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Friday, November 9, 2012

A Gardener's Perspective: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You - The Fiscal Cliff

What exactly is the fiscal cliff? In short, it is the compromise the politicians made in 2011 that would go into effect in 2013, if they failed to address the deficit via spending cuts and taxes during 2012. Yes strangely it is a party compromise. My perspective, as a humble tomato and vegetable gardener, is that they knew they could not reach an agreement and had other issues they felt were more important. The main issues being their own self interests and re-election.  I don't think that is good or bad but just a way of political business. I am saying that they unconsciously solved the issue of the deficit and did it right under our noses. And they should get credit, for they did it together!

What happens January 1st 2013? Basically a 2% payroll reduction ends. Other taxes go up. A 10% spending reduction occurs over 100's of government programs and what you get is what they have been gridlocked on for years... a solution. Taxes go up and spending goes down. They solved it. Why is the fiscal cliff a bad thing? Ah... although the deficit is greatly reduced, fear mongers say the economy will go into a double dug recession. Will it? It seems like markets seem to manage themselves nicely months ahead of time with respect to what they know is coming.

If I know anything - it is humans are greedy. The stock market will drop only to be gobbled up by others to increase the market later that week or following month. People like their money and they like even more money more. Let's save the theatrical news trailers that the end is near. The economy will never collapse as long as money can be made.

So I offer the politicians a solution from a gardener's perspective. Rather than plant a whole garden at once, recognize you have cool weather and warm weather planting crops. Different seeds go in the ground at different times. While some plants are maturing in the garden, you can have others growing in seed trays or transplant pots. This process allows you to save time and address several issues at once. Divide the garden into raised bed plots. This way everyone can walk around the bed and see what the issues are with a specific bed.

Does the soil need to be amended in this bed or that bed? Is weeding necessary in certain beds? Are these vegetables companion crops? Will certain vegetables, at maturity, shade out other vegetables and inhibit their growth?  The pondering and planning can be done from the edge of the frame without disturbing the garden and the roots of planted growing vegetables. Look into the garden bed from the outside like a group of gardener's deciding how to best use their time and resources for the best production of produce. There is no need to stand in the bed and compact the soil and reduce growing conditions only to have to dig it again. Why make more work than is needed?

Agree to plant or manage what you agree on. A 4x8 bed holds a lot of vegetables. Compare your list and plant what you agree on. Don't discard the radishes you all like because someone is opposed to leeks. If everyone agrees that not taxing people with incomes under (let's say 100k) is agreeable, then pass the law or plant the dang radishes. Address the leeks and 250k taxes once the majority of the bed is planted, tended and GROWING. Once you go down your planting lists and address all the areas of similar interests you can move on to the more difficult issues.

Would I or any gardener really not plant early spring peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions, kale, collards and herbs because we can't decide if that particular bed is going to hold peppers or tomatoes come June? The fiscal cliff is a solution like a garden plot that doesn't get planted with a plan. Something always grows but you get a lot of weeds and empty space, along with weak and wasted production. But you do get a garden. Just not what you wanted. A lot more effort will now have to go into weeding and preparing that bed for the future late summer and fall plantings. All because you didn't take care of the basics and agree to plant the common crops you both like in early spring. 

A Gardener's Perspective

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  1. Thanks! I will be interesting to see what actually gets done come Jan 1.


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