I had a long conversation with a stranger at dinner last night. Actually it was at the bar at McCormick and Schmick’s in Atlantic City. He was a farmer and business owner near Harrisburg who sold the farm when he retired. He now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
We discussed the difficulty of running a traditional labor-intense business today without a willing work force. His industry. like mine, primarily relies on seasonal immigrant workers who are no longer available under Trump policies. We discussed our unsuccessful efforts to recruit young workers for tough outdoor work.
We discussed our fear about declining IQ scores in young people that happens to be in the news today. We lamented the inability to find enough people to fix our car or home air conditioning. I commented on the shockingly high percentage of grey-haired people here at the NJCPA annual convention.
Our biggest concerns focused on taxes. The percentage of business cash flow being fed directly and indirectly into government payments is scary. In his business the high property taxes eventually convinced him to sell the farm to a developer. I confirmed that I know that my property taxes are unsustainable here in New Jersey and that I do not have any solution other than closing the business eventually.
Overall, our admission that we fail to see solutions on the horizon to these most immediate problems is both depressing and bewildering. While we must maintain a positive outlook and attitude about business life, the reality is that we don’t have a viable plan that leads to success based on current conditions.