The Squatter

A year ago last spring we had to replace the cedar siding on our house. In case you think cedar lasts without care, don’t be like me. You have to add a product to protect it from drying out and cracking.

We had a pile of scrapped siding in our burn hole and a fellow stopped and asked if he could salvage some to side a doghouse. I said, “Sure.” He returned a few days later to get the scraps and while here he asked if he could camp in our pasture sometime. I said, “Well, I guess so.”

That fall there was an SUV pulling a camper tearing around in the bean field chasing the combine. John stopped and the guy said, “Oh, you’re not Fritz.” That’s it. Next thing, I saw a white thing down by the oak trees. The guy had set up camp.

I went for a visit. He had cut some firewood and stacked it by his pop-up. It was a short distance across the neighbor’s fence and into the weeds to his bathroom. He told me he only bow hunted the public land so didn’t need permission to hunt on ours. He talked about his dad hunting across the road for years without incident, then when the squatter was there the newer landowner kicked him rudely out. “After ten years in law enforcement!”

The squatter thing is big. It’s national. It’s legal. Because of Covid-19 mandates, some folks can’t pay rent. Therefore, landlords can’t pay utilities or mortgages. What are they to do? Wait for assistance?

Like all of the other “critical” government spending, the money does come from somewhere. That is the lesson we should be getting from the eviction moratorium. The bizarre world we live in today has half the people thinking the money comes from thin air and has no effect except the beneficial one on the recipient.

This can get personal because a lot of retirees see the stock market as unfamiliar territory and too risky a place to grow their savings to fund their retirement. Even though the stock market has outperformed Social Security on a massive scale, by the way.

Real estate is something we’ve all dealt with. We move away from home and rent a room. We get married and don’t want our rent money to just go down a rat hole so we buy a house. It isn’t hard to understand.

The federal government has (pretends it has) $47 billion in rental assistance but only $3 billion has been doled out so far. Landlords, the people who scrimped and saved to fund their retirement get behind on their bills.

After all those sacrifices to offer a decent place to live for people who don’t qualify for home ownership, the landlord gets the shaft. I know some landlords and they take pride in providing renters with their money’s worth. They drop everything to fix plumbing and so-forth because they’ve been renters before themselves. Like the job market, exploitation is avoidable.

You might say, “But the money is there.” But… the money does come from somewhere. Taxes either cause businesses to pass the costs on to customers (and they get blamed for raising prices), or the massive amounts of printed money used to fund all this “assistance” devalues the money we have saved.

Before we ask for more assistance think about who the devaluation and taxes really hurt. A hint: it’s not the rich. Then, think back to the actual root causes of these crises. It is not the free market. An eviction moratorium is actually legalized slavery.

We maintain fences like we do siding, to preserve the basic structure of our society and our house. When they break down and we can’t depend on our property being solid, incentive deteriorates to keep contributing to that society. Like when the siding rots and exposes the structure of our house to rot, legalized trespassing reduces our desire to take care of our land.

We owe a debt to the squatter for this lesson, but he will be removed if he returns.

One response to “The Squatter

  1. In today’s failed America, it simply doesn’t pay to be a good samaritan, extending a helpful hand to anyone. Your kind jester to the squatter was paid back with exploitation by the squatter. Live and learn — adapt to the times in which we live.

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