Eviction With No Conviction

Thursday… nearly there.

Today, let me tell you about my father, how he took care of us, and how the government has pulled that sacred right from breadwinners all over the country.

Driving Around on the Big Rigs

Philosopher/truck driver John Ring took care of his family.

He diligently arose every morning at 5:00 AM, drove his truck all day long, and would come home around 6:00 PM every evening, smelling of grease.

I vividly remember seeing him pull into the driveway, then coming in through the garage. I’d hear him wipe his feet and then smack his boots against the wall to get all the dirt out.

Then he would walk upstairs, tired as hell.

My mother would make him take a shower before he had dinner with us even though he worked hard all day because she couldn’t stand the smell of the grease.

But I respected him and still do, and I’m massively grateful.

He was an owner/operator, so a solopreneur of his time.

He never took a sick day. He went to work every single day.

That’s the part that horrified me about this government-induced private-sector shutdown.

It’s a Virus Called Government

The coronavirus has not caused all this poverty. The coronavirus has not caused people to be behind in rent. The coronavirus has not compelled people not to work.

The governments around the world are all guilty as charged. They are the ones who stopped people from working.

I am one of the lucky ones. I work with a laptop and an internet connection, and that’s all I need. My commute is barely five steps to my bedroom/office, where I just turn on my computer, and away I go.

Here’s a dirty little secret: COVID is one of the best things that happened to me.

Now we all know it was one of the best things that ever happened to Jeff Bezos. His wealth skyrocketed.

But for little, mobile digital nomads like myself?

We cleaned up last year. I thought I was going to the poorhouse at one point.  We all did.  

But suddenly everyone went on Zoom… and it was glorious.

I was getting requests to do classes day after day.

Then my writing career finally took off.  Why?

Because if nobody was going to be in any office anywhere, then Agora Financial and other companies like it could recruit internationally.

And recruit they did.

So from here, on the ass-end of the Pacific Ocean, I could write for Agora Financial.

It wasn’t possible before because Agora made people move to Baltimore, sit in the conference room, and brainstorm together every day.

Suddenly it was possible, so I was thrilled – from that perspective – with what was going on.

Okay, I prefer to fly on planes and stay in fancy hotels and teach classes live.

Sure, that was fun.

I miss my friends in Singapore and Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi and London, and New York.

But to make more money, without the jet lag, in 2020 than I did in 2019?  Fabulous.

This year is even bigger.

But I still think of the middle-class everyman, who’s now very much in the lower middle class.

What About Normal People?

I think of the truck driver trying to work for his family but is prohibited from doing so from his government.

If this happened in the late 1980s, we would have been broke.

My family would have been in major trouble through no fault of our own, but because the government stopped people from working.

I guess that I still have a very visceral attachment to my young days in New Jersey, and that’s why I so vigorously opposed the shutdown from day one.

Even though I had COVID myself, even though it felt terrible from day one, and even though it took me a long, long time to recover.

Just because I am ill doesn’t mean that the entire world needs to stop for me.

To Evict or Not To Evict, That is the Question

Unfortunately, these snowflake liberals do not feel the same way, which is why I read with such alarm that the moratorium on evictions has just been extended.

This issue quite frankly has me tied up in knots.

The libertarian, anarchist, private sector side of me screams, “How dare you intervene and tell me how I can use my private property? If my tenants aren’t paying me, I should be able to throw them out and get new ones in!”

From a theoretical perspective, there is absolutely no doubt that that is the correct position if you are a freedom-loving, private property-loving person.

But when you look at it from the other side, think about this:

If President Trump was still in, do you think he would let this moratorium have expired?

No, of course not.

Do you think he would have created the excuses that Joe Biden did, such as, “I don’t have the authority to extend it and put it all on the Supreme Court?”

Of course not.

Trump would have said, “We’re going to find a way.”

Congressional Cop-Out

Now the Biden administration has indeed found a way. Though the moratorium has expired and Congress has not legislated a replacement, Biden’s camp has let the CDC issue a targeted moratorium in places with high case rates of coronavirus infection.

To me, it’s a cop-out.

I would lock Congress in the damn building, and I wouldn’t let them out until they came up with a new law because the government is there to protect the citizens… if it’s there to do anything at all.

It’s hilarious that Pelosi said that she couldn’t, in good conscience, blame Republicans for this.

Old Nancy may have found a conscience, but she certainly didn’t find a mirror.

Again, those landlords have my deepest sympathy. I feel terrible for them, but I see the other side as well.

My father was a truck driver, and we would be in the same position as those who couldn’t make rent.

To be fair, we owned our house in Hasbrouck Heights.  But we indeed would have fallen behind on our mortgage payments.

My mother worked too, but she didn’t make much money at all.

I didn’t have a job in high school.

Even if I did, it’s not like I would’ve become an Instagram star in 1987.

I would have been lucky if I made ten bucks mowing a lawn, and that would have been in the summertime.  Maybe I would’ve worked at McDonald’s.

So there would have been no way out of it.

I feel terrible for the people going to court trying to fight their evictions, and I wish them luck.

Landlords who are having to put up with tenants who aren’t paying because the government prohibited them from working, I feel for them too, and I hope that they get a good result out of this.

How Much is the Damage?

Twenty million tenants are behind roughly $20 billion in rental payments. 

That’s a lot of cash.

That’s a load of cash for landlords to be missing.  Remember, these people staked their capital – sometimes the sum of their life savings – on homes to earn a fair cash flow.

It’s also a load of cash for those who would have been working hard had the government not prohibited them from doing that.

I wrote a piece on intervention a couple of weeks ago, and this is the most definitive evidence that we must eliminate intervention, not just limit it.

The government now has not just intervened but wrecked the private property principles which we hold so dear.

Government also took down the renters, the people who are trying to get on that property ladder, trying to provide for their families, trying to make a life for themselves.

They were prohibited from working by a government with no understanding of a disease that is getting weaker by the second.

I hope that this is resolved in a good way, but I’ll leave you with this.

Take off your damn masks. Go to work.

It’s time to fight the system because the system is having a massive case of intervention.

All the best,

Sean

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