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Friday, July 25, 2014

How Many Millionaires in Plymouth County?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Please say Happy Birthday! Iowa's youngest, smartest Senator, Shalee Senator Foghorn D. Pauln turns 13 today, on the first day of the legislative session. Not sure about this but he might be the only one with an AKC registration. His age in human years is either 91 or 104, depending on which multiplier you use. Only partially due to his age, he will not be at the Capitol for (at least) the first few days, but wants to let everyone know that he is in favor of passing an indexed gas tax increase, but he flatulently opposes a tax on passed gas.

He thinks internet sellers should be required to charge sales tax. He buys his dog food locally, so why should he have to pay six percent more than dogs who shop on the internet? Better wages for lower tier health care providers, and education reform, are also on his agenda. He says more money for teachers will not improve teachers (or any profession), but better teachers should be paid more than average teachers.

He is opposed to childhood obesity, and feels for children (and dogs) without enough food but hasn't figured out how to merge those issues. Neither, of course, has anyone else.

He is old, but he wants to leave this earth (I haven't told him that he will be cremated and his ashes will be spread over his favorite lookout spot, high in our backyard) knowing that future generations will not be stuck with a huge debt load. I don't have the heart to remind him that ship has sailed.

He wanted to caucus for Ron Paul (I was for Romney) because he thinks really, really old guys should stick together, but he knew that the closest Paul will ever come to being president will be running as a Libertarian, thereby insuring Obama's reelection.

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As defined by net worth, how many millionaires are there in Plymouth County? In 2006 there were 50,529 millionaires in Iowa, an average of 510 per county. The purchasing power of a million US dollars in 1952 was roughly equivalent to nine million dollars today. There are approximately 3,456 quarter sections in Plymouth County. In October, a 160 acre farm near Ireton sold for $1,344,000. The property taxes on that farm are $3,154.00 per year. Remember those figures.

"Buy land they ain't making any more of the stuff." (Will Rogers) He also said, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

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Plymouth's average value per acre, as reported by Iowa State University, has grown to $8,678, so 116 acres would be worth more than a million bucks. That is little more than a hobby farm! Got 231 acres free and clear? You are a multi-millionaire! In the 2007 Census there were 1440 farms, with an average size of 360 acres, in Plymouth County. There are more very small farms today, but a lot of farmers made a living on 80 acres in 1952.

Don't jump to conclusions without considering liabilities, though. It costs a ton of money to farm, and even more if you raise or feed livestock. Speculatively, the value of 100 acres in 1952 ($218 per acre) would have been about equal to the cost of enough machinery to operate the average sized farm, 170 acres then. Today in Plymouth County that would amount to $860,000, which might buy the equipment necessary to run today's 400 acre farm.

Considering the rate of inflation, $218 would be worth about $1999 today. In 1952 bread was .16 cents, gas .20 cents a gallon, and, and a roll of tissue paper was a nickel. Corn cobs and the Sears catalog were free.

Why is land so expensive? Government monetary policies, low interest rates, and concern about other investment opportunities have driven prices sky high. Farmers are the primary (70 percent) purchasers.

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I Remember. The state of Iowa has wisely required two license plates, except in the World War II years, and then in 1952, the state only manufactured one, but offered a "corn" plate with a brightly colored ear of corn, but no numbers, for the front. For only $110 you can now purchase one of those "corn ear" plates with the slogan, "Iowa the Tall Corn State," at Deer Run Mercantile.

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Also in 1952, Adlai Stevenson ran one of the first political TV ads ever, and it was aimed at farmers, most without TV's. Contrast that with current campaigns which ignore farmers. There were nearly 6 million farms (2M now) in the United States and the total population was half of what it is today.

Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That