“Sun City is unique, a throwback to a more genteel time. While those outside the walls rush about, the pace of life in Sun City is slower, the sense of togetherness greater, and the commitment to enjoy what we have here almost limitless.”
The year was 2002 and i was near the end of my working life. I was the chairman for an organization called the International Foundation for Employee Benefits. Our primary role was developing education for both management and labor trustees serving on pension and health care plans.
It was a volunteer position and one i thoroughly enjoyed. I worked with some brilliant people who understood benefits far better than i; experts in their fields. We usually wound up the conference or convention with a social evening where we could chat and get to know one another better.
Even back then, our economy was beginning to falter. The boom of the mid to late 90’s was over and the downturn was coming. One of the presenters was an economist who was making frequent television appearances. We began talking and he said it was imperative the country look at tax cuts to stimulate the economy (part of the Keynesian Theory of economics).
I looked at him askew and replied simply, “really?” He was stunned in that most never challenged his thinking and why was some “labor goon” willing to engage him on his home turf? I’ll be the first to admit, i didn’t have a business school background. Economic theory was as foreign to me as breaking someone’s fingers was to him (that’s a joke by the way).
My training came from dealing with working men and women and from the owners that employed them. Our local had built several websites where research was a key fundamental to their existence. One of those dealt with changing employment trends and what the future held for the United States.
It was an interesting study for me in that i clearly saw there were dramatic changes coming. One where workers became almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things. We had become a throw away society and the business model embraced that same kind of thinking. Employees were going to become expendable in the growing job markets: Retail and the service sector were the two areas most jobs would be found. Employers like Wal-Mart had set the stage; use them for a few years and move them out. At a point in time, they became a liability rather than an asset.
I used this as the backdrop of the argument to the economist. The fact was, massive tax cuts meant little or nothing (other than money in their pockets) to those whose primary production was done in China or other third world countries. The bulk of what they invested in this country had little to do with long term growth. Jobs in the service sector or retail often paid next to nothing with virtually no benefits that a viable middle class relied upon.
The longer we talked, the more he understood where i was coming from. I had statistics to support my arguments and our discussion was fascinating. Sadly, as time marched on, most everything i had said to him has come to fruition. The new business model, the one embraced by most business schools, has turned our country and our way of life upside down. For that matter, most of the world is suffering an economic disaster of proportion most don’t know how to combat it.
When i retired in 2003, i left the staff at the local union i was president of with these simple words: “You will look back on these past ten years as the good old days.” I knew exactly what they were in for, little did i know it would get that bad, that quick.
So, what has this diatribe got to do with Sun City? Everything. The caption above is one i wrote for the magazine we produced at SCHOA back in 2007. I love the commentary because it captures exactly why most of us living here love it…why when we buy here we feel we have won the lottery and are now enjoying the good life.
Everything that goes on outside the walls is bigger than us. Virtually everything is faster paced, more frenzied and less comfortable. When i first found Sun City i saw the simplicity of a community founded on principals of a common goal; where being happy is an easy objective to attain if one simply lets go and enjoys what is straight in front of us.
Sun City is that darn good and each of us has an obligation to do whatever we can to keep it that way. It’s how it has worked for more than 50 years and how it will work for the next 50. We can’t change what is happening outside the walls, but we can keep Sun City a very special place to live if we all do our part. It’s still that simple.