August Heat

Garden tomato time.

This week includes days where the heat index is forecast to be over 100 degrees. Combine that with an extended lack of rain and we’re entering a drought.

After experiencing the drought of 2012 it’s easier to gauge things. This drought hasn’t reached an epic level yet.

I water the garden sparingly seeking to increase the yield of tomatoes, hot peppers and kale. The plot damaged by the derecho still has the trunk of a locust tree laying across it. During a cooler spell I’ll remove the dead wood but for now the project is on hold.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over. University students returned to the county seat over the weekend. By Monday afternoon a noted local epidemiologist declared, “We have a COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa City.” I’m glad I paid my property taxes last week so I have no reason to return to the county seat until the outbreak has resolved. If the outbreak continues until spring I’ll pay my taxes electronically. Yesterday’s official count of U.S. deaths from the pandemic was 176,809 humans.

As if these things are not enough, yesterday chief actuary of the Social Security Administration Stephen Goss wrote a letter to Senate Democrats in which he said if payroll taxes were eliminated Jan. 1, 2021 as the administration has proposed, “We estimate that Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund reserves would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023,with no ability to pay benefits thereafter.” We knew Social Security had enough revenue and reserves in the current model to be viable until 2034. The disruption in the economy is impacting everyone including us. If Social Security ends I’d better start looking for a new financial model to sustain our lives.

Last night I viewed 30 minutes of the Republican National Convention. I made a point to find and view South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s 11-minute speech this morning. Republicans have a narrative, one that’s rooted in a different reality than what I know. Republicans and Democrats don’t agree when it comes to defining our national life. That makes it nearly impossible to address any of the issues that confront us today.

The county studied the Silurian Aquifer a few years back and determined there was plenty of water to meet our long-term needs. As long as there is water we’ll be able to grow a garden and we’ll have enough to eat.

We paid off our home mortgage a while back so the only housing expenses are utilities, upkeep and taxes. We’ll have a place to live and equity against which to borrow.

As far as transportation, clothing, communications equipment, and other necessities go, we’ll be fine. This assumes there will be social stability, although that comes into question as the rich get richer leaving less for the rest of us. Social upheaval is not only possible, it’s more likely the further apart Republican and Democratic views of society become.

That has me more concerned than this August heat.

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