think this is why politics has become so divisive. It’s become a new culture. So many liberals (and it is just liberals) want to use their community as steps to climbing up the political ladder to stardom without first obtaining some real world experience.
I’m glad I was born when I was!
On October 18 and November 23, 2023 Donald Trump tweeted out on Trump’s Truth Social account T. Wall’s October 6th column on Trump’s property valuations. T. Wall holds a degree from the UW in economics and an M.S. in real estate analysis and valuation and is a real estate developer. Disclaimer: The opinions of the writer are not necessarily those of this publication or the left!