I am still in Fort Lauderdale. Will be here a few more days.

Met a gentleman named Vesa yesterday. His first name.

Vesa was born and raised in Finland. He has resided in the United States the past 14 years. He has a home in Dallas.

Vesa is probably in his early 40s.

He is in the furniture business. Scandanavian furniture. He sells/distributes to retailers in the United States. He used to manufacure the furniture in Europe. However it became cheaper just to buy it from China. He says that as with everything else, they make an excellent copy. And he can sell it cheaper! And his customers want cheaper!

Vesa was visibly concerned with the economy and its impact on his business. Stronger than concerned would be disturbed. He was! Actually his state might best be decscribed as scared. He was afraid of what was coming regarding the economy. Bad times!

He said he was at the point where he was actually begging customers to buy! And they were not! His voice was shakey. He WAS scared. And I was afraid for him!

He blamed the finanical situation primarily on 3 things.

The first was the image of the United States in the rest of the world. We are the laughing stock, as he described it! The war, Bush and whatever else, have all contributed to this perspective. We have gone straight downward in the past seven years.

Respect has to be reestablished.

He felt leadership was required.

Vesa did not think this country would elect a black man. I disagreed. The discussion then went to whether Hillary could do it. It was felt a republican could not win in November.

The other major problem from Vesa’s perspective was the disparity in trade with China. He thought it had to be corrected before this country could come back economically. He had spent considerable time in China. He said the Chinese are an extremely smart people and dangerous. We are going to have our hands full in resolving the disparity problem.

The banks are also a problem. However Vesa saw this as the drain the war was indirectly placing on available bank funds. But it affected him and his business directly. The banks have tightened up. He cannot borrow money. He is becoming desperate.

All interesting. All sad. And of concern to each of us.

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